Boomers Looked to the Future on TV

If you are a fan of boomer-era TV trivia (and who isn’t?), you may or may not be aware of an esoteric tidbit that directly coincides with this date in history. The Jetsons (1962-63), the animated TV series, was set in a future 100 years from the time the series was aired, which would mean it took place in 2062. In the series, George Jetson, the family father figure, was named as a 40 year-old man. Subtract 40 years from 2062 and 2022 surfaces as the year of George Jetson’s birth. Somehow, someone got to July 31 from there. Where the exact month and date came from is left to speculation.

Mister Boomer has written previously about The Jetsons, as it was a family favorite in his household. In the past month, while Mister B was flipping through the channels, he found an episode of The Jetsons airing, so he invested a half hour to watch it. The episode was the one where George’s daughter, Judy, enters a songwriting contest. The winner of the contest will get a date with a famous rock star, Jet Screamer. George, wanting to keep his daughter away from any rock & roller, tries to sabotage Judy’s entry by substituting some words with his son Elroy’s secret code. In true sitcom fashion, of course, Judy’s altered song wins. George follows Judy on her date with Jet Screamer, and sneaks into that night’s concert by picking up equipment and walking behind the back-up band. Ultimately, George gets on-stage behind a futuristic drum set to better watch Jet and Judy, only to be discovered. The tables get turned when George is then put in the spotlight as the father of the winning songwriter, who will start the song off with a drum solo. With the spotlight on George, he launches into his solo lead-in to the song, Eeep! Opp! Ork! Ah-Ah! It turns out George is a regular Buddy Rich on the drums, a swingin’ 40 year-old daddy-o. It’s worth checking out, boomers.

Speaking of age, Mister Boomer recalls right around the time that The Jetsons was being broadcast, a teacher in one of his classes asked the students to do the math to see how old they would be in the year 2000. Then, she asked them to imagine what their life would be like when they were 40 years old. Mister Boomer recalls it was a frightening proposition since 40 seemed so old! The future envisioned throughout our boomer years did come to pass in many ways (though we have no flying cars yet), but the thought of thinking forward around 30 years was almost too much to bear.

In terms of The Jetsons, once the space-age marvels are eliminated, the characters acted pretty much the same as people did in the 1960s. In The Jetsons example just mentioned, George was anti-rock & roll until he got his 15 minutes of rock stardom. It seems that somehow, we can envision technological marvels, but human evolution is much harder to predict. Star Trek may be the only TV show that looked to a future when poverty, war and disease were in the past.

As we boomers age, it’s fun to remember the way we were 40, 50 or 60 years ago. Yet it’s more than a little frightening to think forward and wonder what our lives will be like 20, 30 or 40 years from now. Maybe a young Mister B was right to be wary 60 years ago. Happy Birthday, George!

How about you, boomers? Did you ever imagine your life in the year 2022?

Mister Boomer Presents the Boomies Awards!

It’s award season. You can hardly turn on the television at this time of year without seeing an awards show, or a commercial for one coming soon. In the spirit of awards season, Mister Boomer is presenting the very first (and probably last) Boomies Awards, dedicated to the culture of the Boomer Generation (insert overly exuberant audience reaction here). In order to keep our non-telecast down to a tolerable minimum, we’re only announcing one award this evening: the award for Best Use of a Boomer-Era Song in a TV Commercial.

Mister Boomer has penned several posts about how today’s marketers — more often than not Millennials and Gen-Xers themselves — are choosing boomer-era music to hawk all types of products and services. Who can forget recent nominees like Yoplait Yogurt’s 2015 puzzling use of All Day and All of the Night (1964) by the Kinks, or 2021’s Corona Hard Seltzer’s employment of I Like It Like That (1967) by Pete Rodriguez. Both of these examples had the temerity to use the original recordings. We see may current examples where a cover version is inserted. Nonetheless, in almost all instances, a full commercial-length snippet of the song is rare; usually we hear a hook, memorable melody or riff that is hand-picked for commercial purposes.

So, without further ado, the nominees, currently airing on a TV near you, for Best Use of a Boomer-Era Song in a TV Commercial are:

Walmart, Patio Furniture Ad: The Clapping Song (1965), by Shirley Ellis
Mister B is not quite sure if the original is what is heard in the TV ad. He thinks the snippet used may be a cover version.

Target, The Things We Value Most Ad: Best of My Love (1977), by The Emotions
The original recording is heard.

Whole Foods, Ad: Every Beat of My Heart (1964), by The Du-ettes
This may in fact be the 1964 version that is heard.

Grey Goose, Vodka Ad: Barefootin’ (1965), by Robert Parker
Again, this may be the original, but hard to tell since it’s just a small musical passage.

Samsung, Galaxy Mobile Phone Ad: Land of 1000 Dances (1966), by Wilson Pickett
This is another ad that uses a small sample of the song. Industry records say it’s the original we hear.

Ooooh, can you feel the excitement building across the country, boomers? What a night! Have we stretched the time enough now or have you changed the channel? (A model in a glittery gold evening dress walks across the living room and hands the envelope to Mister Boomer).

And the winner is … totally up to you, boomers! Do you find the whole kit and kaboodle amusing, amazing or appalling?

Mister Boomer has experienced all three conditions (amused, amazed and appalled) when confronted with TV commercials grabbing a part of our boomer history to market to a younger generation. One thing is for certain: now that so many boomer-era songwriters and performers have sold all or part of their catalogs, we are sure to hear more of them.

How about you, boomers? Does a TV ad come to mind that moves you to hate? Or have TV commercials reignited a passion for a song you may not have heard in years?