Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What We'd Like to See (again): Tom Selleck shilling for National Review

Remember the early days of A&E? One can argue about the "entertainment" value it offers in its current form, but it's hard to deny that there was a lot more emphasis on "arts" back in the 1980s. Yet the network also offered an assortment of reruns of short-lived sitcoms like The Associates. I also remember learning about The Fugitive by watching it afternoons on A&E.

What I would most like to see again from those days, though, is a commercial I remember running, oh, roughly ALL THE TIME. It was an extended spot soliciting subscriptions for William F. Buckley's right-wing mag National Review. I remember Buckley posh-ing his way through a sophisticated pitch for the ideas and intellectual debate offered by his publication. At some point, though, who should show up but Thomas J. Magnum himself--that is, Tom Selleck! That's right, Selleck was the token TV conservative years before anyone had heard of Kelsey Grammer of Patricia Heaton.

Selleck took a different route, emphasizing not the magazine's cogent analysis of free-market economics, but rather its humor. He assured the viewers it wasn't some stuffy, boring collection of thought pieces by eggheads. "It's a very funny magazine," I remember him saying.

That's what I remember. I can't find the actual ad. How can something that aired millions of times (give or take a few dozen) in the 1980s be unavailable on the Internet. Despite having access to the vast Cultureshark media collection, our own BOTNS crack research team, and a reliable bookmark for YouTube, I can't track down this elusive ad.

Does anyone have the spot or memories of it? Until we find this memorable commercial, here's an old one with Chuck Heston. It isn't the same, but it will have to do for today.

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