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An annual holiday tradition: Computer commercials

Christmas, Hannukah, and all of the other traditional winter holidays are around the corner. That means its the time of year for lots of commercials, including ones for computers. Here are some Holiday Classics.

Christmas, Hannukah, and all the other traditional winter holidays are around the corner. That means it's the time of the year for lots of commercials, including ones for computers. Here are some holiday classics.

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Every year on TV there are the classic holiday shows. You have A Charlie Brown Christmas. Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer. Frosty the Snowman. Miracle on 34th Street. Interspersed among all these shows are the traditional holiday commercials. It's always an opportunity for computer companies to goose sales a little bit as well.

Here are some classic computer commercials to enjoy with your traditional TV shows.

Radio Shack

Radio Shack was always big for pushing computers this time of year. The Tandy 1000, as I've mentioned before, was one of their big pushes in the early 80s. Here's the special sale that Radio Shack put on for the Tandy 1000 one Christmas. Save $300:

You'll note that the computer has only one floppy drive. The base configuration didn't come with a hard drive or a second floppy. The memory was only 128K. The family couldn't have been nearly that happy Christmas morning to see THAT machine under the tree.

To touch on nostalgia, Radio Shack pushed the CoCo3 in 1986. Dad's dad got him an electronics kit. Now he gets his son a computer from Radio Shack.

Again, the kid couldn't have been that happy. Although a good machine, by the time the CoCo3 came out, the CoCo line was nearing an end. The C64 was a much more popular unit in this class with infinitely more software and support.

Dell

A boy wants a computer for Christmas. What better way than to create a pre-YouTube video for his parents.

This, of course, is the beginning of the Dude You're Getting A Dell line of commercials. Certainly this was the coal in the stocking for all of us. I think it also heralded the downward spiral of Dell in general.

Apple

Being primarily consumer focused, like Radio Shack, Apple hits the holidays strong and has since the Mac debuted. Here's a nice play-off of the Christmas traditon of building the bike under the tree.

Today, of course, it's all Mac vs. PC. Here's one in Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer tradition.

Prodigy

Before the Internet, if you wanted to go online your choice was a local BBS or a paid dial-up service like AOL or CompuServe. One early service came from Sears of all places and was called Prodigy.

Again, this was certainly not a present you'd want. It was slow and expensive and wound up getting crushed by CompuServe and AOL. Not the gift that kept on giving.

7 comments
Slayer_
Slayer_

a sweet 3k dollar computer, still using it infact, got it back in 1997, the orginal hardware still works (tho I have since changed the RAM from 32 megs to 256 megs and the HDD from 3 gigs to 40 gigs). The computer is now my webserver, it was an olden day gaming machine. The 200 mhz processor with the latest MMX tech, a 4 meg video card, ATI's xpert@play card. Sound Blaster 16 AWE64 sound card (which still produces better sound than modern cards, especially with MIDI files). It handles multi tasking like a champ, heck it can run Apaches 270 threads without even the slightest slowdown to overall system performance. It was one of the first computers where you could do 20 things at once :). I resay this, it is still alive! Still running Windows 95, take a look for yourself. http://trevorsarchives.selfip.net

pfx84a
pfx84a

I remember hating all those commercials. But they probably were interrupting my cartoons

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

We celebrate Christmas at my house this time of year. Santa never brought me a computer, let alone a subscription to Prodigy like in the commercials I posted on Classics Rock: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/classic-tech/?p=208 Poor deprived child I was. What about you? What computer turned up for your holidays?

DadsPad
DadsPad

Once, was a TI99 (they were heavily discounted) for myself and the kids to have fun with. Then 2 years ago, my old pc died, they did not sell the power supply anymore. So I ordered parts online and built my own with the old case. Cost was under $500, they had some good sales. I also remember having Podigy, GNN, Genie and Compuserve. Prodigy, GNN and Genie went out of business, Comuserve became too expensive to use and I am one of the original users of AOL. Although I do not use AOL that much,now, my wife will use nothing else. Enjoyed all those old computer comercials, especially the Tandy's. I remember reading Radio Shack doing a survey of customers buying their pcs and wondering why no one was a repeat purchaser. :D

SKDTech
SKDTech

It had a game I loved at the time.

road-dog
road-dog

First kid on the block. We were the first family around to get PWNED by increased capabilities and reduced costs. Dad never got a new computer again....

sidekick
sidekick

I loved my TRS-80. Used it all the time. I think it is still in my Mom's attic.

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