IHOP ad from 1969 will melt your brain

Oscar sez, "Pancakes never looked so weird. Is it the balloons without context? Is it the mood music from the Moog soundtrack? Is it the chipmunkesque singers or the voice-of-God-narration that makes this late sixties IHOP commercial look as if it was made from visitors from a distant land? Apparently the sixties were not only good for hippies and rockstars but also for ad creatives, too. Don't waffle on this one, pass the syrup, click and enjoy..."

Jesus Christ on a jetpack, what the hell is this?

Creepy 1969 Commercial For IHOP


  1. Wow… pretty sure you need to drop some acid before you watch that one. Suddenly I feel the need to watch Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

  2. The start reminded me very much of The Prisoner.

    “I’ll have the pancakes with sausage”
    “Your order is called: Number 6…”

    1. Yeah, it reminded me of The Prisoner a well. I expected one of the balloons to make a ear piercing screech and absorbe one of the children.

  3. I’m pretty sure that Dad is really Mitt Romney, which would make this a Mormon plot.

  4. Gaear Grimsrud: Where is pancakes house?
    Carl Showalter: What?
    Gaear Grimsrud: We stop at pancakes house.
    Carl Showalter: …what’re you nuts? We had pancakes for breakfast. Gotta go to a place I can get a shot and a beer, steak, maybe, not more *$&%in’ pancakes, c’mon.

  5. lol, stop the sexism…a woman ordering a salad, yeah that’s a bit of a stretch, none of the women I’ve ever known would be caught dead eating a salad or enjoying a cool duck desert! *rolls eyes*

    Crazy ad, I wonder if they were “special” pancakes.

  6. Warning: Watching this commercial may cause you to fail employment drug tests!

    Good heavens, no big mystery what the special ingredient is in those pancakes!

  7. There’s a bunch of creepy things in this one, but two stuck out for me:

    1. The almost sexual-anticipation lip nibbling by the girl when she gets her duck-dessert.

    2. The pretty generous view of mom’s legs in the mod skirt right at the end.

    And seriously, where’d they put those balloons while they were eating? Balloon check?

    1. Nash, I think you and I have the same disturbed mind. I was thinking, Geez, they totally upskirted the mom, and the girl’s expression was a bit creepy.

      1. I think I’m a little scared that there might be someone else out there who thinks like me. The trade-off is that I have learned a new word. “Upskirt.” Thanks!

  8. Everyone is so skinny! Do you think it was the LSD in the syrup that kept them so trim? I was going to light up and enjoy this video again, but I don’t think I need to. Someone needs to do a mash up of this ad with Queens of the Stone Age.

    1. Actually, people used to be a lot thinner then. I can speak with some authority on that having grown up before eating out at least three times a week and Supersizing existed. Those people are normal.

      TG I never saw it at the time: I would have had to drive halfway across a continent to find an IHOP.

  9. During the past week on this blog, I’ve seen the three best videos of all time: Exploding Banana Face, Eduard Hil, and now this. Keep it up.

  10. “Prices designed for a *very* hungry family”

    So in other words, really high because the family is truly desperate for food and so will pay anything?

  11. I just thought the breakfasts there were loaded with sugar and fat I didn’t know they were also topped with PCP.

    1. Definately a Draper. His acid period. By the late 60s, he got so big, his clients would do whatever his drug-riddled brain wanted. I’m hoping Mad Men picks up in 1969. Draper with two chicks, dreaming up IHOP commercials …

      1. Definately a Draper. His acid period.

        Definitely a Darrin Stephens, after Sam’s psychedelic cousin Serena ‘fixed’ it for him.

        1. Nice! A Serena name-check! I can hear Uncle Arthur cackling … and Larry Tate will say “this is why I stick with the booze” as he raids the liquor cabinet once again …

  12. this late sixties IHOP commercial look as if it was made from visitors from a distant land

    The past is a foreign country.

    Just look at it.

  13. Ah, not I see that it’s a duck dessert. I honestly thought it was some giant snail shell or something, like a humongous escargot. Weird, maybe I was high.

  14. The singers aren’t “chipmunkesque”, they are, in fact, Alvin and the Chipmunks. As you can see here, this was an ongoing campaign:

  15. When the alien archeologists of the future dust off the remains of our civilization, I hope that they find this, and only this, and use it as a textbook to figure out who we were and what we were all about.

  16. When the alien archeologists of the future dust off the remains of our civilization, I hope that they find this, and only this, and use it as a textbook to figure out who we were and what we were all about.

  17. This was just part of the 60’s worldwide effort, along with Coke’s global soda acquisition strategy, to unite everyone with syrup-based foodstuffs.
    I have this suspicion that Cory’s favorite acronym is IHOP. . )

  18. Check out the portion sizes. Much smaller than we see today. No wonder we’re all a buncha tubbies!

    1. I can see your point here…Ihop and others are making everyone fat because of portions..Wait, I have an idea!…Shut your pie hole and stop eating!

  19. Which reminds me there may be an IHOP link to the Zodiac killings. ‘M just sayin’…

  20. FWIW, i recall seeing this commercial as a child, and in proper temporal context, it was neither particularly weird nor really bad marketing.

    In 1970, that sort of soundtrack and “chipmunks” singing had the same sort of “newiness” that vocoders did in the 90’s. I remember being amazingly excited to go to the iHop… and IIRC the duck was only one of many different fun bowls they had.

  21. They used to play up the ‘International’ idea more. It was the breakfast equivalent of eating something exotic from a faraway land, like Chinese food.

  22. According to the Internet:

    “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”

    ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

    After watching Cory’s latest seizure-inducing ’60s Media neo-cortex flambé material, I have to say that up ’til today I never would have believed that severe organic neural damage could be produced by simple audio-visual meme-exposure under relaxed conditions.

    But I was wrong. I was SO wrong.

    By the Flaming Radioactive Glory of the Boundless Love of Bob, I love Boing-Boing….

  23. IHOP is the place to go to recharge your body at 5:00 AM when you’ve taken too much acid.

  24. They must have been trying to appeal to the ’69 acid-tripping crowd but it seems a bit like a bad trip to me.

  25. When you’re tired of you and your family running around strangely with balloons all day, stop by IHOP.

  26. I think the whole balloon thing makes sense…it’s sending this subliminal message of lightness and bounciness to counteract the belief that pancakes covered in syrup will sit in your stomach like a lead weight. This is of course especially true given that there are no pancakes in the commercial — apparently these unappealing entrees were IHOP’s “light” options. And actually I didn’t notice an pseudo-sexual looks from the little girl (too busy looking at that bizarre duck thing I guess) but I loved how ecstatic “mom” looked at her cafeteria-grade mini-salad.

  27. Joe Haldeman had a great line in “Seven and the Stars” that went something like “I wish I had dropped acid just once, if only to have a frame of reference.” I find it very applicable here.

  28. The mom’s sexy legs are the only reason I won’t have nightmares about this commercial. The whole thing reminds me of the original “Wicker Man”!

  29. Being old enough to remember IHOP in the ’60s, maybe I can clarify a few things. Yes, the ad is trippy, and mind meltingly wierd. Not really sexist though–Dad got served last.
    Dad is having Spaghetti and Meatballs; Mom is having a chefs salad(before ginormous portions became common); Junior is tackling a plate of Strawberry Crepes; and Sis is not getting a “duck desert.” She is about to dig in to a Chicken Pot Pie.

  30. When I was a kid in the early 70’s all the IHOP’s in New England had an “Alice in Wonderland” theme. There were huge murals of the Chesire Cat, The Red Queen and the rest of them inside the restaurant. I think someone at the top of this organization was a recreational chemical enthusiast.

    I always had the same thing…Silver Dollar pancakes with a quart of pink “strawberry” syrup on them.

  31. I always wondered what those Quizno’s creatures were doing in the Sixties.

    The music sounds like good old Raymond Scott (Wikipedia entry). I have a collection of his work (“Manhattan Research, Inc.”) and really enjoy it. Recommended!

    – yeff

  32. Four more days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.
    Four more days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.
    Silver Shamrock.

  33. When I was a kid in the early 70’s all the IHOP’s in New England had an “Alice in Wonderland” theme.

    I live next door to (yes, immediately next door to) a Fry’s Electronics with an Alice in Wonderland theme. There are big statues of the Caterpillar, the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, etc.

    There are some current IHOP ads that aren’t this strange, but they do have an entertaining big where a stack of pancakes regenerates after having a slice taken out of it, accompanied by the “Six Million Dollar Man” sound effect.

  34. I miss that old IHOP architecture; it made you feel like it really was international instead of yet another chain restaurant.

  35. I couldn’t help noticing the portion sizes. Compared to today’s portion sizes as seen on commercials for Applebees or Chili’s, which are about 4 times bigger

  36. that chicken dessert is really a chicken pot pie – served hot in a chicken shaped bowl… love your comments everyone – and yes , how strange – music, balloons, where’s the scary clown when you need him?!

  37. Thanks, BB, for offering up a snippet of footage of his home planet to a being who gets mighty lonely on this strange Earth of today.

    And thanks to Uncle Geo for the link the Prisoner episodes. Stay right here, I’ll be back in a couple of days.

Comments are closed.