IHOP ad from 1969 will melt your brain


82 Responses to “IHOP ad from 1969 will melt your brain”

  1. Jeff Soesbe says:

    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

  2. adamnvillani says:

    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.

  3. cjp says:

    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.

    • Anonymous says:

      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.

  4. zandar says:

    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.

  5. glamaFez says:

    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.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “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?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I totally forgot iHop actually stood for something.

  8. Anonymous says:

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

  9. Prufrock451 says:

    “…For the VERY hungry family…”

    Three guesses how they got so hungry.

  10. dole says:

    Is this forever?

  11. alally says:

    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

  12. Anonymous says:

    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?!

  13. GeekMan says:

    Definitely NOT a Don Draper…

    • Julian Bond says:

      Hard to believe that we got from Mad Men’s Don Draper to this in just 6 years.

    • Maddy says:

      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 …

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Definately a Draper. His acid period.

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

        • Maddy says:

          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 …

    • malex says:

      … Unless the season finale shows him dropping acid and making this pitch.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Is that what quaaludes taste like?

  15. Yamara says:

    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.

  16. 2k says:

    The baloooooooons!
    Must escape the island!

  17. SamSam says:

    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.

  18. DonBoy says:

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


  19. Paloma Paloma Balogna says:

    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.

  20. Paloma Paloma Balogna says:

    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.

  21. Uncle Geo says:

    I’m sure IHOP was well aware of the late night smokers looking for munchies. As with all the commercials and TV shows though, their weird portrayal of 60s people made them look silly. We were much cooler. Really, we were.

    And all the original Prisoner episodes are online:

  22. webmonkees says:

    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. . )

  23. Anonymous says:

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

    • Lysy404 says:

      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!

  24. productivecough says:

    Easily the most important piece of media to come out of the 1960s.

  25. Anonymous says:

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

  26. jennchlebus says:

    This is bat country.

  27. Blinde Schildpad says:

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

  28. Anonymous says:

    I am officially disturbed

  29. Anonymous says:

    MK ULTRA really went for the jugular of the general public in the Late Sixties.

  30. ian71 says:


  31. WMC says:

    I am not a short stack! I AM A FREE MAN!

  32. Anonymous says:

    At the risk of pedantry, Cory, wouldn’t it be “Jesus Christ /in/ a jetpack”?

  33. Anonymous says:

    the girl is eating a chicken pot pie

  34. jennix says:

    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.

  35. Antinous / Moderator says:

    The balloons are an homage to the flavor and texture of the food.

  36. jfrancis says:

    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.

  37. Dave Faris says:

    Rocket fuel for all the balloon wranglers!

  38. WaylonWillie says:

    all that, AND dad still got his meatballs. life is good.

  39. Day Vexx says:

    So… when you want to eat some pancakes and salad, choose IHOP!

  40. scdevine says:

    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….

  41. Chentzilla says:

    In XXI century, this kind of singing is called locorocoesque.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Helium abuse!!!

  43. lovelystrangeness says:

    Ah the sixties, what a wonderful time to be high.

  44. Mitch says:

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

  45. Anonymous says:

    The balloons ARE the context.

  46. Anonymous says:

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

  47. MadRat says:

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

  48. rebdav says:

    How I feel when I eat too much syrup is how that ad felt.

  49. Anonymous says:

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

  50. Anonymous says:

    That soundtrack, could it have been by the great Gershon Kingsley? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-o6Q-QtfDI

  51. Anonymous says:

    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.

  52. elagie says:

    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.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what would happen if it was played backwards

  54. Snig says:

    The start reminded me very much of The Prisoner.

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

    • Vengefultacos says:

      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.

  55. Halloween Jack says:

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

  56. Anonymous says:

    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.

  57. Anonymous says:

    The version with the pitch corrected is interesting


  58. anansi133 says:

    They probably thought that this would appeal to hungry stoners.

  59. Anonymous says:

    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.

  60. RaptorOne says:

    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.

  61. Anonymous says:

    God dammit I do want IHOP right now tho

  62. igpajo says:

    God that music! I believe some little corner of my brain melted down. I smell smoke.

  63. RigelK says:

    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!

  64. funkadelic73 says:

    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”!

  65. Anonymous says:

    And you even took the time to post it at 4:20. Nice touch.

  66. Rob Cruickshank says:

    ” by Cory Doctorow at 4:20 AM March 5, 2010″

    Coincidence? I think not…

  67. Anonymous says:

    That sounds A LOT like Raymond Scott’s experimental electronic advertisement style.


  68. Dave H says:

    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.

  69. BdgBill says:

    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.

  70. Nash Rambler says:

    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?

    • tamgoddess says:

      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.

      • Nash Rambler says:

        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!

  71. Jay Wolff says:

    That’s pie, in a chicken pot … BEFORE there was Chicken Pot Pie!

  72. kaiza says:

    And the golden arches have just caught up with Deli Choices…

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