Vintage television commercials from the 1950s through 1980s


Duke University has a digital library of vintage television commercials spanning some three decades, from the 1950s to the 1980s. The body of work in this collection includes ads for once-classic and now obscure brands like Super Bravo, Fluffo, Byrrh, Heart of Oats, Klean n Shine, Virex, Ansco and others, as well as brands still common today: Avis, Bounce, Charmin and something weird called Maxwell House.

You can browse the collection online and watch the commercials right in iTunes, and even subscribe to a specific brand and pull down every commercial they aired during those years. Check out Duke's AdViews. (Thanks Tara)




    1. I second that.
      Sad thing is, I seen quite a few I’d watch ( Animated ) but being tied to iTunes is a shame.

  1. Look! It’s Cory in the MONY commercial!

    This not only proves my time machine will work, it proves Cory will eventually consent to be my test subject! So far he’s just kept on refusing and asking me to stop emailing him; now I know my persistence will eventually pay off!


  2. I don’t do Itunes either, so I’ll miss out on this (why not or even [urk] Youtube?). But I love the pic on this story. It brings back fond memories of the days when coffee cans opened with a key – you used it to peel and wind away a scored metal band sealing the can – and actually held a pound (or 2 or 3) of coffee.

  3. A nice “Requires iTunes” in the story body would have saved me some time. I need to check comments first.

    Somebody connect the Duke media archivists with these folks, stat!

  4. on being tied to iTunes…. I’m at work (no iTunes), but I’ll check this later. their site says this…
    “To publish the collection in iTunes U, we created an album/course page in Duke’s iTunes U site for each Product in the collection. Then, we mapped our metadata records to the iTunes XML tag set and generated RSS feeds for each album. More information about using RSS feeds with iTunes U can be found in the iTunes U Administrator Guide”
    I’m going to watch them with a sniffer on in hopes of getting the RSS feeds directly, hopefully. I really want these offline cause I put ads from the 70’s/80’s into my XBMC setup already, this would be icing on the cake.

  5. Ironically, Duke claims to be a supporter of the Open Access movement; for example, last October they hosted an event ( “how and why Duke scholars support and benefit from open access.” Their faculty adopted an open access policy a year ago (, almost certainly driven by Duke librarians. Perhaps someone should introduce the two groups of Duke librarians to one another.

  6. Nucoa is an essential ingredient in this amazing popcorn ball recipe. It’s tough to replace: pick the wrong margarine and the popcorn balls either don’t stick together or the sugar syrup becomes too sticky, making it hard to work with and becoming too hard to eat comfortably when it dries. Oh Nucoa, I wish you still existed.

    Oh nostalgia for something that hasn’t been around since before I was born…

  7. When I was about 10 years old (mid-1960s), I was in the second half of a 60-second commercial for Gallenkamp Shoes (jingle: “go to school with Gallenkamp! go to school with Gallenkamp!”). I was the pretend sister of the official Gallenkamp Kid. Among other memorable moments, there is a closeup of my foot in a white bobby sock.

    This was one of the very last black & white commercials ever shot. I got the gig because my cousin was the casting director. I think the company that produced it was Wilding & Federson, and somewhere in my bins and archives is a tiny reel that I should convert to digital media before it’s too late forever. This archive, alas, does not have a copy.

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