Cowboy Day

Today was “Cowboy” day on AMC.

I told myself I’d clean the house and watch John Ford’s “The Searchers” as I went from room to room. I’ve perfected these delusions over the years so don’t go rolling your eyes.

I stayed in one room and went to other rooms only during the advertisements which, as the movie went on, increased in frequency just as my cleaning forays diminished. It’s not a very efficient way to clean a house. But, apparently, that is not the goal of AMC. Um..nor mine. There, I’ve said it.

They run the initial few minutes of the movie without interruptions and then they begin throwing more and more ads at you with maddening, irritating frequency. I was grumbling about the constant ads when I had a lightbulb moment.

I realized that there had not been a moment in the entire movie when advertising wasn’t going on. At all times, the AMC HD icon was on the lower right hand corner. On the lower left hand corner were advertisements of three lines of ascending sizes of red and yellow type for “Starsky and Hutch”, the movie with Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson, alternating with ads in white type on three lines, same ascending size, for AMC’s popular series, “Mad Men”.

As I watched John Wayne swaggering around the screen, in and out of advertisements for “Starskyand Hutch” and “Mad Men”, I thought about the academy award winning director of the movie, John Ford, a man of legendary temper and fits of pique.

If he wasn’t already long dead, this might do it. At what point does the art of this film become compromised when the viewer is constantly forced to think about goofy Starsky and Hutch and not Chief Scar and kidnapped Debbie?

I’m not kidding. Directors used to complain about their films being “edited” for TV. Do they ever complain about their masterpieces being served up as an elaborate lunch board?

After the movie was over and I looked at my still messy house, I noticed that Sergio Leone’s “Fistful of Dollars” starring Clint Eastwood was coming up next.

Poncho clad, squinty Clint took a drink from the well.

Starsky and Hutch popped up before he could swallow.

Attention, genius mythical cowboys and directors, dead and alive:

Your art has been lassoed and branded by Starsky and Hutch.

Not my idea of “Cowboy Day”, AMC.

Fistful of Dollars, indeed.

©Pat Coakley 2008


13 comments on “Cowboy Day”

  1. Railing and shaking fists at TV screens used to be de rigeur for football games, Belmont Stakes, soccer matches in Greek coffee houses in Astoria, Queens but I believe you have added a new category and one that includes women.
    Or at least THIS one.

    I’ve noticed this insidious intrusion into what’s now become the unmolested viewing screen, with logos everywhere, little people walking across the bottom of your screen, complete non-sequiturs to the program you are watching.
    It’s exasperating – as much as pop up menus’ on the web.

    Where’s Clint when we really need him?

  2. Poor cowboy fans out there. Sounds like a bit of false advertising to me (ironically) ‘cos the last time I checked, Starsky and Hutch were NOT cowboys. I agree with you about ad breaks and I do hate them myself, but the terrifying thing is that they work. It scares me how many jingles I can sing off by heart, some of them donkeys’ years old. I don’t necessarily ever purchase the product, but I know what it is and how to sing its silly jingle. Some of my favourites are for My Little Pony (like I need one of those now!), Glow Bug (he likes to sleep by day and glow AAAAAAALLLL the night), NZ’s Slip Slop Slap ad (haven’t lived there for HOW long?), Big Macs (two all beef patties etc) when I don’t even eat them, a ‘drink milk’ rap theme and a bananas song (peel a banana, let it see the world for the very first time…)See what I mean? I can’t remember things without post it notes but all this junk lives in my brain!

  3. brilliant, searing truth, you have to be able to withhold a blink to be able to ‘see’ that, advertisements get in sometimes during an eye-blink

  4. Video killed the radio star, advertisement is killing good movies.

    With TiVo you can at least skip through the commercials, but nothing can really be done against the ones constantly embedded on the screen. I think enjoying the moment is out of fashion, as w’all keep being fed by what’s next, in a neverending multitasking state of being.

  5. I went out with a crazy gal from Brandon Manitoba for a while and she used to have a small low picket fence around her TV in the living room and next to her seat was a bucket of fake foam rubber bricks. When there was something on TV that she didn’t like, the bricks would be thrown at it.

  6. Razz, what was crazy about THAT, other than she’d run out of foam bricks…

  7. BL: Where is Clint, indeed! I was thinking the same thing.

    Tipota, I used to read about advertisements that were in fact not visible, but were placed subliminally (somehow, I don’t know how). Today, they gave up on that subtle manipulation and simply branded everything just in case you might blink, there it is, right in front of you! Ooooo. Smoke is beginning to come out of my ears, now! I do love how your phrase things!!!

    Nava, You have put your finger on the most important thing: the focus on “what’s next”. Thank you. That shall be a coming post, I think.

    Razz, Oh, what I wouldn’t give for your take on Willie Nelson’s women I have known. I think of the Belize woman, this charmer from Manitoba…Man, I’m serious. There is gold in them thar hills. I watched too many cowboy movie advertisements yesterday.

  8. Epicurienee, You know THAT would make a wonderful series (I’m always looking)…Jingles we have in our head…”Plop Plop Fizz Fizz” shall be the name of the series. What do you think?

  9. Have you noticed that not only are there more and more commercials, but, they are so much louder than the show/movie? Makes me want to slap the Advertising Execs!!

  10. youch that brand smarts, yes i know about subliminal but supposedly it’s been ‘outlawed'(right) we are so not subtle that we don’t even need to be tricked into buying things anymore, ha, just plaster the brand-name-logo and its a done deal, sold.

  11. Pat, I think you’re onto something here. After I wrote that comment, I thought ‘hmm, this could be a fun series of posts’! Let’s do it!

  12. Know I added this into the salad and haven’t commented – there was something about this image that stuck with me. I tried to shake it and then kept on coming back – all those hits… me I tell ya! Anyways back to the image, it has extreme relevance to me. He is riding off to the future, wish I was on that horse.

    As for adverts, they destroy the beauty of media through their money hungry zeal. Sad

    Perhaps this comment doesn’t make much sense, sorry.

  13. Dogebil: Yes, I have noticed that! I went to the movies yesterday and the difference in the previews, loud loud and did I say loud? and the movie was remarkable. Grrrr. Same is true when I switch to “On Demand” on my TV.

    Tipota: bonnieluria and sanityfound are now making suggestions for a logo for me that I can brand into everything I do, too!! Stay tuned. If you see something resembling a Cheez-it (my favorite cracker), I might have sold out.

    Epicurienne: Coming soon, “Plop Plop Fizz Fizz”!

    Sanity: I know. I have the same reaction. I also have several more photos from this sequence that affect me as well. Maybe I’ll post one more. Hey, it’s August.

    You are on that horse. You don’t have blisters?

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