Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TV in the Lunchroom

The dream of any television producer is not just to make a successful show, but to make a successful show that will inspire the home audience to get themselves to the nearest Woolco or TG&Y in search of profitable tie-in merchandise. Since the primary goal of any television show is to attract a large enough audience to satisfy the advertisers, profits made from licensing merchandise is considered "found money" and is a highly lucrative side business. Since the beginning of the fall Season corresponds with "Back to School" time in the United States, lunch boxes featuring kids' favorite television characters have always been big sellers. Not every show lends itself to the lunchbox treatment, however; but that doesn't seem to stop Hollywood!

Take the groundbreaking sitcom Julia; while an integrated cast and a professional woman were great role models for kids, we have a sneaking suspicion that most of these lunch boxes were bought in a rush because school starts tomorrow, this was all that Zody's had left and 'the kids love watching that Julia show!'

The Brady Bunch was definitely a hit with kids, but this lunchbox looks like Thermos was purposely trying to make a kids product that no kids would actually want to buy.

Kids loved Emergency! because it showed fireman as the "real heroes" saving the world just in the nick of time. So why not scare the kids by reminding them of the terror that will ensue if they somehow climb ten stories at an unguarded construction site? Certainly looking at the terror-filled faces of the kids everyday will make for a cheerful lunch!

The flip side was even cheerier; a terrifying fire is depicted in the background while one hero readies a noose for some reason and a potentially dead victim lies in the street. Enjoy your lunch, kids!

The Waltons was a show about a family living through the depression that grandma made everyone watch when she visited the house. Chances are that these lunch boxes were mainly purchased as disappointing birthday gifts from grandma.

Young girls would become "empowered" by owning one of these Charlie's Angels lunch boxes. At least, that's what dad told mom when she found one of these hiding in the back of dad's closet.

Not every tie-in worked out, however. When the network licensed these Mr. Merlin lunch boxes, they were undoubtedly engaged in extreme wishful thinking. After all, what the hell is Mr. Merlin and why does it apparently star Stan Lee and Amanda Bearse?