Friday, August 04, 2006

The White Letters On The Bottom Of Your TV

For a while, I was a movie projectionist. (Ha! Something else you didn't know about me!) I was seldom interested in the films as I was in spotting things that shouldn't have been there. Microphones in mirrors ("The Missouri Breaks"), trains supposedly going forward that were actually being pulled backwards on what small track they had ("The Music Man") or railroad switch towers on single-track roads with nary a switch in sight ("Smokey and the Bandit II").

I do the same with tv shows (you'd think that, at a million dollars per episode, someone could watch for reflections in windows). But commercials -- ah, I've become a "white words" junkie.

A current spot shows a man kissing his wife goodbye in the morning, walking down the front path, off a cliff and eventually opening his parasail (or something), then gliding to a stop next to the sponsor's car. The little white words on the bottom of the screen? "Professional stunt actor; do not attempt." My house is not at the edge of a cliff, nor do I know anyone whose is; I doubt many people keep their car at such a distance. Don't worry; we won't try this at home.

A car is zipping down a road in the absolute middle of nowhere. There isn't even a blade of grass for a hundred miles. The little white words: "Professional driver on a closed course. Do not attempt." Do not attempt what? Exceeding the speed limit when the nearest cop is in the next state? Are they afraid we might hit the Roadrunner or Wile E. Coyote and have a horrendous Hollywood-style rollover triple-flip explosion?

The best one I've seen is when some famous animated figure was inked into the driver's seat of a real car in a commercial. The small print said, "Driven by professional cartoon character; do not attempt this at home." At least one person in one ad agency had a sense of humor.

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Anonymous Helen said...

Or how about the commercial for Orbit gum that shows rapper Snoop Dogg being sucked down into the underworld with a bunch of old-lady devils because of his dirty mouth. The spokeswoman (and her goat [?!?]) gives him Orbit gum to clean up his mouth and he's whisked away to Heaven. The white letters at the bottom of the screen read, "Dramatization. Orbit gum will not get you into Heaven."

I lost a mouthful of perfectly good soda over that one.

August 05, 2006 12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always woner how that parasail yuppie gets HOME at night.

August 05, 2006 12:23 AM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Maybe he wears a jet pack like the Geek guy who gets stuck in traffic while making a service call. I'll have to check the white print on that one, too.

Oh -- there's one with a guy running a machine thru his hair while having breakfast or something. The white print says, "Not an actual machine." Are they afraid we might go to the Myth Busters and get them to invent one??

August 05, 2006 12:07 PM  
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