WOR & WPIX were apparently such powerhouses that they broadcast all throughout the state, exposing us backwoods upstate kids to such wonders as Petland Discount Stores, Crazy Eddie, Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge, and Young People's Day Camp. More so than favorite tv shows, movies or music, these commercials were our shared language, something that ingrained itself into our collective unconscious in such a way that 30+ years later, we're all still able to repeat them word for word.
My college roommate, dear friend & dyed-in- the-wool Brooklynite Robin was stunned to discover that I knew the same local tv commercials she knew by heart, even though we had grown up on different ends of the state. In fact, she was so impressed with my familiarity with Petland Discounts that she sent me a commemorative wee-wee pad from the actual store. (I was clueless for years as to what a wee-wee pad was. They never explained or demonstrated in the commercial, and our dog growing up would never have done something so wussy as take a leak on what was apparently a stretched-out flattened diaper.) I couldn't find one from the 70s, but here's one from the 80s that'll give you the basic flavor.
"Beautiful" Mount Airy Lodge in the Poconos was all I knew of adult glamour for far too long. So this is what adults did without their kids! They rode horses, ice skated (in professional ice-dancing costumes, nonetheless), drank cocktails after skiing, stalked tennis players from the sniper seats in some kind of indoor arena while innocently holding rackets, soaked in bathtubs filled with bubbles and framed by red velvet curtains, WAIT- was that a stripper pole in the "beautiful rooms"??? See for yourself:
What's funny is that all of my friends (and myself) insist that there was a shot of the infamous 'champagne glass hot tub' in the commercials. Turns out THAT fine piece of architecture was at Caesars Poconos Resorts:
And how about Carvel and Cookie Puss?? When I was little, there were still Carvel stores around. I always got a Carvel ice cream cake for my birthday, even though it was December 23rd. My mom still gets laughs out of the year I insisted on the "Home for the Holidays" cake for my birthday. They had scintillating commercials:
Just look at that thing! How frickin' scary is Valentine's Day Cookiepuss??? He looks like some kind of zombie Groucho Marx cake.
And last but not least, Young People's Day Camp. This place used to scare the crap out of me for some reason. I got it in my head that my parents would send me there if I was bad. (I think my mom might've jokingly suggested that. I was a serious kid- there was no joking with me.) Anyone else would look at all those happy, feathered-hair 70s city kids having fun playing games and think this was great, but it was the epitome of hell for me. There was just something ominous about the way the announcer said "LONG swims in the pool" that made it sound like you'd be forced to stay in the water and swim laps until you'd done your penance.