In Search of Television Commercials

Many of you boomers will agree there hundreds of commercials we remember in the back of our minds having watching on television as a kid and would give almost anything to see it again. For me I wanted to view every toy commercial from the 1950's & 60's.

The only way to watch an old show, or movie was if you collected 16mm films.  I became one of the select few that started trading and buying film prints in 8mm, super8 and 16mm from what was known as the private celluloid film collectors. 

From a private collectors stand point throwing anything out was not an option. Many a lost film was found by jumping into a dumpster outside a studio or network trash cans retrieving the celluloid gold. I acquired a large collection of live television shows and commercials from the Dumont Television Network, when a man pulled the prints from a garbage can outside the Channel Five offices where he worked. The networks' major concern was making space in their closets for new product.  Another time I got a phone call from a friend telling me that the owner of the Cleo awards, which was the highest honor you could win for making a commercial, was a drug addict, and because he owed his drug dealers money, so they torched his town house. The building also housed his collection of Cleo award commercials. So I rented a van and drove over and made a deal to buy as many film reels as I could from the burned out building.   

Media Stories on Ira and his Commercials

Click: Watch when I pioneered the use of surprising guests on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman with commercials they were in Before They Were Stars like Susan Sarandon, Dustin Hoffman, Clint Eastwood and Mike Wallace among others.

 

Profile stories on ABC's Nightline, ABC World News Now, CNN, MSNBC, Fox and Friends and others.