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Video Digest: December 8, 2006

Nostalgia in many forms: For Freedom Rock, Davey and Goliath, gods named Zardoz who declare the penis is evil, a wee Ben Affleck, an evil Mary Poppins, and...blenders?

As if VH1 weren’t bad enough, YouTube has turned us into nostalgia-grubbing monsters, willing to sink hours tracking down some vaguely remembered scrap of childhood fun. And I, for one, love it. What’s funny is that I enjoy things now that I couldn’t have cared less about back then. At 10 years old, I didn’t like Max Headroom, Teddy Ruxpin, or those annoying “Who wears short-shorts” commercials. But finding them again, 20 years later, is like discovering a long-forgotten love letter. “Freedom Rock! Ah, yes, I remember you well!” Giant magazine released its list of the 50 Greatest Commercials of the 1980s, and if you have time to kill—and let’s face it, you do—then it’s a good way to spend the next 30 minutes of your life. Coming in at number two is the fabled “Freedom Rock” commercial that ran ad infinitum. What’s funny is how many of these songs I know only from this TV spot. Well, turn it up, man.

Not featured in the list is this old Mountain Dew commercial, which gives me a double dose of nostalgia, as it stars my favorite Sunday morning claymation characters, Davey and Goliath.

Sometimes I feel nostalgic for things I never even saw, like this 1974 clip from Zardoz. Directed by John Boorman, two years after he made Deliverance, Zardoz is a comically bad sci-fi film that is a prime candidate for midnight moviedom. It stars Sean Connery. And it features lines like this: “The penis is evil. The penis should…cease?”

A friend recently sent me the fruits of her own nostalgia search, a clip from the PBS educational show, The Voyage of the Mimi. I’d never heard of it, but I knew its star. Lookee there: It’s little Ben Affleck.

Recutting old movies for new trailers is a practice so endlessly entertaining and popular it has become its own meme. Here, the Mary Poppins of your youth becomes the Mary Poppins of your nightmares.

And now, videos that cross generations. Asking the timeless question: Will it blend? Fascinating, messy stuff.

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