These old commercials for 1-900 numbers are so sleazy and shameless, we almost forgot they existed. Thankfully, we have YouTube. Call now!
“Are you having a bad day? It’s about to get worse.” Yes, Dial-An-Insult targeted that lucrative crowd that wants to be assured they’ll regret their purchases before they even make them.
MC Hammer Hotline
Back in the 90′s, people didn’t care about things like production value, which is why MC Hammer and 2 Bigg MC were allowed to record television commercials inside a guest bathroom. They boast that fans “might hear a joke, or a couple of rhymes.” They don’t, however, mention if fans will live to regret carving Hammer’s initials into their hair for school picture day.
A shockingly large number of 1-900 numbers back in the 80′s were marketed directly to children. With this one, kids were be treated to an adventure story told by He-Man… plus informational tips on how to purchase action figures. See? Michael Bay isn’t the only one who can trick you into paying to sit through a commercial.
The Two Coreys
This is the rarest of 900-numbers: the middleman. The Two Coreys hotline was created solely for the purpose of distributing Corey Feldman and Haim’s “personal numbers.” Fans could look forward to “rapping” with the young stars, or, more likely, their unpaid interns.
Be A Star
In what may be the most 80′s commercial of all time, “Be A Star” gave kids the chance to call in and showcase their talent for prizes. By badgering all her friends to vote for her, the girl in this ad won “a part in a national commercial.” Unfortunately for her, it was this one.
Jazzy Jeff & Will Smith’s New Rap Hotline
International superstar DJ Jazzy Jeff enlisted the help of some guy named Will Smith to pitch this rap hotline, where callers can listen to the latest hip hop tracks. Hey, you know what else could play you the latest hip hop tracks? A radio.
Santa Christmas Stories
I’m not sure if this is really Santa. For starters, there’s the ominous phone number with just a few too many 6′s. Also, I thought Santa gave out fun toys, not “whuppies,” which appear to be nothing more than cotton balls with googly eyes. Just to be safe, you might want to board your chimney shut this year.
The Freak Phone
The Freak Phone was an enigma. We say that because this commercial offers precious little information to go on besides a phone number and 30 seconds of a dancing doll. Thankfully, for only $2, the beloved (and apparently trademarked) character “Freddy Freaker” will explain exactly where you just flushed your money.
The Crying Number
What makes people all over America break down and cry like this? They just realized they’re never getting their $2 back.
Junior Vampires of America
For decades after The Munsters was canceled in 1966, Al Lewis continued to milk his Grandpa Munster character for all it was worth. Of course, he had no actual rights to the character, which is why he instead calls himself “Grandpo” in this commercial. Go ahead and let your kids call in. They should learn about the dangers of copyright infringement.
The Freddy Krueger Hotline
For just a few bucks, callers could hear an incredibly drawn-out scary story narrated by Freddy Krueger. For an even scarier story, kids could look forward to what their parents have to say when they receive the phone bill.
Let’s Make a Deal Hotline
At the start of this spot, Monty Hall asks, “remember all the fun we had playing Let’s Make a Deal on TV?” Well, try to forget it, because what he was hocking here was nothing more than a quick cash grab aimed toward gambling addicts. A class action lawsuit was eventually filed against this service. From what we hear, the lawyers got all the money, while the claimants received zonks.
The Warrant Rockline
The glam metal band Warrant produced this incredibly creepy ad full of double-entendres alluding to all of their adult exploits. Warrant was apparently happy to share these dirty stories with any children who might call, so long as they get their parents’ permission. Good to know they have standards.
The Winston Cup Hotline
I hear that NASCAR is exciting, but you’d never know by listening to Dale Earnhardt’s awkward, stilted endorsement for this Winston Cup hotline. Callers could dial in to hear post-race stories directly from the drivers who, by Earnhardt’s own admission, are tired. Wow, this guy can really sell it.
Santa’s Hip Hop Holiday
It’s another Santa number, but this time even weirder, as now Santa will rap to you for some reason. And, while you may have mixed feelings about Santa Claus advertising directly to impressionable children, I think we can all agree that rhyming the words “listen” and “permission” is inexcusable under any circumstance. For shame, Santa.