Niiice!: New England Aquarium/Museum of Science Commercials, circa 1980

06 Oct

I’m guessing this is from 1980 because Mom’s hair looks like Dorothy Hamill.  The discovery of this commercial on YouTube was part of the reason I created “Niiice!”.  The phrase “I can walk like a penguin,” is such a permanent fixture in the memories of anyone who lived in the Boston area in the early 80s that the Aquarium recently titled their new penguin-centric exhibit “Walk Like A Penguin” twenty whole years after the commercial stopped running.  Seriously – you walk down by the waterfront these days and you see the poster for the penguin exhibit, and it’s like you’re five years old and watching Inspector Gadget while eating carrot sticks.

Part of that has to be because of YouTuber Love2Register, and his/her bringing this classic piece of Bostonia into the modern age.  Catch phrase sticks in memory, comes back in the digital age as an easily accesible piece of streaming media, and then, voila! the Aquarium re-appropriates it, now that it’s once again fresh in the viewers’ mind.  Old media becomes new media, and new media becomes old.  If you can’t tell, I love this stuff.

I’ll be raiding Love2Register’s vaults for future posts, but in the meantime, here’s a link (also provided by Love2Register) to the Boston Museum of Science’s media player, where it’s fun to find out.

“Daddy, what’s the difference between a meteor and a comet?”


A comet, Karen, is a giant dirty snowball in space that comes from this thing called the Oort Cloud, which surrounds our solar system. A meteor is a giant firey rock that will probably kill you and all other life on earth in forty years.  That’s why Daddy drinks.  Next question.

“It’s fun to find out what makes an ocean wave wave!”


That would be wind, or the moon, or something.  Nobody cares but you.  This is why you have no friends friends.

“It’s fun to find out what your voice really sounds like!”


This is one of those old exhibits they had before everyone’s computer could do this for them, and it was sponsored by New England Telephone before it got eaten by AT&T.  My grandmother has stock in New England Telephone, and thus AT&T, and thus Lucent, and thus all sorts of other major things, and gets a nice residual check every now and then, which is how I got to goof off for four and a half years at college without having to take out student loans.  I’m telling you this because I find it really hard to make fun of this little girl for some reason.  Perhaps I have a soul after all.

“It’s fun to find out what it’s really like in space”


Yeah, if space were a child-sized wooden Apollo capsule with wooden control panels and a loop of the audio from the Apollo mission playing ad nauseum with a billion little kids crawling in and out of it, smearing their grubby paws all over everything and kicking their sister.  Which, for all I know, it is.  No wonder NASA faked the moon landing.

“I wonder why he had those funny little front legs!”


For picking up scavenged prey, it turns out, but you can’t picture this old T-Rex model doing that without falling over.  About a decade ago someone figured out that T-Rex was actually a lot stealthier and slimmer than this, and the version they have in the museum nowadays is much closer to what the real thing probably looked like.  The funny thing is that for years and years we were all somehow convinced that the most fearsome predator in history was something that looked like he couldn’t walk ten feet without breaking a sweat or tripping over his own silly tail.

Although the proper answer is to say “For eating little girls! Ar-har-har!” in a scary voice.  That’s what I’m gonna do when I’m a Dad.

1 Comment

Posted by on October 6, 2007 in boston rock city, Niiice!, nostalgia, youtube


One response to “Niiice!: New England Aquarium/Museum of Science Commercials, circa 1980

  1. Bill D.

    October 8, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Oh, wow. This commercial ran in perpetuity on Channel 56. Or 38. Probably both. Anyway, even up in Bangor, we saw this ad constantly. God bless the invention of the cable superstation.


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