Last weekend, while watching dog sitting at my parents’ house, Mike and I decided to take a little time out from homework and have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles marathon. Okay, I decided. Mike tolerated. What can I say? Every now and then I need a little Michelangelo in my life.
Though the DVDs made viewing much easier I still yearned for the years of VHS when I used to pop these movies into the VCR, after I had spent about 20 minutes rewinding them of course. I guess what I really miss though is the Pizza Hut commercial that was shown in the previews of the first movie (1990).
The commercial uses the song “Right Field” from Peter, Paul, and Mary to narrate a story of boy who was not very gifted in baseball and has been placed in right field “way out where the dandelions grow”. The game has been dragging on for a long time and the boy has no clue what inning they’re in or what the score is. The turning point in this short narrative occurs when suddenly everyone starts looking at the player because the ball is coming towards him. He reaches up and the baseball falls into his glove. The crowd leaps on the benches in victory because this last catch has won the game. After that the boy’s perspective completely changes about his position in right field because “it’s important, you know”. The commercial ends with the whole team going to Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut then reveals itself as a proud sponsor of Little League baseball and shows its slogan at the time, “Makin’ it Great!”
Check it out. It’s awesome. I know all the words to the song, and I used to sing with it every time I watched the commercial. In later years I noticed the kid who played Goldberg in the Mighty Ducks, another 90s kids movie, also appears to be in it.
The commercial is catchy. I used to be able to relate to the subjects in it. I wasn’t exactly the greatest softball player when I was younger and also used to be placed in the outfield from time to time. I also had the attention span of a gnat and never knew the score.
The fact that this narrative is without verbal conversation allows viewers to concentrate on what is transpiring in the ball game by following the song. The dandelions floating away in the outfield as the kid stands in the outfield give it a sort of ethereal feel especially with the sunlight glinting in the background.
The gestures of uncertainty that the coach makes when he see that the ball is heading towards the unfocused kid make the viewer feel uneasy. The gestures that the old man in the stands makes when he tries to guide the ball into the kid’s glove as well as the desperately hopeful look on his face inspire add to drama surrounding the situation that is occurring. These images contribute to the tension in the narrative.
While the song puts the commercial narrative into the viewpoint of a child the visual story makes you feel like you are watching the whole game since it zooms in on the coach, the fans, and the other players.
I thought that commercial was extremely effective and as a child, I felt connected to those in the commercial. Viewing it as an adult, I still feel the same way. Everyone likes to root for the underdog. I always felt compelled to eat pizza after watching that commercial but since there was never a Pizza Hut near me I usually begged for that of my local pizzeria. My desire for pizza was further compounded because the turtles continually ate pizza in the movie. Looking at the film now I find it odd that it has a Pizza Hut trailer when the turtles actually eat Dominos in the movie.