Monday, September 08, 2014

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Companies and Brand Names

Cult television programming boasts a long history of featuring its own "brand" of brand names or company names because, ostensibly, real companies might litigate or at least complain if they or their products were featured on-air without permission, or in an unflattering light.

Accordingly, fake brands are often seen on TV, and even shared between programs.  

Perhaps the most famous fake company name involves cigarettes. Morley cigarettes have been featured over the years on The Twilight Zone (1959-1961), The X-Files (1993 - 2002), and The Walking Dead (2010 - present) to name just a few efforts.  

William Shatner almost lit up on a plane with Morleys in "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," and the same cigarettes were The Cigarette Smoking Man's favorite brand in "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man." 

Morleys also showed up on Lost (2004 - 2011), a series with another "brand" name line: "Dharma."

Meanwhile, a futuristic brand of cigarettes (from the distant year of 1989) -- "Pacific" -- was seen in the Night Gallery episode "Tell David."

After cigarettes, fast food places have often been depicted on genre programming too.  

Fictional hamburger joints include Lucky Boy on The X-Files episode "Hungry," Doublemeat Palace on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Krusty Burgers on The Simpsons (1990 to present), and Big Belly Burgers on the CW's Arrow (2012 - ), to name just a few

The aforementioned Krusty, in fact has something of a cottage industry in companies and brands, often for inappropriate home pregnancy tests.  And speaking of cartoons, Acme Industries has kept Wily Coyote equipped with weaponry, inventions and other tools for over fifty years on Looney Tunes.

Over the years, we have also seen a variety of company names on TV series.  The Tenth Doctor investigated Adipose Industries in the Doctor Who's "Partners in Crime," and Julie Parrish (Faye Grant) worked at Nathan Bates' (Lane Smith) Science Frontiers on V: The Series (1984-1985).  

Meanwhile, on AMC's Mad Men, Don Draper (John Hamm) works at Sterling-Cooper, and Godzilla himself once stood in front of a sign for Butz Root Beer.

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