Quest for Camelot opened on this day 25 years ago. The movie came from the extremely short-lived Warner Bros. Feature Animation, which was hoping to achieve Disney-like success with a film which essentially imitated Disney. Plucky heroine? Check! Goofy sidekick? Check! Over-the-top villain with possible homosexual overtones? Hey, its got that too! But unlike the previous year’s Anastasia, which was a critical and commercial hit, Quest for Camelot was a box office disappointment, though it still got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, so that’s something.
Despite not bringing in the big bucks, Camelot had a fairly large marketing campaign behind it, including a Gameboy Color game, dolls, books, action figures, and yes, fast food toys. Wendy’s was the chain that got these bad boys, and they look pretty nice. Too bad it’s hard to find a complete set in mint condition on eBay at a reasonable price, but one day I shall have these in my hands. Then I can live out my lifelong dream of being able to play Go Fish with Quest for Camelot cards (also, yes, I am making jokes, but I do really like this movie).
Naturally, the promotion had multiple commercials, including one featuring a bunch of random kids crowding around the late Dave Thomas at the one Wendy’s he hung out at. These children are trying really hard to talk Dave into taking them all to see Quest for Camelot, and since Wendy’s Kids’ Meals came with an adult movie pass for the film at a child’s price (which is, in fairness, a pretty good deal!), Dave just can’t refuse. Presumably he took all of these kids who weren’t his into his car and drove them off to the theater, and then cooked burgers for everyone afterwards to keep anyone from asking any questions about how weird that was.
I can’t decide if this commercial is adorable or depressing. On the one hand, I’m sure Dave Thomas and the children had a wonderful time watching Quest for Camelot together. But…did these kids not have parents? Did they have shitty guardians who refused to take them to see the film? Why? “Sorry, Jane and Billy, but mommy and daddy would rather die than take you to that dumb Camelot movie because they are going to see Godzilla instead, and that is going to be the best fucking film ever.” At the very least, I’m glad Mr. Thomas gave these kids a break from their otherwise terrible childhoods to watch a giant ogre fart evil Gary Oldman out of its butt crack.
Of course, for the kids who didn’t depend on the charity of the founder of a hamburger empire to take them to the cinema, there was a more standard commercial. This one begins with the usual “God, aren’t grown-ups so fucking dumb?” jokes that dominated 90s advertising targeted at children (no one tell those kids watching TV that it was grown-ups who made these ads). Then it’s time to market the toys, which include…a passport? Huh. I mean, the dragon toy looks cool. The griffin toy looks cool. But…a passport? I mean, I guess that’s cool. Maybe if it got you free Frostys or something.
Have a great day, y’all!
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