How Tom Cruise and Pepsi Changed The Way We Watch Movies

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Teens today enjoy Netflix binge-sessions. Nineties kids had Blockbuster. But movie fans that grew up in the early '80s likely still remember an era where the very act of watching a VHS tape in the comfort of their homes room was a novel experience.

As Cracked host Tom Reimann explains in the video below, Hollywood once made big bucks by re-releasing theatrical hits like Jaws, Star Wars, and The Godfather every few years. When VHS tapes hit the market, Tinseltown executives tried to offset potential revenue losses by pricing tapes at exorbitantly high costs. In 1986, films like Return of the Jedi cost between $80 and $100 (which would be $180 to $225 in today's dollars), making home viewing sessions an expensive luxury. Meanwhile, video stores were required to make customers join a “rental club,” with yearly annual fees as high as $200 ($440 today).

This all changed, however, with the VHS release of Tom Cruise's 1986 hit Top Gun. Paramount Pictures, which produced the film, struck a deal with Pepsi: They agreed to include a commercial for the beverage brand's diet soda before the opening credits and, in exchange, Pepsi would plug Top Gun during its TV commercials. Figuring that the free publicity would boost sales significantly, Paramount was able to sell the VHS version for the newly affordable price of $26.95.

Learn more about how a single soda commercial, and Tom Cruise's need for speed, revolutionized the way we consume media by watching Cracked's video below.

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It


When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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How the Trapper Keeper Trapped the Hearts of '80s and '90s Kids

Courtesy of Cinzia Reale-Castello
Courtesy of Cinzia Reale-Castello

No matter when or where you grew up, back-to-school shopping typically revolved around two things: clothing and school supplies. And if you’re an adult of a certain age, you probably had a Trapper Keeper on that latter list of must-buy items.

Like the stickers, skins, and cases that adorn your smartphones and laptops today, Trapper Keepers were a way for kids to express their individual personalities. The three-ring binders dominated classrooms in the '80s and '90s, and featured a vast array of designs—from colorful Lisa Frank illustrations to photos of cool cars and popular celebrities—that allowed kids to customize their organizational tools. 

In this episode of "Throwback," we're ripping open the Velcro cover and digging into the history of the Trapper Keeper. You can watch the full episode below.

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