Support Local Journalism, Join the SA Current Press Club.

December 04, 2020 Slideshows » News

24 vintage San Antonio TV commercials that make us feel extremely old 

Share on Facebook
Submit to Reddit
Vintage TV offers plenty of opportunity to roll your eyes at bad fashion, goofy haircuts and out-of-date attitudes. But if you really want to belly laugh at a bygone era, check out its commercials.

That's why we rounded up these decades-old ad spots from San Antonio TV. From long-gone businesses such as Handy Andy and Weiner's to some that are still with us but have thankfully updated their marketing approaches, these commercials are hilarious, nostalgia-inspiring and may make you feel old. 
OF 24
My Econo $39.95 Optical
The My Econo $39.95 Optical chain still exists, but its commercials just aren't the same without flamboyant owner-pitchman Mike Yuchnitz who appeared in spots with his trademark mullet and pimpish attire.
Screenshot via YouTube / Ben Kubany
Ingram Park Mall
Ingram Park Mall opened in 1979 with four major department store chains as anchor tenants. This 1980 TV spot advertises its "Carousel of Fall Fashion."
Screenshot via YouTube / SanAntonioNews78
San Antonio Light
Back when San Antonio had two daily newspapers, the Light ran commercials with a catchy jingle. But whose idea was it to include columnists singing it off-key?
Screenshot via YouTube / sptweb
Highland Furniture
Who didn't enjoy Highland Furniture's exciteable pitchman, who was prone to swinging his arms and shouting at the camera in his distinctive nasally twang.
Screenshot via YouTube / SanAntonioNews78
Paragon Cable
Before Spectrum, even before Time Warner, San Antonians had another cable company to complain about. Time Warner snapped up the operation in 1995 as part of a merger deal.
Screenshot via YouTube / sptweb
The long-running "classic hits" station KONO has revamped its format a few times over the years, but mustache and clothing in this spot define it as totally '80s.
Screenshot via YouTube / sptweb
Old San Francisco Steak House
This decades-old restaurant is still around. Since its 1968 inception, it's been known as much for its retro décor and women on swings as its steaks.
Screenshot via YouTube / Bygone Buffalo
NBC National Bank
Remember when ATM machines were new and exotic? Well, then you're old enough to remember San Antonio's NBC National Bank.
Screenshot via YouTube / SanAntonioNews78
Weiner's Stores
The Houston-based retail chain with the funny name had outlets all over San Antonio until a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001 forced it to close the eight it had remaining in the Alamo City.
Screenshot via YouTube / SanAntonioNews78
San Antonio Spurs
Back before the modern era in Spurs basketball, the team wasn’t all that. They even put out a commercial to get people to buy season tickets. This 1986 commercial stars Mayor Henry Cisneros (pictured, in case it wasn’t obvious) and Archbishop Patrick Flores.
Screenshot via YouTube / sptweb
Skip ad in
Handy Andy
Handy Andy was all about saving money, that much is evident in this 1980 commercial. You could score a pound of beef for just a buck and some change. The local supermarket chain first opened on Broadway in 1926 before opening locations throughout San Antonio. The store declared bankruptcy in 1981 and saw its last stores close as late as 2012.
Screenshot via YouTube / SanAntonioNews78
Golden Wok
Though they’ve since changed locations, Golden Wok had been serving up delicious Chinese food from two San Antonio locations since the ‘80s. This 1984 TV spot shows a family that each wants something different, but can find it all at Golden Wok – and for an affordable price.
Screenshot via YouTube / SanAntonioNews78
Of course this list includes H-E-B. While there’s plenty of old commercials from the supermarket chain, this one from 1980 is a real treat. Back then, the store’s motto was “Totally Nice.”
Screenshot via YouTube / SanAntonioNews78
"It’s so easy!! When you take the bus!! VIA, VIA! VIA, VIA!" This cheesy jingle was probably stuck in your head in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s.
Screenshot via YouTube / satransitman
Taco Cabana
Everyone’s backup taco spot has been rolling out TV spots for years. This 1995 commercials markets quesadillas as "Mexican pizza pies." Wow...
Screenshot via YouTube / GrowinupinSincity81
Fiesta Texas
This odd country-Mexican mix-up spot promotes Fiesta Texas back when it opened in 1992. And no, that’s not a typo. It was a few years before Six Flags bought the park.
Screenshot via YouTube / jefrik122333
H-E-B Video Central
And since we’re on the subject of H-E-B, who else remembers Video Central? Back when video stores were all the rage, our favorite supermarket had its own in-house video store. The chain added video into the mix in 1987 but sold Video Central to Hollywood Video in 1993. This 1991 TV spot promotes a Disneyland promotion that also gave away movies, video games and VCRs.
Screenshot via YouTube / sptweb
Blue Bell Ice Cream
Long before the days of listeria, Blue Bell had cheesy commercials like these. Who could forget that jingle?
Screenshot via YouTube / VCRchivist
Pizza Inn
Imagine hitting up a pizza and salad buffet for just $3! How times have changed.
Screenshot via YouTube / sptweb
Windsor Park Mall
It’s where all the cool kids went. That is, until it closed in 2005. The space has since been taken over by Rackspace.
Screenshot via YouTube / SanAntonioNews78
Skip ad in
Peter Piper Pizza
Not to be confused with Pistol Pete’s Pizza (which we looked hard for – no SA specific ones), Peter Piper arrived on the scene in 1986 and has been serving up low-cost pizza ever since. The chain has since gained the reputation for having your kid’s birthday parties.
Screenshot via YouTube / sptweb
Quik Wok
Chinese restaurants tend to have a long-standing presence in San Antonio. This 1986 commercial for Quik Wok proves just that. Three San Antonio locations are still open today.
Screenshot via YouTube / sptweb
Pepsi / Sea World
When the Sea World of Texas opened in 1988, the park partnered with Pepsi to promote the grand opening.
Screenshot via YouTube / Brian Z
Discovery Zone
South Park Mall was the place to be back in the ‘90s. Discovery Zone – the place where “kids want to be” – had locations all over the country, but one right here on the South Side. The chain shut down in 1999.
Screenshot via YouTube / Tyler Sorensen
My Econo $39.95 Optical
The My Econo $39.95 Optical chain still exists, but its commercials just aren't the same without flamboyant owner-pitchman Mike Yuchnitz who appeared in spots with his trademark mullet and pimpish attire.
Screenshot via YouTube / Ben Kubany

Additional News Slideshows

Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

At a time when local-based reporting is critical, support from our readers is essential to our future. Join the San Antonio Current Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Join SA Current Newsletters

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 12, 2022

View more issues


© 2022 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation