Jimmy T Pitches The Commodore VIC-20

Did you know that before he hawked for Priceline or regaled us with the adventures of T.J. Hooker, William Shatner had another TV career? Yes, he appeared in commercials for the Commodore VIC-20: “Unlike games, it has a real computer keyboard.”

“Commodore Vic-20 commercial” [YouTube via Geekend]


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  1. inelegy says:


    Doesn’t The Shat hawk Priceline.com?

  2. homerjay says:

    Wow, he’s really come a long way. :)
    By the way, it doesn’t say “Unlike Atari” it says “Unlike Games”

  3. deedub113 says:

    What in the world was he trying to do with his voice? He sounds ridiculous!! Oh and it’s Priceline commercials, not Orbitz. You know the commercial where he hits on some young hotel worker and tells her she’s naughty. Uber creepy!

  4. headon says:

    If only that was the last computer advancement. Then we wouldn’t now be having our lives controlled by the evil, wicked, soul stealing machines we now have. I’m sorry you can’t have a refund the computer say’s no. They are in stock, oh no, sorry computer error, they aren’t we will credit your card back in 60 days. Computers have sucked the brains out of America. Whatever the computer says goes.
    We can thank computers for allowing us to have crap customer service all the way from a foreign country. Ya computers are great. Shatner you screwed everything up.

  5. MeOhMy says:


    By the way, it doesn’t say “Unlike Atari” it says “Unlike Games”

    Good thing, too – the Atari 400/800 series both had keyboards!

    This reminds me of the old George Plimpton “Mr. Intellivision” commercials like this one with the kid from ET:

  6. @inelegy: Yeah. Wink Martindale does Orbitz. It’s game-showy.

    And now Shat does World of Warcraft. The Shat-man is a Shaman.

  7. 3drage says:

    I learned how to program in BASIC wit a Vic 20, well it was more like copying code from a magazine and saving it to the audio tape drive. But it was really my first interaction with a computer. I was a little kid back then.

  8. Nighthawk Foo says:


  9. Veign says:

    My first computer.

    Ah, the hours spent typing in a game found in one of those gaming magazines only to find out it didn’t work.

  10. faust1200 says:

    @headon: You’re right Headon, the Dark Ages was where it was at. I can’t even find a place to get a good blood letting anymore. And when I accuse my neighbor of practicing witchcraft they look at me like I’M crazy.

  11. @inelegy, @homerjay, @GitEmSteveDave: Corrected! Thanks.

  12. NefariousNewt says:

    @3drage: Same here. Graduated to a Commodore 64 and a Sinclair ZX-81 eventually. The VIC-20 though had some of the coolest games — I remember playing the games endlessly till the poor box just gave out.

  13. HOP says:

    vic 20 was my first ,then the 64 also had a commodore 4, i think it was…had four built in programs, and some of the prettiest color…..
    i also typed in programs from the run and compute mags….i usually made a bunch of mistakes,i’m a one finger typist,and had to retype….commodore made a good machine….shame they didn’t keep up with it……

  14. Noyo says:

    Somewhere on my property there are a couple of these mouldering in the dirt, I suspect. Sic transit gloria mundi. So passes away the glories of this world.

  15. j-yo says:

    Ah, memories… We had a Commodore 64 and thought we were pretty hot stuff. However, my dad insisted on buying an amber-colored screen to go with it (remember when you could buy screens that were all one-color?) to discourage us from playing games. Apparently he thought we’d all turn into a bunch of genius computer programmers. At least I could do some word-processing on it.

  16. f0nd004u says:

    Man, this makes me feel young for having used DOS on a 486 for my first machine.

    You know what I remember? Telnet.

  17. joeblevins says:

    Dudes, I started with a Vic-20 as well, just like 3DRage I did a lot of copying in programs from magazines. Specifically ‘Family Computing’. It really sucked in the sections that dealt with PEEK/POKE. You could miss up one number and would take forever to figure it out. I did learn Basic and it helped me.

    I moved to the Commodore 128 after that. It had a Double Sided Mini Floppy drive. 340k I think. Then I bought a single sided one. 176k. I had enough to run a BBS that was prompted hacked and wiped. Those were the good old days.

  18. joeblevins says:

    I remember the manual for teh Commodore 128 had pictures of people carrying it around the College Campus like it was portable. It didn’t show them hauling around the 15in CRT, Disk Drives or the 15lbs Power Supply.

  19. homerjay says:

    @Chris Walters: NOW can I hassle you about checking your facts??? :)

  20. Trae says:

    I have a Vic-20 in a closet somewhere.

    Nothing beats Commodore computers from the 80s. :)

    I just wish my Commodore 64 hadn’t gone up in smoke so many years ago, I loved playing Trek 64 on that thing.

    (See how I brought that back to Shatner? Yeah.)

  21. Fist-o™ says:

    NOT BAD!!!


    SHATNER RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. alhypo says:

    Did you see how that kid got beamed in like that? I doubt that was authorized by the Star Trek franchise.

  23. Chase says:

    @deedub113: Uber sexy, you mean. ~.0

  24. facework says:


    I love William Shatner. How did Leonard Nimoy get all the fans when Shatner was so delightfully full of all that cheesy melodramic style?

  25. I should pull the VIC-20 out of my garage and see if it still works. Let’s not discuss the C-64 or original ca. 1982 IBM PC.

  26. @homerjay: [sheepishly] …yes

  27. TurboWagon00 says:

    SYS 64738, baby

  28. superchou says:

    WOW! my family had one of these!

  29. KJones says:

    For those on a C64 nostalgia trip, download the freeware emulator for it:

    For the really obsessed (and in case you’ve never heard of it) go look up the program “Contiki”, a graphical operating systems with a webbrowser and TCP/IP controller for eight bit computers. You can actually use the internet on a C64.

    I use Apple II emulators myself to play old games. “Drol” and “King Tut” were lots of fun, and I spent thousands of hours (NO exaggeration) on “Wizardry” and “Ultima”.

  30. Bye says:

    I feel like I’m about to be eaten by a grue.

  31. crashman2600 says:

    My first computer was a Vic-20, I loved that thing and still have it somewhere. I think it lead me to where am I today with my computer knowledge. I guess my dad had good foresight to shell out $300 (a ton of money for us at that time) to get me it for Christmas.

  32. cde says:

    @facework: Nimoy had/has less fans then Shatner did. He was just able to keep them, unlike Shatner. But still, I can’t wait for the Nimoy = Blood Elf Paladin or something like that, something completely opposite of Spock.

    And Mr. T = Night Elf Mohawk <3

  33. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    I’ll have to file this under “Christ where did they dig THIS up from??”. On another note, NOTHING will ever replace my Atari 2600 with the sweet ass wood grain trim. God I feel old. :(

  34. therealhomerjaysimpson says:

    Oh man, memories!

    A friend of mine had the VIC 20, another the Atari 400, another the Timex whatever-it-was, and I got the C-64. Lasted me through high school and college, too. My first storage device was a tape drive. Dear Lord, to think where we are today compared to back then. Ultimately I added one of those house-sized disk drives, an Okimate ribbon printer with interchangeable color and black/white ribbons (and the printer would work with different computers, if you bought the right plug-and-play module). Finally, I added a modem (12 baud? Something like that…) and signed up for Q Link’s online service. Whatever happened to Q Link…oh yeah, that name change to AOL. I guess it turned out ok for them, for a few years anyway. If I’d saved their cheesy promotional items, those would probably be worth a buck or two on E-Bay now.

    Even after the 64 gave out for good, I tried sticking with Commodore, with their Amiga line. That thing was better by far than PCs of the day, but it was too late for Commodore.

    I remember the basic programming. In school, we learned on TRS-80s, and I adapted a lot of what I did there to the slightly different way it worked on a Commodore, but man, did I love that. I think my main computer magazine was actually “Enter,” from CTW. I think I read some others, but don’t remember which ones.

  35. Fizzle000 says:

    My first computer was a Commodore 64 and I totally loved it!!!! 1MHz processor, 64 KB (KiloBytes) of RAM, INSTANT BOOTUP!!!!

    Writing a BASIC program was tricky but nowhere near as complex as todays
    programming languages. I even bought a machiene code compiler to write ‘lightning
    fast apps’

    Software made for it actually ran fast and was mostly bug-free and completely
    free of viruses. My dot-matrix printer was loud and could be heard buzzing
    from the other room.

    When I ‘upgraded’ to a 10MHz IBM 286 it didn’t seem much faster!!!