E.T. had vitamins. I mean, his own vitamin brand.

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial was a huge hit in 1982, and its titular character quickly eked out a gigantic slice of pop culture pie, becoming immortalized with everything from dolls to tricycles to the worst Atari game ever made. To some degree, any movie star slash cute creature with that much success would be expected to have a deep run of product spin-offs, but with E.T., I’m constantly surprised by just how deep the merchandising went. Case in point: Dude had vitamins.

E.T. Vitamins arrived in 1983, and while I was probably old enough to pick and choose my own toys and video games by that point, I probably wasn’t of age to really give a shit about my personal vitamin brand. I was born and bred on grape-flavored Barney Rubbles, but it’d stand to reason that at least a few E.T. maniacs were down with their daily allowance of iron being delivered in the shape of E.T.’s weird head.

The product would be totally irrelevant if not for its absurd commercial. In it, E.T. sneaks into some family’s house and leaves a package of his vitamins on the breakfast table. When the groggy kids descend from the top floor with eggs on the brain, they act like it’s fucking Christmas morning, running to the table with smiles as wide as spaceships, in total disbelief that they are the proud owners of E.T. Vitamins. I could understand the brouhaha if they caught the alien in the act, but E.T. was long gone by the time they got down there. Here, watch the commercial. Can you justify someone making that much of a fuss over a pack of vitamins? No, you cannot.

Upside: The commercial is brilliant from a production standpoint. Working from a limited budget, its creators had no access to a real E.T. puppet or costume, cleverly using silhouettes and one measly light-up prop finger to suggest his presence. It totally works. Took me three views to realize that I hadn’t once seen any aliens.

I just hopped into my neighbor’s DeLorean and picked up a batch of the good stuff, and as you can see, the true merit of eating E.T.’s vitamins was in owning the wicked E.T. figural thingamajig that came with it. It’s not quite an action figure, but it’s still more than just a bottle.

Strangely, you can’t detach the figure from the bottle by any natural methods. This meant that any kid who pined for E.T. Vitamins also forced their parents to make room for a giant, ugly E.T. figure in the medicine cabinet. If a little boy subscribed to the theories of animism, he’d have a hard time reconciling the fact that poor E.T. had nobody to talk to besides a bottle of Tylenol and a couple of half-eaten Rolaids packs. No wonder he wanted to go home so badly.

The vitamins came in four flavors, and each had a different E.T. scene printed on top, ranging from his iconic finger-point, to the iconic bicycle-over-the-moon, to a not-so-iconic random spaceship that looked less like E.T.’s flying car and more like a gladiator helmet. Of course, I’m using the pictures on the back of the package for reference. Can’t use the vitamins, as they’re speckled and rancid, and smell not unlike a bucket of tar mixed with oyster sauce.

It’s hard for me to write about E.T., because every time I do it, I get all teary thinking about how much I want E.T.’s “Glow Blasts” Chips Ahoy cookies. They don’t make those anymore. I’m sad now. Bye.

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149 Responses to E.T. had vitamins. I mean, his own vitamin brand.

  1. Knegative says:

    In all seriousness though, I do believe that 80’s movies had stellar soundtracks. Better Off Dead is tops among them all!

    You are wise. Though, why Stan Bush isn’t a megastar to this day is beyond me.

  2. BJ says:

    One other thing i forgot to mention about Short Circuit. I feel there should have been a soundtrack to the first movie. I mean, it contained two great songs that were made popular by the movie. True, El De Barge’s “Who’s Johnny?” can be found on any of their “Best Of” albums (and I do own one of them so I do have that song as well as their ever-so popular “Rthym of the Night”), but the other song at the end credits, “Come and Follow Me” is also a great song. However, I have never been able to find that song. Anybody know where I can get that song because it’s definetly a most welcome edition to my music collection!

  3. kyjlm says:

    Where do you get all this x-e-ceptional “Crap?”

  4. Knegative says:

    You want 80s. I will give you 80s.


  5. Jen says:

    Those look SO gross!

  6. Cricket says:

    I loved Kid Creole until he appeared in that movie Lambada. Not only did I lose respect for him but sadly I lost it for myself for watching it. Sad times for all.

  7. NervousXians says:

    OH MY GOD, KNEG! Endicott!! i have this song & vid.
    Love it.

  8. Knegative says:

    I’ve never seen Lambada (a good thing to hear you describe it 😛 ). So is his performance just horribly bad, or offensive and controversial in some way?

  9. BJ says:

    Does anybody rememeber the “E.T. Storybook” which was narrated by Michael Jackson? I came across this album I think once in my lifetime at some bargain store so many years ago. Anyway, that album cover has the famous photo of Michael Jackson posing with E.T. himself. It gets me to wonder is whether or not E.T. warped Jackson’s mind with his telekinesis into having a likeness to small boys. Perhaps E.T. already had that desire. I mean, why else in the movie would he have telepathic links with Elliott and not Michael and Gertie? Surely makes me wonder. Also on the record album there’s this song sung by Jackson that’s a love ballad to E.T. entitled, “Somewhere In the Dark.” I have never heard the record narration of the storybook nor the song and from what I’ve been told, my ears are silently thanking me for NOT having them listen to the song! I guess if I want a love ballad to my favorite movie, I can stick with Neil Diamond’s “Heartlight.” That’s a much better choice anyway.

    Anyway, to close out my post, may I recite some more famous lines by Johnny Five from the first Short Circuit movie? Oh well, I’m going to anyway: “Oh that waps you up you wascally wobot!” “Well, if you gotta go, don’t squeeze the Charmin!” and of course the ever so popular, “Number Five….IS ALIVE!!!!” Thank you and you all have a nice night, or rest of the day. In my section of the world it’s already after 3AM. Time for my batteries to recharge themselves, aka, time to sleep!

  10. squee4242 says:

    The Last Boy Scout! I flove that movie. Every cliché in the book, executed perfectly. Good call, kidneyboy.
    JLAJRC, I believe there are only 3 Crocodile Dundee movies? I actually went to see 3 on opening night when it came out a few years back. It was pretty bad, but I loved it anyway.
    I’m not on the E.T. hate train. I think he just ooked me out too much as a kid to really have an affinity for him. Close Encounters, Poltergeist and Jaws were always higher on my list. I kinda feel bad for the ugly little guy now though, nobody loves him!

  11. Andy says:

    Cool, random candy find of the day… Reese’s peanut butter and banana mini cups, in honor of Elvis, at Target. So good, too!

  12. Cricket says:

    Knegative – Kid was great in terms of performance but the Lambada movie was so wrong and bad it just ruined anyone and anything in it by meer association. In fact because of this movie I have vowed to destroy the rainforest. It is sad but that is what a truely bad movie will drive you to at times.

  13. Cricket says:

    OK…perhaps destroying the entire rainforest is a little much but I still feel as though part of it must pay for being willing to be part of the plot of this movie. At least 1 tree has to be downed for this.

    Do you see? Do you see? Do you see what a crappy movie can do to people? AAARRRGGGHHH….

    Now I am going to have to go home and watch Goonies or Better Off Dead just to reclaim my normally jovial mood. Ahhhhh…the sweet 80’s to my rescue. I suddenly feel the need for some Cyndi Lauper and Captain Lou Albano!

  14. Cricket says:

    Just in case anyone else is in need of some raw 80’s good times! It is good enough for me….


  15. Bill says:

    If you want to put me back into the eighties I have to go with Midnight Oil. Our first CD player came with a copy of Beds are Burning. Been a fan ever since.

  16. Cameron T. says:

    Never really had a thing for ET, but it is a good movie. However, the music is my favorite part. I remember catching John Williams conducting the Boston Pops on TV on a special, and when they played the theme to ET, the look on John’s face was priceless. You could tell he was DAMN proud of that theme.

    Speaking of Short Circuit/SC2, will there EVER be a DVD release with subtitles? I’m hearing impaired and there are neither subtitels nor closed captioning on the SC DVD (Don’t know about the second one or if there even is a version of SC2 on DVD). But those two are two of my favorite movies period and it pisses me off that they aren’t subtitled…

  17. Knegative says:

    I didn’t even see this when I saw the movie, but tell me this isn’t the greatest Kup/Blitzwing homage EVAH. Alright, maybe only 😛

  18. drbong says:

    lol that cyndi lauper video awesome, ROWDY RODDY PIPER!!!.. i used to think cyndi lauper was bizarre, now i see why

  19. I remember the Short Circuit movies! Wow, cheesy 80s movies at their greatest. For some reason I could imagine Johnny 5 filling in for Urkel…

    And on the topic of ALF (he’s back…in pog form!) I always remember what some commentator from I Love The 80s said about it (probably Hal Sparks) that after the show, ALF was able to get work, while we saw none of the other cast members again, especially the dad.

  20. DocDragon says:

    Ah, the movies of the 80s. Some of my favorite TV-watching from back when staying up all night was something truly awesome for me… Amazingly, I’ve never actually seen the entirety of E.T, but I did have a plush ET when I was a kid…

  21. Cutie Kitsune says:

    I have never eaten vitamins before, not even Flintstones vitamins. I was considering perhaps some vitamin c and iron recently, but looking at those rancid vitamin tablets just reinforces my reluctance to do so o_O;

  22. Andrew says:

    i have a friend who is incredibly afraid of E.T… honestly, i don’t know why but every time he see’s or hears anything that has to do with E.T he goes berzerk… sigh, what a fairy..

  23. Beth says:

    Good god, ET scares the shit out of me, even 25 years later. Apparently when I was a baby, I liked it a lot- my mom said she took me to see the movie (who the hell takes a newborn to the movies?), and ET was my first word. But now…. good god, that movie gives me the willies.

  24. The Sarge says:

    E.T. stuff is awesome. I was still very young when my father surprised me by taking me to the theater to see it. One of my best memories of him (RIP). I was big into the E.T. merchandise as a kid, too. I had a few of the toys, but luckily opted out of the Atari game. I think my lucky stars that I was too poor to have an Atari back then and missed out on the horror of the E.T game. I’d rather play the one they made on “Code Monkeys”.

    While I had never seen the vitamins (Matt always digs up the coolest shit!), I was a huge fan of the E.T. cereal. I ate a whole box in one day, much to my parents’ chagrin. They felt the need to counsel me on the ever-growing price of a box of cereal and made me promise never to do that again. Good times!

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