This 2005 file photo shows the former Miller's Restaurant on Main Street in Bangor. Credit: Kevin Bennett / BDN

One BDN story that gets a lot of attention from readers year in and year out is one we posted more than six years ago about the Bangor Savings Bank commercial from 1980 featuring two adorable, mischievous kittens romping around a Christmas tree.

That got us thinking — what other classic Maine television commercials from days past might also induce such a serious feeling of nostalgia? There are lots of them. Some use ad campaigns that are still in use to this day, like the “Sharpest Pencil in Town” song from Webb’s RV. Some we can’t find anywhere on YouTube or any other platform, like the now-closed Grasshopper Shop’s commercial featuring the grammatically nonsensical “search no further ‘til you find it” jingle.

But there are lots we could find, so here’s a short selection of some of our favorites. If you know where to find some other old chestnuts, or have some you’d be willing to share, email Emily Burnham at

Captain Nick’s, a seafood restaurant on Union Street in Bangor, might have closed a few years ago, but anybody who grew up in the 1980s or ’90s in eastern Maine will surely recognize the jingle in this commercial, which aired in 1988 on local TV. This will now be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.

And if you remember Captain Nick’s, you probably remember Miller’s Restaurant, a buffet-style eatery located on Main Street in Bangor, where Seasons Restaurant and Sports Bar is now located. Miller’s was one of the preferred post-game dining destinations for families visiting Bangor for the high school basketball tournament.

Speaking of Bangor icons, here’s a spot from the late 1980s featuring Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams and Bangor Daily News outdoors writer Bud Leavitt selling JJ Nissen Bread. The pair were real-life friends, and fishing buddies as well.

Has anybody else said the phrase “Ham and eggs, ham and cheese, Hammond lumber” to someone who didn’t grow up in Maine in the ’80s or ’90s, and been met with a bewildered stare? Thought so.

Here’s one that goes way back to 1982, advertising for Cole’s Express, a Bangor trucking company that was once one of the largest employers in the area. It features a catchy little country ditty, and some choice footage of downtown Bangor in the early 80s.

And finally, here’s a PSA from the city of Bangor from 1991, urging people to take advantage of its then-new recycling program — a program that went defunct in September 2019, with residents now mixing their recyclables in with their regular trash. Of course, none of the trash that trucks have picked up from Bangor residents has been recycled since May 2020, when Fiberight’s Coastal Resources plant in Hampden shut down (although it might reopen this spring). Regardless, how about that super early ’90s-sounding song?

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.