Pizza Hut Training Video 1988
July 10, 2019 9:15 PM   Subscribe

Pizza Hut Training Video 1988 "I was the single camera operator for this instructional video series from 1987-88, that was produced in a Chicagoland area, industrial test kitchen for Pizza Hut/PepsiCo.. Original recording on 3/4 inch U-Matic videotape."
posted by CrystalDave (41 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
The trainee girl is like a 1950s disney mouse club flashback with that demeanor and acting....
posted by CrowGoat at 9:36 PM on July 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

top cheese
posted by colorblock sock at 9:46 PM on July 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

fairy dust.

I skipped to the end. Worked at a Pizza Hut around 1994 and I don't remember this video or "fairy dust" but then I was waitstaff, not a cook. It was a memorable place to work but not great.
posted by amanda at 9:51 PM on July 10, 2019

That youtube channel is fascinating in its quiet, mundane deliberateness about its content. The Pizza Hut video here clearly got some attention given the six digit view count; this Seinfeld standup clip has a couple thousand views total, by comparison.

But both feature a needlessly detailed extended summary about, not the video content itself, but just the subject of the video. 800 words on Pizza Hut's branding history. 500 words on Seinfeld's career. A Gin Blossoms video with a page worth of text about the band. An explanation of who Canadian band Rush is.

The text all reads like copy from somewhere, and I'm guessing it is, though I'm not up to doing the googling to sort it out right now. But it's such a striking textural thing, married to the eclectic banality of the video mix.
posted by cortex at 10:28 PM on July 10, 2019 [8 favorites]

Oh yeah, now I remember why punk rock was thing.
posted by jessepye at 10:33 PM on July 10, 2019 [17 favorites]

Original recording on 3/4 inch U-Matic videotape

Oh man, that phrase just whipsawed me back to the late 80s/early 90s when I was making corporate videos in Chicago on Sony U-Matic 3/4", Sony Betacam SP, and also on Panasonic MII because the place I worked got a huge equipment donation after Panasonic debuted their new Sony Betacam SP-killer for the NBC Olympics coverage, but the format was dead in the water from the get-go. I built a whole edit suite using brand-new MII equipment that was obsolete before I even racked it.

It also reminds me of the time I convinced that company to hire a friend of mine and his video truck for a live production, and he dropped(!) one of his rack mount Betacam SP decks on the loading dock right in front of my boss. He was mortified, but the deck still slid into the rack and worked as if nothing had happened, the durability of those Sony decks is probably one of the reasons why Panasonic couldn't make a dent in their market share.
posted by davejay at 10:36 PM on July 10, 2019 [10 favorites]

It kind of weirds me out how much I enjoyed watching that and how much of it I watched.
posted by freebird at 10:42 PM on July 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

Wow, so weirdly nostalgic, I never worked at pizza hut but did work at other fast food joints in the late '80s and watched pretty much identical training videos. Cinnabon had the same rolling machines for the dough. Crap, now I'm reminiscing like the old man I've become, about how we traded cinnamon rolls to the folks that worked at orange julius in exchange for burgers and orange juliuses (juliusses?).
posted by drinkyclown at 10:58 PM on July 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by Jon_Evil at 11:16 PM on July 10, 2019 [17 favorites]

Worked at a Pizza Hut branch in London as wait staff before being sacked after spilling a pizza on somebody mildly important. I still remember the brown nylon in those uniforms. The management may have aspired for us to have had Julie's level of perkiness - but I think that would have been illegal in the UK.
posted by rongorongo at 11:18 PM on July 10, 2019 [7 favorites]

It might give folks a better sense of how different things were at the time this video was made to know that, at the time, all but a very very few Pizza Hut locations in the US were owned by Pizza Hut, Inc, a subsidiary of PepsiCo. It took nearly another decade before they spun off the actual business to a few large franchisees.

A bit shocking, I know, that there was once a time when US businesses saw themselves as productive enterprise rather than mere investment vehicles leeching off other people's productive capacity. (Is it really capitalism if the ultimate "owners" don't actually own the means of production and instead act more like a taxing authority?)
posted by wierdo at 1:20 AM on July 11, 2019 [7 favorites]

Oh Gag! No gloves, no hair nets.
posted by james33 at 3:44 AM on July 11, 2019 [5 favorites]

THE HAIR oh my god the hair I had to turn it off
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:56 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

To a moral certainty, the talent both have B.A.s in acting and expected to be playing Ophelia and Lady MacBeth by this time. I know this because Mrs. JimInLoganSquare took the same path, at the same time. On the plus side, her performance in the Ben Franklin discount store shoplifting prevention training video was a tour de force, although the production is a notch or two better on the Pizza Hut video.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:00 AM on July 11, 2019 [16 favorites]

Worked at a Pizza Hut branch in London as wait staff before being sacked after spilling a pizza on somebody mildly important.

Which they deserve every time they visit a Pizza Hut! [/Julie]
posted by Gelatin at 6:05 AM on July 11, 2019 [5 favorites]

This thing really needs a trigger warning. I am a survivor, 1987 Ashland, OR location.

They actually provided cars for the delivery drivers back then, and as I was the only one who knew how to drive a stick I got the only car with a radio in it. The way we drove those things I'm not shocked the practice went out of style.
posted by calamari kid at 6:07 AM on July 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

i actually remember watching that video, in 1988! Not that our group could get through it without giggling like crazy. Those brown plaid shirts (and brown polyester wrap skirts) were the bane of my existence. This was in the Greater Toronto Area.
posted by champagneminimalist at 6:20 AM on July 11, 2019 [7 favorites]

I'm always amused by the deliberateness in these corporate prep videos, knowing full well that at 6pm on a Friday night it's going to be anything goes, get 'em out the damn door.
posted by Kyol at 7:00 AM on July 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

"Just be sure to do it exactly this way every time. Any variance wouldn't be Makin' It Great!"
posted by Nelson at 7:44 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

can I say how pleasing it was that the intro music sounded EXACTLY as I imagined.
posted by French Fry at 7:45 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Whoever wrote this Mr. Show segment had to have had a previous job at Pizza Hut.
posted by cmfletcher at 7:48 AM on July 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you're nostalgic for Pizza Hut's particular kind of bready pan pizza, the Foolproof Pan Pizza from Serious Eats is pretty good. A simple no-knead dough cooked in a cast iron skillet to give it the slightly-fried crust. It doesn't have any fairy dust I'm afraid. I think it would be easy to adapt the recipe to the bottom cheese / top cheese innovation though.
posted by Nelson at 7:52 AM on July 11, 2019

This should have been the cold open to stranger things
posted by French Fry at 7:57 AM on July 11, 2019 [7 favorites]


If I’ve learned anything from Metafilter, it’s this: Oranges Julius.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:12 AM on July 11, 2019 [21 favorites]

That wasn't the fairy dust I remember from the late 1980s.

And the thing about this being Mrs. JimInLoganSquare's experience after years of acting school - still is. The shocking thing is how much it remains actor's work even when you're also doing theatre, film, telly and adverts. It takes a looong time before you can afford to turn this stuff down.
(It's not the worst. That'd be the training videos and role playing to teach police and other social services how to handle child abuse victims. Some actors deserve medals.)

On the plus side, there is a plentiful supply of affordable actors out there if you want to put on some street theatre just to muck with people's heads.
posted by Devonian at 9:04 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm an actor and recently had to do one of these for a sexual harassment training. The video was going to be translated into numerous different languages. To ensure time for subtitles from graphologically long-winded languages, we had to pause 10 seconds between each line while continually making eye-contact with the other actor. I think I fell asleep on one take.

I've also had some of the most fun doing industrial shoots. The people making them tend to take themselves less seriously than commercial folks who can be bitter that they're not shooting Hollywood features yet, there's less overhead, etc.
posted by HeroZero at 10:16 AM on July 11, 2019 [6 favorites]

Oranges of the Julii, I call for vengeance!
Oranges of the Julii, I call for vengeance!
Oranges of the Julii, I call for vengeance!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:38 AM on July 11, 2019 [6 favorites]

You’re Makin It Great BEST: coming soon to a Melania promotion near you.
posted by stillmoving at 10:39 AM on July 11, 2019

I worked at a Pizza Hut in high school and college in this time period. There really was a position of "dough master" who was responsible for making all of dough. At our store it was a total stoner guy who somehow had the ability to reliably show up at 5am every day to do it. Our uniforms were slightly different though -- gray pants with red/white striped shirts. Good times.
posted by 4CFCFF at 10:52 AM on July 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

Portage Place should've had a Pizza Hut
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:58 AM on July 11, 2019

Triqqa Pli'c Commercial - Pizza Hut is better in the original Klingon
posted by zaixfeep at 12:39 PM on July 11, 2019

A year before this video was produced I had a classmate who worked at Pizza Hut. I complained about how greasy the pizza was and asked if they pumped grease onto the pizza on purpose and he practically shouted, "ONE SQUIRT FOR SMALL, TWO SQUIRTS FOR MEDIUM."

According to this video Pizza Hut abandoned the grease pump since its operation is not demonstrated.
posted by vespabelle at 1:18 PM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

There really was a position of "dough master" who was responsible for making all of dough.

While you were having premarital sex, I mastered the Hobart.
posted by thelonius at 1:28 PM on July 11, 2019 [13 favorites]

Q: Where do dough-masters train?
A: At the local dough-jo.
posted by zaixfeep at 3:12 PM on July 11, 2019 [6 favorites]

I was made for this thread. My first summer job was at Pizza Hut in 1985 or 1986 and over the years I worked at Pizza Inn, Little Caesar's, you name it. Many thoughts:

* Yes, I remember fairy dust. Specifically, my boss was a Middle Eastern immigrant named Ahmed (Pizza Hut management was a common career path for ME guys coming into my state in the 1980s). Super nice guy but also made me work really hard for my $3.35/hr ... for you younguns yes, I made $134/wk before taxes for working 40 hours. Anyway, I was very diligent about weighing toppings, adding fairy dust to breadsticks, etc. because I took things seriously and didn't want to get in trouble. One night on a Saturday we got really behind and Ahmed came onto the make table line to help out. "Good job Jonnn-nay!" he said. He was faster than me and passing off the items to me and I couldn't keep up. When he saw me picking up the spice shaker he grabbed it and yelled, "Fairy dust???!!! Don' put fookin' Fairy Dust!!" I still cannot hear "fairy dust" without hearing that in my head.

* My brother also worked at a (different) Pizza Hut and like me started out diligently weighing toppings. But that's *too slow* and after a while you can grab a handful of sausage and toss it on the scale and be 100% right to the 0.1 ounce, so you skip weighing. Busy Saturday and he skipped weighing. So did everyone. So did his boss who was there. Well, the regional manager came in and watched the line for a few minutes. He tapped my brother on the shoulder: "You aren't weighing toppings!" "Well ... we're busy ..." "Give me your apron, you're fired." "What???"

My brother went out into the crowded dining area: "Hey everybody!! I just want you to know that Pizza Hut sucks shit and the regional manager is an asshole and you should never eat here again!" Threw his stuff on the floor and walked out. I love my brother. Also all regional managers of all chains are dicks. My old Barnes & Noble one ... god she was a horrible person.

* We once spilled a full 5 gallon jug of oil behind the dough mixer and all the other equipment. Do not try to throw flour on it to clean it up. Just don't.

* Ahmed once made me clean all the floor grout in the kitchen with a toothbrush. I was awesome at it.

* I did not have a car or bike so I walked about 3 miles to get to Pizza Hut every day. The last 1.5 miles were up a long hill by a highway with no shade of any kind in North Carolina 98 degree high humidity heat.

* I invented a double decker thin crust pizza I made for all the waitresses.

* I had to make Priazzo, which was kind of a Chicago pie thing with sweeter sauce. I LOVED that shit.

* Ahmed had a cool old 280Z and a few times when I worked late he'd drive me home in it.

* We used to pre-close around 10 or 10:30 pm even though we were open till midnight, since we'd often get through the last hour with no call-ins and this made closing faster. Otherwise we'd be there till 1 am. A few times someone called with a surprise order at like 11:45 pm and if no one was listening I'd tell them we were out of dough or some nonsense.

Also I got robbed at gunpoint at Little Caesar's but that's a story for another time ...
posted by freecellwizard at 3:53 PM on July 11, 2019 [18 favorites]

I worked the late shift at Taco Bell in 1983. One time, I was getting the raw hamburger out of the plastic bag to throw it in the big frying pan and it slipped out of the bag and fell onto the floor...
posted by waving at 4:26 PM on July 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Cool, but let me know when they have chili that can be served with cheese.
posted by interrupt at 4:50 PM on July 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

This should have been the cold open to stranger things

Funny you mention that. When I was in college, my parents relocated to Jackson, Georgia, where "Stranger Things" is filmed. I stayed with them during the summer and winter breaks from 1992-1995, working at the town's Pizza Hut, first as a waitress, then as a shift supervisor. It's just a few blocks from the square where the general store is (and the 'library', which is really the county courthouse). I still have flashbacks from my time there. Working lunch buffet and kids' eat free night were by far the worst. I was there during the introduction of the Bigfoot pizza, and the game-changing stuffed crust. (Why, God, why?)
posted by candyland at 6:40 PM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Bring back The EDGE™!
posted by wierdo at 6:47 PM on July 11, 2019

God. I worked at Pizza Hut for a couple years starting in 1988. Used all the same equipment in this video, sprinkled the same fairy dust, wore the same uniform (I was also there for the era of gray pants and red striped shirts ). Watching this video, I could smell the persistent scent of oil and flour that clung to my uniform no matter how much it was washed.

I remember the Priazzo! Because it was so thick, and everything spent the same amount of time in the oven (8.5 minutes IIRC?), there was a special heat sink (similar to this) that you had to push into it to help conduct heat into the interior so it would get sufficiently cooked. (It looks like there are groups of people trying to reverse engineer the Priazzo for home use.)

I worked both as a waiter and as a cook (and washing dishes, cut table, register). Back of house was my preferred area, but working as a waiter and interacting with customers was also a useful education.

This was in northern, semi-rural illinois. I went away to college, dropped out and moved home, and a buddy who was a shift manager got me hired. He lived about 2 blocks from the restaurant, and his house was the place where all the employees who liked to party would hang out at, especially after close. It was sort of an auxiliary Hut in its own right--a significant percentage of his silverware and other kitchen supplies were stolen from Pizza Hut, along with a couple pieces of furniture. There were always spare uniforms there that you could borrow. Restaurant romances were common, with hookups at his house. Several times a week one of us would call the restaurant a little before closing and put in a big pickup order for our preferred pizzas under a fake name. Then we'd coincidentally stop by the restaurant right at close, and hey, looks like whoever ordered those pizzas isn't coming for them--*wink wink*--ok if I take them? Thanks, man!

The store manager was a laid back guy who didn't care much about what else we did as long as we did our jobs and didn't make trouble for him. I remember him mocking managers who micro-optimized the number of napkins that got used or whatever.

I enrolled at the university in my home town, worked at Pizza Hut for a couple years, almost dropped out again, then finally quit the Hut and the party house, got a job at the school library, and got my life back on track. My life at the time was relatively harrowing, but I still have a fondness for those Pizza Hut memories. And even after working there and eating SO MUCH PIZZA HUT, it was still my preferred pizza for almost a decade longer.

My preferred break snack was a small, thin crust pizza with lots of pepperoni, just a little diced onion, and the sweeter Priazzo sauce. Mmm.
posted by jjwiseman at 11:50 AM on July 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

...And yes, I was a certified Dough Master (it wasn't easy).
posted by jjwiseman at 8:03 PM on July 12, 2019

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