Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This!

I miss a lot of things about the seventies; one thing in particular is the very simple (yet extremely effective) TV commercials. They weren't as funny or slick as the commercials of today.... but thirty years later, and I remember them like it was yesterday.  They were cheap and not very flashy, but they stuck to your brain like glue. "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh, what a relief it is."  How simple, but how amazingly catchy.

I know a lot of these commercials actually started much earlier than the 70's (Mr. Whipple was around in the 60's), but these are what I remember most... and often wish I could forget.  I never said they were enjoyable - just diabolically effective. 

Take for instance the Charmin commercial - why was this such a phenomenon? I think it had a lot to do with a very bizarre sexual subtext.  The way those women couldn't keep their mits off the toilet paper, and squeezed while gasping orgasmically.... you can't tell me there wasn't something a bit naughty going on here.  And Whipple always had to have one last squeeze... in private.... and he was ashamed.

What about the Wisk commercials featuring that dreaded phrase "ring around the collar"?  The way it was pronounced was so scolding, so judgmental, so disgusted.  Totally effective. 

Here's a quick list of a few commercials that I remember best from the 1970's. 
Bounty: the quicker picker upper.
These commercials made Bounty seem so absorbent, you'd think you could've sopped up the entire Exxon Valdez oil spill with a single square.

A customer asks how the Chinese dry cleaner gets everything so soft. He claims it's an Ancient Chinese Secret, until his wife butts in and exposes his lie. Whore!
You Sunk My Battleship!
I think this game jumped the shark when they came out with "electronic battleship".  The magic was gone. No longer was it an epic naval battle being played out in the Pacific Theater.... the wimpy sound effects lifted the curtain of imagination, and, alas, the thrill was gone.

Life Cereal: Mikey He Likes It!
Too bad he had to go and ingest Pop Rocks with soda and die a horrible death.  They say it didn't happen.... that's what the big soda companies want you to believe.

Connect Four
"Pretty Sneaky, Sis."  I don't get it.  Just because she wins diagonally? Her brother obviously wasn't too bright.

Folgers Crystals
Fancy French restaurant diners are surprised to learn they've been served a cheap ass coffee.  They all seem delighted with the hidden coffee switch.  I love the SNL parody where Chris Farley learns his coffee was switched and procedes to shout obscenities and attacks the waiter.

9 Lives
I never really noticed it back then, but when I watch these commercials now, Morris seems very gay to me.  I don't mean sprightly gay.... I mean, Oscar Wilde gay.... if that makes sense.

But my favorite commercial of all time has to be Mr. Microphone. It's so unbearably cheesy, yet I lap up every second of it and beg for more.  "Hey, good looking, I'll be back to pick you up later!"


  1. I loved that Calgon commercial. I'd like to point out you forgot a great one, the Chicken of the Sea jingle! http://chickenofthesea.com/company.aspx
    One of the things I most looked forward to when TVLand came out was the old commercials they showed. Unfortunately after a while they just stopped showing them.

  2. I forgot to add that they did a fab parody of Mr. Microphone on the Simnpsons episode Radio Bart.

  3. What was nice about those commercials is they used "real" looking people (ugly, cute, fat, thin), and they weren't trying to make you feel stupid, just ill-informed about products.

    I wish they'd run them again...

    You did forget "You got chocolate in my peanut butter.."


  4. Wasn't there a "Calgon! Take me away!" for a bubble bath? My wife quotes that anytime the kids get to be too much.

    And as to Mr. Whipple, I thought it was kinda naughty. Even as a kid, I could tell he wanted to squeeze the women.

  5. Can't stop laughing at the black dude in the Mr. Microphone commercial. I think he actually starts scatting at the end.

  6. or tootsie roll pops!

    when the hell are they going to recreate a channel for a certain year? i would love to see a 1973 channel, from any of the big 3. they could just reair, and recharge the corporations that are still around for, the original commercials and the original programming at the same hours. so you sit down and watch a rurun of a particular year in its entirety. would this possible?

  7. One of the great things about watching TV today is that you can record the show on your DVR (or if you're old fashioned, your VCR) and skip the commercials when you watch the show. The kids of today won't be having these nostalgic musing about TV commercials when they get to the 'musing about their past' age.

    1. Yes, but to be fair, back then they showed less commercials per episode.

  8. I agree! I am always singing my kids the songs of their respectable cereals. "A is for Apple, J is for Jacks, Apple-y sweet - Apple Jacks!" etc, etc, etc.

    Love ye olde ads. Todays? Suck.

    1. Last time I had Apple Jacks, however, they seemed to be as good as ever...

  9. I remember a spoof from an old humor mag, SICK, a short-lived competitor to Mad and Cracked.

    In this, Mr. Whipple goes into a psychotic rage when someone squeezes his Charmin.

    The last panel shows the cops leading Whipple away with a fixed grin while he spasmodically squeezes his roll of Charmin.

  10. Hilarious! The Charmin' commercials seemed so lusty to me. Sort of like an American Benny Hill snippet but with toilet paper.

  11. That friggin' Morris the cat! My last name is Morris & I spent most of elementary and middle school hearing "Hey Morris, stop being so finicky!" or "Hey Morris the Cat, stop being such a pussy--haw!"

    It's because of Nine Lives that I'm going to go to jail someday, cuz if I ever run across one of my childhood torturers again--REVENGE!!

  12. I disagree about the 70s ads being less funny. Sure, they were cloying and embarrassing,but often very funny, written by real comedy writers,as opposed to today, with committees running things. The only funny recent ads were from about 10 years back, those odd LITTLE CAESAR'S TV ads! Now, it seems only to be scenes like slackers chomping loudly on burgers for 30 seconds, then the slogan flashes, "breakfast is back."


    And, those jnigles are SO insidious! I'll be going about my day, then, some jingle for Comet cleanser from 1972 will pop in my head, and I'm singing and whistling,and wondering where the heck THAT came from!

    Al Bigley

  13. Great flashback. That Mr. Microphone is by all means a total classic. What a line. Yup, too many people in the convertible, so he's like, "we'll come back to pick you up later!"

    What about:

    That one commercial with the kid driving his toy car around blocks and stuff, then he crashes...the camera closes in on the topsy-turvy car with the plastic wheel spinning, while the boy starts making the ambulance noise... "woooooooo-(inhales and starts again) -oooooo" ...the commercial ends with the line, "A car is not a toy." I totally laughed how that kid had to get more breath to continue that sound.

    Then there's the other classic about drunk driving, with that pissed off husband/boyfriend storming out into the driveway with his woman following.."Don't take the car! YOU'LL KILL YOURSELF!!"

    You know, I find myself now digging through all the old VHS tapes where I "forgot to press stop during the commercials," just to find those old commercials again ('80s ones, at least). Good times.

  14. My favorite is the Charmin commercial with Mr. Whipple and the stock boy - played by a very young Adam Savage of Discovery's "Mythbusters". Hopefully that's all the embarassing footage featuring Adam out there.

  15. Mad Magazine back in the day had a classic Snappy Responses to Stupid Television Commercials...One was the lady plumber who wandered in asking "Having problems with your plumbing?" and the "snappy" response was "No, I'm having problems with my door lock. All kinds of weirdos--like lady plumbers--keep walking in my house...."

    All those Ronco-style ads were surprisingly effective--despite the bullshit nature of the products. "Professional" musicians used Mr. Microphone? Sure. And Earl Scheib'll paint my car--any car, any colour--for thirty-nine ninety-five.

    Hey, you forgot my favorite commercial with WILD sexual subtext (well, to my crowd of elementary school horn dogs), Miss Chiquita Banana--who was here to say: peel me down, and I please you in every way....Maybe that's not exactly how the song went, now that I think on it...

    Oh, and invest in my chinese bootleg scheme involving incoherent english!

  16. The Calgon commercial with the line "ancient Chinese secret huh?" That commercial was a classic and is permanently burned on my brain. I miss the characters that used to sell products like Madge, Mr. Whipple, Josephine the Plumber, Mrs. Olsen...

  17. Anyone remember Libby's Fruit Float commercials, where they had to say the name 3x fast?
    BTW, as horrible as the product sounds, it was actually quite yummy back in the day (at least for a kid with an unsophisticated palate).

  18. I remember and love those older commercial jingles !! Does anyone remember the " Honeycomb Hideout ?? " Or " How about a nice Hawaiian Punch ?? " You can see many older commercials on YouTube !!