Throwback Thursday, TV Commercials

First…I must admit I am disappointed at the lack of votes for yesterday’s A Or B feature. Enough said…


These days, it is easy to avoid TV commercials and based on those I do see, almost all of them should be avoided. I have written of my extreme disdain for the Limu Emu and Doug commercials. I can happily report that we no longer do business with that company, in large part due to those commercials.

Some commercials, though, are still clever, but certain commercials from the past seem to continue to resonate. How many of you know who Jack Somack was? If I show you a picture you might recognize him:


Alka-Seltzer’s “Spicy Meatball” Grows Better With Age


The picture is from Ace Metrix, which is, apparently, a company that tests the effectiveness of commercials. This is a still from the famous Alka-Seltzer “Spicy Meatball” commercial. Reluctantly, I will publish a link to the commercial from a Minion of The Evil Empire. Jack Somack is the man in the commercial suffering through ruined take after ruined take. By the way, political correctness is not that new. According to Somack’s biography on, despite its success the commercial was pulled from the air after protests from Italian-American anti-defamation groups that the commercial promoted unflattering stereotypes of Italians. By the way, according to imdb, Somack did not begin acting professionally until he was in his 50s. Maybe it’s not too late for me… 🙂

What commercials from the past do you remember fondly?


Speaking of TV, 50 years ago was the middle of the 1970-71 TV season in the US. What was the #1 rated show for that season? Marcus Welby, M.D. That was significant as it was the first show aired on ABC to finish #1 in the Nielsen ratings for an entire season.

Robert Young came out of a seven-year retirement to play the lead role. I could swear I have read that thousands of people wrote letters to “Marcus Welby, M.D.” every year asking for medical advice, but I cannot find corroboration. From Nostalgia Central, a picture of the cast of the show:


See the source image


On the left, of course, is Robert Young. Elena Verdugo, who played nurse Consuelo Lopez, is in the center and James Brolin, Dr. Steven Kiley, is on the right. The show ran for seven seasons. As regular readers know, I am a fan of many TV medical dramas. My favorite show ever is House, M.D. My favorite show currently airing on US television is Transplant, a Canadian show airing on NBC about a Syrian refugee doctor working in a Toronto hospital.






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14 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday, TV Commercials

  1. Here is a fun Marcus Welby fact. His house was the same one used on Leave It To Beaver. That house, which I saw on the Universal lot tour in 1982, is used today on the sitcom American Housewife.


  2. I did not comment yesterday as I was preoccupied outside the house. I’d pick the Cadillac.

    Marcus Welby was also unique in that both the nurse character and the actress were both Latina.

    I too love old commercials. Some of my favorites are the ones featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales, generally played during the Superbowl. They have one filmed shortly after the attack on September 11 with them kneeling in homage to the site with the Statue of Liberty in the background. It aired only once so the company would not benefit financially from the commercial. I have a link to the commercial, however it is from the monopoly you do not like.

    It used to be that many times the commercials were more entertaining than the shows they sponsored. Sadly, not so much any more.


    1. Thanks, Philip. The vote is 2-1 for the Cadillac ATS.

      I remember the Clydesdale commercial that aired after 9/11. Unbelievably, this September 11th will be the 20th “anniversary” of the terrorist attacks.


  3. I liked the Nair, “Who wears short shorts” commercial, but that’s just me.

    Marcus Welby M.D. was an influencer for me, even though I made the decision to become a physician at the tender age of six. The practice of medicine is both an art and a science, instinct as much as intelligence. As it has been said about treating patients in various ways, the patient will tell you basically everything you will need to know about what’s wrong with them; tests just confirm what you should have learned through listening and examination. It has been an honor to have helped people with their medical issues.


    1. Thanks for sharing, Doc. Gee, I wonder why you liked the Nair commercial? 🙂

      I offer sincere thanks for your devotion to making people well, even if many of them don’t seem to want to take any responsibility for their health.


  4. This year at Christmas, Advance Auto Parts had a commercial to promote their carrying the famous (infamous?) Die Hard battery name. They used Bruce Willis reprising his role a John McClain from the “Die Hard” Christmas movie They used some of the original actors from the movie in the commercial. It was funny. Argyle even got to drive the limo again.


  5. Commercials that usually got a chuckle from me were the old Miller Lite “Tastes Great, Less Filling” commercials.

    Another was the 1970 commercial for the Dodge Challenger featuring a “southern” sheriff. Tag line was “I know a race car when I see it boy.” I know it can be found on YouTube.

    (I might have to go search for the Nair commercial mentioned above) 🙂


  6. I’m a little amazed at how many campaigns the insurance companies run. I mean not just how many times they play, but that companies like Allstate, Geico, LiMu, and Progressive have 2 or 3 campaigns running concurrently. On the other hand, what else do they have to spend all that money on…
    Back in 2000, Molson (now Molson-Coors), makers of Molson Canadian beer, launched a campaign that stirred the patriotism here. Of course, it was still kinda a self-deprecating patriotism but that’s par for the course. The campaigned lasted maybe a decade overall, but I remember the first commercial ( was oft-quoted for a long time.


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