Saturday, May 24, 2008

"I'm Sure You Recognize This Lovely Melody As Stranger In Paradise..."

Today we're taking a look at what is purported to have been the longest running commercial in televison history. I can't verify this as fact, but I know it made an impression on my young mind back in the early 70s when it was first broadcast. It was certainly hard to avoid back in the day; every local station seemed to play it incessantly. In the pre-cable days of my youth that meant WOR Channel 9, WPIX Channel 11, and WNEW Channel 5. That's it kids -three local stations plus three networks and one Public Broadcast Station. A total of seven stations and three of them played this commercial (which supposedly ran for 13 years from 1971 to 1984). Let's take a look, shall we?

That very british gentleman is the actor John Williams (not to be confused with the composer John Williams). He is probably more well known for this commercial than any of his stage, movie or television appearances (including Dial M For Murder, To Catch A Thief, and Family Affair).

If I'm ever in a life or death situation where I need to know who composed the Polovetsian Dance No. 2, thanks to this commercial I'll have the answer.


  1. michael salzmannMay 28, 2008 at 2:34 PM

    Channel 6, the Pride of Albany New York, ran this commercial incessantly. There are hundreds of people in the tri state area who would immediately recognize these 5 seconds snippets of music in some deep recess of their collective imaginations. I always wanted ( and eventually got ) a Beethoven bust to have around just in case I needed to look spohisticated.

    Sadly this plan was itself a bust ...

  2. I always wanted a bust of Shakespeare that opened up to reveal a button which activated the door to a secret headquarters. The closest I came was Mr. Potato Head which, even to my over-active pre-adolescent imagination, in no way resembled Will.