Call Mr. Edwards.

If you grew up in central Ohio, I guarantee that you read the headline for today’s entry with a little swing in your head. That’s because it was part of a jingle for a local carpet store: Call Mr. Edwards, call Mr. Edwards, call Mr. Edwards — at Rite Rug! It ran for years and years and years on Columbus TV and radio stations, the singers always kicking in at the very end of the ad, followed by the phone number.

(Here’s how old I am: When I first heard this commercial, the number was CApitol 8, etc. If I sat and thought about it for a while, I could probably remember the last four digits.)

There was another guy on local TV in Columbus, who pitched for Giant Don’s Furniture Warehouse. My dad sold furniture (wholesale; he was a manufacturers rep), so I paid particular attention to these. I wondered why dad’s sales pitch never included ponies, which you got if you bought a “living-room suit,” or a second room of furniture for only NINE CENTS. That’s right, I said NINE CENTS.

Well. Wherever you grew up, you can describe the local commercials. So I was interested in this WashPost story on how even locally produced commercials are fading away.

Homegrown commercials — for personal injury lawyers, vocational schools, regional car dealerships and the like — are still numerous, of course, but a disappointing sobriety and professionalism has crept in over the years.

I was particularly sorry to read that one of Kate’s favorites is, alas, not local:

And then there’s a whole group of commercials that only look local. Those Empire Carpet ads with the lost-in-time jingle (“800 . . . 5-8-8, 2, three-hundred! Em-pire. Today!”) and the amazingly antiquated animation come from a company based in the Chicago area that uses the same ads in more than two dozen cities.

Deliberately badly made, local commercials have a way of scorching their way into your brain, either through horror or repetition. When Columbus got cable (and our household didn’t), we were introduced to Kash Amburgy, of Kash’s Big Bargain Barn, South LEB-A-NON, A-hi-a: “Remember, if Kash don’t sell, Kash don’t eat!” We made a pilgrimage there when I was in high school. A lesser Amburgy gave us a plastic bicentennial candy dish, in honor of our long trip. (If he knew why we were so giggly, he didn’t let on.)

The story’s a great read, but I have to say, some local TV ads endure in their horrifying glory. You need to see some of Geoffrey Feiger’s ads to believe them. And the other personal-injury lawyers who advertise are pretty amusing, too. I never knew dog-bite settlements were such big business here.

Mr. Edwards has a website now. Share your local-TV stories in the comments.

One final note: I HAVE to shop at this place:

Among other images, Ranger Surplus uses a brief stock clip of a nuclear explosion in its commercials. Its spokesman, Captain Happy, wears sunglasses and a Smokey the Bear hat and reminds viewers “to carry a knife. . . . You’ll never realize its many uses until you have one on you!”

The chain’s unusual ad slogan — “This store is the cat’s ass” — was a bit of a fluke, says Kramer. A customer uttered it spontaneously during the taping of a testimonial ad five years ago, and it stuck. Now it’s a badge of honor, appearing on T-shirts and bumper stickers. “People stick their heads in the store and shout it out,” says Kramer proudly.

Well, I would, too.

Posted at 6:06 pm in Uncategorized |

43 responses to “Call Mr. Edwards.”

  1. jcburns said on October 26, 2005 at 6:14 pm

    “…at the Seven Sun TV and Appliance Saving Centers to Serve You.”

    “The fast way, the safe way, the CTC Motor Coach Way! Hi, I’m Peggy Miller for CTC…”

    And don’t even get me started on “Everybody’s going to the BBF” and “One man sleeps and the other man drives…”

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  2. colleen said on October 26, 2005 at 6:20 pm

    I think I remember Mr Edwards from my time in Cols.

    From around home “I just loooooove to sell guns!”

    When I was a kid, Panel Mart had a puppet called Marty Panel who starred in their commercials.

    And I can still sing the First Federal song “Think First Fed-ral where…people come first”

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  3. Mindy said on October 26, 2005 at 6:36 pm

    Colorado Springs had a local store called Germer’s that sold Levi’s in every size and style. Every commercial featured the same guy who would scream at the top of his lungs, dash around the store, and yank stuff off of racks to shake at the camera. It made the viewer’s teeth hurt and hair ache instantaneously whenever one came on. The mute button in the Springs was referred to as the Germer button by most people, as in “Man, I couldn’t get over how bad the commentary was during the World Series! We had to watch most of it last night with the Germer button on.”

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  4. Connie said on October 26, 2005 at 7:44 pm

    When I was at MSU all the Detroit area kids had a jingle they sang endlessly, all I can remember is that whatever it was it was at 9 mile and Mac. What a thing to remember after lo these many years.

    My fave though has always been the Indianapolis station ads for Don’s Guns. “I’m not in it to make money, I just love to sell guns.” And he was a scary looking dude.

    My brain is so full of useless stuff, although knowing all the words to all the songs does come in helpful occasionally. When I was 16 I spent a summer as an exchange student. Would you like me to sing a Tic-Tac jingle in German for you?

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  5. Connie said on October 26, 2005 at 7:45 pm

    I wasn’t reading carefully, Colleen is it the same Don who “just loves to sell guns?”

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  6. Connie said on October 26, 2005 at 7:49 pm

    My honey has just told me Roy O’Brien trucks and cars, and the jingley part went “get on the right track to 9 Mile and Mac.” From his childhood TV years in Highland.

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  7. Nance said on October 26, 2005 at 8:02 pm

    I sometimes wonder about my personal cluttered hard drive, too. I can remember all the words to the BBF jingle and the Ballad of the Big O — keep in mind, it had two verses — but have to think how many members of Congress there are.

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  8. colleen said on October 26, 2005 at 8:47 pm

    Connie: yes…I forgot just WHO loved to sell guns!

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  9. Kim said on October 26, 2005 at 9:54 pm

    Oh, man. From the Way Back Machine during my formative Chicago years: National Clothes, where all the hip, nonwhite people shopped and, apparently, twirled around in tunic-length leather and fur. From here in Virginia: personal injury lawyer Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley, whose fabulous homemade ads have included the aging (and very caucasian) Lowell barking phrases like “You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight” and, lately and blessedly, “I may be an S.O.B., but I’m YOUR S.O.B.!” (Notably, this guy has sponsored an annual journalism award for the NABJ local group, using his full “The Hammer” name on the acrylic spiky thing on a wooden block the awardee receives. Yes, I would probably die happy if only one were on my shelf.) From my husband’s youth in southern Illinois: “You’ll look cool in your swimming pool from Pool Mart (cha cha cha) Pool Mart!” Finally, I cannot let Farhi’s error go: It’s Smokey Bear, no article. Look it up!

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  10. Dorothy said on October 26, 2005 at 10:01 pm

    In Pittsburgh Roth Carpet Company had a memorable jingle that I can STILL hear in my head:

    “Mr. Roth is Mr. Rug! Thirty-six Two, Two Eight Oh Oh!!” Wonder if that phone number still works!? That has to be from the 1960’s. And in 1985, two months before my son was born, we went into Roth’s to buy carpet after getting the run around from a competitor. (We had ordered carpeting but the day it was supposed to be installed, they never showed. We cancelled the order and drove immediately to Roth’s.) I did not realize it at the time, but when I was complaining to the salesman who greeted us at the door, Mr. Roth himself was nearby. He took a special interest in my story and personally stepped in to make sure everything we ordered that day was delivered and installed properly! We got red carpet for Josh’s room (black, white and red penquin wallpaper), and a different colored carpet down the steps and in our bedroom.

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  11. Loulou said on October 26, 2005 at 11:06 pm

    I can’t remember any oldies and goodies, but my favorite T-shirt advertisement is for a food chain here in NM. “Help Stamp Out Gringo Food; eat at Garcia’s”

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  12. vince said on October 26, 2005 at 11:48 pm

    “Five two three, eighty eight eighty eight!”

    “Five two three, eighty eight eighty eight!”

    “Five two three, eighty eight eighty eight!”

    “Five two three, eighty eight eighty eight!”

    Oh my how that phone number is ingrained in my brain.

    The store?

    Can’t remember. Some pizza chain in Wichita, Kansas.

    But the phone number. Oh it lingers. 20 years later.

    They hit on the novel idea in the 80’s of having just one phone number serve all its several outlets.

    So that damn number got repeated over and over in their anything-but-subliminal radio ads.

    (Sorry Nance, I crossed mediums and left TV with this recollection. We TV guys never could follow instructions anyway.)

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  13. alex said on October 27, 2005 at 12:19 am

    From a defunct Fort Wayne clothier:





    Hurry�to Hutner’s Paris!

    From a car dealer that has relocated twice in the last four decades:

    DeHaven Chevrolet

    DeHaven Chevrolet

    DeHaven Chevrolet

    Twenty-three-fifteen South Calhoun


    DeHaven Chevrolet. They try harder!

    How did this shit stay in my head? Never once thought about it consciously.

    And yes, I remember the Panel Mart puppet. It looked like one of those interoffice e-spams of a penis with a face painted on it. And when I went to IU I saw plenty of the guy who loves to sell guns. In fact, I seem to remember him being ripped apart on “60 Minutes” for his blatant crassness.

    Five-eight-eight, two-three-hundred

    Empire! (The :”today” is a recent addition.)

    That’s from my time in Chicago. I must confess I truly thought it was old and local and am mourning my disillusionment.

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  14. Dave said on October 27, 2005 at 1:27 am

    “One man sleeps and another man drives”, oh my gosh, I hadn’t thought of that forever but that’s “Get that juice up to Lawson’s in 40 hours”, isn’t it?

    What about Lex Mayer, the Chevrolet dealer, he’d always sponsor wrestling shows and then there was Bill Swad later on.

    Burger Boy Food-O-Rama, the BBF’s that dotted the landscape of Central Ohio, kind of forgot about those, too, as well as Peggy Miller for the CTC and fifteen minutes of news with Chet Long and Marty DeVictor on sports. But, that’s not ads, sorry.

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  15. kathy said on October 27, 2005 at 8:44 am


    Get on the right track

    To 9 Mile and Mack

    Roy O’Brien’s trucks and cars

    Make your money back.

    (to the tune of “Shoes to Set My Feet Adancing”)

    Roy O’Brien’s got them buyin’


    They come from many miles away

    To save yourself a lot of dollars


    Try driving da da da today.

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  16. Laura said on October 27, 2005 at 9:04 am

    Loved the Mr. Edwards, Lawson’s and the BBF jingles, but also still with me are

    Dick Clifton’s Motorland

    Columbus’ dealing-ist dealer

    He hates to say ‘no,’ we must confess

    So intead of no, he says “yes, yes, yes.”


    Bob Daniels Buick

    That’s B-I-C-K


    That’s not the way you spell Buick

    The only thing missing is YOU!

    On a non-ad note, I knew I found a kindred spirit in your reader, James, years ago when we found we both knew Hi There Mr. Tree from LTS.

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  17. basset said on October 27, 2005 at 9:06 am

    can’t remember if Laughrey’s in Terre Haute was a plumber or a roofer but their jingle stays with me forty years later…

    “…the Laughrey fleet gets to your door with super speed/With quality materials, the finest you can buy/look to L-A-U-G-H (pause one beat) R-E-Y…”

    oh no, it’s all coming back now…

    “Hey look me over, I’m your kind of guy

    My first name is Birch and my last name is Bayh

    Candidate for senator from our Hoosier state…”

    and if we went outside and turned the antenna the other way, we got Indianapolis…

    “no-body, but noooooo-body, will sell you a Buick cheaper than Bob Catterson…”

    this has to stop if I’m going to get anything at all done today.

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  18. Randy said on October 27, 2005 at 9:33 am

    Our best ads came from Kern-Hill Furniture Co-op.

    Nick Hill would start the ads with “looks like my son left the sofa machine on again…” and Nick’s mistake would be our good fortune, with fabulous deals on sofas. Nick might even throw in an end table or two.

    I had the good fortune to intern at a radio station while Nick was recording a batch of his ads. He always wrote his own copy, and came into the studio with a stopwatch. If you listened closely to the ads, you could sometimes hear the *click* of the watch at the beginning and end.

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  19. Nance said on October 27, 2005 at 9:46 am

    Laura, I’m so old — how old are you? — I’m so old I remember when Dick Clifton’s dealership was called Ramblerland.

    I wonder if a jingle singer can still make a living outside the usual places. I’m told a good one in Nashville can have a career as long or longer as anyone who works with their brain, live a very pleasant upper-middle-class life and retire comfortably. But the field is shrinking. More advertisers are using pop songs and leaving the jingles to the past.

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  20. Joe Kobiela said on October 27, 2005 at 9:56 am

    When we are down in Orlando I always try to find the APPLIANCE DIRECT commercial, far east guy named Sam and his side kick that looks like Pam Dawber(Mindy)in a bad green pants suit.

    wonderfully bad.


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  21. Laura said on October 27, 2005 at 10:03 am

    I’m a few months shy of 45, Nance. Re: jingle writing. It seems like everyone is drawing from the same pool of pop hits. I’ve see a zillion spots featuring Dancing in the Moonlight. Must make King Harvest happy.

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  22. Laura said on October 27, 2005 at 10:04 am

    I’m a few months shy of 45, Nance. Re: jingle writing. It seems like everyone is drawing from the same pool of pop hits. I’ve see a zillion spots featuring Dancing in the Moonlight. Must make King Harvest happy.

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  23. colleen said on October 27, 2005 at 11:54 am

    Alex, I must now find you and beat you about the face and head, because that song is now in my brain for the whole day.

    Am I making this one up?

    “Hefner Chevrolet makes sense to you….”

    And of course, “Penguin Point, the people pleasin’ place”.

    Gah. I if asked my husband the Fed Med production director, he probably HAS many of the old local jingles in his archives…..

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  24. alex said on October 27, 2005 at 12:17 pm

    Colleen, I can’t believe I forgot Penguin Point. “…Serving people at a people-pleasing pace”

    How about: “We’ve got to vote for a man named Lebamoff–and leadership for a change. We’ve got to make things right again for all the people… .”

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  25. brian stouder said on October 27, 2005 at 12:40 pm

    There is currently a local radio commercial here in good ol’ Fort Wayne which is remarkably bad –

    Think of a chorus of the droning voice(s) of Carlton the Doorman or Ben Stein – singing

    “Call…Recovery Room” blah blah – for a furniture recoverer business. But I guess it succeeded, since I remember their name.

    btw – speaking of commericals that make me hit “mute” – there is a spot running on television where a children�s choir is sweetly singing the praises of the cardiac care unit of one of our local palatial (and unendingly under construction) hospitals�.and the choir is from The Canterbury School (yearly tuition said to be about $25 grand) �

    Now normally I am not a �class warfare� type � but it is simply annoying to watch these kiddos singing the praises of an outrageously expensive service (and one which needs no advertisements!) where their moms and dads presumeably work!!


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  26. Claire said on October 27, 2005 at 1:25 pm

    I also remember a Buddy’s Carpet commercial from Columbus (though it may be more recent). They were the dueling carpet sellers in my mind. When I moved to Chicago a couple of years ago, I was happy to see that the Empire commercials from my childhood visits to my grandmother were still around.

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  27. Lance said on October 27, 2005 at 1:31 pm


    Haven’t commented in a long time, but this subject is near and dear to me.

    When I was growing up in NE Washington State, the Spokane NBC affiliate KHQ had a local version of “Amateur Hour” called “Starlit Stairway” We always called it “Spastic Spotlight”.

    The show was sponsored by a fuel distributer named Boyle Fuel. The show employed a pair of nine or ten year old twin girls (I guess they swapped out the twins after awhile, ’cause they always seemed to be ten years old, hmmmm…). The twins told the viewer who the sponsor was, and then sang the jingle:

    “If you need coal or oil, call Boyle…

    Fairfax eight one five two one,

    Fairfax eight one five two one

    For every heating fuel need,

    Be your furnace old or new.

    If you need coal or oil, call Bolyle…

    Fairfax eight one five two one,

    Fairfax eight one five two one”

    Ah, Spastic Spotlight….with your host Cal Fankhauser!

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  28. alex said on October 27, 2005 at 1:43 pm

    Brian, that cardiac commercial gives me the creeps too. The kiddies are singing “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” The reason I find it disturbing is that when I lived in Chicago I met a physician who had worked in Fort Wayne for a few years. She’d worked in a lot of places. Nowhere else, she said, had she seen so many people with clogged arteries by the time they were in their twenties.

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  29. MichaelG said on October 27, 2005 at 2:39 pm

    Pud’s Stereo in Berkeley had the following slogan:

    “What good is money if it don’t buy music?”

    And Cal Worthington of the bazillion car stores in California is STILL on although I haven’t seen his dog Spot in years. He’s in his eighties and looks half that. “Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal!”

    Cal would hold anything and call it his dog Spot — a pig, an iguana . . .

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  30. Dan said on October 27, 2005 at 2:44 pm

    As someone who grew up near Chicago, watching way too much local TV, I have to defend Empire carpeting a bit. They come by that local feel very honestly- they’ve had that jingle and feel at least since the late 70s and probably before. I still remember one ad with a couple dressed up as Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln, with Mary Todd stating “Abe, the Grants are coming over for dinner tomorrow and we _need_ new carpeting!” The Empire Carpeting guy (the guy with the mustache in the animation- used to be a real actor) then came in to tell them that Empire would give them carpeting the next day.

    And then there was some other carpet company whose phone number jingle was still, as of the mid-80s, “Call NAtional 2-9 thousand, NAtional 2 9 (ring) thousand.”

    But what I really remember are the car dealerships. I suspect anyone who watched enough Chicago TV can recite “At Celozzi-Ettleson Chevrolet, in Elmhurst, at York and Roosevelt Roads, (hold out a hand full of bills, fanned out, and shake them for emphasis on each word) where you always save more money.”

    Or Harry Schmerler, your Singing Ford Dealer. Or “If anyone caaaaan, O’Connor can.”

    My favorite jingle of all time, though, has to be from Philadelphia: “Doors Unlimited….unlimited doors!”

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  31. Connie said on October 27, 2005 at 3:10 pm

    My husband points out that if you go to you promptly hear the jingle. Though I’m not convinced it starts out with the same tune.

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  32. Dorothy said on October 27, 2005 at 3:32 pm

    Claire –

    Buddy’s Carpets was a regular advertiser in Cincinnati when we were there from 4/02 to 9/04. Here in Greenville, SC there is a beautiful girl name Jamie Simpson who shills for a Rug and Home company, and also a car dealer. If only the beauty of her face matched her caliber of her voice. We hit the mute button each time she comes on the screen.

    I wish there was some kind of device at Nancy’s site to allow you all to sing these little ditties so we could all hear the tunes! This has been lots of fun reading all of these, even though I haven’t a clue what any of them sound like.

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  33. Connie said on October 27, 2005 at 3:52 pm

    Dorothy your description of the dreadful voice on the lovely girl in the ads reminds of the young woman who does ads for a local car dealer. She wears such awful multi-colored wild print sweaters that I have to look away. Worst local jingle in the SOuth Bend area: Beep, beep, it’s Gurley Leep.

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  34. MichaelG said on October 27, 2005 at 3:56 pm

    OK, waaaay back in Chicago there was Jim Moran the Courtesy Man. His theme song was that thing they play at graduation: “Pomp and Circumstance”? He sold Fords. He’s the only person I ever heard refer to a VW as a “Wolksvagen”. And don’t forget Nicky Chevrolet — “Nicky, Nicky, Nicky Chevrolet, Nicky with the backwards K”. Yeah, their logo had the “K” backwards.

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  35. Deborah Beckett said on October 27, 2005 at 8:36 pm

    I think this jingle is actually from a movie or TV show but it is so stuck in my head. Does anybody recognize this?

    What’s all the shouting about?

    Schultz Moravian stout.

    From the north to the south,

    from the east to the west,

    Schultz Moravian’s the very best.

    repeat, repeat, repeat…

    Please, help me exorcize this out of my system

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  36. alex said on October 27, 2005 at 8:59 pm

    “He’s mad

    He’s bad

    Max Madsen… .”

    That’s a jingle for a Chicago car dealer ad with a guy who always does a really, really bad impersonation of an Indian doctor. “Max Madsen, you may be mad and you may be bad, but you’re not crazy,” he always says.


    Buddy Bear….”

    That’s a jingle from Detroit in the ’70s and I used to hear it on CKLW.

    My vote for all-time fave local TV commercial is another from Chicago for auto insurance. This one beats all for low production values and hokeyness. They still run it although it’s probably about twenty-some years old at this point. In the ad, couple of women are in a car and it starts pitching and heaving. They get out to see what’s going on and there’s a man in a chicken costume on their roof. He lays a giant egg from which erupts a smaller person in a chicken costume who in turn hands the ladies a low insurance quote.

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  37. Gary said on October 29, 2005 at 8:41 am

    Dorothy..Yes,Jamie’s voice does kinda grate on one’s nerves..She did a blurb for Rug & Home about 3 weeks ago where she stated,” and theeese are hand-carved !!”Almost made me want to drive up there to see what a hand carved rug looks like !However,she doesn’t bother me nearly as much as that Injury Lawyer..You know the one…double ought double ought..

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  38. Gary said on October 29, 2005 at 9:01 am

    There was an auto repair shop in the Orlando,Fl area that ran a jingle to the tune of “Wabash Cannonball”..This was waaay before Disney World-late 50’s,maybe early 60’s..If you hear a jingle,a rumble and a roarAnd you think that your transmission’s comin’ through the floorThere’s no need to worry,we’ll fix it just like newAt Sunshine Hydromatic,on Robinson Avenue..

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  39. MarkH said on October 29, 2005 at 1:42 pm

    Rite Rug…25 years on and you still can’t forget Mr. Edwards, OR Sun TV & Appliance, JC.

    When we moved to Cincinnati from Pittsburgh when I was a teenager, I couldn’t believe when I first saw ol’ Kash. My favorite In Cincy was Harry’s Corner. He closed every ad with an anouncer asking, “What did you say Harry?” Then Harry appears: “I don’t care ’bout makin’ money, I just L-O-OVE to sell carpet!!” I still have a button with his caricature and that slogan, given to me by Harry himself in a restaurant one night.

    And, yes, Dorothy, I, too, remember Roth Carpet; didn’t they sponsor the 11:00 KDKA-TV news with Bill Burns? (“Good night, good luck, and GOOD news TOMORROW!”)

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  40. Gary said on October 30, 2005 at 8:19 am

    Kathy….It’s amazing how these jingles can stick around..My wife(also Kathy) was born and raised in the Detroit area..When I asked her what was at Nine Mile & Mack,she repeated the entire Roy O’Brien commercial without skipping a beat…It’s been,like,40 years !!

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  41. Robert Mallow said on November 23, 2005 at 3:19 pm

    Although I’m many thousands of miles away from where I was born and raised (Washington CH,Ohio)

    I still have fond memories of the tv and radio commercials and personalities of the late fifties and early sixties.It was an honor to growup in that era.

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  42. Lena said on December 7, 2005 at 9:05 am

    Yes Dorthy, Jamie Simpson does sound alittle on the high pitch side in the commercials, but she sure is selling alot of those rugs! As someone who knows her personally I would also like to say that her Voice and her Personality are as beautiful as her Face. She Sings like an Angel

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  43. Katie said on December 12, 2005 at 2:59 am

    Growing up in the Chicago area, I was exposed to a LOT of local commercial jingles (or slogans) that are still stuck in my head.

    My favorite car dealership commercial was (and still is) for Webb Ford in NW Indiana. They have a really long song to go with their commercials, and the older ones used to play the entire song, along with words and a bouncing ball so you can sing along:

    “The whole town’s talkin about the Webb Boys,

    The Webb Boys,

    The Webb Boys,

    The whole town’s talkin about the Webb Boys,

    And the Webb Family Promise is why!

    The whole town’s talkin about the trade-ins,

    The service,

    The values,

    The whole town’s talkin about the Webb Boys,

    And the Webb Family Promise is WHHHYYYY,

    See your Webb Family dealer today!” (duh na na nuh!)

    When that commercial comes on, I sing it…and everyone in the room stares at me like I’m a weirdo.

    Another modern Chicago area favorite? Luna Carpet, of course! “7-7-3, 2-0-2, *beep beep beep beep* LU-NAAAAA…” Not quite as storied as Empire Carpet, but amusing nonetheless.

    Nothing tops the Eagleman Commercials for Eagle Insurance, though (I think someone mistakenly referred to Eagleman as a chicken in an earlier post). Soooo tacky, but funny and memorable. It got even funnier when they changed him to EagleWOMAN by putting a flowered hat on him.


    “Wow, look at those LOOOOOW RATES!”

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