Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nice Car but Who's the Girl?


Before the influx of cable with it's plethora of networks and the internet with it's billions of sites and thousands of video launching platforms that have served to create a seemingly infinite number of niche markets, there was The Toast of the Town hosted by Ed Sullivan. Later it became known as simply The Ed Sullivan Show and it served as the YouTube of its day. New music acts, comedy acts, poodles, elephants, spinning plates and Topo Gigio were served up on a weekly basis.

And as such things went back then they often advertised within the show. Rather than cut to a filmed commercial done by an advertising company the host would stroll over to the product and hawk it himself. What can I say, they were a hard working generation. Usually at the halfway point the company would have a filmed commercial show up as well but the popular host shilling for them was their bread and butter. And being corporations with eyes fixed on the bottom line they knew how to exploit it. So here's a 1955 magazine ad where the ad photo is a photo of Ed selling the car on the show (And what a car! Gas mileage be damned I want that thing!). Kind of an ad of an ad. Helping shill for Ford is a lovely lady who appeared with Ed on Toast of the Town many times, always going on about those damn cars. She is credited with being the first household name ever for a spokesperson, though she's not exactly famous in the movie world. Truth be told, I only know of her from my constant reading up on such cultural minutia as this, not from direct viewing experience. I have seen her in her biggest movie appearance, but she's not the star. Well, I think I've played it down enough - Anyone care to guess who it is (or madly google for the answer)?

***** You can click the photo to enlarge, but I've blacked out the name. *****

31 comments:

Marilyn said...

She looks like Arlene Dahl.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Hey she does, but she's not that famous. However, since you may be the only one to hazard a guess on this let me give you more, since you're from Chicago.

There's a famous movie, very famous, with a fictional award. Some theatre patrons in Chicago, including Nancy Reagan's mom, decided to make the award real. Our spokesperson won one of these for her distinguished performance in a production at the Helen Hayes Theater. Since there aren't many winners and the famous can be quickly eliminated, that should point you to the correct name.

ARBOGAST said...

I thought she looked like Stella Stevens but if she's not as famous as Arlene Dahl, then I'm totally fucking tortured. And I won't Google, because that would be cheating. I'll leave that to Fox.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Without googling I don't think the name's going to pop into your head. But you could look up the winners in the fifties and sixties of that award I mentioned. And the award's name is easy to determine as even a casual film buff knows that really famous movie about the theatre with it's snide critic, mature actress and clawing, conniving newcomer. Well, the award that newcomer wins in the movie is the one our car shill won in real life.

She was also in the original Broadway production of The Tender Trap, when she wasn't hawking Palmolive.

And hey, when are we going to get another "Who Goes There?" The last one was phenomenal.

Fred said...

I was going to say Betty Furness, but then I think she was known for Westinghouse. Oh well, I guess you stumped me too. But it's definitely better than having Jackie Mason give me the finger.

Jonathan Lapper said...

I must agree. In fact, I'd say few things in life are worse. BTW, Betty Furness is an excellent guess. It's not correct but excellent nonetheless.

Marilyn said...

Well, obviously it's the Sarah Siddons Award (unless it's the Joseph Jefferson award). Hey if I know who won it in real life.

Marilyn said...

It's not Fran Allison, is it?

Jonathan Lapper said...

No it's not Fran. I think four guesses is enough for a non-movie star. It's Julia Meade, who won the Sarah Siddons Award for Mary, Mary in 1962.

Here she is hawking gas ("More people are living better with gas."). Uh huh.

And here's a tiny snippet of more car salesmanship on the Ed Sullivan show.

Marilyn said...

The name rings a bell. A very small bell.

Jonathan Lapper said...

A wee, wee little ding. Yeah, I figured if I kept it a secret too long the anti-climax of it all would be too much to overcome.

ARBOGAST said...

Cue crickets.

Jonathan Lapper said...

chirp, chirp, chirp.

Jonathan Lapper said...

But hey, now we all have a tiny, little chip of pop culture historical knowledge at our fingertips.

...

...


Don't everyone thank me at once.

Fred said...

Julia Meade didn't ring much of a bell, but it may have been before my time. To place myself, I know Betty Furness more as the consumer advocate and constant presence on NBC news in the mid-70s than as the pretty lady shilling for Westinghouse. As for Rabbi Mason, I actually met him once at PJ Clarke's in midtown. He was working the room, hitting on all the women, joking with all the men and no, he didn't give me the finger, but he did ask why my date was wasting her time with a guy like me, so it was pretty close.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Jackie, what a guy!

Marilyn said...

Jackie Mason, what a shnook. Can't stand him.

Fox said...

What's irritatiting about Jackie Mason now, is that he tries to get all political while talking fast and marble-mouthed. Mix in the beginnings of senility and it's really a train wreck. Of course, I wouldn't mind any of that if he was still funny, but he ain't.

Now James Mason. He's cool.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Did you hear Mason's phone interview on the Young Turks with Cenk Uygur and Ben Mankiewicz where he started arguing with them because he believes global warming is a hoax perpetrated by scientists? It only lasts a few minutes before he gets mad and hangs up. What a baby.

Marilyn said...

And Marsha Mason. Where's she been?

Jonathan Lapper said...

She runs an herbal medicine shop in New Mexico. After divorcing Neil Simon Hollywood said, "Goodbye girl."

Fox said...

Jonathan-

If I knew the link to that red button rim shot, I would have linked it up for ya!

ARBOGAST said...

Hell, goodbye doesn't last forever.

Marilyn said...

Lapper - The Siren mentioned you and me and Peter Nellhaus (they spelled his name wrong) in the Fall issue of Cineaste for her contribution to their "Film Criticism in the Age of the Internet" print symposium.

I'm still palpitating.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Marilyn, you must be excited because you always call me "Jonathan", which I like. Where may one find this online? I looked at the online issue but came up empty. I'd love to see it and thanks for the heads up! Campaspe, she's terrific isn't she?

Marilyn said...

I bought the magazine, Jonathan (I've calmed down...not really), because it was talking about film blogging. I haven't checked to see if it's online. They don't usually post the whole magazine.

Honestly, I'm floored she mentioned me. She's only commented once or twice on my site. I didn't think she read me. She's so good at what she does. I only aspire to that level.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Well I've got to get a copy and soon. Thanks again.

And consider this: Peter, Jon and Mari - we could start our own folk cinephile group using the article as a springboard.

Marilyn said...

Does that mean I have to review A Mighty Wind?

Jonathan Lapper said...

No, but you do have to sing "Puff the Magic Dragon" with me and Peter.

Marilyn said...

No way. I hate little Jackie Paper for abandoning Puff. "Green scales fell like rain." Is that any way to treat a friend?

BTW: From Girish's blog, "The issue (Cineaste) is in the newsstands but I'm not sure how much of it will be available to read online at the magazine's site. [UPDATE: I have just received word from the editors that the symposium will indeed appear online soon. I will post a link to it when it does.]"

Jonathan Lapper said...

Then Leaving on a Jet Plane it is.

And that's good news about Cineaste but I still want a print version too. Thanks.