The Good Life: TV Jingles Then And Now

“Brush-a, brush-a, brush-a

with the new Ipan-a,

with the brand-new flavor,

it’s dandy for your tee-e-th!”

That jingle still runs inside of my head, from one ear to the other. Its existence nearly 70 years after I first heard it in the dawn of the television era attests to the power of rhyme and music to stick with us — or perhaps it merely attests to the emptiness of the space between my ears.

For whatever reason, those 1950s advertising jingles have far more staying power than the songs and slogans of subsequent decades.

I asked my own children if equivalent commercial music from their own childhoods sticks with them.

From Chris, now age 53, came some jingles – and more slogans than jingles, attesting to changes in advertising voice-overs from the 1950s through the 1980s.

He did remember, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!” (Alka-Seltzer), and “I’d like to buy the world a Coke!”

But he morphed into slogans and catch phrases: “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!” (McDonald’s), “Tastes great … less filling” (Miller beer), “Riunite on ice, that’s nice.”

From Natalie, now 37, came more jingles.

“The best part of waking up is Folger’s in your cup,” (coffee). “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back, Chili’s baby back ribs barbecue sauce.”

Natalie also cited the impossible-to-type Meow Mix cat food theme, and “I’m stuck on Band-Aid brand, ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me.”

Then her memory kicked into high gear. Natalie is musically inclined, unlike her tone-deaf father. So, “Oh, I remember a bunch!”

“My bologna has a first name. It’s O-S-C-A-R,” for Oscar Meyer bologna. “Give me a break. Give me a break. Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.”

“I don’t wanna grow up. I’m a Toys R Us kid. There’s a million toys in Toys R Us I like to play with. From bikes to trains to video games. The biggest toy store there is. I don’t wanna grow up because if I did. I wouldn’t be a Toys R Us kid.”

“What goes down stairs alone or in pairs. It makes a slinkety sound. A spring. A spring. A marvelous thing. Everyone knows it’s Slinky.”

And a stick-in-her-mind slogan: “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?”

She, in turn, asked her son Cody, now age 7 if he could think of any commercials that have songs that go with them.

“He can’t,” she said. Cody watches television and pays some attention to ads.

“But I think advertising has changed,” said Natalie, who watches TV along with Cody and his sister.

“With the ability to fast forward commercials or stream shows and watch them all together, it’s different now,” she observed.

I really wouldn’t know. We ditched our satellite TV service five years ago and most of our listening is now limited to XM and Sirius radio services, country music for my wife, pro baseball for me.

The commercials are forgettable. Insistent hucksters mimic those “As seen on TV” carnival-genre pitchmen: “Call 999-999-999. That’s 999-999-999. Remember, 999-999-999.” Phooey.

Local radio does make use of jingles. As I write this, I hum “Steeple Furniture in … ROCK…ton!” There are other local jingles as well.

But when it comes to memories, fellow septuagenarians, try these on:

“Double your pleasure, double your fun, with Doublemint, double good, Doublemint gum!”

“Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do ya, Brylcreem, you’ll look so debonair; Brylcreem, the gals’ll all pursue ya, they’ll love to rub their fingers through your hair!”

“See the USA … in your Chevrolet … America is asking you to call. Drive your Chevrolet … through the USA … America’s the greatest land of all!” (In loving memory of songstress Dinah Shore)

“Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should … Winston tastes good like a (clop, clop) cigarette should!”

“You’ll wonder where the yellow went … when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!”

“Call Roto-Rooter, that’s the name … and away go troubles, down the drain!”

Finally, with enduring simplicity: “Snap, Crackle, Pop … Rice Krispies!

CORRECTION: In last week’s column, I mixed up my pro boxer recollection. I referred to middleweight Sugar Ray Leonard as having boxed in the 1950s. The dazzling “Sugar Ray” boxer of that era was Sugar Ray Robinson. Sugar Ray Leonard dazzled as a welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight in the 1980s.


Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: