Mikey loves those old commercials

Published 8:46 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012

“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.”
When Speedy sang those words years ago during an Alka-Seltzer commercial, it got my attention.
Those words captured exactly what Alka-Seltzer tablets did.
Do the words “Sorry, Charlie” stir a few memories? Charlie the Tuna tried and tried to get selected to become a can of StarKist tuna. Charlie believes himself to be a refined, hip and cultured tuna that automatically has “good taste.” In about 85 commercials, StarKist never saw it that way.
I watched those commercials — just in the off chance Charlie got his wish. Each time he was rejected, with the note on a hook always reading “Sorry, Charlie.”
I’m surprised the Coppertone girl advertisements did not raise more eyebrows when they first came out. Those of us who still use the term “suntan lotion” instead of sunscreen know the Coppertone girl. The original Coppertone girl ad featured a blonde, pig-tailed little girl staring in surprise while a cocker spaniel snuck up behind her and tugged down her blue swimsuit bottom to reveal her buttocks.
It was cute and not even close to being obscene.
The accompanying message was “Don’t be a paleface.”
Well, it was another part of her anatomy that was pale.
Of course, there’s my favorite commercial character of all time — Little Mikey, the Life cereal kid. Me being named Mike, there was a natural bond between Little Mikey and myself. Although I was a few years older than Little Mikey when those commercials first appeared, it’s still natural that I love the Little Mikey commercials. Yes, even in those days, I would eat anything — except liver.
“He likes it! Hey, Mikey!” How many times have I heard those words tossed my way since those Life cereal commercials first appeared in 1972?
Since I like to eat almost anything, is it any wonder that “In the valley of the jolly — ho, ho, ho — Green Giant” sticks in my memory along with the image of the Green Giant and Sprout?
Then there was “When it says Libby’s, Libby’s, Libby’s on the label, label, label you will like it, like it, like it on your table, table, table.” What a catchy phrase.
For some reason, I’ve got a hankering for a bowl of Life cereal, Green Giant niblets and Libby’s peas and carrots.
Mike Voss covers the city of Washington for the Washington Daily News. He personally discovered there’s truth to the Lays potato chip commercial that touted “Betcha can’t eat just one.” To this day, he cannot eat just one Lays potato chip. Now, eating one bag of chips is a different story.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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