Just went I believed this week was going by sooooo slowly…boom, Thursday hits me like a truck!
Happy Thursday, readers! We’re now in the end of March, and I’m wearing flip flops for maybe the fourth time since the beginning of the month. I’m hoping April is kinder and allows me to do this more often.
How do you find phone numbers and businesses? Do you dial 411? Google search? Word of mouth? Text someone? Ask for advice on Facebook? Or do you open a phone book?
Back in the day, the phone book, the operator, and information were the only ways we could get what we needed out of the phone company, and if you grew up in my part of the country, you likely had Bell Atlantic as your carrier (unless, MCI, Sprint, or AT&T were your preference). My family had Bell Atlantic (and later, Verizon) for years, until we switched to Comcast. Growing up, Bell Atlantic commercials featuring James Earl Jones were commonplace on television, but did you know that there was another spokesperson that came before him?
David Leisure was known for playing Joe “Liar Liar, Pants on Fire” Isuzu, who over-inflated the ego of Isuzu from 1986 until 1990 (and again from 1999 until 2001). He also played Charley Dietz on The Golden Girls spinoff, Empty Nest. But do you remember him playing a sleazy pilot named Oliver in the proposed backdoor pilot that aired on The Golden Girls in 1987? It’s an episode I generally regard as one of the worst episodes in an otherwise stellar series that I’ve been watching for so many years. However, I am glad they retained Leisure for the retooled Empty Nest.
But I’m getting ahead of myself – back to his pitchman work.
David may have been known for Isuzu and his work with them, but in 1986, he was also playing “Joe Friday” in a series of ads for the Bell Yellow Pages, to the tune of Dragnet, and, well…I have some commercials for that, where business owners (A garage and an insurance company) find out the consequences of advertising in “The Other Book,” but have our faithful spokesperson to steer them in the right direction.
So click play below…don’t worry, you won’t be watching “some other guy’s videos.”
Leisure actually began promoting Yellow Pages several years earlier, and there are a few ads floating around You Tube for Bell of New Jersey (which also aired on the Philadelphia-area stations that I got these ads from), and according a 1986 interview, was one of his earliest advertising gigs, pre-dating the Joe Isuzu ads. And soon enough, another equally-memorable spokesperson would become the voice and face of Bell Atlantic, but these Dragnet-style parodies are the perfect vehicle for Leisure’s delivery and style.
So obviously, I’ve dropped a hint at what this week’s theme is, so Flashback Friday will be returning with more from Bell Atlantic and a different spokesperson.
Enjoy the rest of your Thursday!
The book. Trust it. The other 99% can’t be misguided…right?