#ThrowbackThursday Presents “Kung Food Theatre”

When good grocery store Chinese food and bad Kung Fu movies collide…you have Throwback Thursday!

Today’s commercial reminded me instantly of that one scene in Wayne’s World 2, when Wayne had to battle Cassandra’s father to prove his worthiness. I remember the idea of the whole scene dubbed over like a Chinese martial arts movie (or any Chinese/Japanese movie, for that matter), being hilarious when I was eleven years old. Twenty-seven years later, I still find that scene – and anything that parodies the concept – hilarious.

Take today’s commercial, for instance. It is stylized as a martial arts film, La Choy “Kung Food Theatre.”

Oh yes, “Kung Food.”

The year is 1986, and the wife has spent the day preparing the husband’s favorite food, La Choy, only for him to experience an interruption in his enjoyment of La Choy.

What kind of interruption, you ask?

Why, click play and find out!

Who knew dinner could be interrupted by…ninjas?

I love how the wife tells him the neighbors are coming over, and that they’ve worked up an appetite.

So…the neighbors are also ninjas?

Coined as “America’s Favorite, La Choy is a line of prepackaged Chinese foods and Chinese food ingredients. Introduced in 1962 by Dr. Ilhan New, later the founder of Yuhan Corporation in South Korea, and Wally Smith from the University of Michigan, the first La Choy product was canned Mung Bean Sprouts, and were sold in Smith’s Detroit grocery store. By the late 1930s, the company was flourishing, and created a whole line of products that included bean sprouts, soy sauce, subgum (one or more meats or seafood are mixed with vegetables and sometimes also noodles, rice, or soup), kumquats, water chestnuts, brown sauce, bamboo shoots, and chow mein noodles.

During the time of this commercial, La Choy was owned by Beatrice Foods (founded in 1894), who also owned Orville Redenbacher’s, Culligan, Arrowhead Water, and Krispy Kreme (among other notable food brands), as well as consumer goods companies Samsonite, Avis, and Playtex (again, among other companies). The 1980s were the end of the company’s life, as Beatrice Company was sold to ConAgra in 1990, effectively ending the brand until its name was revived in 2007. La Choy is currently owned by ConAgra.

I tried to find other commercials that may have fallen into this “La Choy Kung Food Theatre,” but apparently this was a one-off commercial. But man, what a one-off it is. I love the parody, since the guy reminds me of Wayne Campbell enjoying La Choy.


Have a great Throwback Thursday!

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