Monday, April 16, 2018

VIDEO: TV commercials of the year

Acidulous readers ["assiduous", shurely! Ed.] of WWW know that Walt likes, from time to time, to post TV commercials which are funny or creative or stupid, or any two of those three. Every now and then we give out our TV commercial of the year award. Click here to see who won the prestigious "Wally" for 2017.

Since that post is only a month old, you may be surprised to see "TV commercial of the year" in today's header. Ah, but I didn't say what year! The year is, in fact, 1962. Murray Westgate compares a 1919 headlamp with modern Atlas products which improve visibility, such as Arctic wiper blades, solvent, ice remover and headlights, sold at Imperial Esso gas stations across Canada. Spoiler alert! Mr Westgate wasn't really an Esso dealer, just a pitchman, but what a fine pitchman he was!

Murray Westgate was there for the start of television in Canada in 1952. With a welcoming smile, friendly eyes and soothing baritone, he was Canada's original TV pitchman. Dressed as a neighbourhood Esso station attendant -- complete with crisp black bow tie and peaked cap -- he extolled the virtues of Imperial Oil in live 90-second commercials, broadcast during Hockey Night in Canada, the country's longest-running TV show.

Mr Westgate also introduced the Hot Stove League -- the panel really did sit around a wood stove -- and it wouldn't have been viewed as unusual for him to become part of the hockey talk. He'd also do the sign off at the end of the night. The HNIC telecasts broadcasts had about two million viewers every Saturday night, remarkable for a country of about 14.5 million at the time when Canada was still the Great White North.

Now he is celebrating a milestone of his own, turning 100 today! Walt and Poor Len [and Ed.! Ed.] wish Murray a HAPPY CENTENARY!

Footnote from Ed.: I have unable to verify the accuracy of the old story that Mr Westgate, arriving for work one night a little tired and emotional, told viewers to drive into their "nearby Imperial Asshole station".

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