Monday 3 August 2015

Gritty, Grimey, Greasy Goo

Who else but the writers of Rocky and Bullwinkle would make fun of the Cold War, over-budget movies and TV commercials at the same time?

Boris Badenov comes up with a plan to beam three hours of Pottsylvanian TV commercials to unsuspecting Americans—who will eventually pay millions to get them off the air (once they eventually notice they’re not the Late Movie, Boris adds). He turns on the set.

We’re treated to a duet of Paul Frees and Bill Scott singing these lyrics to the old Pepsi-nickle jingle of Austen Croom-Johnson and Alan Kent...

Itchy dandruff, falling hair,
A dried-up scalp and a dome that’s bare,
Gritty, grimey, greasy goo,
That’s what’s in our new shampoo!

And the gag gets topped by a shot of Cleopatra on the tiger-skin rug, giving her endorsement.

The cartoon series was around the time of Liz Taylor shooting “Cleopatra,” with endless cost over-runs and production problems. Whether a trade ad for the movie showed Taylor in costume on a tiger-skin rug, I don’t know, but judging by the Jay Ward writers’ desire to puncture the excesses of show biz, I wouldn’t be surprised. (An alternate theory is suggested in the comments. My thanks to Keith Scott for fixing the singing voice IDs).


  1. I think the rug parody was a play on the Top Brass commercial featuring former quiz show winner and future Agent 99 on "Get Smart", Barbara Feldon, on the tiger/lion skin rug (The ad campaign showed up right around the end of the original first-run R&B episodes, so I may be wrong on the timing here).

  2. Roughly twenty years later, SCTV Network used the same concept of Soviets jamming American TV signals for their hilarious episode, "CCCP 1".

  3. Barbara Feldon also did commercials for Richard Hudnut shampoo (which were parodied by Buster Keaton).

    There is an actual product called Gunk, an engine cleaner made by Radiator Specialty Co.

  4. In which episode was the GUNK commercial presented to unsuspecting Pottsylvanians? Thank you. Jon in NYC