Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Is Peavy patterened after the Rexall spokesman?

The other day I was listening to The Great Gildersleeve program and I heard Peavy, the drugstore proprietor.  I then recalled the hundreds of Rexall commercials I have heard and I realized how much the Rexall spokeman and Peavy sound alike.  Surely this isn't a coincidence!

Hear for yourself and make your own decision:  (((HEAR)))

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Jimbo! Response to a very old post, but no, this seems pretty unlikely, not least for chronological reasons. The earliest known Rexall Family Druggist spots date to around 1946 (checking John Dunning's ON THE AIR and other sources, the earliest Rexall-sponsored show period seems to be Jimmy Durante in 1945, and I'm not sure exactly when the druggist spokescharacter surfaced; some print references on Rexall or commercials suggest either 1946 or 1948). Either way, Peavey was well established by then. Character actor Griff Barnett was the regular portrayor of the Rexall Family Druggist (and on a few shows, like Amos n' Andy, he could occasionally be heard doubling, like in one of the Christmas broadcasts as the department store manager who hires Andy as a Santa).

    I think it's just the similar fatherly, sage advice tone. I am glad you gave a shout out to the druggist, though. I've wanted to write something for awhile about radio spokes characters, since overall they're rather rare compared to print, animated, and TV spokes characters. I always figured this was because, in radio, the combination of jingles, an assigned announcer, and stars often pitching the sponsor's product, plus integrated commercials, mostly made the need for fictional spokes characters irrelevant. Of course some established spokes made the transition to radio, notably Aunt Jemima in many series (usually Amanda Randolph) or Elsie the Cow and family on Ed Wynn's "Happy Island" series. But as far as radio only spokes, they were usually more straightforward, basically fabricated "experts" or wise figures to urge the product or company, since they KNOW and their voices can be trusted: Shadow with the distinguished Blue Coal heating expert John Barclay, Lux and Libby Collins and the other fabricated beauty experts/gossip columnists and so on, etc. The Druggist is sort of a middle figure, since no name is given to imply it's a real druggist, just the force of the voice. The more whimsical spokes character type, the ones based on sheer personality, are rarer in radio, again I suspect because they had announcers, they could just write a fictional character as part of the cast whose main purpose was really just to flog the product (the chef on "Glamour Manor") but they weren't really developed or advertised beyond that, skits with generic husband/wife types, jingles, etc. Radio just had other ways to sell, and an announcer with a strong personality who was a memorable part of the show in general served as a better identifier for the public (Don Wilson with Jell-O, Harlow Wilcox for Johnson's Wax, etc.)

    A few exceptions come to mind. Autolite's Suspense commercials, with Harlow announcing but paired with a host of spokes sidekicks, from the bland Hap to the blustery "Senator," stereotyped Pedro, and basically audio cartoons like Oscar Auto and Johnny Plugcheck (!) But the biggest radio-originated "personality" spokes was undoubtedly "Johnny" (Johnny Roventini) for Philip Morris, breaking out into other media. (Anyway, just thought I'd take the old past as a jumping off post to ramble!)


Let me know what you think of this post or this site! It only take a few seconds and I'd really appreciate your comments...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...