Monday, September 25, 2006

Memory Jostling Jingles

This morning I spotted a Hampden Moving & Storage truck on Joppa Road that had one of the all-time great local commercial jingles painted on its side. You know the one, with the big-headed Dennis the Menace-looking kid saying "Mommy call Hampden...BElmont 5-0600!" The full jingle, as any Baltimore Baby Boomer worth their salt (which Mash's Hams throws away!) knows, was:

Mommy, call Hampden
Our rugs need cleaning bad
Mommy--I DID it!
Please don't be so mad.

Hampden cleans your rugs like new
Triple-rinses through and through

Mommy, call Hampden
Belmont 5 0600
[baritone with echo]BELMONT 5 0600
Almost as famous a local shout out to Mater Familias was the "More Parks Sausages, Mom.........Please!" slogan. These and many more remembrances of jingles past were recently rekindled by a visit to the Internet forum site ("The neat place where transit and local history mingle!"), a great resource for taking a ride down the Baltimore commercial version of Memory Lane. There's that old chestnut for the old Jerry Chevrolet's that used to be in my 'hood, "Jerry's Chevrolet, at York and Bellona/Best place to become a Chevrolet owna!" Jerry's main location these days is out on Joppa Road, making the rhyme somewhat problematic today. Then there was the good old capitalist car competition in the form of Fox Chevrolet's "Hey, hey, Fox Chevrolet 10% down, 48 months to pay."

I had forgotten so many of these damned ephemeral commercial ditties. The "I Love Luby Chevrolet" slogan...Royal Parker's booming imperative "HEY KIDS, GET OFFA THAT SOFA!" for some plastic furniture covering company...or "Don't own a Cow? Call Cloverland Now!!! Lafayette 4920"...or the aforementioned Mash's Hams' "What's the extra 'S' for? That's for salt, we throw that away!" (OK, but what was the first 'S' for in the MASH'S equation - Maple Aged Smithfield Ham?)

And I never knew that Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore provided the source material for the Mary Sue Butter Creams jingle! Thanks to Joncub for posting the complete lyrics on his Live Journal page, reposted below:
Here's a treat that is sunny for your Easter Bunny
The creamiest candy that's made...
Mary Sue Easter Eggs, Mary Sue Easter Eggs
Brighten your Easter Parade!

We love those Easter Eggs, Mary Sue Easter Eggs
People are making the switch...
'cuz using pure butter makes Mary Sue better,
and you never had it so rich...
Or that there were the radio ads for Lexington Market, one with a jingle that went:
When the Monitor and the Merrimac
Were choosing their favorite targets
Business went on just the same
At busy Lexington Market

It was true back then
And it's true today
As Chesapeake Bay folks know
For the finest in foods from near or far
Lexington's the place to go

Many of these commercial jingles seem to be lodged in my brain, achieving Jungian archetype status in my collective unconscious - like dreams of flying or the great flood myth - only to be triggered by some event like a passing moving & storage truck or a musical refrain from a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. One particularly vexing long-dormant ditty that has recently been driving me to dementia is the old jingle, "Riggs Counselman Michaels and Down, RCM and D!" And I don't even remember who RCM&D where or what product or service they sold!

Related Links:
Bojingles Audio (Brent Hardesty's resource for mp3s of ads)
Bohjingles' "Mommy Call Hampden"


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