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The Greatest Local Business Commercials, Including Crazy Eddie!

I won't be beat! But maybe you can beat my graphic designer for me... please?

I have a confession to make: I've always been extremely entertained by local business commercials. Put on a Coca-Cola commercial and I can barely even sit through the entire thing without wanting to stand up and scream, but commercials produced for and by local companies? I could watch 'em all day long without even blinking. I've always said that the best kind of humor is unintentional humor, and believe me, there's nothing funnier than seeing an ultra low budget commercial for a local company that was probably done by some college freshman film student. Sometimes its their catchy little jingles, sometimes it's an absurd mascot, sometimes it's an awful logo, and sometimes it's all of those things and more. Whatever the case, I think there's a lot to be said about local ads and today I want to discuss a few of my favorites.

When we moved out to Los Angeles, we immediately started noticing some recurring ads for local businesses, and the one that caught my attention more than anything else was for Leeds Mattress Stores. Maybe it's because "Neil with the deal" used to have the same kind of whafro hairdo as The Greatest American Hero, but I will never tire of seeing his advertisements. Here's one of his more recent commercials (you'll have to watch for the impeccable art & animation at the end), but sadly he got rid of the old whafro hairdo even though the logo and "I won't be beat!" tagline still remain:

You'd think with all the mattresses they've sold over the years they could hire an artist to update their logo a bit. It'd probably be good for their business anyway. I mean, if I see a company with a logo that looks that cheap, I'm probably not gonna expect the quality of their merchandise to be all that stellar either. Plus, I realize he's supposed to be in pajamas enjoying a good rest in that logo, but I swear the drawing makes him look more like an elf rather than a guy in pajamas. His high, ultra-happy commercial voice makes him sound like an elf too - though, I'm sure in real life, he's a baritone.

Another amazing local commercial I recently witnessed was for Michael's Furniture Warehouse. Take a look:

No, you didn't just go on some crazy acid trip, all you did was watch a commercial. A commercial with a semi-naked man, a guy in a bunny suit, a guy in a boxspring mattress-suit, and a woman in a French maid outfit. It's sounds so evil when the announcer says "The Bunny" - it's like something straight out of a horror movie trailer. I also have to say that the guy wearing the mattress suit has one hell of a nice fake moustache. Somewhere in there, I think they were trying to sell furniture, but I'll be damned if any of their sales messages sunk in with me... and I've watched that commercial about ten times. These people shouldn't be selling furniture, they should be making movies for film students to study over and over again.

There was also a law firm back in Richmond and every commercial of theirs was absolutely ridiculous. You know how most law firm commercials are totally serious in that "Have you been injured in an accident? We can help." kind of way? Well not this firm... one of their most memorable commercials featured their jolly lawyer flying in a hand-drawn spaceship! That's right, they figured that having a lawyer flying around the TV screen in a rocket would be a surefire way to land some new clients. Who wouldn't want a guy like that in charge of their legal battles? I'm still trying to find some footage of their old commercials, but that law firm is no longer together (the partners ended up suing each other!) it's probably not going to happen as I'm probably one of the only people who even gives this much of a damn about local business commercials from yesteryear.

As amazingly entertaining as all these aforementioned commercials are, nothing and I mean NOTHING compares to my all-time favorite local business commercials. I was fortunate enough to have been born in Long Island, New York, and as a result, I had a lot of exposure to the greatest local electronics dealer the world has ever seen: Crazy Eddie!

Our prices are INSANE!!!!!!!

Any of you who grew up in Northeast back in the 80's probably remember his maniacal ranting style as he ended each commercial with that classic phrase, "Our prices are insaaaaaaaaaane!" Have you ever seen CNBC's "Mad Money" show with Jim Cramer? Yeah, well imagine fifty Jim Cramers stuffed into a room that was slowly filling with sulfuric acid. If you recorded the tortured sounds they made as their bodies dissolved, you might have a glimpse as to what the world of Crazy Eddie was really like. His commercials weren't mere advertisements, they were an asylum experience. Behold:

It's like watching rabid auctioneer just before he decides to open fire on everybody before putting the barrel to his own head isn't it? That's why I always looked forward to the latest Crazy Eddie commercials just as much as my favorite TV shows... you just never knew what was going to happen in them next! I particularly enjoyed how almost every sale of theirs was "the greatest sale ever" according to Crazy Eddie. What came as a shock to me years later is that the Crazy Eddie we all knew from the commercials wasn't really Eddie at all, it was just a local radio DJ by the name of Jerry Carroll who was hired to play the role of "Crazy Eddie". The real Crazy Eddie was charged with fraud, sentenced to eight years in prison and was ordered to pay more than $150 million in fines - hence the demise of the Crazy Eddie electronics empire. For those of you interested in learning more about the company history, I highly recommend checking out the entire Crazy Eddie story on Wikipedia as it's a fascinating read and you'll even get to see his real FBI arrest warrant which actually lists "Crazy Eddie" as one of his aliases!

All legal issues aside, Jerry Carroll's "Crazy Eddie" commercial character brought me countless laughs over the years and I'll never forget all those absurdist TV spots. They just don't make commercials like that anymore folks, and it's a damned shame...



Dalten (Guest) on 02/06/2008 1:25 pm

Lord almighty, I love these ads too. I live in Mass., and we have billions of those "have you been injured? we can help". My favorite would have to be the Mobile Law Office. It's just like any other of those Ambulance-chaser sleazy lawyers, but this one meets with clients in a renovated shuttlebus (or literally chase ambulances looking for clients). But of course the ads look as cheap as can be, which makes it so memorable :D

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Marthaeus Autolykos on 02/06/2008 1:30 pm

Over Xmas I was visiting family in another city and I saw a bus stop bench with a lawyer ad: "Accident? Call the Man in the Hat!" along with a picture of the laywer in a ridiculous pimp hat. The last four digits of his phone number were "4HAT." Who knows in what direction gimmick legal services might go next? I'm holding out for "Count Lawyer: Vampire Legal Services." He guarantees your payout won't SUCK. Blah!


Bobby (Guest) on 02/06/2008 1:53 pm

Nice article dude. I grew up in Southern California (started in San Pedro, then Long Beach, then La Habra), and there were a bunch of great local commercials.
You weren't originally from Cali right? You must have missed the greatness of Cal Worthington. (This link is from 1986. I was born in 1988, so I was hoping I could find one from the 90's. However, this gives a good idea of how his commercials are)

Here is one example of the many great furniture commercials.

My personal favorite furniture commercial ends with the line "Or your mattress is FREEEEEEE!" Sadly, I can't remember the name of the store. Hopefully I can find it.

I might post some more as I remember them.


Bobby (Guest) on 02/06/2008 1:58 pm

Oh yeah, how could I forget the best insurance company ever? Survival.

Most Survival commercials followed this formula, this one stood out the most though IMO.

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Ronin S on 02/06/2008 2:03 pm

Growing up in Canada, I had never heard about Eddie Antar and his fraud until I watched the show 'Masterminds'. Whole family was in on the scam, heh.

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argonath on 02/06/2008 2:20 pm

These guys have kept the 'cheesy auto dealer' stereotype alive and well in central Florida for years. Oh, and they somehow get away with racial stereotypes too. The website gives a hint of the insanity, but nothing compares to the 30 minute-long infomercials.

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Colonel Flagg on 02/06/2008 2:21 pm

Boy, I can relate.

Growing up in Philly, the dude with the most annoying commercials in history was Benny Krass, of Krass Brothers Men's Store. He would lead in with his standard catchphrase "If you didn't buy your clothes from Krass Brothers, you ------- (insert cliche here)" If he said "are nuts!" he'd then be pelted with walnuts. If he said "should be locked up." then armed police showed up, slapped on some cuffs and hauled him away. The commercials were all uniformly stupid, annoying, .... and amazingly memorable. Which was the point, of course.

I actually miss these relics of the past. Now I wonder if I can find any of them on YouTube ....

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Colonel Flagg on 02/06/2008 2:26 pm

Found one ....

I can't pre-screen it though - I'm being watched .... o-o


Frank Murtov (Guest) on 02/06/2008 3:23 pm

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Anti.5 on 02/06/2008 3:26 pm

Dude. Mr. Sprigg's BBQ. Look it up. Best shit ever. PERIOD.

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executioneer on 02/06/2008 3:41 pm

i would like to recommend a youtube search for "vern fonk insurance", their commercials are so hilariously bad that i am positive that it is intentional

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plooker on 02/06/2008 3:53 pm

Just today at work someone brought their lunch in a Crazy Bruce's Liquor Store bag. That got me reminiscing about other crazy local ads, then this. Thanks for a surreal capper to the day.


Qwiglee (Guest) on 02/06/2008 3:58 pm

The mattress store that Bobby mentioned is called "Sit'n Sleep". They only have stores in the Los Angeles area.

The president of the company named Larry always says "We'll beat anyone's advertised price or your mattress is FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!" On the radio ads the accounting guy says, "You're killing me Laaarrry!"

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Neen on 02/06/2008 4:34 pm

There's this local furniture chain called Art Van. It's not so much funny as annoying that just about every other week is some big, important sale going on... and it's about to end.

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xscoot on 02/06/2008 4:53 pm

We actually have something like Crazy Eddie's, but instead it is called Crazy Joe's. There are two main differences, (1) no crazy commercials and (2) the owner looked like Crazy Eyes from Mr.Deeds, so Deranged Joe's would have been a more fitting title. Still, a good place to shop.

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xscoot on 02/06/2008 5:01 pm

On the subject of commercials, some of you say that they don't make them like they use to.

Tell me that isn't as trippy and random as some of the crazy eddie commercials.

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Pentegarn on 02/06/2008 5:30 pm

I think Crazy Eddie tried too hard to be crazy and it came off as forced.

The furniture warehouse commercial on the other hand...

Arnold's Japanese commercials think that commercial is jacked up.

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Nab on 02/06/2008 5:42 pm

It seems like its the car dealerships, furniture stores and lawyers that have the best commercials.

Perhaps the funniest that I can think of right off hand is that of a law firm. (I actually just googled this and found out that it apparently also runs in Texas, meaning that its either not local or the guy decided he needed to move from Texas to West Virginia for some stupid reason) It begins with another, larger man telling the lawyer that he can't get any money for his client. The man then turns into a tiger made from perhaps the worst CGI I have ever witness, who proceeds to walk around and swat at the other lawyer. He then transforms back, looks into the camera, says the name of the law firm and then states its slogan : "Get a Tiger on your side!"

Also, if anyone can find them on youtube or something, lawyer Pete Higinbotham (who was based in Pittsburgh, but worked mostly in West Virginia, where he now seems to be based) has always had some amazingly stupid commercials, especially as of late.


Alex (Guest) on 02/06/2008 5:43 pm

Living in the Chicago suburbs gave us a horrid amount of crazy commercials.

This one was from Eagle Auto Insurance of Illinois
He is Eagle Man, but he lays an egg. Spawned a horrible catch phrase of "Aww, look at those low rates!"

This commercial has been on Chicago TV for 35 years:
The owner of the company has gotten death threats because everyone hates the commercial.


Grandjester (Guest) on 02/06/2008 6:20 pm

Cal Worthington was the MAN! Don't miss the "Hey Vern" guy though.

The best of the best current ones is down in Florida, "Appliance Direct" I do believe.


Shane Skekel (Guest) on 02/06/2008 6:54 pm

The commercials for Cottman Transmission can be cheezy at times, but the Southern Siding ones can rival them.

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Marthaeus Autolykos on 02/06/2008 7:40 pm

The Cottman commercials are golden. Their mascot is a senile, mute old man who begins the commercial doing something silly, like attempting to maintain a levee with his finger a la Little Dutch Boy, who is then approached and questioned by the barely-literate mechanics who recite their lines in an unconvincing monotone while taking a groaner of a stab at the Army Corps of Engineers: "Frank, why don't you leave the levees to the levee experts...uh...who are the levee experts?" (Poorly synchronized shrugging of shoulders by everyone on screen ensues)

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Spruce Moose on 02/06/2008 7:50 pm

Crazy Eddie commercials are like Ultimate Warrior promos.


fernando corral (Guest) on 02/06/2008 8:44 pm

Crazy Gideon's in Downtown L.A. very similar to Crazy Eddie's in NY. I grew up watching this madman on my television as far back as i can remember. oh, and ive shopped there, not really a great place for bargains but i can definitely vouch for the guy in the commercial being the real crazy gideon. he is not an actor and he is not acting.


mistersamsa (Guest) on 02/06/2008 8:49 pm

Vern Fonk Insurance has had some of the best commercials for years

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Fear N Loathing on 02/06/2008 9:13 pm

No one has mentioned the 80's Carvel Ice Cream commercials... with that gravel voiced dude Frank Carvel and his HORRIBLE holiday classics like "Cookie O'Puss" for St. Patty's day... never mind "Fudgie the Whale" and the rest... those were so bad I believe I remember Billy Crystal doing a riff on him back then as well...


Paul (Guest) on 02/06/2008 9:44 pm

The Flea Market Montgomery is great. A true internet classic.

Also, check this one out. Tell em Tony sent ya:

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KillerMcGee on 02/06/2008 9:50 pm

reminds me of this tim and eric satire:
why is it always mattress stores? I was gunna post Vern Fonk, but someone beat me to it. I hate that guy.
this guys kids need to put him in a home.

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IXCE on 02/06/2008 9:58 pm

The only commercials I find amusing are the ones from Norton's Furniture.


Richard (Guest) on 02/06/2008 10:21 pm

We have a guy down here in Houston, selling furniture and yells HOOOOOO while madly and wildly swinging a chainsaw. Also, a few years back he had a baby boy who he equipped with a smaller chainsaw, and had him going at it too. Even funnier, the street name his store is located at is Fuqua.


Zug (Guest) on 02/06/2008 10:56 pm

hahah I just bought my mattress from Leeds...

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Walrus_On_Crack on 02/06/2008 11:43 pm

lmao. the bunny man is going to give me nightmares!

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JakeOfAllTrades on 02/07/2008 1:26 am

In Australia they used to have "Crazy John" ads, where a guy in a suit would shove mobile phones down footy player's pants. This happened round about the time the Hopoate scandal happened, where Hopoate was charged for sexually assaulting players by putting not phones in people's pants, but his fingers up their... HEY-LOOOO!

Naturally this didn't do well, so instead Crazy John shoved phones up footy player's shirts in the later ads. Not nearly as creepy, but would anybody ever want a phone shoved up their football jersey when they're attempting a try? (A try is a NRL goal, sort of like a touchdown)

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Jaimas on 02/07/2008 1:49 am


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autodidact on 02/07/2008 3:09 am

I helped a couple of friends of mine write and produce a couple for a local car dealer. They were great fun to make but CHEAP. We did one where we lampooned a shady used car lot to make our guy look honest. Funny part is, we shot it on one of his 'other' lots. One without his name on it. Unfortunately that lot became pretty well known and he ended up closing it down.


Alex (Guest) on 02/07/2008 4:32 am

For you Tommy Tutone fans, here are a couple of ads for Ben Franklin Plumbing. This isn't the same ad I've seen for Atascadero, CA, but the company seems to demand all franchises use 867-5309!

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Desert_Screams on 02/07/2008 8:46 am

These are just insane. Some of 'em are almost better than those fake commercials on early (first/second season) SNL-- like the toad-steak restaurant skit with Buck Henry.


tasakeru828 (Guest) on 02/07/2008 8:54 am

You guys should see the local commercials we have in Roanoke (VA). We have two guys from a local pawn shop and title loan in three-dollar costumes as "The Cash Crusader" and "Money Man". We have a car dealer who "turns November into YESvember!" every thanksgiving. And we have Daniel L. Crandall, Esq., an attorney who looks like Satan.

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Kirbykid on 02/07/2008 9:39 am

here in CT, we have :Bob's discount furniture stores. his ads are nuts, one is him being eaten by a couch, on he his suing a bed in court, they make no sense! "COME ON DOWN!!!"

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Sleazeappeal on 02/07/2008 12:41 pm


Five-Eight-Eight... Two-Three-Hundred...

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mburbank on 02/07/2008 1:21 pm

I did an add for Skippy Whites Record Shop in Cambridge Mass. It ran once before the station it was on got sold. The add was so cheap, they kept the tags in the matching sweaters and pants sets we wore so they could return them after the shoot.

I too miss Tom Carvel, not just for his awesome voice, but because his pauses seemed to be determined by a random number generator. They were totally unpredictable and had nothing to do with the sentence structure at all.

I wonder if he'd had a stroke?


Gourry (Guest) on 02/07/2008 1:51 pm

I LOVE this commercial. Who wouldn't buy a costume there?

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xscoot on 02/07/2008 3:26 pm

I noticed that the announcers in the baltimore car ad actually offends the viewers of the ad atleast 20 times. That's a lot in a minute.

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Tayeloquin on 02/07/2008 4:25 pm

I'm from East Texas. The only memorable one, and I don't know if they're still going or not, are the one's from Bill's Unclaimed Furniture. I know he advertised a going out of business sale for about 4 years.

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RaxaR on 02/07/2008 6:30 pm

localy theres an infomercial for a wig store that runs on an independent, "christian" UHF station. Just imagine some rather unattractive lady, going on for about half an hour about what wigs you should buy, while trying them all on her self.

the bitch doesn't need a wig to improve her apperance, she needs a paper bag.....

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Dungeonbrownies on 02/07/2008 6:57 pm

by god, that woman near the end is pretty attractive, but ifshe saw him running towards her like that looking the way he does, sho should have been running, he looks almost like a rapist or crazy beach buum in the last bit...

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Anti.5 on 02/07/2008 8:16 pm

You're all insane. All these commercials eat shit. Here's the Mr. Sprigg's spot. This is how it's fucking done, people:


Delamaize (Guest) on 02/07/2008 10:23 pm

ROG, you should check out the "Vern Fonk Auto insurance" commercials out of seattle.

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Vengeful Asparagus on 02/07/2008 10:38 pm

Apparently you kids haven't experienced the Northeast awesomeness of Good Ole Tom.

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Ferrit on 02/07/2008 11:00 pm

I grew up in the North Shore/Boston area, and I'd pay good money for a clip of a local car dealer ad - circa 1983? - 84? Can't even remember the car dealership, but the jingle has been stuck in my brain matter ever since. Skinny guy dressed as a Pilgrim sitting on a car hood with an acoustic guitar singing "Turkey time's a-comin', Turkey time's a-comin..." Damn - I'd kill for that clip.

Now what we've got is Bob's Mattress Discounters claim of "When Bob does it right - YOU WILL COME!"

I find that creepy on a couple of levels.

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Walrus_On_Crack on 02/07/2008 11:14 pm
i personally love this commercial.


peter (Guest) on 02/08/2008 6:47 am

ha neil with a deal looks like someone that hung out with link from zelda but just annoyed the shit out of him

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Fear N Loathing on 02/08/2008 12:41 pm

Max: Completely agree with you on the 'Tom Carvel Randomness'... I went digging last night and found the Billy Crystal bit on one of my old comedy cassettes (wow thems old ain't they?) and found the line of him making fun of the way he (Carvel) talked "... and as I'm speaking to you sir, I'm drooling into the vanilla!" LMAO on that one man....

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incognit000 on 02/08/2008 5:09 pm

The craziest thing is that those fancy, expensive ads never get me to buy a damn thing, but these local ads actually work, if only because I want to go see the madman who created them.

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Darktrooper11 on 02/08/2008 10:41 pm


Ray (Guest) on 02/09/2008 12:28 am

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Captain PirateFace on 02/09/2008 1:49 am

In Vegas we have Jon Barr (look him up on youtube) totally worth it.

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Captain PirateFace on 02/09/2008 1:55 am

hey... here's an idea...

local Horror Hosts... past, present and future?

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ISChris on 02/09/2008 2:07 pm

I came to post the Flea Market rap, I was beaten. I am sad now :(

But i'll tell you the truth about that matress logo with the guy in pyjamas. If you hadn't pointed that out I'd have sworn he was an elf. :-/

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thecatillaccat on 02/09/2008 3:29 pm

Neil With The Deal is at the same time fascinating, and horrifying.


lifeguardoflove (Guest) on 02/10/2008 2:16 pm

Not truly a local business advert, but so annoying nonetheless that it deserves a mention - UK readers will no doubt recognize and quake in terror at the sheer awesomeness of SAFESTYLE WINDOWS.

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Geminate on 02/10/2008 6:54 pm

Yes, in California from the 70's through the 80's network television was deluged with hundreds of insane ads like this, it's nothing new to us.


Misty (Guest) on 02/11/2008 5:53 pm

Unforunitly my city doesn't have really funny commercials. Well, there was sorta one in December that was unintetionally funny (and very much "the fuck?!"). Basically a local flooring business (whos name escapes me right now) was having yet another sale and the reason that THIS sale was much better then any other in the past was if you order from them during this sale you get a choice between a free Caribbean cruise omg! or a RUG *cue shot of a shitty looking cheap rug*.

Yeah, I wondered what said cruise would be like too.


Guesty the GushingGuest (Guest) on 02/13/2008 2:11 pm

The 'Eastern Motors' commercials here in Baltimore have become a cult phenomenon the song + Ray Lewis laughing at the sheer silliness of the ad makes everyone crack up.


Big daddy Z (Guest) on 02/14/2008 12:01 am

It's good to see mentions of Vern Fonk in here, but I need to chime in with something just stupid cheesy that I remember growing up

Jack Robert's Furniture Warehouse

Every ad ended with him getting a pie in the face, screaming "I won't be undersold!"

I think he wore the same outfit in all the ads too.

I'm not 100% sure, but the place may still be around.

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Dr. V on 02/17/2008 2:23 am

Ha, you should have lived around here when they'd show the "Crazy Gideon" ads at 2am. He would just yell prices then break the product with a hammer or a bat for 30 seconds. I haven't seen any lately though.
Here's one where he doesn't break stuff.

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Dr. V on 02/17/2008 2:23 am

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Dr. V on 02/17/2008 2:25 am


Fallout911 (Guest) on 02/17/2008 4:31 pm

The LEEDS logo is a rip off SEGA.

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naardejood on 02/18/2008 2:43 am

I believe I may have you all licked (in a strictly platonic manner). The commercial below is one for Outrageous Audio (on the corner of 42nd and Stark) in Portland, whOregon. He's been running these commercials for as long as I can remember. They've gotten exponentially crazier every year. I think he may be suffering from tardive dyskinesia brought on by a raging amphetamine addiction, or, perhaps, Tourette's Syndrome.

So, without further ado, I give to you:

(Video not uploaded by me.)


Misty (Guest) on 03/01/2008 2:29 pm

Not sure if this Leeds commercial parody has been posted or not...


I-Mockery Blabber (Guest) on 12/06/2008 4:54 pm

[...] I no longer live on the East Coast and Crazy Eddie is sadly a thing of the past, I've had this burning desire to find an electronics retailer with the [...]


Greg Calbert (Guest) on 12/17/2008 1:06 pm

Ha HA Ha!

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