August 5th, 2004

Wedding day

How the Mighty Have Fallen: A study in how I waste my time at work

Poor Wilford Brimley.

The guy is hocking diabetes-detection equipment on TV. How could he have sunk so low? After such a long and glamorous career, how could he possibly have reached the trough of commercial abnegation? I mean, we're talking about the guy who starred in... who... Well gee, all I can think of is That Friggin' Ewok Movie:

I think that's what the movie was called. I might be wrong, and I know he's been in more stuff. Some of it is even stuff I've heard of, but I guess I just associate Wilford Brimley with Quaker Oats, thanks to his long spokesmanship for them. I guess it's not so hard for me to picture Mr. Brimley in the commercial world after all. And he is diabetic, so his endorsement is probably sincere. Still, it's depressing to me to recognize actors who've fallen out of favor with Hollywood and are settling for selling products they would probably never use.

Take Ted's Dad from the Bill and Ted Movies (not his real name -- it's actually Hal Landon Jr.). He's working for Ditech right now. The commercial isn't very funny, and if you check out his website, he's clearly capable of much more than that (or at least, the good people at South Coast Repertory think so). Heck, he even had a small role in David Lynch's Eraserhead. Clearly he was meant for greater things than hamming it up for your empty chair while you get a soda and wait for The O.C. to return from commercial break (you have lousy taste in television, by the way). Why haven't we seen Mr. Jr. in something like this:

I suppose it's because he's not young and attractive, nor is he the distinguished gent that Sean Connery was at his age. Let's face it -- Sean Connery's face and body were made for playing spies, highwaymen, and authority figures. Hal Landon Jr. might have the same hair as Death, but he was made to play the cop who pulls you over for no reason, or maybe your best friend's dad who hates you. Or if you're Bill S. Preston Esquire, I suppose he could be both.

So okay. I guess the reason actors like these guys get stuck doing commercial work is that they're B-list celebrities. Tom Bosley for example. Back in the day Mr. Bosley was The Man. He even won a Tony in 1958, fercryinoutloud. That stuff doesn't last forever though, and after pigeonholing his career by playing the role of Whatsisname's Dad on Happy Days, he ended up stuck in pablum like The Million Dollar Mystery (for which he won a Razzie, incidentally) and commercials for Glad Trashbags. In all fairness, he does get occasionally real work, but these days it's mostly television commercials, most recently... what was it? I don't even remember. Life insurance, maybe. Mr. Bosley deserves better.

I um, I doubt we could ever get that movie made, but tell me you wouldn't pay to see it. I'm kidding, of course. I already know you wouldn't pay to see it. You'd probably also not pay to see Michael Villani (who also appears in the Ditech commercials) in whatever movie I'd have come up with if I could have found a picture of him online while I was at work. I couldn't but it's fine. I did, however, find a picture of his Return of the Killer Tomatoes co-star Karen Mistal, which hopefully won't get me fired. If she ever became marketable again, I think it's safe to say that I'd pay good money to see this:

I'm sorry. When my workload is this heavy, I tend to get really bored and my mind wanders. It's a very bad combination.
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