Southern California is incredibly diverse in terms of its people, food, geography, topography – the list can go on and on. But one thing that unites Southern California and its residents is the region-wide advertising. From the beaches of northern Ventura County to the deserts of Palm Springs, there are a few faces and voices that are instantly recognizable – not because they were in a blockbuster movie or highly-rated TV show, but because they repeatedly hawk their wares at all hours of the day from our TVs and radios.
“If you need a better car, go see Cal…” Yes, we know it sounded like something else, but he was actually singing, “go see Cal.” This jingle caught on with millions of Southern Californians throughout the 80s. Cal Worthington was famous for advertising his gigantic Long Beach car dealership while accompanied by a menagerie of animals – tigers, orangutans, elephants and more – but the voice over always told us, “go see Cal and his dog Spot!” Was there ever a dog? We’re not sure. Worthington died Sunday, Sept. 8, at the age of 92, reportedly while enjoying Sunday football.
Driving along LA freeways all of a sudden gets more exciting when you spot a pink Corvette. Angelyne’s face and sultry poses are a well-known sight in Los Angeles. While her Wikipedia page lists her as a singer, actress and model, Southern Californians know her best simply from her billboards, in which the blond bombshell is always wearing hot pink lingerie and heels. Fans also see her from time to time as she drives her pink Corvette throughout the Valley. She also joined other semi-famous Southern Californians by declaring her candidacy for governor during the 2003 California recall election.
Larry H. Parker
“We’ll fight for you!” Personal injury attorney Larry H. Parker and his clients were well known throughout Southern California. The commercials have at times featured an “actual client” praising Parker for winning him $2.1 million and other times simply feature him and another attorney, walking through an empty courtroom, discussing your (the viewer’s) rights.
Sit N Sleep Guy
“You’re killing me Larry!” We all know Larry, the front man for Sit N’ Sleep, but its actually the voice of his accountant who makes the commercials for the mattress superstore so instantly recognizable. We’ll give Larry some credit, though, for teaching us about dust mites and replacing our mattresses if they’re more than eight years old.
Jack Stephanovich, Jack Stephanino, Jack Stephonsky – those of us watching at home must have wondered how this terrible announcer got his job for the Jack Stephan commercials. Plumber Jack Stephan was never actually featured in the commercials, we think, but the commercials did give viewers a lesson in the many ways you could butcher a simple name like Jack Stephan.
[Ominous voice] “Who knows what danger lurks in your plumbing?” “Adee do!” Are plumbers known for their advertising creativity? Adee do!
The beeper craze was unfortunately short-lived, but that didn’t keep JJ from becoming nominally famous. His commercials, shown throughout Southern California and Nevada, featured him wearing a crown, a king’s cloak, holding a scepter, and declaring, “I’m JJ and I’m the king of beepers.”
Abogado Juan Dominguez
Angelenos spend so much time in their cars that it’s not surprising that Juan Dominguez’s brilliant grin and perfectly-trimmed mustache is seared into our memories. It’s strange how he’s never aged since the 80s, when we started seeing these ubiquitous bus ads popping up all over Southern California.
Darleene Powells is the features editor of CBSLA.com.