In this weekly Throwback Thursday series, we surface memorable TV advertising moments from days past.
Some things that you will come to know about me through this blog series: I watch a lot of TV, I watch a lot of commercials, and I love to talk about both, at length. I think about how I would make that commercial just a little different if I had written it, how I would change a character’s dialog in a scene, how a fictional character might react if he were standing next to me.
Sometimes these ideas follow me around for longer than they should. Case in point: last week I was riding the subway, it stopped between stations for a little longer than was comfortable, and I thought I saw Saul Berenson standing there with me. Rather than being alarmed, I was oddly reassured. Saul is Mandy Patinkin’s character on Homeland.
I wasn’t overly concerned about my hallucination of Saul – I had just come off a binge of Homeland and I was near Lincoln Center at the time – a hot spot for celeb sightings on the subway. It wasn’t Saul, and as it turns out the look alike had a substantial knee brace and would not have been able to save us. We would have had to save him!
Last night when I thought I heard Jay Pritchett from Modern Family talking to me about allergies, again I was not overly concerned. At first. And then I realized two key things: 1. I don’t have allergies and 2. I was home, alone.
I quickly located the source of the voice: my TV. I had left it on when I went to another room. I backed up the feed to see what the commercials had been while I was away from the set and there it was! Proof that I wasn’t 100% nuts: A Zyrtec ad. With Ed O’Neill, who plays Jay Pritchett, as narrator.
After watching the Zyrtec ad, while Googling Ed’s voiceover career, a Walgreens spot came on. I recognized the voice but struggled to identify the actress’s name. Luckily, my internal Shazam kicked in and I realized it was Tina Fey.
And then I went down the voiceover rabbit hole.
Did you know Catherine Keener is the voice of many Verizon ads? Ty Burrell (Phil on Modern Family) voices Minute Maid spots? Thinking back to the hobbled Saul Berenson, what we needed at that moment was Dr. Doug Ross from ER. He’s done a lot of voiceover work including this ad for Tomorrowland, a Disney movie.
Here is a list of many more voices you may have heard during breaks in your favorite shows.
Listen closely over the next few days and you may catch some new ones. Let me know who you hear.