The night jingle music died

When I was a kid, eating was different. Food was sometimes fun, and other times, it had a certain reverence.

More things were exotic, because the world wasn't as small as it is now; you couldn't get everything everywhere all the time.

The biggest difference was that every-day food was more of a priority; sitting down at the table for meals was the norm, not the exception.

But that was a long time ago. I was reminded that we were at the end of that era when I heard the news recently that Richard D. Trentlage had passed away. 

Let me guess, you don't know who Richard Trentlage was. Most people didn't, even though he was the creator of a great piece of Americana, a jingle.

He wrote the Oscar Mayer wiener song. It was one of the longest-running ad songs in history, and he wrote it in one night, inspired by an expression his son mentioned: being a hot dog, or a cool kid.

You know how it goes, don't you?

“Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener
That is what I’d truly like to be
’Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener
Everyone would be in love with me.”

Advertisers were often trying to convey "coolness" even back in the 1960s when this jingle was written. That this song was cool in some way up until 2010 when it was retired is saying something.  

There was a blue-collar prestige to many companies in those days too, though; products were from family-owned companies, or at least that was what we thought ("Mr. Christie, you make good cookies").

Brand loyalty was a badge that families wore proudly. Trying something new was more likely to happen on holidays when you ate something you couldn't get at home. 

I remember spending summer holidays in the United States a few times growing up, and as much as it wasn't really different than home, having Dr. Pepper and a Babe Ruth chocolate bar was certainly super cool.

We could get Rice Krispies at home (everyone knew Snap, Crackle and Pop) but getting to try Cocoa Puffs was a real treat.

Now, kids across the continent can sample all manner of goodies whenever they want. We were much easier to impress, my generation.

Jingles still exist, of course, and sometimes they go worldwide. Coca Cola has done songs for the Olympics that have far surpassed the vintage jingle, "I'd like to buy the world a Coke."

McDonald's has incorporated lots of music into their advertising over the years; you could say they created an early rap ad with the Big Mac song.I can still recite all the words.

One of the cutest jingles of all time was for a product that wasn't food, but it was all about food or rather too much of it.

Alka-Seltzer's "plop plop fizz fizz" jingle was popular for a long time alongside vignettes of people who had overindulged.

I remember Al, a fellow siting on the side of his bed, saying, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing." That line became a classic, too.

The jingle was resurrected for an ad that aired during Super Bowl in 2007, in a concert setting ending with fans holding glowing glasses with the famous antacid relief bubbling away. 

We don't treat many things seriously any more, and it seems food is the same.

As I wrote about recently, sometimes food is given a false sense of celebrity but on an everyday level it doesn't rate as high. I don't see Facebook posts of people bragging about serving Chef Boyardee or even Kraft Dinner.

The world has moved on, and in many ways that is all for the best. But I'm glad I got to live in an age when it was cool to be a hot dog. 

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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