Monday, February 05, 2007

Folk Multimedia in Memphis

Show Me My Opponent, Mo' Money Taxes CommercialThis thread on the always educational Goner Records Message Board reminds me: Memphis has had some the weirdest and therefore best local media in the WORLD. Between Sivad, studio wrestling and locally-produced commercials, we seem to keep producing very weird and personally conceived commercial media. The Mo' Money1 commercials are just another feather in our hair.

The commercials are great because they appear to be brainchildren of non-professionals (at least as we think of professionals), or very special professionals. I could be dead wrong, but you think they might be conceived by the entrepeneurs themselves.

My all time favorite: a Bailey's Furniture and Appliance2 commercial, advertising satellite dishes. The commercial featured 2 satellite dishes; in the middle of the dishes were the disembodied heads of Mr. Bailey, the store owner, and local rockabilly legend Eddie Bond. They were like singing flowers, except they weren't singing, they were pitching, and they weren't flowers, they were satellite dishes. Bonds and Bailey's talking heads take turns making their pitch. Finished, their heads start spinning, their voices go "ooooohhhhhhhhh!", and their spinning heads shoot off into outer space.

And then there was Brother Hal of Jolly Royal Furniture. Brother Hal was strictly voiceover. He was supposed to be folksy, but it was a Binghamton barfly folksy. I'm not sure if he really said "if you miss this sale, it'll be the worst thing since Hitler", but I definitely heard him say "if you miss this sale, I'll switch your legs."

If someone were to produce a DVD (with a good straightforward commentary track) containing the many, many weird commercials that came from Memphis, it could make a good deal of mo' money for some local charity. It could be national. But no stinkin' Memphis nostalgia. The commercials will be straight up weird and the commentary just the straight facts of the conception, production and distribution.

1My liking the commercials doesn't mean I like, or dislike, the products. In Mo' Money's case, Wendi C. Thomas' recent story questions the harm of their product. Caveat emptor! Caveat lector!

2Since I can't find any info on this, I'm remembering that it was Bailey Furniture and Appliance. Pretty sure, but not positive.

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