Where Are They Now, And Who Were They Then?—Advertising Icons Edition


Our fabulous research editor Kara Kovalchik has been catching up with the previous generation of advertising icons. Here's what she learned.

1. Crazy Eddie

Crazy Eddie dominated the New York airwaves from the mid-seventies until bankruptcy in 1989. Not until Eddie Antar fled to Israel to escape fraud charges did I realize the TV spokesnut and CEO were not the same person. (I was 10, and in my defense probably hadn't given this much thought.)

Crazy Eddie (the actor) was played by Jerry Carroll, a DJ for WPIX-FM in New York. Since 1989, Carroll has done commercials for 6th Avenue Electronics and Neil's Auto Group, a Long Island car dealership, among others. He started an advertising agency with his wife called East Coast Media. And he reprised his role during the unsuccessful Crazy Eddie relaunch.

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You can see some classic Crazy Eddie commercials at YesButNoButYes.

2. The Gerber Baby

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After a lifetime of teaching literature, Cook wrote three novels: Trace Their Shadows, Shadow Over Cedar Key, and Homosassa Shadows.

And Snopes has debunked the sub-Saharan legend that Africans believed jars of Gerber actually contained liquefied Caucasian baby.

3. Wendy

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Founded in 1969, Wendy's was named for Dave Thomas' second daughter, Melinda Lou (nicknamed Wendy by her siblings). She went on to attend the University of Florida. And now Wendy takes her kids to the restaurant that bears her name every day. Just like her father.

As of this past May, in addition to her frequent dining, she was operating 32 Wendy's restaurants with her siblings.

4. Bob's Big Boy

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Woodruff, who grew to be a massive 6-foot-6, 300-pound local legend in Glendale, California, passed away in 1986. He was 54.

5. Little Miss Coppertone

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Ms. Ballantyne Brand went on to create memorable work for Pampers, Ovaltine and Schlitz. In the mid-1970s, she and her husband moved from Chicago to Ocala, Florida. She passed away in 2006.

6. Dutch Boy

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Brady grew up to become a political cartoonist, whose work was published by the Brooklyn Eagle. His Dutch Boy roots were the subject of this autobiographical cartoon from 1931.

7. Sailor Jack

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8. The FedEx Fast Talker/The MicroMachines Guy

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He was #6 on a recent list of the Ten Creepiest Advertising Icons (Crazy Eddie also made the list, at #10). Most recently, he parodied his fast-talking self on Robot Chicken.

9. Little Debbie

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Little Debbie now sponsors NASCAR, but on her terms. "The McKee family wanted an association with a NASCAR team, but on terms that upheld its convictions. Typical sponsors want maximum exposure. That's what they pay for. Little Debbie may seem to be everywhere, but come Saturday, you won't find her at a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series track. The McKee family observes its Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. They are Seventh day Adventists and while their products may be sold on their Sabbath, the business of promoting sales stops for one day each week."

10. Mikey

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Gilchrist went on to appear in over 250 commercials in his teenage years. As of 2000, John Gilchrist had found a home on the other side of the camera. Or more accurately, in a different room entirely, with cameras not at all involved. He's an advertising salesman for WTKU, a New York radio station.