I've been generally bummed-out over the past couple of days about Hurricane Katrina and the devastation in and around New Orleans. But today I stumbled across something completely unrelated that made me genuinely ecstatic.
It might even be the best news I've seen all year.
A staple of Chicagoland television, the Eagle Man commercial, has been made available online.
This is, hands-down, the finest television commercial ever made. It has a cult following here, having been aired on local TV stations since (at least) the early 1990s. (Probably earlier?)
Off and on, I have been looking for this thing in digital format for years. Years. At one point I had even e-mailed Eagle Insurance to see if they'd send me a VHS copy of the commercial, all expenses paid. No response.
(Yes, I could have set my VCR to tape some random channels at random intervals. But I couldn't justify that much effort.)
Although it's been modified slightly from the original version -- it now includes slightly more advanced computer graphics, a different Eagle Man voice and a reference to a Web site -- it's still close enough to the original version to make me giddy.
Here's a direct link to the video.
Now, if somebody could Web-post the Victory Auto Wreckers commercial that has been airing on Chicago TV since the early 1980s...
UPDATE: I found the Victory Auto Wreckers commercial, along with a newspaper article about it.
Posted by Andrew Dupont on September 1, 2005, at 8:05 a.m.:
Too deadpan to be tongue-in-cheek; too ridiculous to take seriously. My brain does not know how to process this.
Posted by Antonio Cavedoni on September 1, 2005, at 11:39 a.m.:
Oh, look at these low rates!
This thing is cracking me up. Thanks Adrian.
Posted by Rob on September 1, 2005, at 4:03 p.m.:
I saw the title of your post in my RSS reader and my hopes suddenly soared -- could it be? Yes!
You're right -- this seems to be a slightly modified version of the commercial I remember. I don't think the one I remember said anything about SR22, and the egg-laying sequence is much more graphic than I previously thought. (In fact, I don't remember seeing Eagle Man actually laying the egg. I think it was more effective when it didn't show the laying; I preferred to mentally figure out what was going on instead of watching Eagle Man squat and do his -- his? -- thing.)
But hey, at least Mancow isn't in this one ...
Posted by Chris on September 1, 2005, at 4:45 p.m.:
Now if they release the spanish language version, the cycle will be complete.
Posted by Mike Orren on September 1, 2005, at 5:20 p.m.:
Made my day. This is high art.
And we thought Dallas' Mattress Giant was cool -- ooh-ahh!
Posted by Justin on September 1, 2005, at 7:55 p.m.:
The Victory Auto Wreckers commercial is my favorite. The door falls off the car! And aren't the dollar bills perfectly fanned in the guy's hand? Or am I thinking of a different spot?
I'm also partial to the Chicago Public Library commercials. "Do you have YOUR library card? [Beat.] I have mine."
Posted by Rob on September 1, 2005, at 8:38 p.m.:
Justin: Yeah, in the Victory Auto Wreckers commercial the guy is already shaking his head as he goes to open the door, and when the door falls off, he sort of throws up his arms in a "Man, can my day get any worse?" fashion. Brilliant acting.
Posted by Jim on September 2, 2005, at 1:17 a.m.:
I guess I've been gone from Chicago too long. I don't remember the Eagle commericals. But even after being gone 15 years I get "Five-Eight-Eight, Two-Three hundred, Em-piiiiire!" out of my head.
Posted by Adrian on September 2, 2005, at 1:33 a.m.:
Jim: The Empire Carpet jingle is now national! They now do "800-588-2300."
I heard it while eating lunch in Atlanta a couple years ago and freaked out.
Posted by Matt on September 2, 2005, at 9:42 p.m.:
Somehow even I remember this commercial, despite spending only maybe one week a year in Chicago when I was growing up. When I first watched it, I thought, "This had to have aired in Orlando! I remember it so well!" But the Web site is strictly an Illinois thing. Maybe it really was just that memorable. Thanks for this, Adrian.
Posted by anonymous on September 2, 2005, at 11:22 p.m.:
Don't forget to check out the rap.
Posted by Aaron Swartz on September 3, 2005, at 7:03 p.m.:
I remember meeting a man when I was younger who claimed (plausibly) to be the Eagle Man. My brothers and I were so excited.
Posted by PJ Hyett on September 4, 2005, at 8:20 a.m.:
Both commericals are classic having lived in the area my whole life, thanks for the laugh :-)
Posted by Robb D on September 5, 2005, at 5:43 p.m.:
Just wanted to share that I saw the Victory commercial last night and was thinking to myself how amazing it is that they have been using the same footage all these years; it has be so long that it no longer looks dated but truly 'retro'. Unfortunately I do not have a copy for you (time to buy that damn TiVO).
I'm not originally from here, but have been for two decades and I can't think of a time when that ad wasn't airing, truly a part of our cultural landscape.
Of course another local classic is Empire Carpet, ...5...8...8.. 2... 300... Empire... (as we all sing the jingle in our heads). I think my daughter knew that one by about the time she was five.
Posted by Dan Bishop on September 12, 2005, at 4:55 p.m.:
My favorite Eagle Man commercial is the one with Mancow acting all stupid after crashing. For whatever reason, I've always had the words memorized for the Victory Auto Wreckers commercial. I was upset when they changed it to a woman's voice, but last I heard it's back to a man's again. And rightly so!
Posted by Sebhelyesfarku on September 12, 2005, at 5 p.m.:
Sigh. What a retarded ad. Well, all ads are retarded to reach the consumer droids.
Posted by Lisa on September 14, 2005, at 3:55 a.m.:
Yes, cheesy and just plain bad but burned into our memories. We'll be 90 and won't remember our names or the last time we had a bowel movement, but we'll have the Empire Carpet jingle singing in our heads.
In fact, I'm trying to get rid of an old vehicle and remembered seeing the "Victory Auto Wrecker" commercial not two weeks ago and here I am... online searching for their phone number. That's how I got here, I googled Victory Auto Wreckers!
Now, wasn’t there an "Eagle" commercial that showed a fictitious insurance company named, "You’re Screwed blah..blah.. Insurance Company" or something along those lines, where the eagleman flies in, tackles the fictitious insurance man and saves the customer from making a mistake? I always wondered how they got away with the “You're Screwed” (or whatever it was called) name of the company; it was many years and many "good" morals ago.
Posted by Palmer Brown on September 14, 2005, at 8:13 p.m.:
The guys in my department declared it Fark-worthy and are using valuable work time submitting it.
Posted by Michelle on October 6, 2005, at 11:42 p.m.:
"That old car is worth money"....I love the Victory Auto Wreckers commercial! I always liked the bell-bottoms and wristband watch that the car owner had on. Sixty dollars for your car title-how could he go wrong!
Eagle-Man was another favorite of mine. I always wondered how Eagle "Man" could lay an egg. Apparently others wondered this too because Eagle Man soon became Eagle Woman. "She's droping her rates"!
Does anyone remember the other bad commercials during this time: "Think Young" Rodney D. Young Insurance. Or my personal favorite-and he's still around-Peter Francis Geraci.."Call now for my free bankruptcy info tapes". Then again, I could never forget about Matthew Lesko in his question mark suit running down the steps of the capital exclaiming how you can get money from the government.
Posted by John B. on October 21, 2005, at 9:23 p.m.:
I grew up and in Chicago, but left in 1996 when my Dad transferred with his job to Houston. This is one of the most memorable commercials EVER to come out of a local Chicago firm. My cousin and I, to this day, also attempt to recall the Spanish version, which went something like. "TENGO...ALGO...PARA...TUS!!!...." The Muppet-like eagle baby with insurance quote in-chops is always hysterical to see.
Posted by Zaur on December 31, 2005, at 4:51 p.m.:
What a retarded ad. Well, all ads are retarded to reach the consumer droids.
Posted by Mr. Walters on February 3, 2006, at 6:08 p.m.:
Yikes! The replacement of the magical sparkles noise with the squishy egg expelling noise and cgi effect is just disturbing! Well, that and the fact that this male character lays an egg.
Posted by Brent on February 3, 2006, at 8:22 p.m.:
How about Tileoutlet? 2444 w. fullerton. just 3 blocks west of the kennedy express way!
Posted by Lody on February 3, 2006, at 9:16 p.m.:
You need to find the eagleman commercial with Mancow... that was a classic.
Posted by rottenberry on April 25, 2006, at 4:18 a.m.:
"That old car is worth money. Call VICTORY AUTO WRECKERS at 630-860-2000 for a quote. Victory will buy no matter what condition your car is in...Victory will tow it away FREE... and you'll get cash on the spot! OR...save money by fixing up your car with used parts...Victory has SEVEN ACRES of used parts...starters, transmissions, batteries..for all types of cars!! Victory Auto Wreckers...710 East Green in Bensonville near O'Hare, 630-860-2000."
Posted by David on April 27, 2006, at 7:13 a.m.:
OK, I've decided to come out. After 13 years, I think the statute of limitations has expired. I can no longer be charged with public insanity. Yes... I am the producer/director of all the Eagleman commercials. If you want proof, go to my website, www.rdrproductions.com and click on the client list. I am a legimate 25 year veteran of the production industry who in 1993 was presented with the challenge of producing the most memorable commercial I possibly could in the hopes of turning my client's failing business around. Obviously, we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. With a production budget of less than $5000, our original commercial became a Chicago icon. It ultimately made its way onto the David Letterman show, was featured on the BBC, was written about countless newspaper articles, was discussed adnaseum on talk radio, studied in marketing classes and has won or been nominated for numerous awards. I'd like to tell you I knew it was going to happen but the truth is sometimes its better to be lucky than good. 3 more Eagleman commercials followed but sequels rrely match up the the original. have produced and directed some top flight projects for literally hundreds of clients but among those who know me personally, I will always be associated with "I've got something for you!" I welcome all your comments, good or bad. You can email m directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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