Mister Boomer Presents the Boomies Awards!

It’s award season. You can hardly turn on the television at this time of year without seeing an awards show, or a commercial for one coming soon. In the spirit of awards season, Mister Boomer is presenting the very first (and probably last) Boomies Awards, dedicated to the culture of the Boomer Generation (insert overly exuberant audience reaction here). In order to keep our non-telecast down to a tolerable minimum, we’re only announcing one award this evening: the award for Best Use of a Boomer-Era Song in a TV Commercial.

Mister Boomer has penned several posts about how today’s marketers — more often than not Millennials and Gen-Xers themselves — are choosing boomer-era music to hawk all types of products and services. Who can forget recent nominees like Yoplait Yogurt’s 2015 puzzling use of All Day and All of the Night (1964) by the Kinks, or 2021’s Corona Hard Seltzer’s employment of I Like It Like That (1967) by Pete Rodriguez. Both of these examples had the temerity to use the original recordings. We see may current examples where a cover version is inserted. Nonetheless, in almost all instances, a full commercial-length snippet of the song is rare; usually we hear a hook, memorable melody or riff that is hand-picked for commercial purposes.

So, without further ado, the nominees, currently airing on a TV near you, for Best Use of a Boomer-Era Song in a TV Commercial are:

Walmart, Patio Furniture Ad: The Clapping Song (1965), by Shirley Ellis
Mister B is not quite sure if the original is what is heard in the TV ad. He thinks the snippet used may be a cover version.

Target, The Things We Value Most Ad: Best of My Love (1977), by The Emotions
The original recording is heard.

Whole Foods, Ad: Every Beat of My Heart (1964), by The Du-ettes
This may in fact be the 1964 version that is heard.

Grey Goose, Vodka Ad: Barefootin’ (1965), by Robert Parker
Again, this may be the original, but hard to tell since it’s just a small musical passage.

Samsung, Galaxy Mobile Phone Ad: Land of 1000 Dances (1966), by Wilson Pickett
This is another ad that uses a small sample of the song. Industry records say it’s the original we hear.

Ooooh, can you feel the excitement building across the country, boomers? What a night! Have we stretched the time enough now or have you changed the channel? (A model in a glittery gold evening dress walks across the living room and hands the envelope to Mister Boomer).

And the winner is … totally up to you, boomers! Do you find the whole kit and kaboodle amusing, amazing or appalling?

Mister Boomer has experienced all three conditions (amused, amazed and appalled) when confronted with TV commercials grabbing a part of our boomer history to market to a younger generation. One thing is for certain: now that so many boomer-era songwriters and performers have sold all or part of their catalogs, we are sure to hear more of them.

How about you, boomers? Does a TV ad come to mind that moves you to hate? Or have TV commercials reignited a passion for a song you may not have heard in years?

Boomers Watched the Academy Awards Telecast in 1962

At this time a mere 60 years ago, the world was anticipating the Academy Awards for films released in 1961. The awards that year were memorable for many reasons. Held in Santa Monica, California on April 9, 1962 with Bob Hope as the master of ceremonies, the big winner of the evening was West Side Story.

West Side Story won awards for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Actor in a Supporting Role, Color Art Direction-Set Decoration, Directing, Color Cinematography, Film Editing, Music – Scoring of a Musical Picture, and Sound.

Other winners that night included:

Best Directing: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, West Side Story
Best Actress: Sophia Loren, Two Women
Best Actor: Maximillian Schell, Judgment at Nuremberg
Best Supporting Actress: Rita Moreno, West Side Story
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: George Chakris, West Side Story
Original Song: Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer for Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Nominees that night reads like a who’s who of big-name stars of the time. Best Actor nominees included Charles Boyer (Fanny), Paul Newman (The Hustler), Spencer Tracy (Judgment at Nuremberg) and Stuart Whitman (The Mark).

Best Actress nominees included Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Piper Laurie (The Hustler), Geraldine Page (Summer and Smoke) and Natalie Wood (Splendor in the Grass).

Run through the various categories of nominations that year and you’ll find movie classics for boomers, including West Side Story, Splendor in the Grass, Judgment at Nuremberg, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Hustler, The Absent-Minded Professor (nominated in three categories, including Best Special Effects), Flower Drum Song, La Dolce Vita, Pocketful of Miracles, The Guns of Navarone, El Cid, Fanny and Town Without Pity. If boomers don’t recall the movie, they’ll remember the title song. Town Without Pity was recorded that same year by Gene Pitney, and it became his first hit.

Mister Boomer recalls seeing only one of the major category winners at a drive-in theater with his family: The Hustler with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. Years later he saw most of the others on TV. He particularly remembers The Guns of Navarone, Judgment at Nuremberg, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and El Cid. Of course, his family only had a black and white television, so he had no idea if any of the films were in color.

Here we are 60 years later, and nominated for Best Picture, and other nominations, is West Side Story, the remake by Steven Spielberg. It did not win Best Picture against a host of strong contenders, but ironically enough, Ariana DeBose became only the second Latina to win a Oscar. She won for Best Supporting Actress for the role of Anita in West Side Story, 60 years after the first Latina won the same award for the same movie: Rita Moreno was awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in West Side Story in 1962!

What memories do you have of the 1962 Academy Awards, and the 1961 movies it featured, boomers?