This past weekend marked the 150th birthday of Oscar Mayer. Over the years, the great wiener-king's company has become an indelible part of pop culture, from the famed Wienermobiles that have been cruising the country since 1936 to two of the best jingles ever written: "My bologna has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R ..." and "I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener."
Once we started thinking about these irresistible tunes, we couldn't stop the flood of memories and the controversy. We had a heated debate (and we agree on nearly everything) about which is the best, the catchiest, most memorable jingle ever. After a lot of back and forth, one of us conceded, and we chose McDonald's "You Deserve a Break Today."
But the runners-up are still so great, they're all worth revisiting. So sit back, grab a box of Good & Plenty, and check out these fine examples of the lost art of jingle writing.
Oscar Mayer: "B-O-L-O-G-N-A"
Who can forget the cute, curly-haired kid sitting on the dock with his fishing rod, happily singing about B-O-L-O-G-N-A? The jingle stays in your head forever. The kid? Well Andy Lambros did other acting gigs -- most notably playing a young Dom DeLuise in "Fatso" (impressive, huh?) --but he gave up his illustrious acting career, and bologna, to become an Internet entrepreneur. How's that?
McDonald's: "You Deserve a Break Today"
In perhaps the finest example of jingle writing ever, John Amos, of "Good Times" fame, and his fellow Mickey-D's employees clean their burger machines and put a shine on the floor during 60 seconds of pure pop genius ending in a kick line. Just listen to them sing, "You deserve a break today" in harmony and tell us you don't get chills. Almost makes you want to put on one of those paper hats and clean something.
Good & Plenty: "Choo-Choo Charlie"
What else could make kids want to eat black licorice besides a great song? Take one part Choo-Choo Charlie shaking his box of Good & Plenty candies, add his little friend interjecting, "Charlie says, 'Blow!'" through the box to make a train whistle sound, and we were hooked for life.
Apple Jacks: "A Is for Apple"
Besides the obvious fact that the jingle is just plain catchy, this commercial is legendary for featuring future ex-child star Corey Feldman. Look closely at the kid holding the last piece of the puzzle at the end. Little did we know he'd go on to star in "The Goonies" and "Stand by Me" before fading into oblivion -- only to comeback as a reality TV star. See how good Apple Jacks can be for you?
Chili's: "I Want My Baby Back Ribs"
We know, it's kind of annoying, but without it "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" would not have had one of its most memorable moments. And this version by *NYSNC is classic.
Check out more commercials with other unforgettable jingles, including "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke," "Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut," and "I'm a Pepper."