Commercials for Clunkers: Chicago's Used Car Guys


cash for clunkers


The Cash for Clunkers Program is Over and Done.
The Department of Transportation reports that, this summer, 625,000 applications were filed in the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) for a total of $2.58 billion in cash-back. J.D. Power predicts a 2% increase in US auto sales this August over August 2008.

We don't know yet if dumping clunkers created any sustainable economic impact, but we're reminded of a time when a previously-owned four-door sedan with an Earl Sheib paint job and an AmorAll shine was exactly what many people were looking for.

Used car dealers -- a dying piece of American-Dream Americana -- played an important role in local TV programming, running insufferably long commercials during dreary, unending black and white movies on late, late night television.

We're sure you had favorite used car salesmen on TV in your town. Here are some that were popular in Chi-Town, once upon a tiime.

Linn Burton (... for Certain!)
Linn Burton was the key pitch man for Bert Weinman Ford and was one of the most familiar faces on local Chicago television. Each month he offered another hardly-compelling reason to come down and buy a beat-up used car (Can't say No in November!). His own personal shtick was to refer to himself as Linn Burton - For Certain!. Ah, they don't make 'em like Linn anymore.

The movie clip that bookends this commercial says it all. Used car dealers were the primary sponsors of old and forgotten movies like the ancient and forgettable Glass Key.




We once went into a rib joint in Chicago's Hyde Park. Bert Weinman spokesman, Linn Burton, was working behind the counter. As it turned out, he owned the place. Something to do when he wasn't pitching clunkers. We asked, "Are you Linn Burton?" Without missing a beat he answered, "For certain." Linn was, indeed, a classic.


Harry Schmerler (Your Singing Ford Man)
Every used car dealer needed a gimmick. Harry's was Rock-a-bye Your Baby...




Timmy the Newsboy - Long Chevrolet
This is possibly one of the most annoying used car commercials ever. This may actually be the most annoying commercial in the history of television. Timmy the Newsboy screams the word Extra! at least 12 times in only 30 seconds.



Soupy Sales to the Rescue.
We're not the only ones that found this kid annoying. If you can suffer through another 30 seconds of Extra! Extra!, watch for the surprise that the producers had for Timmy at the end of this version.




Celozzi-Ettleson: Hard to Find, Tough to Beat
This duo was a real staple on Chicago televsion for many, many years. There was an early attempt to get these two guys to go for more humor in their commercials but it didn't take. The straight-on thousand-yard stare of these guys just seemed to work better for them.




Victory Auto Wreckers
And now a change of pace. No collection of Chicago commercials about clunkers would be complete without this one. Here's a company that's been offering cash for clunkers for decades. As ancient as this spot looks, please be aware that it's still in rotation on Chicago TV!



Read other Apocalypzia posts in the TV Commercials category.