Tea Time On
Talent Scouts Program
"Go get yourself some
hang them on your underwear."
--- Arthur Godfrey
Lincoln, Me. (DG)--
beginning as a sustaining program, ARTHUR GODFREY
& HIS TALENT SCOUTS
acquired Lipton Tea
as its sponsor in 1947. This sponsorship began
some lengthy and unusual commercials on how
Lipton Tea was presented on the program.
What makes these commercials unusual was Godfrey himself.
Since he began his career in radio, Godfrey had a unique
way of selling a product. Much to the chagrin of the sponsor, he never
used scripts. He hated scripts and the people who created them.
Godfrey usually referred to these unfortunate people as "vice
presidents" --- which wasn't exactly a flattering
name in his personal vocabulary. When a commercial script was one he
didn't like, Godfrey took the script; put it in front of the microphone; and
tore it. The listeners heard a loud rip in their radios--- and
the vice presidents were muttering
gutter language under their breaths. From there, Godfrey presented
the commercial in his own words.
Both Godfrey's daytime program and
TALENT SCOUTS began
as sustaining programs, because of his reputation of giving the ad agencies
a hard time--- despite the fact he was an effective commercial salesman.
Before Lipton Tea
began its sponsorship of TALENT
SCOUTS, the product had to go through
a major test--- it had to meet Godfrey's approval. As with all future
products he sold on radio and TV, Godfrey would have to try it himself.
If it met his approval, he sold it on the air. To make a long
story short, he enjoyed Lipton Tea's
On each broadcast, there was a commercial script on top
of his podium--- whether or not Godfrey would even look at it was another
matter. Sometimes, Godfrey will read bits and pieces from the script,
but the commercial was still ad-libbed. Other times, he ignored it completely.
He put into his own words how brisk, flavorful, and refreshing
was. Godfrey also informed his listeners to try any
kind of tea that was available on the market. This comment made
anyone associated with Lipton Tea
squirm, but it was Godfrey's belief the people discovered for themselves
that Lipton Tea
was the best.
While he praised Lipton
Tea, Godfrey didn't have very nice things
to say about the wet tea bags after the brewing was completed. He remarked
how awful the wet tea bags looked after brewing. On one broadcast,
Godfrey classified the wet gunk
as a "soggy mess."
Props also played a key role in helping Godfrey sell
Lipton Tea Bags.
Since it was tea that was being sold on the air, one would think these props
consisted of a cup and saucer, a spoon, a bowl full of sugar, a piece of lemon,
and a teakettle full of boiling water. These items might have been used,
but the props that appeared on the commercials were designed to tickle the
funny bone of the studio audience and the radio listeners. One example
was a pair of long red flannel underwear decorated from top to bottom with
Lipton Tea Bags.
This idea was to do 2 things at once--- to drink tea while taking a bath.
First, the person puts on the underwear. Then he/she draws some hot
water in the bathtub, and finally, that person got into the tub. The
bath water was washing away the "B.O.", and in the process, the tea bags were brewing up some tea.
While the person was soaking, he/she could have a hot cup of tea. In
closing, Godfrey recommended to the listeners, "Go
get yourself some Lipton Tea,
hang them on your underwear!"
At times, Godfrey was known to poke fun at himself in
order to sell Lipton Tea.
For example, he read a letter from a person who had an idea on how
to sell Lipton
suggested the creation of a tea cup with Godfrey's picture on the bottom.
This unusual cup was more suited for people who hated his guts. All
was required was to pour hot water into the cup and dunk a
Lipton Tea Bag
to their heart's content. More than likely, the tea
in the cup will be on the strong side, but if the people enjoyed dunking the
tea bag on Godfrey's face, more power to them. Godfrey thought this
was a wonderful idea, because the people who didn't like him would buy the
product he was selling on the air. In addition, those people were getting
their kicks in dunking the tea bag on Godfrey's face. It was the best
of all worlds!
Tea wasn't the only product Godfrey had fun
with. He also have a field day with the commercials for
Lipton Noodle Soup Mix
which as you already know, is a dry soup mix packaged in
envelopes. Godfrey was fascinated at the thought of chicken inside the
envelope. He even went as far as to open a
Lipton Soup envelope in his search for
chicken pieces. Sadly he said, "no chicken
bits in here." What he did see in the envelope
consisted of dried noodles, pieces of green,
and other pleasant stuff that made up a delicious chicken
Another product was Lipton
Frostee, a dessert mix that made homemade
ice cream or sherbet. Like Lipton
Noodle Soup Mix, Frostee was also packaged
in a foil envelope. When it was made and cooled in the freezer,
Frostee made homemade
ice cream for less money than buying a pint of ice cream at the store.
What sparked Godfrey's interest in Frostee
was how easy and fast it was to make.
Since Godfrey was known to take considerably more time
than the usual 1 minute to do a commercial,
TALENT SCOUTS usually ran beyond
the 30 minute time limit. On the other hand, his humorous and honest
commercials for Lipton Tea,
Lipton Noodle Soup,
and Lipton Frostee
helped to boost sales, to which the people of the
Thomas Lipton Company
were very happy campers.