Commercial Boners

Amuse Listeners
Part II

Lincoln, Me.  (DG)---

Radio Guide magazine was a publication where the radio listeners can catch up with the latest news in the radio industry.  There was an occasional feature in the magazine known as "Bulls And Boners."  This section features botched and misplaced lines the listeners caught on the air.  There was no prize given for each boner that was published, except for the satisfaction of the radio listeners catching the stars and announcers being human.  Let’s take a look at the commercial flubs that made the "Bulls And Boners" list. 

Ivory SnowLet’s begin with a boner concerning a commercial for Ivory Snow.  The announcer was supposed to ask the question, "Ladies, do you have a particular washable such as a housecoat or slip?"  What the announcer actually said included something that shouldn’t be washed in Ivory Snow--- or any other soap!  Here was what the announcer said: "Ladies, do you have a particular washable such as a housecat or slip?"

The announcer’s question most likely caught many cat owners by surprise.  They didn’t know their feline companions could be washed in Ivory Snow!  It does make one wonder how many people were scratched, bitten, and clawed when they took the announcer’s "advice" and tried to wash their cats in Ivory Snow!

The next boner concerned the misplacing of a word at a wrong place.  It occurred during a commercial for Cashmere Bouquet Soap on the NBC(Red) serial ELLEN RANDOLPH.  The listeners heard announcer Marvin Mueller (a.k.a. Marvin Miller) describe what should have been a good bargain for Cashmere Bouquet.  He was supposed to say, "Cashmere Bouquet Soap, 3 cakes for only 25."  Unfortunately for Mueller, he misplaced a word and placed it in the wrong place.  What he actually said made the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company sound like a cheapskate outfit.  See if you can spot something wrong with Mueller’s narration: "Cashmere Bouquet Soap, only 3 cakes for 25"

This boner was heard on the BURNS AND ALLEN program. Announcer Truman Bradley was presenting a commercial for Hinds Honey & Almond Fragrance Cream.  In this example, an extra word was needed to make the message clear.  If Bradley said it this way, he would have been OK: "No matter how hard you work, a man expects to have your hands that are exciting and feminine."  Here was what Bradley said: "No matter how hard you work, a man expects to have hands that are exciting and feminine." If Bradley’s comment was defined correctly, the husband expected to have exciting and feminine hands with the help of his wife.  Can you picture a blue-collar hard working "he-man" with exciting, feminine hands? 

MobilgasThis boner was heard during a baseball game on station WCAU in Philadelphia.  The play-by-play announcer was getting ready for a commercial for Mobilgas.  He was to say a brief introduction, then turn it over to the commercial spokesman.  The introduction was supposed to go like this: "I will now turn you over to a congenial fellow who filled his car up with Mobilgas this morning."  With 2 words missing, this was what he actually said: "I will now turn you over to a congenial fellow who filled up with Mobilgas this morning."  The announcer made it sound like the commercial spokesman drank the gasoline.  Now I’m wondering if drinking Mobilgas provided the same "pick-me-up" in the morning as a cup of coffee? 

In 1939, Ralph Edwards worked as an announcer on several radio programs.  He also came up with a bizarre boner when he presented a commercial for Ivory Flakes.  Edwards said that Ivory Flakes prolonged stocking wear---which it did.  He also mentioned a woman I’ll refer to as "R.B.," who in Edwards’ own words did something a little strange with her stockings.  Here was what he said: "R. B. got 6 months’ wear from 4 pairs of silk stockings, for she washed all 4 pairs every night when she took them off." Of course, wearing 1 pair of silk stockings would more than likely make R.B.’s legs look attractive, but wearing 4 pairs at once would just look silly! 

This radio boner had the potential of getting the men in the listening audience a little excited.  It occurred on a 1940 broadcast of the LUX RADIO THEATER.  The boner took place during a commercial for Lux Toilet Soap, the soap 9 out of 10 famous screen stars used.  What the announcer was supposed to say should have been a comparison: "When you take this Lux whipped cream beauty bath, you will be sharing the same experience with many movie stars."  With some needed words missing, the announcer made it sound like the Hollywood stars were willing to share their bath with the listeners: "When you take this Lux whipped cream beauty bath, you will be sharing it with many movie stars."  Although the commercial was directed at the women in the listening audience, I wonder how many men would begin to use Lux Toilet Soap, so they could take the announcer’s advice and hopefully share a bath with the likes of Betty Grable, Dorothy Lamour, Loretta Young, and other Hollywood stars who used and recommended Lux Toilet Soap.

A listener caught a boner on a commercial for New England Laundry on station WTIC in Hartford, Connecticut.  It was the beginning of the holiday season--- and with Christmas and New Year’s Day fast approaching, there were parties and other social events to attend. 

What the announcer really meant was for the listeners to have their clothes cleaned, so they could wear them at the holiday get-togethers.  Somehow, that meaning got lost when the announcer said, "Sending your clothes to the New England Laundry increases your fun at this social season."  Granted, doing this increased the listeners’ fun, but since it was in December, people going to the social events in their birthday suits might be a little chilly! 

Unless you’re Arthur Godfrey or Henry Morgan, it doesn’t pay to insult the sponsor. With one word too many added to the commercial, Fletcher Wiley did just that, although it was unintentional.  In describing his sponsor, Franco-American Macaroni & Cheese, Wiley was supposed to say something like this: "Franco-American contains a rich, creamy sauce that people can eat."  Unfortunately, a word was added to make the product sound completely inedible: "Franco-American contains a rich, creamy sauce that few people can eat."  

Let’s conclude this article with a commercial with an agricultural background.  The product in question was Purina Cattle Feed, and the commercial was heard on station WLW in Russellville, Arkansas.  This commercial was amazing, because the listeners heard a dairy farmer feeding his cows Purina Cattle Feed--- and also developed some bovine features!  Here was what the dairy farmer said: "Since I started feeding Purina to my dairy cows, I have cut my udder trouble down 50%."  Personally, it’s all well and good that Purina was doing good things for the farmer’s udder, but did it help the cows?

This is only a portion of the many commercial boners the listeners caught and sent in to Radio Guide magazine.  If you enjoyed reading the advertising boners in the two articles I presented to you, please let me know by E Mail at, and I’ll find some more in future articles that hopefully will tickle your funny bone either on this web site or my own (  

In conclusion, since the subject concerns radio commercial boners, I think it’s best to quote Kermit Shafer, who compiled numerous radio and TV bloopers in his lifetime.  He said in tribute to the people who screwed up on the air: "To Err Is Human, To Forgive Devine."