September 29 is National Coffee Day. So let’s take a moment to acknowledge our favorite coffee spokespersons and thank them for their valuable coffee advice over the years.
Clockwise from upper left: Mrs. Olson (Virginia Christine) for Folgers; Cora (Margaret Hamilton) for Maxwell House; Lauren Bacall for High Point; and Robert Young for Sanka.
Perhaps the best known coffee personality is Mrs. Olson, played by Virginia Christine. Women seek out Mrs. Olson’s sympathetic ear to complain about their husbands’ insensitive remarks, which always seem to center on the wives’ poor coffee-making ability. Mrs. Olson advises using mountain-grown Folgers coffee, “the richest, most aromatic kind of coffee.” On the surface, it seems like helpful advice, but it still leaves the women believing that they deserve to be treated like dirt unless they learn to make good coffee. Maybe instead, Mrs. Olson should recommend marriage counseling or suggest that the women leave their abusive relationships and discover their own self-worth. Folgers, the coffee most preferred by women with low self-esteem!
MRS. OLSON: Mary, come in! My goodness, you look as if you lost your last friend.
MARY: It’s my Jim again. You should have heard him this morning! “Mary, your coffee is as undrinkable as ever.”… Maybe he’s right. I just can’t seem to make good coffee.
When you were a child, did Margaret Hamilton scare you as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz? Did every cackle and “my pretty” send a shiver down your spine? Well, you’ll see a much milder Hamilton as Cora, the proprietor of the general store that carries no coffee but Maxwell House. Instead of sinister and shrill, here Hamilton is wise and earthy. And a bad businesswoman. She should at least carry one other brand so people feel like they have a choice. But Cora insists there isn’t room in her small store to carry anything but the best. “I only sell one kind. Maxwell House,” she boasts. “Like they say, ‘Good to the last drop.’” Now give me those ruby slippers!
One thing about running a country store: You only stock what’s best. Fruit in season. Home-baked pies, when I can get ’em. Even coffee. I only sell one kind. Maxwell House.
Robert Young knew best on Father Knows Best and played a doctor on Marcus Welby, M.D., so his coffee advice certainly seems trustworthy. Just ask the young couple in the commercial below. Times have changed since Mrs. Olson’s day, and now, it’s not the wife’s poor coffee-making that’s the problem, it’s the husband’s ineptitude. Poor Don even has trouble folding a map. Don’s wife makes excuses for him: “The doctor says caffeine makes him nervous.” A little Xanax would probably help, but since Robert Young isn’t a real doctor, he prescribes “Sanka brand decaffeinated coffee.” Later, Don’s wife claims that switching Don to Sanka brand helped make their vacation a second honeymoon. Yeah, that’s what happens when a guy’s blood vessels are no longer constricted by caffeine. Young concludes, “Sanka brand: The coffee that lets you be your best.”
ROBERT YOUNG: You should drink Sanka brand decaffeinated coffee.
DON: But I only like real coffee.
ROBERT YOUNG: Sanka brand is real coffee, and tastes it. Try it.
Finally, there’s Lauren Bacall for High Point. Like Young, Bacall too drinks decaf, explaining that she doesn’t need the extra caffeine: “I’m active enough, thank you!” Rushing around to make her eight o’clock curtain, she drinks instant decaffeinated coffee in her limo, wearing a fur coat and pearls. Bacall purrs about how much she loves the taste of that crap. She really is very convincing; she deserved all those acting awards she won during her lifetime. When she says “That’s rich!” you truly believe she is referring to the taste, and not making an ironic comment on her own endorsement. But if you’ll permit me to make a pun, I’d say that High Point was a low point in Bacall’s career. Sadly, they stopped making High Point years ago. I do hope she managed to find another instant decaffeinated coffee to keep in her limo and satisfy her “coffee-lover’s taste.”
You know what makes High Point taste so good? Deep-brewed flavor. I love it!
- Remembering Lauren Bacall’s Campy Commercials for Instant Coffee (decider.com)
- National Coffee Day! Here’s a list of freebies (usatoday.com)
Margaret Hamilton was born 111 years ago today.
Everyone knows Hamilton for her most famous role as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. But did you know she appeared on The Addams Family as Morticia’s mother, Granny Frump? She really is perfect for this role. And in this episode, it’s Granny Frump’s birthday too! Check it out.
Margaret Hamilton in “Happy Birthday, Grandma Frump,” The Addams Family (1966)
I originally posted this video of the Paul Lynde Halloween Special for Margaret Hamilton’s birthday (she guest stars and reprises her Wizard of Oz role as the Wicked Witch), but it’s even more appropriate today. I suggest you sit back and watch this tonight instead of that tired old Peanuts special. And those pesky trick-or-treaters can just wait ’til you’re done. Happy Halloween!
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (Oct. 29, 1976)
If you like cheesy 1970s entertainment, this is not to be missed. The cast includes not only Lynde and Hamilton, but Billie Hayes (Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf), Florence Henderson, Betty White, Donny and Marie, Tim Conway, KISS, Roz “Pinky Tuscadero” Kelly, and other celebrities of the day. See Witchiepoo and the Wicked Witch of the West together at the 11-minute mark.
- The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (Holiday Film Reviews)
- The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (Made for TV Mayhem)
- Mrs. Brady Singing That Old Black Magic Is The Weirdest, Wackiest, Most FAB Thing You’ll See This Halloween! (perezhilton.com)