Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dead man & old maids enliven Golden Globes

Sacha Baron Cohen almost stole the show with yet another accent-- this time his own. Clint Eastwood came in a close third, shoveling food into his mouth like an addled retiree at a free buffet during the Warren Beatty tribute.

Then there was Forest Whitaker.

But the real showstopper at last night's Golden Globe Awards (get your winners here) came during a commercial break, when a dead person was exhumed and re-animated (we've already heard the Warren Beatty jokes). It was Orville Redenbacher, the popcorn pitchman who died of a heart attack in his whirlpool bathtub back in September 1995, making history by hawking his wares from beyond the grave.

Sure, dead people have been used in commercials. But officially, last night's debut was "the first time a digital representation of a deceased individual appeared that could be made to say and do anything."

Unfortunate what the zombie Redenbacher said, though. In its quest for warm and fuzzy nostalgia, the spot had him revive a term for unpopped kernels that had been excised from the original Redenbacher ads decades ago because of its unsavory political incorrectness:

Old maids.

Get it? Even in this age of TV crassness, watch for that line to disappear from the spot in the coming weeks.

The commercial, which showed the creepy dead man hobbling through a party of yung'uns, was created by the ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky out of Miami. The combination of three digitally-merged actors--voice, face and body-- was slightly clumsy and made him look like a Dawn of the Dead extra. You'd expect the young popcorn partygoers to run from the room screaming because dead grandpa was walking around, seemingly running on juice from someone's mp3 player.

However, Orville's real grandson and live popcorn pitchman, Gary Redenbacher, gave a thumbs up. He said: "Grandpa would go for it. He was a cutting-edge guy. This is a way to honor his legacy."

(Fun fact: The original Dawn of the Dead is on Tabloid Baby's list of the Top 50 movies of all time)

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