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The Origin of the Phrase “That’s A Spicy Meatball!”
Mama Mia, what a catchphrase! I recently conducted a little impromptu survey among my online buddies to gather their thoughts on this famous saying. Interestingly enough, while most of them recognized the phrase, they couldn't quite put their finger on where it originated from. A lot of them thought it might have come from a pasta sauce commercial, which totally makes sense when you think about it.
Let's take a stroll down memory lane and delve into the fascinating world of this commercial. Starring the talented actor Jack Somack, it was a real game-changer back in the day. The commercial was cleverly filmed as a series of "outtakes," making it one of the pioneers of faux commercials for products that don't actually exist. They really had us hooked with the storyline, and it wasn't until the very end that they revealed the product—Alka-Seltzer! Talk about a genius twist that caught us all off guard!
Now, despite its long run on television, this commercial faced some criticism from Italian-American groups in certain areas. They argued that it perpetuated negative stereotypes about Italians, which led to its removal from the airwaves in those markets. It's understandable that they wanted to avoid promoting any unflattering portrayals.
By the way, if you find Jack Somack's face familiar, chances are you might have spotted him in popular TV shows and movies like "The Frisco Kid" (1979), "Portnoy's Complaint" (1972), and "Sanford and Son" (1972). He's one talented actor who left a lasting impression in the entertainment industry.
The commercial features another actor, Frances Lopate. You might recognize her from one of the Levy's Jewish Rye Bread posters that ran in the Sixties, or from her appearance in “Deadtime Stories” (1986).