After founding Wallside Windows on Schaefer Road in Detroit, Martin Blanck took to the daytime airwaves to spread the word about his business - quickly becoming the factory’s spokesman in some classic TV commercials. Wearing his signature light-colored suits, Blanck delivered the memorable bottom line: “You’ll save money. Let me prove it.”
Wallside Windows wasn’t the only metro Detroit business to turn a TV commercial into an iconic moment in Detroit history.
We’ve got a retrospective of some of the most memorable images from a bygone era in local TV. Do you remember these classic Detroit commercials?
This place is a zoo.
This classic commercial for the Detroit Zoo made in the ‘80s placed the animals front and center, making them the stars. And who could forget the adorable penguins marching and telling each other “no shoving” or the hilarious giraffe exclaiming “My lines! My lines! I can’t seem to remember my lines.” While the giraffe may have blanked on his lines, kids growing up during this time can still recite every word without missing a beat.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Mel Farr Superstar!
In this over-the-top ad, the former Detroit Lions running back flies around in a red cape fighting high car prices. Mel Farr was a well-known if somewhat controversial figure in metro Detroit. This commercial made sure we would never forget him.
Let’s twist again
For those who grew up in or around Detroit in the 1980s, a boat ride to Boblo Island meant an adventure-filled day of rollercoasters and thrill rides. The feeling of escaping to this short-lived local amusement park on the Detroit River was captured in this classic, set to the sounds of Chubby Checker.
Furs never looked so fashionable
There are very few words in this song (about 13), but this is one jingle that gallops into your head and sticks. A woman draped in a fur coat glides across a wintry landscape on a horse in slow motion as a romantic song urges us to visit Dittrich Furs. If a Harlequin romance sold furs, this would be its commercial. It was so memorable that it had an effect on comedian and actor Sam Richardson, who along with fellow Detroiter Tim Robinson would go on to create the show Detroiters, which is about local ad salesmen.
Over the years Wallside Windows has included iconic images and people in its own ads. Sports celebrities were some of the most popular spokespeople. There’s this spot featuring former Detroit Pistons star Tayshaun Prince, who says he knows a little bit about taking it to the glass and so does Wallside Windows.
Lindsay Mornhinweg, wife of Lions coach Marty Mornhinweg, talks about the art of face painting in this classic commercial.