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Someone sent me this video of a car salesman supposedly working for Ralph Williams, a dealership owner in the Bay Shore area. There are lots of references online to this video. See the google results for a search on "ralph williams bay shore" for example.

The quote going along with this clip is as follows (it was in the email containing the video sent to me, and I found it verbatim elsewhere):

During the late 60's, most television programs and commercials were live. There were no "pre-recorded" programs. There were some obvious problems with this method. No "retakes" and "bloopers" were a regular occurrence.

This is no blooper! This guy was just VERY upset with his boss, and told it like he thought it was. What a great job of ad-libbing. He never misses a beat while the camera man is just about to lose it.

The commercial got on the air... but only once.

We have to assume he quit right after the commercial -- one way or another.

I have an extremely hard time imagining that this ever aired. Can anyone confirm or deny the following:

  • This commercial actually aired on TV
  • During the late 60's, most television programs and commercials were live
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Along with this: youtube.com/watch?v=DK6BksCzTKs&NR=1 –  Thomas O Jul 24 '11 at 20:53
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If you google, Ralph Williams you also see a similar commecial for a dealership in Seattle by the same name but not quite as funny. Same actor. Definately fake because he could not have made two of them in two cities unless it was a big publicity stunt, high risk high reward. Doubtful in the late 60's. This certainly was out takes or a roast to the owner that they actually liked. –  user5663 Jan 5 '12 at 4:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Hmmm. my gut says this is an outtake of some sort done for fun.

Indeed several of the links I found whilst searching for this clip referred to it as an outtake.

There are several things that strike me as "odd" in this story.

First - I think the statement "During the late 60's, most television programs and commercials were live" is probably demonstrably untrue (especially for TV).

Here's a couple of anecdotal sounding links listing the sort of TV watched in the 60's, mostly pre-recorded.

Second - As I said several clips I found were referred to as out-takes. Indeed this link describes it as a

Here’s a very NSFW, never broadcast outtake from one of those early spots.

The chap doing the talking is apparently Chick Lambert, there's a Snopes thread on this which is pretty much inconclusive, but comes up with similar points to me.

Other (mildly) circumstantial evidence for this being never broadcast is that there are several links referring to the advertising rivalry between Chick Lambert, and Cal Worthington, but not one mentions Chick Lambert turning on his boss.

  1. Heres a NY Times Article
  2. A bit of oral/anecdotal history

I don't think there's a "smoking gun" saying this was definitely fake, or if there is I couldn't find it, but I find it hard to believe this wouldn't be referred to in articles looking back at the times if it were true. Especially when referencingthe competing ad campaigns etc.

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Commercials were not live in the late 60s - they were on videotape. The live commercial era was the 50s and possibly into the early 60s before videotape became the norm. Lambert was not angry, he was just messing around and having some fun trashing his boss. This never got on the air, but some smart-ass kept the tape and later released it to the public.

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Welcome to Skeptics! Please provide some references to support your claims. –  Oddthinking Sep 13 '13 at 7:17

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