We Wish You A Retro Christmas: Crazy Eddie

Between now until December 25th, The Marketing Smart Aleck will feature some of the best, worst and most ridiculous Christmas commercials of yesteryear.

By way of introducing today’s entry, it should be explained that I grew up in upstate New York, almost 300 miles away from New York City, but our local cable system carried Gotham-based TV stations WPIX and WOR (probably because they used to be the home stations for Yankees and Mets games) as well as WNEW. Anyone who watched those stations in the 1970s and ’80s will recall certain commercials were always in extra-heavy rotation: Phil Rizzuto hawking The Money Store, spots for “Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge,” and perhaps the most ubiquitous of them all were commercials for the electronics retailer Crazy Eddie.

Crazy Eddie ads blanketed the airwaves year-round, but it seemed that they really poured it on in December with their Christmas spots, of which this is but one example…

Most every Crazy Eddie commercial followed that basic template: manic screaming of a rapid-fire list of available items followed by the proclamation that Crazy Eddie’s prices were “insaaaaaaaane!!!”” (One wonders what modern day mental health advocates in this age of political correctness would have to say about that tagline.) The Christmas versions were just all of the usual shtick, but with the screamer wearing a Santa suit.

Just as a side note, The Marketing Smart Aleck was disillusioned to no end when he learned that the man in the commercials was not actually Crazy Eddie himself, but a disc jockey named Jerry Carroll. It was rather like when I found out that Santa Claus was really my parents. Of course my parents rarely shouted in my face about consumer electronics while feigning psychosis, but otherwise, yeah, it was pretty much the same feeling.

One thought on “We Wish You A Retro Christmas: Crazy Eddie

  1. I always like the summer radio ads (“It’s August… the air is hot and sticky… that means it’s time for Crazy Eddie’s Christmas sale”) with its rousing Yule Log music.

    The story of the rise and fall of the Crazy Eddie empire, while not exactly within the scope of this blog, is essential reading for anyone who grew up with these ads, and anyone else interested in how not to run a business (read: FRAUD).

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