The Origin of the Phrase “That’s A Spicy Meatball!”

The Origin of the Phrase “That’s A Spicy Meatball!”

Mama Mia! What a catch phrase! I took an impromptu poll amongst my online friends about this famous utterance and although most of them knew the phrase, they could not identify its origin. Most of them believed it was some sort pasta sauce commercial. Which is very understandable.

Filmed as a series of “outtakes” this commercial starring Jack Somack was cutting edge for its time. It may be common place now, but this was one of the first faux commercials for a product that doesn’t exist. It is only at the very end of the commercial, after you are wrapped up in the story that they pull out the product and we are all left with a collective, “Ohhh”. They zigged when I thought they were gonna zag! Its actually a commercial for Alka-Seltzer. Genius!

While this commercial ran for a long time, it was pulled from the air in certain markets after protests from Italian-American groups that said the commercial promoted unflattering stereotypes of Italians.

If Jack Somack looks familiar, you might have seen him in TV and movies like The Frisco Kid (1979), Portnoy’s Complaint (1972), and Sanford and Son (1972).

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Yep, I remember this commercial & it’s catchphrase quite clearly.

    I also remember a lot of other catchphrases from childhood commercials, such as “plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is” and “aiy-yai-yai-yai! I am the frito bandito! give me fritos corn chipss & I’ll be your friend, the frito bandito you must not offend!”

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