The St. Louis Media History Foundation inducted 20 other individuals into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame that night, as well. More than 200 people attended a downtown gala at which the honors were bestowed.
Individually and together, Paul and Walt have reputations for creating high-impact, industry-admired advertising campaigns. They teamed up in 1991 to create Paul & Walt Worldwide, the radio commercial boutique agency and production company, and their work quickly won CLIOS, ADDYs and many other awards for national brands. Paul served as Paul & Walt Worldwide President; Walt served as Executive Creative Director. The agency had offices in Hollywood, California and St. Louis. Here they are in front of just a few of their industry awards.
Paul is now President and Chief Creative Officer of World Wide Wadio in Hollywood. Walt is now writing comedy and comics at Walt Now Entertainment. Both men are St. Louis natives and continue to collaborate frequently.
This Los Angeles Radio Guide article about funny radio commercials from 1994 describes how Paul & Walt Worldwide and others are “eliciting guffaws” for radio listeners and “inspiring them not to change the station.”
BY COLLEEN GIBBS
Unlike most professionals in the broadcast business, radio ad writers hope that their listeners have a short attention span. They’re not after the patient symphony aficionado, the opera buff or the die hard fan of “In-A-Gadda-da-Vidda.” Ad creators crave a different type of audience.
“Just give me 60 seconds, and I will try to make you laugh,” says Paul Fey of Paul & Walt Worldwide.
Fey wants more than anything to surprise and delight listeners, eliciting a guffaw, a mirthful nod of recognition, and most significantly, inspiring them not to change the station during the commercial break.
Fey is one of the wits behind those clever radio ads.
“For 60 seconds at a time, I want to bring radio into the foreground of listeners; consciousness. In fact, I want people to laugh out loud and say, ‘Hey, did you hear that?'”
Fey’s elaborate ads are certainly the attention-getting type. As one half of the production company Paul & Walt Worldwide, which he operates with partner Walt Jaschek, Fey is one of the guilty pranksters behind memorable spots for Miller Genuine Draft, Southwestern Bell Mobile System, GM Parts and Bud Light.
In a spot for Bud, the listener is sucked into the mind of a narrator who describes his eerie, Twlight-Zone-type surroundings.
“I was in a room with curved walls and only a dim light at the top,” the ad begins, accompanied by cavernous sound effects. After 55 seconds of dramatic depiction, the listener realizes the narrator is a Bud Light beer.
In addition to grabbing attention, Paul & Walt’s ad earned a lion’s share of industry awards – nearly 400 of them, including five Ollies (the Oscars of the ad world.) Fey calls this success “world-class advertising” and defines it as commercials on par with the very best radio comedy or drama.
Fey’s criteria for great radio is high. He grew up with his ear glued to the stereo, devouring and digesting thousands of hours of Monty Python skits. This influence is apparent in the hyperbolically silly but highly polished spots that evoke preposterous visual tableaux.
“Like really great radio, a great ad succeeds despite the fact that you can’t fall back on a visual, as with TV,” he said. “In fact, really great ads are great because your mind is able to fill in and make a mental picture many times more vivid than an actual one.”
For Paul & Walt, world-class radio ads consist of equal measures of timing and talent, liberally sprinkled with a daredevil willingness to boldly go where no ad has gone before.
For their radio promotional spots for Fox’s “Star Trek: the Next Generation,” the team regularly poked reckless, wicked fun at Captain Jean-Luc Picards’s stalwart, dignified character. One ad called “We’re Shaving Our Heads” features zesty testimonials from “Star Trek” fans who are happily shaving their heads in a fit of zeal over the show’s syndicated run.
Fey embraces self-deprecating humor in his projects, as well. Some of the ads even ridicule the business of advertising.
For 20th Television, a spot for “Doogie Howser, M.D.” launches straight into a rousing, big-band number, with Andrews Sisters wannabes sining about the new dance craze, the Doogie Boogie Woogie. An earnest voice-over apologizes for the elaborate musical ruse, but there is really no new dance craze, only desperate writers who couldn’t find anything else to rhyme with Doogie.
“It’s hip to be able to laugh at yourself,” Fey said. “It demonstrates that you are confident enough to point out weaknesses. If I have the freedom to allow the consumer to have foibles, so much the better.”
Sometimes, Fey admits, world-class raw material is quite literally written all over the product.
“The Simpsons” provided Paul & Walt with one of their most memorable spots, fashioned after a classical poetry reading. It featured the resonant, velvet voice of Robert Goulet reciting the blackboard writing of young Bart Simpson.
“I will not trade pants with others,” Goulet intones. “I will not eat things for money. I will not Xerox my butt.”
The list goes on, over a background of chamber music, finishing with, “I will not call the principal Spud-Head.”
Here they are, assembled in one compilation video: the 15 funniest radio commercials of all time (created by Paul & Walt Worldwide.) It’s never been easier to hear these outstanding examples of radio writing, direction, voice talent performance, sound FX and production mastery. Crank the audio, click play and enjoy.
“Missing Persons” :60 radio for “Matlock”
“Laugh Catalog” :60 radio for “George Schlatter’s Comedy Club”
“Robert Goulet” :60 radio for “The Simpsons”
“Cellular Guy” :60 radio for Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems
“Beat-Yourself-Up Hotline” :60 radio for Smartship.com
“Auditions” :30 radio for “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
“Shaving My Head” :30 radio for “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
“Viva La Volvo” :60 radio for Southern California Dealers Association
“Duck Call Tester” :60 radio for Las Vegas Tourism
“The Ballad of Judge Wapner”:60 radio for “The People’s Court”
“Vibrating Water Bed” :30 radio for “Jeopardy”
“Put Your Tongue on the Radio” :30 radio for “Gene Simmons Family Jewels”
“Mr. Rippemoff” :60 radio for Newscenter 7 Wastebusters
“Star in Your Own Radio Commercial” for Budweiser
“Laugh Catalog #2” for “George Schlatter’s Comedy Club”
A partial playlist, actually. Here are five, funny, award-winning radio commercials, a few representative samples of literally thousands written and produced by Paul & Walt Worldwide. Enjoy.
“Laugh Catalog” | Funny Radio Commercial for George Schlatter’s Comedy Club
Our first Clio Award winner, for Best Use of Sound. Winner of LOTS more awards, too. Created for our good friend and long-time client Mike Mischler and King World, for the brand new and short-lived syndicated show, “George Schlatter’s Comedy Club.” Written by Paul Fey & Walt Jaschek. Produced and Directed by Paul Fey, Engineered by Bill Schulenburg. VO Talent: Peter Jones, Steve Susskind, Bobbi Block, Susan Tolsky, Bill Martin. FUN FACTS: Paul was a huge fan of the BBC Radio production of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” and hunted down Peter Jones, the voice of “The Book” in that legendary series. Via a 3am telephone session from Paul’s hotel room at the Mondrian, he directed Peter in a London studio. Our “laughers” were chosen from dozens and dozens of auditions submitted by multiple LA talent agencies.
“Missing Persons” | Funny radio commercial for WCBS-TV and Matlock
One of our biggest award winners from the early 90’s. Created for WCBS-TV, and our great client and friend, David LaFountaine. Written by Walt Jaschek, Produced and directed by Paul Fey. VO Talent: Harvey Atkin, Tom Poston, Orson Bean. FUN FACT: Despite the great rhythm of this dialogue, none of the talent read with each other. Tom Poston missed the session due to a golf date with the king of Morocco (no kidding!) — and we had to record him separately and edit the dialogue together later. Harvey Atkin was recorded remotely from a studio in Toronto… and Orson Bean as the VO was recorded later in Hollywood.
“Robert Goulet” | Funny radio commercial for The Simpsons
One of our biggest award winners, including the $20,000 Radio Mercury Award for Best Comedy Spot in 1995. Created for our good friend and client, David LaFountaine at Twentieth Television, and the huge syndicated launch of The Simpsons. Writer: Walt Jaschek. Producer/Director: Paul Fey. VO Talent: Christina Belford, Robert Goulet. FUN FACTS: Walt originally wrote a script based on the idea of using the voice of James Earl Jones reading Bart Simpson’s blackboard writings. When it appeared James Earl Jones would be too expensive, Paul began exploring alternative celebrity voice ideas (including Kelsey Grammer, among others) — and finally, with the help of Elaine Craig Voice Casting, hit upon and made a deal with Robert Goulet. The rough production script included a list of dozens of Bart’s blackboard writings. Paul’s plans were to record all the lines, and decide later which ones worked best. He directed Robert Goulet over the phone from a studio in Las Vegas, where Goulet was performing at the time. Surprisingly, after many hours of postproduction, the spot simply wasn’t working — and was shaping up to be an expensive disaster. After dozens of unsuccessful edit attempts to make it sound funny… Paul tried adding various music tracks, which started improving the spot rapidly. The order of Goulet’s lines were ultimately completely swapped around to fit the final, classical track — which ultimately sounded as though it had been written for the spot.
“The Ballad of Judge Wapner” | Funny radio commercial for King World and The People’s Court
One of our biggest award winners from the early 90’s. Written by Walt Jaschek, produced and directed by Paul Fey, with music production by Matthews Griffith Music. VO Talent: Lance LeGault, Gene McGarr. FUN FACT: While we always enjoyed working with the late Lance LeGault, and loved his deep, western voice… we didn’t find out until the session that he had no sense of rhythm. His performance here was created with literally dozens of edits — practically every word and phrase was moved to fit the rhythm.
“Cellular Guy” | Funny radio commercial for Southwestern Bell
Part of a large, award-winning campaign we did for Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems and Simmons Durham Advertising. Writer: Walt Jaschek, Producer/Director: Paul Fey
VO Talent: Harvey Atkin, Townsend Coleman
“And unlike most movies, these never go over budget.” Paul & Walt Worldwide print ad for advertising and entertainment industry trade magazines, 1992. Illustration by Bill Wilson (a great artist and pal of Paul & Walt from their UMSL days.)
Once the Tony Patti-designed logo was ready to go, it was quickly and gleefully applied to identity materials, information kits, signage, CDS (of course), shwag, and even our bendable mascot, “The Worldwide Guy.” That’s him waving.
Paul Fey conceived and concocted our beloved “guy,” and many of us, including Walt Jaschek (who took this shot), still has “him” hanging around! Do you? Let us know in the comments!
Paul & Walt ad agency lands slew of awards for “Simpsons” commercials
Warning: Do not drink coffee in your car while listening to the radio in the morning. If Paul & Walt Worldwide ad for “The Simpsons” comes on, you might spit steaming java all over the dashboard.
The Hollywood-based advertising agency has won a suitcase full of awards for its radio campaign promoting the Fox-TV animated series “The Simpsons,” including the $20,000 Gold Award for Huor at the recent Radio Mercury Awards held in New York City.
In case you haven’t heard it, the ad features Robert Goulet reading from “The Writings of Bart,” which are the blackboard writings by Bart Simpson seen in the opening sequence of each episode. Over a background of classical music, Goulet’s dulcet voice recites such Bartisms as, “I will not Xerox my butt” and “I will not eat things for money.”
Paul & Walt was founded by Paul Fey, who added Walt Jaschek as a partner in 1991. Fey says he went into the niche of radio ads because most ad agencies were ignoring it, and the business was being controlled by a handful of old-fashioned firms.
“We kind of bill ourselves as the next generation of great radio,” says Fey, 39. “We give it a perspective that’s 20 years younger.”
The word about Paul & Walt is apparently getting out: the company has doubled in size in the last two years and is moving out of its old downtown L.A. office into a larger facility that includes two-state-of-the-art recording studios, Fey says.