Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Michael Vale has passed away.

First, let me list a few of the theatrical movies he appeared in:

Marathon Man (1976) .... Jewelry Salesman
A Hatful of Rain (1957) .... Cab Driver

Impressive films, to be sure. Maybe not memorable roles, but he was still involved in their making.

Now, here are some of his Toobworld credits:

Seasons in the Sun (1986) (TV) .... Bernie

"The Cosby Show" playing "Mr. Lee" in episode: "Calling Doctor Huxtable" (episode # 3.17) 12 February 1987
"3-2-1 Contact" playing "Soapy Suds"
in episode: "Your Body: Twins" (episode # 7.6) 17 October 1988
in episode: "Near/Far: Space Travel" (episode # 1.44) 6 March 1980
in episode: "Food/Fuel: Animal Food" (episode # 1.26) 4 February 1980
in episode: "Noisy/Quiet: Production and Processing of Sound" (episode # 1.1) 14 January 1980
"East Side/West Side" in episode: "The 5.98 Dress" (episode # 1.14) 13 January 1964
"Car 54, Where Are You?" in episode: "The White Elephant" (episode # 2.16) 6 January 1963
"Car 54, Where Are You?" in episode: "142 Tickets on the Aisle" (episode # 2.13) 9 December 1962
"Car 54, Where Are You?" playing "Al Cooper" in episode: "Thirty Days Notice" (episode # 1.10) 19 November 1961

[I'm not sure if he played Al Cooper in all three episodes.]

But still, I'm sure you're wondering why I felt it necessary to dedicate a "Hat Squad" post to Michael Vale.

Here's why - Michael Vale is best known for providing Toobworld with two of its advertising icons........

TV commercials for Dunkin Donuts, as Fred (1982-present)
TV commercials for Breakstone, as Sam Breakstone

By his family's estimate, Michael Vale appeared in over 1300 commercials over his career. But it will be those in which he played Fred and Sam that will be of the most importance.

Who can forget the Dunkin Donuts commercial where poor Fred had to get up everyday at 4 am because it was "time to make the doughnuts"? Only to finally meet himself as he was coming home.

Obviously there was some kind of temporal rift in his neighborhood.

And I don't think you can picture Sam Breakstone without the little Jack Russell terrier nipping at his pants leg.

Within the reality of Toobworld, it's entirely possible that the fictional Sam Breakstone was an ancestor for Fred the Baker.

2005 is going to go down in the books as a year in which we lost so many iconic figures of Toobworld - The Riddler, Ernest T. Bass, Gilligan, Maynard G. Krebs, Scotty, and Miss Ellie. And Michael Vale was responsible for bringing us two of the great tele-citizens.

Here's to you, Mr. Vale. Godspeed.


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