purinaPart Six : Gone to the Dogs
Purina Dog Chow and Esskay Meats ads
Early 1960’s

Here’s another company we have to thank for its contributions to Muppet history — Purina Dog Chow. In the mid-60’s, the biggest Muppet star was Rowlf the Dog, who appeared weekly on The Jimmy Dean Show. And Rowlf got his start in commercials for Purina Dog Chow, opposite a skinny mutt named Baskerville the Hound…

Purina Dog Chow — Asparagus

[ An asparagus farm. Rowlf and Baskerville are standing behind a picket fence. Baskerville is chomping on a stalk of asparagus. Both the voices are by Henson. ]
Baskerville


I tell ya, Rowlf, there’s only one answer to this dog food problem. Aspareegus! Tender, succulent aspareegus!
Rowlf


Well, that may be all right for you, Baskerville, but I like Purina Dog Chow.
Baskerville


But aspareegus is nourishing! It’s got vitamins!
Rowlf


Purina Dog Chow is more nourishing! It’s got all 43 vitamins and minerals a fella needs to make him feel all dog!
Baskerville


Ha! Aspareegus tastes good!
Rowlf


Purina Dog Chow tastes better! It’s flavor charged! Look, Baskerville, you go and enjoy your asparagus. It’s past my chow time!
[ Baskerville exits. Rowlf eats Purina Dog Chow with a spoon, out of a dog bowl. Close up on Rowlf. ]
Announcer


Make chow time eager eater time for your dog. [ Cut to: bag of Purina Dog Chow. ] Feed him new flavor charged Purina Dog Chow — so delicious, we guarantee your dog will love it, or your money back!
[ Baskerville pops up next to the bag. He looks around furtively. ]
Baskerville


And if your grocer happens to be out of Purina Dog Chow… try aspareegus!
[ Rowlf pops up and hits Baskerville with a mallet. Booooinnnngggg! Baskerville falls, and Rowlf nods to the camera. ]

Purina Dog Food — Director

[ On the set of a TV commercial, with lights and curtains visible. There’s a big box of Purina Dog Chow center stage. Rowlf enters as the director, with a beret and a megaphone. Baskerville stands by the box. ]
Rowlf


Quiet on the set, please. Now, Baskerville, in this commercial, when I say “CHOW TIME!”, you leap from the package and run toward the camera. Right?
Baskerville


Right! [ Baskerville ducks down into the box. ]
Rowlf


Okay. Lights! Camera! CHOW TIME!
[ The box rustles, but Baskerville doesn’t come out. ]
Rowlf


Cut, cut. Now, what’s the trouble, Baskerville?
Baskerville


I’m hungry!
Rowlf


Hungry? With all that delicious Purina Dog Chow in there?
Baskerville


[ pops out of package ] You forgot to say flavor charged.
Rowlf


All right, flavor charged Purina Dog Chow. Now eat!
Baskerville


Uh, how about some water to bring out the flavor?
Rowlf


All right. [ Baskerville ducks back into the box. Rowlf pours water from a pitcher into the box. ]
Baskerville


[ gurgling ] Oh, that’s fine, Rowlf. Thanks!
Rowlf


Okay, let’s go. Lights! Action! CHOW TIME!
[ The box rustles as Baskerville munches on the dog food. ]
Announcer


For real eager eater action at Chow Time, feed your dog new flavor charged Purina Dog Chow. So delicious, we guarantee your dog will love it, or your money back.
[ Baskerville bursts out through the box. ]
Baskerville


Of course, your dog may like it better in a bowl!

So those are the commercials that made Rowlf famous. But he was too cool of a character for just one sponsor, so pretty soon, he was appearing in Esskay Meats commercials with Pat, the Esskay spokesperson…

Esskay Meats — Esskay Machine

[ Rowlf shows Pat a big complex machine with a lever and a conveyor belt. ]
Rowlf


Hey, Pat, I just invented an Esskay luncheon meat sandwich machine.
Pat


Oh, good — just what I need!
Rowlf


Every time I pull this handle — [ Ding! ] –. a different sandwich comes out.
Pat


Oh, look!
Rowlf


Look at these. There’s an Esskay spiced luncheon meat. And then the next one coming out — [ Ding! ] — there’s an Esskay olive loaf.
Pat


Oh, and they look delicious too! And it’s no wonder. Esskay’s been making quality meats for over one hundred years. And their luncheon meats are the world’s best!
Rowlf


[ Ding! ] — Hey, looky there. There’s a bologna!
Pat


And every Esskay variety is made fresh every day, with pure beef and pure pork, and the finest imported spices.
Rowlf


[ Ding! ] — There’s a pepper loaf.
Pat


And you get something extra special and good eating.
Rowlf


[ Ding! ] — Man, with these Esskay meats, you can sure tell that they’re made up to a standard, not down to a price.
Pat


Oh, that’s so true, Rowlf. Hey, can I try the machine?
Rowlf


Why not?
[ Pat pulls the lever. The machine makes a huge Clang! — and all kinds of sandwiches roll off the conveyor belt. ]
Pat


Oh, my goodness!
Rowlf


Congratulations, Pat! You just hit the jackpot!
Pat


Oh, how wonderful! Oh, this is GRAND. Now we can all taste the difference Q-wal-ity makes.

Esskay Meats — Dizzy Salami

[ Kitchen set. Rowlf is wearing a beret and sunglasses. As Pat enters, hipster Rowlf is scatting: Skee boop a doop boop… ]
Pat


I beg your pardon, sir. Have we met?
[ Rowlf lifts his shades and gives Pat the once-over. ]
Rowlf


Like, um… negative. My name’s Salami. Dizzy Salami.
Pat


Salami?
Rowlf


Have you dug my group, the Luncehon Meat Five?
Pat


No, but I’m glad you’re here. This is an Esskay commercial.
Rowlf


Esskay? Luncheon Meats?
Pat


Mmm hmm.
Rowlf


[ sings ] Oh, Ess – Kay – oh pop a thorp – boop a doop boop scoop, fresh beef and pork!
Pat


Well, I’m glad to see that you like Esskay Luncheon Meats. [ Rowlf scats while Pat goes on. ] You know, they’re made fresh daily of pure beef and pure pork with the perfect touch of rare imported spices. Esskay Luncheon Meats are deliciously tasty, because they’re made up to a standard, not down to a price. And the variety — well, it’s practically endless… Bologna… spiced luncheon meat… olive loaf…
Rowlf


Olive loaf!
Pat


Yes.
Rowlf


Oh, now there’s a singer.
Pat


Olive loaf is a singer?
Rowlf


Oh, yeah. Haven’t you dug Olive’s new album?
Pat


No.
Rowlf


Olive Loaf Swings Cole Porter.
Pat


Well, Olive Loaf swings with rye bread and mustard too, friend.
Rowlf


Reminds me of a song I just wrote five minutes ago.
Pat


Really?
Rowlf


Oh yes. The name of it is My Heart Belongs to Bierwurst.
Pat


Oh?
Rowlf


Have you heard it?
Pat


No.
Rowlf


I just wrote it. Listen to this. [ scats: ] Oh, Esskay ham and chicken loaf… Bologna and pepper loaf too… and Bavarian style… Bierwurst…
Pat


Well, I hope you can get the idea, friends. For a huge variety of the world’s most flavorful luncheon meats, buy Esskay — and taste the difference Q-wal-ity makes.
Rowlf


I’m not finished yet!

by Danny Horn

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