Sunday, June 17, 2018
  • Stuck in the '80s
  • Steve Spears

On this date, Wendy’s first asked: Where’s the beef?

On January 10, 1984, an actress named Clara Peller demanded to know "Where's the beef?" during a commercial for Wendy's hamburgers and the pop culture world hasn't been the same since.

"Where's the beef" instantly became a catchphrase, and Wendy's sales jumped 31 percent in a single year. That was good news for ad agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, which developed the spot (and was also responsible for Toyota's "Oh what a feeling!" Campaign).

Here are five things that perhaps you don't remember about the "Where's the beef" phenomenon:

1. Peller was 80 years old when she first got into the acting business and caught the attention of casting agents after appearing as a cleaning lady in ads for the Massachusetts State Lottery.

2. The commercial was originally supposed to star a young couple, but the director didn't think the idea was funny enough, so he cast three senior citizens instead.

3. Clara's original line was supposed to read "Where is all the beef?" but the actress was suffering from emphysema and the line was too long for her to deliver comfortably. She originally earned just over $300 for the day's work (though reports are that later Wendy's paid her closer to $500,000.)

4. The catchphrase was so popular that Walter Mondale used it to slam fellow Democrat Gary Hart with it during a 1984 presidential debate.

5. Once the "Where's the beef?" campaign ended, sales took a 5-year nosedive for Wendy's. The chain would then be rescued by a new ad campaign starring company founder Dave Thomas.

Comments
30 years later, ‘The Great Outdoors’ still annoying critics

30 years later, ‘The Great Outdoors’ still annoying critics

Did you know The Great Outdoors was one of the John Hughes movies least admired by critics? Would you be further shocked to know the only '80s flick by Hughes to be liked even less was She's Having a Baby?Both She's Having a Baby and The Great Outdoo...
Published: 06/17/18
Crocodile Dundee sequel for real this time

Crocodile Dundee sequel for real this time

THAT's not a sequel, Department of Australia Tourism. Now THIS is a sequel, says actor Paul Hogan, who announced he'll return again as Crocodile Dundee.Movieweb.com says the film will be called The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee and will pick up the story...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Lea Thompson wants to remake Howard the Duck?!?

Lea Thompson wants to remake Howard the Duck?!?

One of the biggest stink-burgers of the '80s was 1986's Howard the Duck. The comic-book-turned-live-action film was despised by critics and flopped at the box office. And yet, it still managed to rise to cult movie status in the following decades.So ...
Published: 06/13/18
Latest podcast: Summer reading list for ’80s fans

Latest podcast: Summer reading list for ’80s fans

Summer time in the '80s meant one thing: Beaches, booze and … books?!? Yes, for the first time ever, Stuck in the '80s has compiled a Summer Reading List. It's full of books set in or about the '80s. Plus, we have our listener picks for great b...
Published: 06/11/18
30 years ago, ‘Big Business’ was really small potatoes

30 years ago, ‘Big Business’ was really small potatoes

When Big Business opened the in theaters back on June 10, 1988, the storyline of two youngsters trading places was hardly new. You can trace it at least as far back as Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper back in 1881. (And even further back to Sha...
Published: 06/10/18
Val Kilmer, Danger Zone returning for Top Gun 2

Val Kilmer, Danger Zone returning for Top Gun 2

Actor Val Kilmer has confirmed he's on board for Top Gun 2 – officially called Top Gun: Maverick. It's assumed Kilmer will reprise his role as "Iceman," Tom Cruise's main rival at the elite Navy flight school. Production has already started on ...
Published: 06/08/18
Donald Glover, Ryan Gosling could be next Willy Wonka

Donald Glover, Ryan Gosling could be next Willy Wonka

Like the original forbidden fruit, Hollywood can't keep its hands off our beloved childhood heroes, and that now includes Willy Wonka. A new remake is in the works now with Donald Glover and Ryan Gosling being considered for the title role.And y...
Published: 06/06/18
Who’s ready for another Cannonball Run?

Who’s ready for another Cannonball Run?

Let's face it: Some movies really are products of their time and place. Take a bunch of A-list comedic actors, put them in sports cars and let them race across the country with a total disrespect for the law and you have 1981's Cannonball Run.That mo...
Published: 06/05/18
5 things you didn’t know about ‘Big’ on its 30th anniversary

5 things you didn’t know about ‘Big’ on its 30th anniversary

Puns aside, you can argue that Tom Hanks' career didn't truly get big until Big. That movie, released June 3, 1988, seriously has to be considered the "no looking back" point of his career.Oh sure, Hanks had plenty of good films before Big – Sp...
Published: 06/03/18
Production begins on Top Gun 2

Production begins on Top Gun 2

Great balls of fire! It looks like Top Gun 2 is actually going to happen. Tom Cruise is gonna buzz Hollywood's tower with Top Gun: Maverick, and according to his social media accounts, it appears that production has begun.Give DenofGeek.com credit fo...
Updated one month ago