Chuckles the Clown (found premium rate telephone service ad; mid-late 1980s)
Still from a typical 1-900 number commercial.
Date found: 07 Jun 2021
Found by: ThatGamingAsshole
In the 1980s, various companies advertised premium-rate telephone numbers via television commercials. These numbers would result in additional charges to the phone bill of any household that used them, which would then make money for the company. Some companies provided services that were deemed valuable at the time, such as news-over-the-phone. However, other companies based their telephone number around entertainment, and specifically tried to get children to call the number and charge the premium rate to their parents' phone bill. Many such commercials are fondly remembered on nostalgia websites. However, as they were just commercials at the time, there was little incentive to record or preserve them. The companies in question were also numerous, obscure, and may have collapsed with the end 1-900 numbers. One such lost commercial aired for a service where children could become rock stars and sing via the telephone with a fictional clown called Chuckles the Clown. This ad has been remembered by many children who grew up in the 80s, but it has never been found on the internet. The company responsible for this particular advertisement is unknown, though there is speculation that an Easter Bunny commercial that was uploaded to YouTube around 2009 may have been produced by the same group. Unfortunately, the Easter Bunny variant is also lost.
The Chuckles the Clown commercial began with a claymation clown (the titular Chuckles of the service) singing. It then cuts to a boy jumping on his bed in his bedroom while his mom vacuums the room. A few seconds later, the boy turns into a rock star and Chuckles tells the viewers about the hotline. All that remains are the lyrics to the ad, which were posted on an 80s pop culture newsgroup. Members of this newsgroup recall the commercial airing in the Philadelphia area and the Orange County California area around 1989.
On June 7th, 2021 LMW user ThatGamingAsshole found a recording of the commercial and uploaded it onto YouTube. It is best guessed this airing of the commercial occurred in November 1987 during an airing of “USA Cartoon Express” as the premiere of an episode of The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin is also on the tape. ThatGamingAsshole later uploaded the commercial to his YouTube channel with a higher quality version being added the next day.
Upon viewing the commercial, it was found the lyrics to the commercial were mostly accurate to the original forum post other than “Chuckles Band” actually being “Wizards Band” and the mom simply placing items on the boy’s bed rather than vacuuming the room. The company behind the commercial was found to be “Phone Medium. Inc.” and the phone number 1-900-909-4646.
The Supposed Lyrics
"Time to rock and roll with Chuckles The Clown
We are waiting for the sound of your tone
You can be in the Chuckles Band
Just sing into the telephone!
You can be in the Chuckles Band
Just sing into the telephone!"
- A forum discussion from people who remember the commercial. Retrieved 22 Nov '18