Bad 1970s Product Ideas: Tom Marvel Birth Control

Funny story written by Ed E. Druckman

Wednesday, 23 May 2007


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…and we won't even mention Pinto bumper cars

(New York-NY) It's amazing what you can find under the "Barter" section of Craigslist, like when I stumbled across a posting allegedly by the Carvel ice cream estate that was looking to trade a failed 1970s radio commercial for a Marilyn Chambers autographed Behind the Green door lobby card. I thought it was a scam until the person also e-mailed me a certificate of authenticity.

What is Carvel? Well, if you grew up in the North East during the 1960s and 70s, you probably remember the Carvel brand ice cream; mostly because the pitchman of their TV ads was none other than the owner, Tom Carvel. Carvel had a unique voice. Add the fact that he never had a script and the Jim Beam, it was pretty memorable stuff.

While many consider Tom Carvel the father of the modern franchise, unless of course you go to the McDonald's website where they say it's Ray Kroc or the Kentucky Fried Chicken web site where it's Colonel Sanders. Regardless of which fast food King put us all on the Lipitor Death March First, not all of Tom's ideas were successful, like the character he created, Tom Marvel, to hawk an idea Carvel thought couldn't lose...birth control ice cream.

It seems at the height of the sexual revolution in the mid 1970s, Marvel was concerned that many underage teens were having sex. Concerned because it was an expanding market segment, and he wasn't getting a part of it. Carvel approached the Brooklyn based Pfizer pharmaceutical company, always on the look out for a drug has to do with sex, and the line was born. Carvel then turned his marketing genius to creating a totally different character, Tom Marvel, for fear that those loyal to the Carvel brand wouldn't take kindly to the new ice cream line. For some reason unknown to Carvel, fans quickly figured out who Tom Marvel was.

Only one radio spot was ever created, and it aired once.

Is it real or did I get scammed out of my Behind the Green Door lobby card? Listen and judge for yourself.

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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