I miss Art Grindle. When I was growing up in Houston Grindle would pound on or stand on his cars as he shouted “I want to sell you a car!” If his antics damaged the merchandise he’d lower the price and go to the next car.
Political ads replace car dealer ads during campaign season, and with election day finally here I realize just how much I appreciate used car dealers. Even car ads without Grindle’s enthusiasm are improvements on political ads. And Grindle was much more believable.
We have one local auto dealer who is working on measuring up to the late, great Grindle. He has a ways to go but he’s getting the shouting down pat. He hasn’t punched or stood on any cars yet, but he has appeared in an ad riding a longhorn steer. Of course, that isn’t too odd in these parts. I’ve been on a longhorn myself relatively recently, and I wasn’t trying to sell anything.
TV commercials will be more honest when the auto dealers and personal injury attorneys get their time slots back. Even if the election results are contested the commercial assaults on our intelligence should diminish.
Just before election season knocked car ads off the air our local Grindle-in-training showed up talking to a camel. I hope this is a sign he’s upping his game. I know I’ll succumb to the siren song of the news if the election results are delayed and I’m looking forward to seeing how our Grindle wanna-be comes out of the post-election gate. He has promise.
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I never knew Grindle, but after reading your description of his sales pitch, I can’t help wondering if both Marvin Zindler and Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale didn’t watch and learn from his schtick. Asked to play word association, a lot of Houstonians would respond to Marvin’s name with “slime in the ice machine!” and to Mack with “Saves! You! Money!” Of course, Mack’s had to tone back jumping on sofas with a wad of bills in his hand and Marvin’s gone, but in their day, they could have given Grindle a run for his money.
I think Grindle would have been off to Florida by the time you came to Houston, if I have my dates right. Zindler and McIngvale could have certainly been influenced by Grindle – he was a cultural institution in Houston during the ’60s. A word association test of Houstonians back then would be guaranteed to tie “I want to sell you a car!” to Grindle. My clearest memory of Grindle is a commercial where he dented the hood of a car when he slammed it with his fist. His only reaction was to immediately adjust the price.
I’m more familiar with Zindler than McIngvale, but they would have made a great trio if they hooked up with Grindle for a performance. The energy level would have been beyond impressive.