April 23, 2003

Re: a weird question

Hi. I work in the creative department of an ad agency and I'm trying to uncover the name of a character who appeared in, I believe, older TV shows from the 50s, possibly radio from the 40s. This is gonna be an odd description but here goes: he's known to a lot of people my age (mid 40s) as a guy who played a maitre'd and would always greet people with a signature line, "May I help you?", spoken in a way-over-the-top way. He also would say, "Yeeeeeessss?" in a long drawn-out fashion. We also believe this fellow appeared in a Faygo pop commercial and possibly was the voice in cartoons. Odd question, I know, but it's driving me and my friends nuts. Can you help? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks, Jim

Frank Nelson was his name. He was best known for harrassing Jack Benny, everywhere he went, on the Jack Benny Show. And he always provided the model of terrible customer service and total disrespect to Jack; especially if Jack was trying to get a refund. He was a scream and hilarious doing that however. The Flintstones cartoon show once used him to treat Fred Flintstone, the exact same way as Jack Benny, when Fred tried to get a refund on a bowling ball. Acutally he was rude to Fred even the first time that he came into the store, to buy the ball, too:

http://www.imdb.com/Name?Nelson,+Frank+(II)

Not too long before Frank Nelson died (around 1981; he died in 1986) he did commercials for McDonald's in which he squealed "yes", like you said. He also made a cameo on Saturday Night Live (also around 1981). He was not credited for that. One of the Saturday Night Live actors was imitating Mick Jagger. He came up to Frank, who had his back turned (so we had no idea who he was); Frank was at a stand, a booth or a counter. The actor playing Mick Jagger, said "Oh, excuse me", about 3 times...........just the way Jack Benny always used to, on his show. Then Frank very quickly turned around and screamed "YEEESS!" Many times, Frank would have his back turned to Jack Benny, just like this............he was always turned around, extremely fast, and then scream LOUDLY "YES", right in Jack Benny's face.

To be honest...............I like some of the other things that Frank used to scream, which people often forget about. Far funnier than his "Yes" line was: "WELL!!!!" and he really drew it out, and screamed it, just like he did with "YES"-----in a very high pitched voice. That time he screamed "WELL" at Fred Flintstone, he actually said: "WELL!!!!.........BITE MY TONGUE!!!!!". It was hysterical how he said "Bite My Tongue!!!".

Brian