“Big Mistake” | Funny TV Campaign for Channel 4 St. Louis (1985)

St. Louis media history rediscovered! Here are KMOX-TV Channel 4’s “Big Mistake” commercials from 1985, alerting viewers to an error in TV Guide magazine. Writer/director: Paul Fey. Guy on camera: me!

Yes, that’s me, Walt Jaschek, at a studio in KMOX-TV (St. Louis,) performing on-camera in 1985. I recently found these spots on 3/4″ tape, transferred them to digital, and asked Paul to remind us why this campaign existed and how it came to be. Here’s what he said!

The VP Parade was an extremely important local programming event for Channel 4… not only for the major revenue that would be generated from a local program, but because it also indirectly served as powerful cross-promotion for its news team, who would be heavily visible while covering the event.

A “Big Mistake” occurred when TV Guide did not correctly include the listing for the VP Parade coverage, and instead left the normal weekly listing for Family Feud. Without a crucial TV Guide listing (which was actually a big deal in those days), Channel 4 had missed a major opportunity for exposure, and all felt lost. The magazine was already in print. There was no way to get the incorrect listing changed by the time it was discovered, only a few days before the event.

Out of sheer frustration and in order to amuse himself (this was NOT an assignment), Paul Fey wrote the campaign later that night after the irretrievable “Big Mistake” was discovered. He pitched it to General Manager Allan Cohen the next day. Allan loved it, and Paul enlisted friend Walt Jaschek as the on-camera talent.

The Creative Services team launched into action. shooting it, produced it, and putting it on the air within about 24 hours. The three spots ran heavily over a total of 3-4 days leading up to the day of the actual event.

Even without the correct TV Guide listing, Channel 4 handily won the time slot anyway.

Afterward, Allan said this: “You guys somehow always manage to find a way to turn chicken shit into chicken salad. This time, you turned chicken shit into Chicken Cordon Bleu.”

What are we doing now? Paul runs World Wide Wadio in Hollywood, California.,

Walt runs a YouTube channel and the entertainment empire, Copywriters In Love.


Walt & Don Launch Boastess® Fructose Pies™

We needed a funny product for a funny comic we’re creating. The thought of emulating a certain sweet treat often featured in the comics of our youth? Delicious. Boastess® Fructose Pies™ There’s a sugar crash in every dash! Concept: Walt JaschekPackage design and copy: Don SecreaseStay tuned to see what we do with these! The … Continue reading Walt & Don Launch Boastess® Fructose Pies™

Christopher McKarton: Retired Detective

He’s seen it all. And solved it all. But when an 8mm movie of his past shows up, Christoper McKarton might be back in the game. The Retired Detective A novel with video By Walt Jaschek My name is Christopher McKarton. I’m a detective. Or I was. I’m retired. Blissfully. I prefer detecting buds in … Continue reading Christopher McKarton: Retired Detective

Hero Nots™

Are they heroes? Are they super? NOT. The new, reluctant team from writer Walt Jaschek and Walt Now Films now has its own site. Hero Nots™ Episode 1 Screenplay by Walt Jaschek This is an excerpt from The Hero Nots screenplay I’m writing. Hope to wrap up the script in 2021, cast and shoot in … Continue reading Hero Nots™

Rediscovered! Rare, Star-Studded 1992 CBS-TV Holiday Spot

Scriptwriter Walt Jaschek finds rare, 1992 CBS-TV holiday spot with performances by dozens of TV stars of the day.

Here’s a holiday TV blast from the past, never before seen on the internet, at least as far as we know.

In 1992, CBS-TV offered our agency Paul & Walt Worldwide the opportunity to write and submit scripts for its annual, big-deal, on-air holiday promo spot. The network had aired one annually since the dawn of the medium. Intended as a sincere gesture to express a sentiment on behalf of the brand, they’re seen and appreciated by tens of millions of TV viewers each year.

(Before it became a Paul & Walt client, the network had a long and happy relationship with Paul Fey, my partner; I wouldn’t have had a chance to work on any of these national campaigns if not for him.)

In submitting our stack of scripts, we included my holiday poem, “The Wish,” written specifically for the stars of the network’s hit shows of the day, and intended to be performed by them. Holiday miracle: our pals in the promo department bought it! And brought it to amazing life with their in-house production crew.

From Angela Lansbury (“Murder, She Wrote”) to William Shatner (“Rescue 911”) to Burt Reynolds (“Evening Shade,”) these iconic actors brought their holiday A-game to the performances. Thought lost to time, the 30-second spot showed up on a VHS tape in the bottom of a box at the bottom of another box. Yeah. I had it digitized.

Take a breath. Here are a dizzying array of 1990s TV icons. And their holiday wishes.

The Wish”
:30 TV

JAY THOMAS: We wish you the gift…

SUSAN DEY: That love can bring.

JOHN RITTER: The gift that keeps on giving.

BURT REYNOLDS: I wish for just one win this year!

ESTELLE GETTY: I wish to just keep living!

ANGELA LANSBURY: I wish you love and lasting joy.

DIXIE CARTER: We wish you a scrumptious diet!

WILLIAM SHATNER: I wish you hope and peace on Earth.

BOB NEWHART: Or at least some peace and quiet.

JANINE TURNER: We wish you warm and cozy nights.

MICHELLE LEE: And the greatest wish of all…

GERALD McRANEY: ..is a wish you make with your family.

CHARLES KIMBROUGH: No matter how big…

CANDICE BERGEN: …or how small. Happy holidays! ‘

© 1992 Walt Jaschek and CBS-TV

Shows represented: Love & War, Hearts Afire, Evening Shade, The Golden Palace, Murder, She Wrote; Designing Women; Rescue 911; Bob; Knot’s Landing; Major Dad; Murphy Brown.

Baby Ultrasound Picture Makes Hospital TV Spot Heart-Warming, Helpful

3-D fetal ultrasound of pregnant actress adds authenticity to this Walt-written, well-shot TV spot.

The heart, not the head: that’s where we make decisions about where to go for healthcare. That’s why, as previously reported, my award-winning “This Is Care” advertising campaign for Central Baptist Hospital used minimal copy and maximum empathy to connect patients to the brand.

When it was time to extend the series to an introduction of the hospital’s highly advanced, digital feat ultrasound equipment, I once again pushed back against turning the TV spot into a brochure. My script emphasized showing, not telling: in the simple, two-beat structure the campaign established, we see actual, 3-D, digital footage of a fetus.

Here’s the spot, beautifully shot by The Arbor Group for agency Maring Weissman, followed by my script.

:30 TV Script
Title: “This Is Tyler”
For: Central Baptist Hospital

MUSIC: Light, reassuring, under

TYPE FADES IN: This is Tyler’s first baby picture.

V.O., in tandem: This is Tyler’s first baby picture.

VIDEO: Actual ultrasound footage of a fetus, moving

TYPE FADES IN: This is Tyler.

V.O., in tandem: This is Tyler.

VIDEO: An exam room where an ultrasound is being conducted on a very pregnant Mom. The supportive Dad stands nearby. A smiling technician likes what she sees on the monitor, and turns it to face the couple.

MUSIC: Swells

VIDEO: The expectant couple beam at the sight of their baby. Mom  mouths the words, “He’s perfect.”

TYPE FADES IN: Central Baptist Hospital. This is care.

V.O., in tandem: Central Baptist Hospital. This is care.

MUSIC: Builds to finish

Fade out

A bonus point for authenticity, I believe: the spot features actual, live video from the ultrasound being performed on the genuinely pregnant actress. In that regard, I think, the commercial it isn’t just heart-warming: it’s helpful. If you’re searching for “baby ultrasound picture,” as many parents are, this spot often comes up in search results, giving Moms and Dads an authentic preview of what they might expect.

Healthcare marketing. It’s about heart, head, and sometimes: the womb.

Jean-Luc Picard Fans Shave Heads In Honor of Their Hero

Get the look! The Jean-Luc look! Like Jean-Luc Picard, the bold, bald head of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

By Walt Jaschek

Here is a funny, 1996 TV spot for the syndicated run of the beloved TV series, part of a promotion campaign aired on WCIX-TV, Channel 6 in Miami. It’s also the most-watched-ever video on my YouTube channel!

Enjoy the spot, now captioned for your shaving pleasure.

:30 TV | “Shaving My Head”
For: Star Trek: the Next Generation
Client/Production: WCIX-TV
Campaign Concept and Writer: Walt Jaschek
Producer: Paul Fey

The Script

[Star Trek music up]

V.O.: From Pembroke Pines…

GUY: I’m shaving my head!

V.O.: To South Beach…

ANOTHER GUY: I’m shaving my head!

V.O.: All over Miami, they’re shaving their heads! Like Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the bold, bald head of Star Trek: the Next Generation. Watch weeknights at 7 this Fall. And get the look!

DOG (barking while getting shaved:) BARK! BARK! BARK! BARK!

V.O. The Jean-Luc look! On Star Trek:The Next Generation. Every weeknight at 7 this Fall on Channel 6.

[Star Trek music out]

Walt Now Funny says, “Life is worth laughing.”