February 5, 2016

Anthony!



A long NYT obituary for a woman whose only claim to fame was shouting "Anthony!" out the window in a 1969 spaghetti commercial (the one that planted the definition of Wednesday in our head: Prince spaghetti day).

27 comments:

clint said...

Successful media campaigns still go on for years.

I'll bet we see Budweiser's clydesdales this Superbowl Sunday, along with Geico's Gecko.

Wilbur said...

I've never seen Prince spaghetti on a grocery shelf in my life. That includes New York City South, Broward County, Florida.
Still remember the jingle though. "Hurray for Wednesday!"

rehajm said...

The street and the building he's running home to is still recognizable today. It's on Powers Court in the North End. The drunk kids stumbling by on their way home no longer scream Anthony! though...

tim in vermont said...

The North End of Boston is very cool, anybody who hasn't visited it should. It's so different than the rest of Boston, almost like a little bit of Rome tucked away in there. At the time that commercial was playing, it was said that you never needed to worry about getting mugged in the North End, on account of the Mafia made sure the streets were safe.

sydney said...

I can still smell the garlic simmering from an evening stroll through the North End of Boston. It is a delightful place.

JSD said...

Prince Spaghetti had its roots in Boston’s North End, but the company was in Lowell, Mass. The North End was a really cool in the 80’s. Joe Tecce’s Ristorante & CafĂ© was a great place for spotting local celebs and members of the Beacon Hill Mob (politicians).

Sammy Finkelman said...

That commercial was that long ago? How long did they keep on re-running it?

Leslie Graves said...

Thanks! Made my day.

Anon said...

The Prince spaghetti factory was in the North End for years, but was converted into lofts in the 1980s (I knew someone who lived there). Fifteen years ago, when I lived in the North End, I never worried about walking by myself at night, even though I was a relatively petite 20-something woman. Was someone really going to jump me when my 6-foot plus neighbor was hanging out his window to say hello to anyone who walked by? Or the guys working at the 24-hour bakery were watching out their windows? Or there were still two grandmas knitting or playing cards on the corner? It really was like living in a village in the middle of the city (the grandmas also felt free to ask where I had been at midnight or comment on who walked me home).

Original Mike said...

Hey, you can get Prince spaghetti through the Althouse Amazon portal! (I have spent an inordinate amount of time on this post this morning, including cruising the North End from rehajm's link).

samanthasmom said...

Sunday is Prince lasagna day!

Unknown said...

"Wow, thats-a some spice meatball!"

Henry said...

The North End of Boston is very cool, anybody who hasn't visited it should. It's so different than the rest of Boston, almost like a little bit of Rome tucked away in there.

The funny thing being that this little Italy is essentially the colonial city of Boston. The Paul Revere house is in the North End. Go visit the Old North Church, then walk a block and get a cannoli at Mike's Pastry. (That's Michael Mercogliano).

Anthony said...

Yes?

chickelit said...

Quaint. Just like North Beach in San Francisco.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

" Anthony said...Yes?"

Supper!

rehajm said...

The original commercial played longer: 1969 original version

...and here's a story on Anthony when he wasn't recast for a remake of the commercial. Pretty much sums up the flavor of life in the North End.

Drew W said...

I should have realized that "Wednesday is Prince spaghetti day" was made up by the company. When I was little, I got the impression that it was somehow an officially sanctioned feast day. This one was a far more successful commercial for Prince spaghetti than the super low-budget one I saw maybe once back in the '80s, when the pop star Prince was riding high in the charts. It announced, "And now . . . Prince!" And then it showed a box of the spaghetti. No wonder the guy changed his name to an unpronounceable glyph.

Steven Davis said...

@ Tim in VT (and others)

I've had the pleasure of staying in the NE several times recently (GF's college daughters live there) and I can confirm that it still seems to be the safest urban neighborhood I've ever experienced. If not, no way would mom allow her daughters to live there. I have no idea if the Mafia still has something to do with that. The same phenomena is evident in Baltimore's much smaller Little Italy district.

averagejoe said...

I lived over Cafe Vittoria on Hanover Street in the '90's, just around the time when the Big Dig started, before they disappeared the expressway and it ran right overhead past Haymarket Square.

There was local Italian restaurant called Polcari's, John Polcari always starred in and narrated his own commercials. One had adult Anthony running down the street and finally entering Polcari's. He comes in and John and says to him, "Hey Anthony, where were ya on Wednesday?".

gadfly said...

The Italian restaurants in the North End have to rank among the world's best. Real Italian cooked while you wait and served in God-knows how many courses - helped along by countless bottles of vino.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iapetus said...

How to start an argument in East Boston, just ask: Which bakery in the North End makes the better connolis, Mike's or Modern's? The North End has been the home of new arrivals to America in one wave of immigration after another. At one point in time, before the Italians settled there, the North End was a Jewish ghetto.

averagejoe said...

Iapetus said... The North End has been the home of new arrivals to America in one wave of immigration after another. At one point in time, before the Italians settled there, the North End was a Jewish ghetto.
2/5/16, 7:34 PM

True. The Irish built the tenements of the North End and were the initial occupants.

gpm said...

averagejoe beat me on the Polcari's "where were you on Wednesday" commercial. But Polcari's wasn't just a "local Italian restaurant." Not that I ever went there, but it was the banquet hall for all of the North End and maybe points beyond, located on a prominent intersection near the Boston Gahden. And there's still an outpost north on Route 1 heading toward New Hamster.

Pace the North End restaurants, we had a fabulous, tiny little restaurant (Trattoria Toscana) in the Fenway for about ten years doing Italian-Italian (not Italian-American, like most of the North End) cuisine, run by an Albanian who had spent years working at restaurants in Florence. Not sure of the details, but apparently he and his wife split up, and he opened a similar restaurant up in Salem a couple of years ago, while the wife kept the Fenway location. Unfortunately, the Fenway location closed for "renovations" last spring and it now seems clear will never reopen.

--gpm

dbp said...

I don't know if it was harder to get to or just more intimidating before the big dig, not that it stopped us--but the North End is really close to Faneuil Hall, which is the place every tourist visits.

Actually, the core of Boston is very walkable: We could get off the T at Chinatown, have dim sum and then go to the aquarium or Boston Common. Faneuil Hall is maybe a 5 minute walk, only partially ruined by seeing the Brutalist City Hall. Then the North end for pastry or a restaurant. Finally, we might snap up some bargains at Haymarket before heading home.