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"i Want To Sell You A Car!"


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I remembered his name as soon as I saw the topic title. Seems like he was on mostly on Saturdays. He would have cars lined up and he would slap his hand on the fender or hood and make his pitch for each car as it went by.

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Wow, I guess the guy was a lot smarter and shrewder than he seemed on his commercials. A $50 million real estate portfolio is very impressive. But it's hard not to chuckle reading about "Grindle Village". He must be getting up there in age because he wasn't a young man when he was on the airwaves here in the 60's.

Now where's Mike Persa? "Buy your Chevrolet from Persa, Mike Persa Chevrolet!"

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  • 8 months later...

Hah! Now I have that silly jingle stuck in my head. "If you need a brand new car, go see Cal..." sung to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands..." Go see Cal! Go see Cal! Go see Cal!

I haven't thought about the guy that would "stand on his head and eat a bug if he couldn't sell you a car" in years!

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  • 2 months later...
I remembered his name as soon as I saw the topic title. Seems like he was on mostly on Saturdays. He would have cars lined up and he would slap his hand on the fender or hood and make his pitch for each car as it went by.

Car salesmen and politicans top the list of the kind of people that people trust the least.

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Car salesmen and politicans top the list of the kind of people that people trust the least.

Art Grindle was a shrewd marketer -- in his opinion at least. His Houston TV commercials were loud and obnoxious because that's what he thought would sell cars in Houston. That approach clearly didn't work very well because his Houston dealership closed in the late 60s.

The commercials he cut for Dallas consumption were completely different. His pitches were soft-spoken and low key, and if I didn't know it was the same guy who yelled and climbed all over his cars in Houston I wouldn't have believed it.

It was Mike Persia Chevrolet TV commercials and ads that featured a cartoon drawing of a middle eastern swami doing the snake charmer routine with a flute and a snake. He couldn't do that ad today. It wouldn't be PC.

Frizzell Pontiac, at 69th and Harrisburg, was the one that had a small plane flying around town with a loudspeaker advertising "a whale of a deal". Sometime in the mid or late 60s, Frizzell moved to a new location on Woodridge between the Gulf Freeway and the South Loop 610, directly behind and across the street from Gulfgate. It closed for good sometime in the 90s, and the property was sold to developers for other uses. I had the pleasure of knowing owner Ivan Frizzell, and his son who took over the dealership when Ivan retired. Two very nice guys.

Talk about old car dealer commercials. Those Tommy Vaughn Ford commercials with that old style baritone singing "Tommy wants you to bring all the family, cause his service is based on sincerity" have been running unchanged since the 1940s.

Or, "Do you know the muffler man, the muffler man, the muffler man? Do you know the muffler man, Mike Temple is his name". Mike Temple still has a muffler store on the Katy Freeway between Hwy 6 and Barker Cypress. He's used the same radio jingle since the 50s.

Or the old Sam Montgomery Oldsmobile Commercial song: "Come to Sam Montgomery and ride on the rocket. Speak to Sam the Rocket Man and you will see the way...etc etc". Or this one: "Davis, Chuck Davis, Chuck Davis Chevrolet. Can and will make you a better deal, on America's number one automobile...etc". Remember the lovely young Lynn Peacock and her 1970s TV commercials for her father's Tom Peacock Cadillac, guaranteeing customers "a sweetheart of a deal"? She's now middle aged, still lovely, and doing radio commercials for Tom Peacock Chevrolet.

By the way, Gulfgate was never a "mall" in the enclosed and air conditioned sense, like other malls were and are. I guess you could call it an open-air mall. There was no roof or covering over the walkways, and all the stores opened to the outside. It was just a large shopping center. Its promotional advertising referred to it as "Gulfgate Shopping City".

Edited by FilioScotia
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Art Grindle was a shrewd marketer and businessman. His Houston TV commercials were loud and obnoxious because that's what he thought would sell cars in Houston. That approach clearly didn't work very well because his Houston dealership closed in the late 60s.

The commercials he cut for Dallas consumption were completely different. His pitches were soft-spoken and low key, and if I didn't know it was the same guy who yelled and climbed all over his cars in Houston I wouldn't have believed it.

It was Mike Persia Chevrolet TV commercials and ads that featured a cartoon drawing of a middle eastern swami doing the snake charmer routine with a flute and a snake. He couldn't do that ad today. It wouldn't be PC.

Frizzell Pontiac, at 69th and Harrisburg, was the one that had a small plane flying around town with a loudspeaker advertising "a whale of a deal". Sometime in the mid or late 60s, Frizzell moved to a new location on Woodridge between the Gulf Freeway and the South Loop 610, directly behind and across the street from Gulfgate. It closed for good sometime in the 90s, and the property was sold to developers for other uses. I had the pleasure of knowing owner Ivan Frizzell, and his son who took over the dealership when Ivan retired. Two very nice guys.

By the way, Gulfgate was never a "mall", at least not in the enclosed and air conditioned sense. Gulfgate had no roof, and all the stores opened to the outside. It was just a large shopping center. In fact, its promotional advertising referred to it as "Gulfgate Shopping City".

Talk about old car dealer commercials. Those Tommy Vaughn Ford commercials with that old style baritone singing "Tommy wants you to bring all the family, cause his service is based on sincerity" have been running unchanged since the 1940s.

Or, "Do you know the muffler man, the muffler man, the muffler man? Do you know the muffler man, Mike Temple is his name". Mike Temple still has a store on the Katy Freeway between Hwy 6 and Barker Cypress. He's used that same radio jingle since the 50s.

Or the old Sam Montgomery Oldsmobile Commercial song: "Come to Sam Montgomery and ride on the rocket...etc etc".

You certainly have extensive knowledge. Yes, I remember the "open" part of Gulfgate. There was Newberry's, W.T. Grant, etc. I'll never forget the underground bowling alley.

No, I don't remember Mike Temple or Sam Montgomery. What remains in my head are the radio commercial jingles for Tommie Vaughn Ford, Chuck Davis Chevrolet, and Uncle John's Pancakes.

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By the way, Gulfgate was never a "mall" in the enclosed and air conditioned sense, like other malls were and are. I guess you could call it an open-air mall. There was no roof or covering over the walkways, and all the stores opened to the outside. It was just a large shopping center. Its promotional advertising referred to it as "Gulfgate Shopping City".

I don't know when but at some point Gulfgate was fully enclosed.

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I don't know when but at some point Gulfgate was fully enclosed.

I thought that someone on this forum said that when Gulfgate Shopping City was demolished that it was rebuilt into Gulfgate Mall. For it to be called a mall, wouldn't it have to be fully enclosed?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi, my name is Art and this is my dog Storm and I am going to sell you a car.

We used to laugh like crazy and always hoped that he would slap a fender and it would fall off.

The one with his dog Storm was Ralph Williams. Art Grindle was a few years before him. The Firesign Theater did a takeoff on Ralph Williams, "here in the city of emphysema."

I thought Art Grindle went to prison. I remember his commercials on Saturday afternoons on (I think) Channel 2 in between old movies like Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan or the Marx Brothers.

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I thought that someone on this forum said that when Gulfgate Shopping City was demolished that it was rebuilt into Gulfgate Mall. For it to be called a mall, wouldn't it have to be fully enclosed?

Gulfgate mall was built in 1956 and was not enclosed. Meyerland Plaza followed in 1957 and also was not enclosed. The first enclosed mall was Sharpstown in 1961. Some time in the mid 60s, Gulfgate was closed in. I remember walking around and noticing that they still had the drains in the middle of the floor of the mall areas.

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The one with his dog Storm was Ralph Williams. Art Grindle was a few years before him. The Firesign Theater did a takeoff on Ralph Williams, "here in the city of emphysema."

I thought Art Grindle went to prison. I remember his commercials on Saturday afternoons on (I think) Channel 2 in between old movies like Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan or the Marx Brothers.

Art Grindle never went to prison. He was a funny, very smart and very successful car dealer for a long time. He decided to do something else for a living when the oil business -- and car sales -- went south in the 80s. Grindle now makes his millions in commercial real estate in Florida. Check it out: http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/stories.../09/story7.html

Grindle was never crooked. Just colorful, and as honest as the day is long. Think of him as the "Mattress Mac" of his day. In fact, I think I remember reading somewhere that Jim McIngvale emulated Grindle's advertising style because it worked so well.

Ralph Williams came to Houston from the west coast in the mid 60s, and ran a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership on the Gulf Fwy at Woodridge. Williams was one of those oily fast-talking types who've always given the car business a bad name. His bad reputation got around town pretty fast, and he folded and left town sometime in the early 70s. He had the same property Bill McDavid Oldsmobile later occupied for years. That whole corner on the outbound side of I-45 is now a shopping complex.

Edited by FilioScotia
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Art Grindle never went to prison. He was an amusing, highly respected and successful car dealer for a long time. He decided to do something else for a living when the oil business -- and car sales -- went south in the 80s. Grindle now makes his millions selling and leasing commercial real estate in Florida. Check it out: http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/stories.../09/story7.html

Grindle was never crooked. Just colorful, and as honest as the day is long. Think of him as the "Mattress Mac" of his day. In fact, I think I remember reading somewhere that Jim McIngvale emulated Grindle's advertising style because it worked so well.

Ralph Williams came to Houston from the west coast in the mid 60s, and ran a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership on the Gulf Fwy at Woodridge. Williams was one of those oily fast-talking types who've always given the car business a bad name. His bad reputation got around town pretty fast, and he folded and left town sometime in the early 70s. He had the same property Bill McDavid Oldsmobile occupied for many years. That whole corner on the inbound side of I-45 is now a shopping complex.

I remember Art selling new Dodge Darts for $1699 in the 1960's.....

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  • 8 months later...

Nostalgia clippings from the Houston Post, ca. 1985:

34zetrt.jpg

2n7qfip.jpg

I remember the Pioneer busses. They were royal blue and white and always seemed to me to be in much better shape than the orange and white Houston Transit Company busses (I never rode in one though).

Some transit company, perhaps it was Pioneer, used tractor trailer rigs for a while after the war. Benches were mounted rearward facing in the trailer and steps were attached to the rear. As I remember, the doors were left open because there were no windows.

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Nostalgia clippings from the Houston Post, ca. 1985:

34zetrt.jpg

2n7qfip.jpg

I remember the Pioneer busses. They were royal blue and white and always seemed to me to be in much better shape than the orange and white Houston Transit Company busses (I never rode in one though).

Some transit company, perhaps it was Pioneer, used tractor trailer rigs for a while after the war. Benches were mounted rearward facing in the trailer and steps were attached to the rear. As I remember, the doors were left open because there were no windows.

A poll was taken as to the least trustworthy people. There was a tie for last place between politicians and car salesmen.

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And what about:

"If you don't buy your next car from Rosenstock, we both loose money."

If I remember right Frizzell, Bob Marco and some others got caught up in an odometer rollback sting in the mid 80s.

Metro Chrysler Plymouth was the one on the corner of Woodridge and 45.

joe

Edited by texianjoe
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Wow, I guess the guy was a lot smarter and shrewder than he seemed on his commercials. A $50 million real estate portfolio is very impressive. But it's hard not to chuckle reading about "Grindle Village". He must be getting up there in age because he wasn't a young man when he was on the airwaves here in the 60's.

Now where's Mike Persa? "Buy your Chevrolet from Persa, Mike Persa Chevrolet!"

I remember the Persa Chevrolet commercials from the 1960s in Houston. Later, in the very late 1970s there was a Persa Chevrolet in New Orleans with similar theme to their commercials. It was so similar - I believe it had to be the same firm, or family.

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  • 2 years later...

Art Grindle would always have some used cars for sale for $25.00.

Friend of mine bought a $25 late 40s Chev from him in the mid-60s when we were in Bellaire HS. Car had some serious problems, but he kept it running somehow. One summer day it broke down just off the Galv causeway as we were returning from surfing. He said "I'll just buy another one," took the plates off, we unloaded the boards and hitched a pickup ride back to Bellaire. He never went back for the car.

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That was my cousin, Marian Barbato.

your cousin was one hell of a car salesman!

He sold my dad a new Chrysler every other year for my entire childhood! In fact, I remember Mr. Barbato sending me, my brother and sister birthday cards every year....man, oh man, that was customer service that kept you coming back FOREVER....

Edited by Native Son
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Anybody remember the guy who made this line famous? If so, do you ever wonder what happened to him?

Check it out!

Bump: I remember Art Grindle, he was better known as Art "Swindle", he was busted for making customers buy the heaters that was already covered in the cost of a new Chrysler or Dodge. If I remember his dealership was on Jensen Drive ? I won't put my life on the line for this info correct me if I'm wrong, I was very young at the time but news traveled fast in those days.

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Bump: I remember Art Grindle, he was better known as Art "Swindle", he was busted for making customers buy the heaters that was already covered in the cost of a new Chrysler or Dodge. If I remember his dealership was on Jensen Drive ? I won't put my life on the line for this info correct me if I'm wrong, I was very young at the time but news traveled fast in those days.

You're thinking of somebody else. Art Grindle was never "busted" for anything illegal or wrong. And his dealership was at Chimney Rock and Westheimer on the west side - many miles from Jensen Drive, on the north side.

Edited by FilioScotia
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You're thinking of somebody else. Art Grindle was never "busted" for anything illegal or wrong. And his dealership was at Chimney Rock and Westheimer on the west side - many miles from Jensen Drive, on the north side.

If I'm in error then I stand corrected. Curious about this I Googled and came up with something that might clarify what I said, I did not use any source to answer the original post here, only what was going on around town in the early 50's and what as a young boy was hearing!

The link is another forum and you can judge for yourself , go down to the lower part of the page and read a few entries. Maybe he did maybe he didn't ...

http://www.symmonline.com/phorum/read.php?2,18483

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On 7/17/2006 at 10:21 PM, BellaireGuy said:

The one with his dog Storm was Ralph Williams. Art Grindle was a few years before him. The Firesign Theater did a takeoff on Ralph Williams, "here in the city of emphysema."

I thought Art Grindle went to prison. I remember his commercials on Saturday afternoons on (I think) Channel 2 in between old movies like Johnny Weismuller in Tarzan or the Marx Brothers.

I remember it the other way around - the movies were in between the commercials!! And they were on Saturday mornings. 

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Actually, it was Chick Randall and his dog Storm. Randall was sales manager at several Ralph Williams Ford dealerships on the west coast. His commercials were copied by Cal Worthington, who did his commercials with his dog "Spot". However, Cal's "dog" was never a dog. In most cases, it was an exotic animal being led around on a leash, such as a tiger or elephant. Among the many creatures that played the role of "Spot" were a killer whale from Sea World, a lion, an elephant, a goose, a tiger, a bull, various snakes, a rhinoceros, a skunk, a bear, a roller-skating chimpanzee, a water buffalo and a hippopotamus. 

 

These commercials began as a parody of a long-running series of commercials produced by car salesman Chick Lambert, who worked for multiple Los Angeles-area Ford dealers over many years. These commercials invariably began with "I'm Chick Lambert, Sales Manager here at Ralph Williams Ford, and this is my dog Storm." Storm was a German Shepherd dog, and was usually lounging on the hood of the first car to be featured in the ad.

Edited by FilioScotia
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