''No more Rice Krispies'' was once this M*A*S*H actor's worst nightmare

You will be singing at the breakfast table for weeks after watching this classic commercial.

On M*A*S*H, Sergeant Zelmo Zale is best known for his long-running feud with Maxwell Klinger. A handy sort of guy, he worked as an electrician in camp and could be counted on to get the camp generator back up and running or the jukebox pumping out more tunes. For many M*A*S*H fans, he's a favorite recurring character.

Zale is portrayed by actor Johnny Haymer, a prolific actor seen all over classic TV and in award-winning movies like Annie Hall. He also did voice-acting on cartoons like Alvin & the Chipmunks and The Transformers. He appeared in 20 episodes of M*A*S*H, quietly bowing out in the same episode when Gary Burghoff leaves, "Good-Bye, Radar."

But long before M*A*S*H premiered, for anybody watching TV in the late 1960s, Haymer was already a very memorable figure from a Rice Krispies commercial.

The legendary ad agency Leo Burnett was hired to come up with a campaign that would remind cereal lovers just how great a bowl of "Snap, Crackle, Pop" could be. The result: a commercial featuring a family at a breakfast table, where the father, played by Johnny Haymer, belts out a song like an opera singer that has everybody in the world soon singing along.

Upon being handed an empty box of cereal, Haymer bellows in complete dismay, "No more Rice Krispies!" — to the tune of the instantly familiar tenor aria "Vesti la giubba" from the opera Pagliacci.

Watch the commercial that’s now in the Advertising Hall of Fame, and surely you’ll be singing in dramatic tones at your own breakfast table for weeks, because this slogan is just as catchy today:

Rice Krispies have been around since the 1920s, and this operatic commercial isn't the only time the cereal turned to a catchy song to keep boxes flying off the shelves. In 1963, the Rolling Stones wrote a short little ditty about Rice Krispies:

But we're going to go ahead make the bold call, even with Mick Jagger in the competition: Haymer takes the cake for having the catchier commercial.

What breakfast cereal commercial was your favorite when you were a kid?

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RedSamRackham 22 months ago
* As youngsters we loved Rice Krispies because it sponsored many of our favorite TV shows & sometimes Mom made those dandy marshmallow Krispie bars! ☺
AnnaRentzVandenhazel 27 months ago
I don't remember any of these other roles for Johnny Haymer, but in 1980 he was in a commercial for Dairy Queen, touting their "full meal deal". I was 17 and didn't "catch" who that man in the DQ ad was until my 12-year-old brother told me - I guess he was a better M*A*S*H fan than me, lol!
sgodwin 28 months ago
I was a kid when the operatic commercials came out and they were hugely successful! The company wanted to build new brand awareness and it certainly did that. Kids in the halls at school were singing the songs - everybody knew them. And they had staying power. A lot of people my age still remember and sing these songs, fifty-some years later. In fact, the reason I went looking for it today was to show it to an opera-loving friend. These commercials and Bugs Bunny introduced a lot of us to opera!
max 49 months ago
I still sing it when were out of cereal.
cperrynaples 49 months ago
I remember that commercial and the mother-in-law!! Anybody recall Sideshow Bob singing the Rice Krispies song on The Simpsons?
cperrynaples cperrynaples 49 months ago
PS Stephanie, after seeing that second commercial you have to agree that the Monkees sold Rice Krispies better than the Rolling Stones...LOL! And where's THAT commercial, MeTV?
As I reply to you, I haven't seen the RS commercial. {I may have before, just not now to "refresh my memory."} You are right, The Monkees did sell Kellogg's cereals better than RS. I'm not an RS fan, so it wasn't that hard toweigh my choices as to who did it best. Micky is much better at strutting his stuff than Mick Jagger. Although, I will give Mick Jagger credit: He's in 70's, has had, {what I think was,} major heart surgery, and he can still strut his stuff. He's a testament to his song's title, "Start Me Up."
Yep, my favorite is "Brand X" where they did a double switch on the boxes...LOL! And don't forget the surgery on Peter...LOL again!
Pacificsun 49 months ago
Honestly I never remember those commercials. And if they were supposed to attract children (to bug their parents to buy the cereal) ... fail.
To answer METV's question: I think the first cereal jingle I think of, I think is usually the one for King Vitamin.
Pacificsun, I'm just the opposite of you. Where you say you "fail" in remembering jingles, I am {happily, gleefully, joyfully} blessed to have a memory that remembers jingles. I love commercials/print ads, anything to do w/advertizing. Have you ever seen those large, weighty volumes by a company called TASHCHEN? They have put out by the decade 1900's-1990's print ad books. They are great. When I got my first 2 -'60's/'70's, I had to get the others.
Sometimes I'll go onto You Tube just to watch commercials! Before I moved to where I am now, I had bunches of dvds with nothing but commercials. I wish I still had them. Did you have a favorite cereal growing up, or were you not all that interested? I liked a lot of them. What would draw me to them usually, {or so it seems looking back,} the cereal I chose most often had to have a "free prize inside" that drew my attention. If there wasn't a "prize of the week" I was interested in, it was whichever cereal I had a taste for, or I hadn't had in a while.
I sometimes watch old commercials on-line and I have a dvd of old ads.
cperrynaples MrsPhilHarris 49 months ago
Yes Stephanie, I had "Breakfast with the King"! I even remember pour the milk on KIng Vitamin ["Not me, you idiots! The cereal, The cereal!"]!
MrsPhilHarris cperrynaples 49 months ago
Cperry I think you meant this for Stephanie.
jeopardyhead cperrynaples 28 months ago
Voiced by Joe Flynn.
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