Mikey was a four-year old with a rep
. Luckily his reputation wasn't like "don't eye Mikey's girlfriend, he's got a rep for going all apeshit and beating up anyone who gives his lady the eye. Like there was this one dude. Mikey was rumored to have beaten him so badly with a coatstand that the guy lost all bladder control. Dude pisses himself now anytime anyplace, all for Bogarting Mikey's hoochie. Yeah. Mikey is a bad assed motherfucker."
Like I say Mikey was four-years old. At that age reps don't get much more bad assed than "that's the kid that will slurp up any puddle
he sees on the sidewalk. Don't even try to stop him. Dude's insatiable."
Mikey's stonecold rep was not liking anything. In the words of his two brothers "He hates everything". All that changed when Mikey's mother bought Life cereal
. Word on the street was Life cereal was "good for you". This was 1972. The miracles of Olestra
, and balloon angioplasty
were decades out. Things that were "good for you" tasted like Grandma's socks.
Mikey and his brothers, for reasons not explained, were forced to fend for themselves at breakfast time. The only thing they could find was Life cereal. And as I say, it was reputed to be "good for you". Being of the curious age, Mikey's brothers poured a bowl and added milk. Still hung up on this "good for you" thing and not seeing obvious signs that Life cereal was coated in a thick layer of choco-puff-mello they hesitated. They decided someone had to try it. Someone had to be the first to charge into German machine gun fire on Omaha beach
. Someone had to try the cereal. "I'm not going to try it" the two older brothers each affirmed.
If they weren't going to try it, well, who was? The boys cast their eyes towards little Mikey strapped down in his highchair
. They exclaimed
"Lets get Mikey. He won't eat it. He hates everything!"
A more perfect canary in a coal mine
could not be found.
The boys placed the cereal in front of the harshest judge of, well, of everything. I mean this is the kid that thought The Aristocats
was a shameless star vehicle for Scatman Crothers
. Mikey condemned CBS's The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan
as a stereotype-laden, Nixon
-backed ploy to shore up American support for expanding his war beyond the borders of Vietnam.
But the unexpected happened. Mikey liked it.
Seeing that the little gobbler couldn't shovel the stuff fast enough into his pie hole
, the brothers' shout ed "He likes it! Hey, Mikey!"
There was then a quick cut to the product shot and some voice over crap about how 10 cents of carbon packaged in a $2 box is nutritious and delicious and not a rip off sold to the American family by an unholy alliance between the mega-agricorporations and the advertising
world. Shit, no. The end.
The Mikey spot has distinction of being one of the ten most popular commercials of all time. The commercials itself ran from 1972 until 1987. By the time the commercial stopped airing on TV, little Mikey was actually college bound. Think of how well this guy did in college with the ladies. "Hey baby, ever wanna do it with Mikey? You'll like everything." What young lady
Today Mikey (aka John Gilchrist) works in advertising, behind the camera. He's an ad exec. Although, for several years Gilchrist appeared in commercials for Skippy Peanut Butter
In 1997 Life Cereal had a big contest trying to find a new Mikey (much like 9Lives
finds a new Morris the Cat
after the old one croaks). After sifting through 35,000 entries, Life picked a girl named Marli Brianna Hughes
. Hughes failed to ignite America's imagination like the original Mikey.
In 1999, Life reunited Mikey with his two brothers for a new commercial: "Mikey still likes it".