|10-26-2005, 09:38 AM|
Be Kind To Your Pets
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Jolly Green Giant Buys the Farm
Kiss his niblets goodbye.
Former Kansas Citian was voice of the Jolly Green Giant
Len Dresslar 1925 - 2005
Singer, voice of Jolly Green Giant
By Joseph Sjostrom
Len Dresslar was familiar in Chicago-area entertainment circles as a jazz and popular music singer since the 1950s, and his deep baritone voice is known by virtually everyone in America who has turned on a radio or television since the mid-1960s.
And that's for singing just three little words:
"Ho Ho Ho," in a commercial for Green Giant food products that featured the Jolly Green Giant character.
Mr. Dresslar, a tall, blond native of Kansas, came to Chicago with his wife, Nicki, in the early 1950s to study voice after touring with a production of "South Pacific."
By the 1960s he had carved out a career singing in clubs, on television and in advertising jingles.
It was therefore a fairly routine thing, according to his daughter Teri Bennett, when he auditioned for the Green Giant commercial.
"He had no idea how big it would become," Bennett said.
Mr. Dresslar, 80, who retired to Palm Springs, Calif., with his wife in 1991, died of cancer Sunday, Oct. 16, in the Desert Hospital Hospice.
Mr. Dresslar graduated from high school in Kansas City, Mo., then served in the Navy as a gunner's mate in the Atlantic. After the war he returned to Missouri to study voice at the Kansas City Conservatory of Music.
While a student there, he met his wife. They were married in 1947.
After graduating, they performed various shows, then in 1950, joined a traveling company of "South Pacific." After 2 1/2 years Mr. Dresslar, his wife and a daughter settled in Chicago where Mr. Dresslar continued voice studies.
From 1955 to 1960 he appeared on the live "In Town Tonight" on CBS television. He also sang in the 1960s with "The Js with Jamie" and with the jazz group The Singers Unlimited.
He also served as president of the Chicago Chapter of the American Federal of Television ad Radio Artists and the vice president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Advertising jingles was the most consistent part of his career, according to Bennett, landing him roles in ads for Rice Krispies cereal--"You remember Snap, Crackle and Pop? He was Snap," Bennett said--and also Marlboro cigarettes, Amoco oil and Dinty Moore canned beef stew.
"Chicago was real solid hub of the jingle business. He did a lot of other musical things, but one thing that was steady was the jingle," Bennett said.
She said he periodically re-recorded the "Ho Ho Ho" for the Jolly Green Giant commercials, the last time about 10 years ago.
"His was the most consistent and most frequent voice of the Jolly Green Giant over the years, the one consumers are going to recognize," said Tara Johnson, associate public relations manager for General Mills. Green Giant Co. has been a part of General Mills since 2001.
Bennett said the family lived in Park Ridge and Lake Forest. Her parents moved to then-rural Prairie Grove, in McHenry County, in the mid-1970s, and lived there until they'd had enough of Midwestern winters, moving to Palm Springs in 1991.
"How did he get the Jolly Green Giant commercial? It was pretty simple: He auditioned for it," Bennett said.
"He never got tired of it. If nothing else, it put my sister and I through college.
"In about 2000 they had a 75th anniversary event for the Jolly Green Giant, and they brought Dad up to Minneapolis and made him part of it. He had a ball."
She said Mr. Dresslar never tired of his singing career.
"The neat thing, as a kid, was having a dad who always loved his business, which wasn't the case with all fathers."
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Dresslar is survived by another daughter, Jody Fossell; ; a sister, Corrine Weber; and three grandchildren.
A service has been held.
|10-26-2005, 09:57 AM||#3|
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Ho! Ho! Ho! He's quiet.
I think the young people enjoy it when I "get down," verbally, don't you?
|10-26-2005, 10:47 AM||#4|
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If my experience with green beans is any indicator, he's now the Jolly Brownish Giant.
Welcome to NFL Sunday! At 11:00 see Peyton Manning flip off the top rope and clothesline Clay Matthews! At 2:00 Drew Brees will hit Terrell Suggs with a chair! Buy your Andrew Luck jersey and let's get reeeeeady to rummmmmble!