Chicago Sun-Times

‘Where’s the beef’ ac­tor was in ‘Blob’

- BY MAUREEN O’DONNELL Staff Re­porter mod­on­nell@sun­ AP

Steve McQueen told Howard Fishlove he just might make it in show­biz af­ter Howard ap­peared as a ter­ri­fied movie­goer who runs out of a theater in the sci-fi/hor­ror cult clas­sic “The Blob.”

But for many peo­ple, he might be bet­ter known as an ac­tor who ap­peared in clas­sic com­mer­cials cre­ated by ad leg­end Joe Sedel­maier of “Where’s the Beef ?” renown. Sedel­maier liked to use Mr. Fishlove’s portly bas­sethound ap­pear­ance to por­tray as­tound­ingly ugly women.

In one spot for Wendy’s, Mr. Fishlove played the an­nouncer at a Soviet beauty pageant. Re­sem­bling a for­bid­ding prison ma­tron, he shouted out “Day­vere! Even­ing­vere! Swim­vere!” The joke was that all the cloth­ing was the same — but at Wendy’s, you get choices.

Sedel­maier called him “just ter­rific; a real pro.”

From the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, he also headed Chicago’s famed H. Fishlove gag and nov­elty com­pany. Its most fa­mous prod­uct is the fake vomit sold un­der the brand name “WHOOPS,” which has scarred eme­to­pho­bics the world over.

Mr. Fishlove, 76, of Glenview, died Satur­day at the Abing­ton of Glenview, where he had been un­der­go­ing re- ha­bil­i­ta­tion for heart is­sues.

His grand­fa­ther, Chaim Fish­elove, and his fa­ther, Irv­ing, im­mi­grated to the United States from the Lubov re­gion of Ukraine in 1914. They changed their name to “Fishlove,” said Howard’s son, Thomas. Chaim Fishlove cre­ated the Chicago firm of H. Fishlove, which billed it­self as: “Man­u­fac­tur­ers Since 1914 of Nov­el­ties that Amuse.”

H. Fishlove & Co., 720 N. Franklin, sold Yak­ity-Yak wind-up chat­ter­ing teeth; gi­ant sun­glasses, and “Tricky Dogs,” black and white Scotty magnetic pups that at­tract

AMHERST, N.Y. — Paul Kurtz, who founded an in­ter­na­tional cen­ter de­voted to de­bunk­ing psy­chics and UFOs and pro­mot­ing sci­ence and rea­son over what he viewed as reli­gious myths, has died. He was 86.

The sec­u­lar hu­man­ist philoso- and re­pel each other.

Howard Fishlove grew up on Lunt Av­enue and at­tended Senn High School. He went on to earn two bach­e­lor’s de­grees from Drake Univer­sity — speech and drama, and psy­chol­ogy.

He was slated to be on the crew of the 1958 movie “The Blob,” but wound up be­ing used in the stam­pede scene, where a fright­ened crowd flees a theater to get away from the in­ex­orably ad­vanc­ing ooze.

The star was McQueen, who would go on to epit­o­mize Hol­ly­wood cool so thor­oughly, Sh­eryl Crow wrote a song about it.

So Howard Fishlove was thrilled when the ac­tor com­mented on his film de­but. “Steve McQueen told him, ‘You just might make it, Howard. You’re pretty good,’ ” said Mr. Fishlove’s son, Wil­liam.

He also was de­lighted when “The Blob” helped him achieve his goal of earn­ing a Screen Ac­tors Guild card.

The cult clas­sic birthed a cin­e­matic cel­e­bra­tion known as “Blobfest.” Mr. Fishlove was in­vited to be a pan­elist at Blobfest, in Phoenixvil­le, Penn., where the movie was made. Film buffs en­joyed his de­scrip­tions of his­toric “The Blob” lo­ca­tions.

Af­ter col­lege, Mr. Fishlove worked sev­eral years in sales for Brunswick, a maker of recre­ational items in­volv­ing pher died Satur­day at his home in the Buf­falo sub­urb of Amherst. His death was an­nounced Mon­day by the Cen­ter for In­quiry, which was founded by Mr. Kurtz in 1991.

A pro­lific au­thor, Mr. Kurtz also founded the Com­mit­tee for Skep­ti­cal In­quiry and Coun­cil bowl­ing, boat­ing and pool.

When his fa­ther, Irv­ing, died in 1968, Mr. Fishlove took over H. Fishlove & Co., where Irv­ing Fishlove is cred­ited with pop­u­lar­iz­ing fake vomit. At its height, the firm man­u­fac­tured 60,000 units of “Whoops” a year, ac­cord­ing to the 2012 Richard Faulk book, “Gross Amer­ica.”

Howard Fishlove re­called a story be­hind the prod­uct in an in­ter­view with nov­elty his­to­ri­ans Mardi and Stan Timm, who are work­ing on a book about H. Fishlove. “When he was 17, he came home from school and his fa­ther had fake vomit sam­ples all over the kitchen coun­ters,” Mardi Timm said in an email. “His fa­ther asked which one was best. It com­pletely grossed him out.”

In 1985, fac­ing mar­ket­ing pres­sures from Europe and Asia, he de­cided to sell the com­pany to Fun In­cor­po­rated, his fam­ily said.

The next owner of the com­pany, Gra­ham Put­nam, said sto­ries abounded about Mr. Fishlove us­ing his act­ing skills at the of­fice. The firm’s num­ber was one digit off from a depart­ment store, so mis­calls hap­pened fre­quently. “He would pre­tend he was in cus­tomer ser­vice,” Put­nam said. “One time, some­body was com­plain­ing about a re­frig­er­a­tor they bought. Very straight-faced, he went on to this sce­nario for Sec­u­lar Hu­man­ism, as well as the sec­u­lar hu­man­ist mag­a­zine Free In­quiry and Skep­ti­cal In­quirer mag­a­zine, which takes on such top­ics as alien sight­ings, para­nor­mal claims and home­o­pathic reme­dies.

He died of nat­u­ral causes, Am-

See Howard Fishlove in a Wendy’s com­mer­cial at about fix­ing the re­frig­er­a­tor — and the sce­nario ended up with push­ing the re­frig­er­a­tor to the win­dow and let­ting it fall out­side.”

The sale of H. Fishlove freed him to fo­cus more on Sedel­maier com­mer­cials. In ad­di­tion to Wendy’s, he ap­peared in spots for Tang and Alaska Air­lines.

Sedel­maier searched for ac­tresses to play the role of the dom­i­na­trix of cer­e­monies in the Soviet beauty pageant com­mer­cial, but “the women just weren’t big enough. And I thought of Howard, who was al­most 6 feet tall. And he was great. . . .I used him a lot play­ing a woman.”

“He was a very takecharge guy,” Sedel­maier said. “He was a take-charge woman, too.”

Af­ter ob­tain­ing a teach­ing cer­tifi­cate, Mr. Fishlove also did sub­sti­tute teach­ing in many Chicago pub­lic schools, his fam­ily said.

He en­joyed go­ing out to Lawry’s Prime Rib with Hildy, his wife of 46 years.

Mr. Fishlove also is sur­vived by his sis­ter, Dianne Stone, and one grand­son. Grave­side ser­vices are planned at 10:30 a.m. Wed­nes­day at Shalom Memo­rial Park, 1700 W. Rand Rd., Ar­ling­ton Heights. herst po­lice said.

A World War II vet­eran, Mr. Kurtz fought in the Bat­tle of the Bulge and served in a unit that lib­er­ated the Dachau con­cen­tra­tion camp, ac­cord­ing to a bi­og­ra­phy pro­vided by the Cen­ter for In­quiry.

 ??  ?? Howard Fishlove with son Tom. Fishlove some­times played a woman in com­mer­cials. He also was in “The Blob.”
Howard Fishlove with son Tom. Fishlove some­times played a woman in com­mer­cials. He also was in “The Blob.”
 ??  ?? Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz

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