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What the . . . Pearl Cream?

September 28, 2012

*What the…Friday? is a weekly Friday feature in which I resuscitate a video relic from the swampy pits of Pop Culture Wasteland.*

Today:  What the Pearl Cream?

There are some things that should probably get by without my commentary.

(1.) My husband’s driving.

(2.) My dad’s email forwards.

(3.) Mildly offensive commercials from the ’80s.

Yet that’s never stopped me thus far.

Although, today I’m thinking I should probably let our WTF? feature speak for itself.

But not before I set the stage with a few relevant details.

  • In 5th grade, I memorized every line of this commercial.
  • I recited it to amuse small crowds in the lunchroom.
  • I swear on my dead hamster Cleo that I didn’t slant my eyes.
  • I stand before you as a culturally sensitive person today.
  • I like Asia.
  • I like pearls.
  • I like the words pulverized into a lustrous powder.
  • I still don’t get how there are pearls inside of oyster shells.
  • I still don’t get why there are pearls inside of face cream.
  • I wished Janet was my grandma.
63 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2012 11:27 am

    Is it just me or does it sound like they are touting “Brylcream”?

  2. September 28, 2012 12:01 pm

    I want you to know, I also can do the entire commercial. I do a spot on of the lady, it’s a talent I don’t take for granted.

    • October 7, 2012 5:33 pm

      Why am I not surprised, Timoree? This is no doubt just the type of mutual talent we would’ve discovered about one another at some point.

  3. September 28, 2012 12:06 pm

    I have a string of pearls that I never wear and probably never will. I wonder if I should “pulverize them into lustrous powder”.

    Agree: I’ll apply to be one of Janet’s grandchildren – where do I sign up?

    • October 7, 2012 5:35 pm

      I just think pulverizing anything sounds pretty fun. Sort of like something they would’ve done on Mr. Wizard.

      Janet looks like the kind of grandma that always has homemade cookies on hand. And perfectly coiffed hair.

  4. September 28, 2012 1:39 pm

    I don’t remember this commercial. Perhaps they didn’t air it in Connecticut, and that is why everyone I know is now all shrived up like the apple you forgot you had in your desk drawer.

  5. September 28, 2012 2:35 pm

    Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dearie dearie dear….

  6. September 28, 2012 4:10 pm

    I need a face lift. Maybe there’s some on eBay. I bet it gets more potent with age.

    • October 7, 2012 5:40 pm

      I’m concerned that the jar is like an oyster shell and Pearl Cream might actually form back into pearls over time. That just means we’d have to (re)pulverize them for ourselves.

  7. September 28, 2012 4:30 pm

    Wow. I think they could have squeezed the word “oriental” in a few more times for good measure.

    Remember days before the internet? Let me just send a check to a mysterious PO Box.

    • amymjimmo permalink
      September 29, 2012 4:50 pm

      My grandmother refuses to this day to order any product from a company that she cannot send a check to.

      • Jill Pinnella Corso permalink
        September 30, 2012 2:23 pm

        Ha, I love that.

      • October 7, 2012 6:31 pm

        That’s because everyone knows that buying things on credit is a sign of weakness. I like the little logos they used to show you what credit cards they accepted. I was disappointed when I learned that actual credit cards did not look like one big Visa logo.

    • October 7, 2012 5:43 pm

      I don’t think I’ve used the word “oriental” since 1991. But then again, I’ve never had to pitch Pearl Cream on television so that might change things.

      I don’t think I’ve written a check since 1991 either.

  8. September 28, 2012 5:10 pm

    I covet Mary Jean’s feathered hair and Sybil’s apron. It almost makes the term “Oriental women” not seem so horribly racist.

    • October 7, 2012 5:47 pm

      Rather than within Pearl Cream, I think the fountain of youth may in fact be hiding under Mary Jean’s feathered locks. If I could pulverize her hair wings, I just might eliminate aging.

  9. September 29, 2012 6:47 am

    I wonder who the genius was who was responsible for casting a woman who clearly has a problem pronouncing her R’s in a commerial which contains copious amounts of the words Oriental, lusterous, pearl, and wrinkle.

    On a side note, box 1313 had me thinking that the Munster family was filling the orders, perhaps using Grampa’s Dungeon-lab for production.

    Like commentors before me, I have to admit to having no recollection of ever having seen this ad before, but then again, in those days, my concern with wrinkles was limited as best.

    • October 7, 2012 5:52 pm

      Oh, how I love the funny you dole out.

      You’d think that Marilyn Munster would’ve been the most likely force behind Pearl Cream since the proof is in the pudding. And now I’m thinking of Bill Cosby and what he has to do with this scheme.

  10. September 29, 2012 6:58 am

    What in the–? I have never seen this commercial. I had no idea pearls could be applied to my face! Makes total sense! And here I was wearing them around my neck all this time. [hitting myself in the forehead] Stupid! Stupid!

    So I just called the 1-800 number and ordered a year’s supply. I really want others to accuse me of having a face lift. I can’t wait! (now if only I had a time machine to take me to Burbank circa 1984….)

    Also, if you were ever wondering what I looked like in high school, look no further than Mary Jane and her wingy hair.

    • October 7, 2012 5:56 pm

      Yes, I seem to remember you had some hair wings in your past life. I rather preferred your ribbon barrette look.

      Just be warned first. Pearl Cream will make your friends accuse you of having a face lift. And I mean finger-shaking, angry-glare type of accusing. Just prepare yourself to be ostracized from the Maine ladies quilting circle.

  11. September 29, 2012 10:26 am

    Being a Simpsons fan, as soon as she says, “You may recognize me from such films as…” I’m laughing.

    Then she basically says, “Have you ever wondered about Asian stereotypes? Well…” and I’m just kind of stunned.

    • October 7, 2012 6:03 pm

      “Have you ever wondered if racial stereotypes might one day sell beauty cream?”

  12. September 29, 2012 1:24 pm

    I’m not a woman from the Orient, but being Filipino is Asian enough to use Pearl Cream, you think?? Maybe that’s why my mom didn’t bother getting it. I’m sure she also didn’t want to be accused of having a facelift if she did use Pearl Cream…She probably knew it would have wasted her efforts of spending $19.95, just to have it refunded back to her. Duh.

    So funny. I totally remember this commercial, and you are the first person who made me remember it. :)

    • October 7, 2012 6:18 pm

      Your mother might not need Pearl Cream if Nancy Kwan knows what she’s talking about. I am shocked that your mom’s friends don’t every day accuse her of having a face lift. And by “accuse” I envision that comes with a slap across the face or something.

  13. September 30, 2012 5:31 am

    The fact that I remember this ad is a testament to the fact that I watched way too much television as a child. Fun fact: pearls are mostly calcium carbonate – something that’s also true of antacid. Think I’ll start marketing my own anti-aging cream made from Alka-Seltzer pulverized into a lustrous powder. You know where I am if you want to invest.

    • October 7, 2012 6:19 pm

      I can’t talk long here because soon I will be off pulverizing our antacid tablets into a lustrous powder. Thank you, Mr. Wizard. This is a bit of so-called useless trivia I can really make into something magnificent.

  14. September 30, 2012 9:16 am

    I. Love. This. I particularly love the ominously vague ‘special Oriental ingredients are then added’. This could mean LITERALLY ANYTHING. But it doesn’t matter, because if it makes you as happy as these smiling women, I am SO there!

    • October 7, 2012 6:22 pm

      Special Oriental Ingredients could mean opium. I wonder what would happen if you’d smoke Pearl Cream? That’s no doubt what Janet has done.

  15. October 1, 2012 10:46 am

    Hey, Janet is from the next town over from my hometown. No kidding! I think we used to go trick or treating at her house.

    Remember that movie with Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep about 2 women who sold their souls to Isabella Rosselini to get a youth elixir so they could live forever? Janet’s house looked exactly like Isabella Rosselini’s place. Coincidence? I think now.

    • October 1, 2012 2:23 pm

      “I think NOT”. Way to step on your own funny, Peg.

      • October 7, 2012 6:26 pm

        You probably know that I already edit your comments so that you appear less funny anyway — don’t you, Peg?

    • October 7, 2012 6:28 pm

      Death Becomes Her. I think that was the movie. Loved it. It had a sort of Beetlejuice quality to it, particularly when one of the women fell down the stairs and her torso folded in half. I wonder if Nancy Kwan could do that? Cool party trick.

      Will you introduce me to Janet sometime? I’d love to see if she still looks like a 45 year old grandma.

  16. October 2, 2012 7:48 am

    When I first read this post’s title, I was thinking of Pearl DROPS. Y’know, the tooth polish? And we all remember Nancy Kwan from the Matt Helm films, right? Hello? Anyone?

    • October 7, 2012 6:24 pm

      Not kidding, Todd — when I searched for this commercial, Pearl Drops was the first video to come up. Now THAT was an odd commercial. “Nnnnnnn. It’s a great feeling.” Yikes.

      • October 7, 2012 7:05 pm

        My parents bought Pearl Drops when I was a kid. “Nnnnnn. It’s a great feeling.” No, it was just really strange toothpaste.

  17. October 2, 2012 9:37 am

    I think it’s really culturally insensitive of Barbara Walters to dress up like that for this commercial.

    P.S. – I look forward to more posts about Janet. I feel like she can explain the pearls.

    • October 7, 2012 6:15 pm

      I still remember Baba Wawa from the old 70s SNL skits. I see no difference between those skits and this commercial.

  18. October 3, 2012 9:18 am

    Yet another “ancient Chinese secret”.

    • October 7, 2012 6:12 pm

      Congrats for being the only person here to reference this similarly uncouth commercial. Frankly, I am disappointed in the rest of my commenters for this oversight.

  19. October 3, 2012 2:48 pm

    Where do you find this stuff? I remember this commercial. Totally fighting tears at Jules there.

    • October 7, 2012 6:10 pm

      When I posted this clip, it was between this commercial and Lee Press-on Nails. Both commercials were ran around the same time, both I knew by heart and could recite at the lunchroom and both were completely useless beauty products that I wished I had. I wonder if anyone wears press-on nails anymore? Or pulverizes pearls?

      • October 8, 2012 7:25 am

        Lee Press-On Nails! So funny. I wanted those. I was a nail biter.

  20. October 4, 2012 12:49 pm

    This is a GREAT commercial; I remember it fondly. I wonder what those other oriental ingredients are…

    • October 7, 2012 6:07 pm

      Soy sauce, wasabi and a smattering of crumbled fortune cookie. (Shhhh. It’s a secret.)

  21. princesscarleyunderground permalink
    October 4, 2012 3:15 pm

    There should be more of this!

  22. October 4, 2012 4:24 pm

    What if your friends noticed a difference in your skin but didn’t accuse you of getting a face lift? Would you still be eligible for 50% of your money back? 60%? I’m confused.

    • October 7, 2012 6:05 pm

      Dana, it is confusing. And these are all very good questions that Nancy Kwan needs to answer for us. And Mary Jane and Janet, too. I’m also confused by whether being “accused” of having a face lift is a desired result.

  23. October 8, 2012 12:21 am

    UGH, I remember Peawl Creeeme. And yes I’m culturally sensitive – usually – but she kept repeating it over and over and arghhh. I’ve been really sick so I’ve caught up on my infomercials. There was one about this massive leaf blower thing and man it was like the second coming of white baby Jesus. These people were unnaturally excited. They were sucking up spider webs with this thing. Amazing stuff.

    • October 12, 2012 11:29 am

      Yes! Yes! Yes! That leave blower thingy! I used to love that infomercial. I was in high school and living at home still and I thought for sure I had to have that thing for whatever leaves were needing tended to in our yard. That was amazing.

      Wasn’t there also an infomercial that would typically follow the leave blower one that consisted of some kind of hose with an extended sprayer brush that allowed you to wash off the top of your minivan? And then also spray out the leaves from your gutter (which you would then blow off the driveway with your leave blower, of course).

      Oh, progress. We’ve come so far in our household tools.

      • October 12, 2012 4:48 pm

        Anybody can buy a “leaf” blower, but only Angie would invent a gizmo called a “leave” blower: just the thing to use when unwanted house-guests won’t go away. Hit em with the leave blower! Peg-Co would like to talk to you about marketing this.

      • October 12, 2012 5:55 pm

        Holy autumn. What the hell was I smoking…besides leaves?

      • aliceatwonderland permalink
        October 12, 2012 6:23 pm

        I know! I mean, by the end of that commercial, I was super convinced that I HAD to have that leaf blower, if only to blow over people I didn’t like. And I bet if you called within the next ten minutes, you could have gotten those extensions for free, just another twenty dollar shipping fee.

      • October 13, 2012 2:01 pm

        Peg-o-Leg made sure to point out here that I called it a “leave blower” instead of a “leaf blower”. So let the record show that I once threw the thing in reverse and sucked out my brains.

  24. October 8, 2012 8:18 am

    To be honest I didn’t recognize Nancy from any of the films she mentioned.

    • October 12, 2012 11:26 am

      Of course you don’t recognize her. That’s some damn good Pearl Cream at work, my friend.

  25. Sherri permalink
    December 4, 2015 3:38 pm

    Oh my goodness. I tried to find this commercial before!! These are my exact thoughts!!

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