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World Today

Life Cereal Brings Back Mikey Commercial -- Sort of

Aired January 17, 2000 - 8:53 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JIM MORET, CNN ANCHOR: Finally tonight, remaking television history. It's been nearly three decades since a series of ads for Life cereal began airing featuring a character simply known as Mikey. Well, Mikey's back, and so is the spot -- almost word for word.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Life has a way of repeating itself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, LIFE CEREAL TV COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Did you try it?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I'm not going to try it. You try it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, LIFE CEREAL TV COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Did you try it?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I'm not going to try it. You try it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Only this time around, Mikey and the two other characters are all grown up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, LIFE CEREAL TV COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I'm not going to try it. Let's get Mikey.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Though the remake features actors and not the original Mikey, the original is alive and well.

(on camera): Is that your favorite shot?

JOHN GILCHRIST, "MIKEY": That's the one I guess I'm known for, shoveling it in.

MOOS (voice-over): John Gilchrist and two of his brothers made the commercial 28 years ago. The folks at Life say it has a phenomenal recognition factor. People still remember the lines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He likes it, he likes it -- just like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He liked it a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, he likes it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, LIFE CEREAL TV COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: He likes it. Hey, Mikey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: The makers of Life believe this is the first commercial remake that's practically word for word. The last time someone tried that with a movie, remaking Hitchcock's "Psycho" practically shot for shot, the remake took a bath at the box office. But that's not stopping ad agencies.

STEPHANIE THOMPSON, ADVERTISING AGE: I think nostalgia is definitely the way a lot of advertisers are going these days. Mr. Whipple is back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CHARMIN TV COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I'm back.

ANNOUNCER: He's back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: The green giant is back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, GREEN GIANT TV COMMERCIAL)

SINGERS (singing): From the valley of the jolly...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Ho, ho, ho.

SINGERS (singing): ... green giant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: They're sort of bringing their icons back and changing them in little ways.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, STAR KIST TV COMMERCIAL)

ANNOUNCER: Sorry, Charlie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: Even Charlie the Tuna got a makeover. They slimmed him down.

MOOS: They didn't have to slim down Mikey, though a couple of years back they changed his sex.

MARLI BRIANNA HUGHES, FIRST FEMALE "MIKEY": No, it's Brianna. I'm just the new Mikey. Don't call me Mikey.

MOOS: If the folks at Life can do remakes, then we can replay the moment the new Mikey discovered something in her cereal.

HUGHES: What's this?

MOOS: Probably a raisin escaped from some other cereal. The original Mikey ad was named number 10 on "TV Guide"'s list of the top 50 commercials of all time, a tough act to follow for adults.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, LIFE CEREAL TV COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: He likes it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, LIFE CEREAL TV COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: He likes it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: The question is, will the public like it? Will they find the trip down Memory Lane ho-hum or...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, GREEN GIANT TV COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Ho, ho, ho.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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