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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Time to make the donuts

I'm not sure when it started but for quite a while now, Danny and I will drag ourselves out of bed, muttering, "Time to make the donuts." That's particularly the case when we've been on one of those work-home benders that gives us little time to talk and makes as feel as if we're hamsters on an exercise wheel.

But this week we've been using the line as a way to roust Patrick and Ryan for their summer jobs. Patrick is a Safety Town Counselor and Ryan has been doing a mishmosh of babysitting, pet sitting and lawnmowing this summer. This morning Danny asks Patrick, "What time is it?"

"Time to make the donuts," he mutters into his waffles.

How is that one line seemed to sum up the early morning drudgery/responsibility of going to work? I decided to Google the line to see what I could find.

This bit says that Fred the Baker was really autistic and living at Walbrook Psychiatric Institute in Cincinnati. Oh, wait, I think that was another character.

This one says that the commercial was named by the Television Bureau of Advertising as one of the five best commercials of the 1980s (was it really that long ago?).

The founder of Dunkin Donuts even wrote a book about his career in 2001 titled, “Time to Make the Donuts.”

But then I found that Fred the Baker, also known as Michael Vale, died last year at the age of 83. Turns out he studied acting at the Dramatic Workshop in New York with the likes of Rod Steiger and Ben Gazarra. But he is remembered for being Fred the Baker.

The ad man who wrote those first Dunkin' Donuts commercials is Ron Berger, now CEO at the advertising giant RSCG. CNN tracked him down on his BlackBerry in Mexico, on vacation.
"We went through hundreds of people in the auditions because the role was so defining. As soon as Michael Vale walked into the bathroom in his pajamas and said 'Time to make the doughnuts, time to make the doughnuts,' we knew," said Berger.

Google lists a number of times the phrase is used in headlines for everything from sports stories to business stories to features about kids and jobs. Hey, wait, that sounds familiar, too. So the phrase is a cliche, but it's a good one.

Jeez! Now it’s 8:30 and I’ve killed time Googling Fred the Baker when I really need to get back to making the donuts.

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