Do You Remember These Vintage Colorado Commercials?
If you lived in Colorado back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, you couldn't go five minutes without seeing one of these commercials. Well, this Colorado icon, the one on the right, not the monkey, is still around. Do you remember these commercials?
That's Jake Jabs, owner, and operator of American Furniture Warehouse. While he's still very active in Colorado, his vintage commercials are about as "Colorado" as you can get. This businessman and his animal friends are instantly recognizable Colorado icons.
His commercials would unfold precisely like those above. Jake Jabs would commandeer your television screen, displaying furniture pieces adorned by monkeys, tigers, and various other fascinating animals. So, which came first, the furniture or the animals?
As it turns out, Jake Jabs was a furniture businessman long before he acquired an interest in exotic animals. In an interview with 9News, Jabs said, “My wife and I, we were making commercials, and my wife and I bought a puppy for our daughters for Christmas. We put the puppy on TV, and people started offering up their animals." Jabs adds, “At that time, there was an office up in Evergreen that had a bunch of exotic animals, and brought pictures of the exotic animals down to us."
I didn’t see exotic animals as connected to furniture, but my secretary always wanted to pet a baby tiger – and she was privy to this conversation – and she talked them into bringing a baby tiger into work the next day. Soon, everyone was gathered around her petting the animals, and I thought we were onto something. - Jake Jabs via interview with 9News
Seriously, back in the late 70s, you'd be watching Star Trek reruns on Denver's KOA channel 4, and every single commercial break would include a Jake Jabs spot. When watching reruns of All In The Family on Denver's KWGN channel 2 (which was picked up on channel 13 in Grand Junction) you would see one of these spots every commercial break. They were everywhere.
Did the filming of these TV spots always go smoothly? Not hardly. Like they say in the movie business, never work with children or animals.
If you thought these commercials were cheesy, you're wrong. Cuddly tigers were preferable to the alternative. For your viewing pleasure, straight out of 1981, here's waterbed salesman and happy painter Bob Ross (not really) and his sweater, hocking waterbeds for American Furniture Warehouse. The funniest line in TV commercial history - "You get a waveless mattress that weighs only 300 pounds."
Okay, so what brought this to my mind? Jake Jabs is still at it. Even now, he's a busy man in Colorado. Today, January 9, Jake Jabs is the grand marshal for this year’s National Western Stock Show kick-off parade. This kicked off at noon today with Jabs leading the "cattle drive" through downtown Denver.