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Culligan LadyCulligan Lady - Female character who shouts "Hey Culligan Man!" in a series of successful print, radio and TV spots since the late 1950s. The Culligan company is an international water softener business that treats hard water and sells water purification and bottled water. Today, the Culligan brands include such products as Everpure, Elga, and Bruner.

Culligan was founded by Emmett Joseph Culligan in 1936. Initially, he began his water softener firm in 1924 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, but he soon learned it was more profitable selling franchises than direct sales.

In 1959, the Dassas Williams Productions of Los Angeles created the now famous Culligan advertising campaign which used a boisterous female voice shouting "Hey Culligan Man!" By 1961, company sales had risen to over 11 million dollars.

The Culligan Lady in the ads is shouting "Hey Culligan Man!" to one of their many service trucks that roamed suburbia of the late 1950s. With so many other housewives using the franchised service, our Culligan Lady didn't want to be left out and so she gives a hearty shout to one of the company trucks as it passes through the neighborhood. In later commercials, the Culligan Lady is seen shouting into a telephone.

In 2004, the investment firm of Clayton, Dubulier and Rice acquired the company from Veolia Environnement for $610 million. In 2006, Culligan closed its Northbrook, Illinois plant and relocated its headquarters.

Host Peter Marshall:

Question:  True or false?  At a recent hearing in New Jersey, opponents of fluorinated water argued that too much fluorine in a persons system can cause an uncontrollable desire for sex.

Paul Lynde:

 [excitedly] HEY, CULLIGAN MAN!


-- The Hollywood Squares

"At Culligan, water is all we do. For over 50 years we've been solving all types of water problems with the highest quality water products. So for brighter clothes, dishes that sparkle and great-tasting water there's only one name to trust."

Culligan Man Badge

TRIVIA NOTE: Emmett J. Culligan, a devout Catholic, wrote the book: The Last World War and the End of Time (1950, 1975 by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc.) which examines prophecies and apparitions that suggest that we are in the final era.

Culligan was born in Yankton, South Dakota, on March 5, 1893. He retired to San Bernardino, California in 1965 and died in 1970.

The idea for the "Hey Culligan Man!" campaign is also attributed to a 1959 ad campaign created by the Dallas Williams Productions of Los Angeles. According to Dan Bessie, "It was Dallas Williams who first created the Culligan commercials (on radio). In about 1961, as I recall. They went to TV the following year, with the original animation designs created by designer / animator Lee Mishkin. After Mishkin did the spots for the first year, I did them for the next 15, with Dallas and I jointly creating the stories, and myself doing the animation."

Dan Bessie, a filmmaker and former animator began his career at MGM Animation Department. He co-wrote, directed and animated the award-winning "Hey Culligan Man!" soft water commercials for 15 years. His book, Reeling Through Hollywood: How I Spent 40 Fabulous Years in Film and Never Made a Nickel traces his humorous and sometimes desperate career from Tom & Jerry to the award-winning Hey Culligan Man! commercials.

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