Farfel - A friendly, floppy-eared hound dog
puppet of wooden dummy Danny O'Day who was created
and operated by ventriloquist, Jimmy Nelson. Talking with a sleepy drone,
Farfel appeared in a series of Nestlés Quik chocolate commercials
from 1953-65 .
After the little jingle of
"N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestlés tastes the very best," Farfel in an extended yawn
delivered the closing line "CH-A-A-A-W-CLIT."
The distinctive snapping
shut of Farfel's jaws after saying "CH-A-A-AW-CLIT" initially happened by
accident during rehearsals for the Nestle's commercials when Nelson's
sweaty hands caused his finger to slip inside the puppet. Luckily, the
folks at Nestles liked it and the rest is history.
The Farfel character
was born during a late night show in Wichita, Kansas when someone left a
little stuffed dog on his piano, Jimmy Nelson picked up the dog and began
to ad-lib. Later, he contacted his figure maker Frank Marshall (creator of
Danny O'Day) in Chicago to help create a wooden dog dummy.
"Farfel" (nicknamed by Nelson's piano player) is the name of a little
matzoh noodle made from flour and water and used in Jewish cooking that
was common in the Catskill Mountain resorts where Nelson performed his
Farfel, Danny O'Day and Jimmy Nelson were visible
on television's early years as regular performers on THE TOAST OF THE TOWN
(THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW)
and cast regulars of THE TEXACO STAR THEATER (THE MILTON BERLE SHOW) when
Nelson and his puppet, Danny O'Day wore Texaco gas attendant uniforms
during the sponsor's commercial breaks.
TRIVIA NOTE: On episode No. 21 "The
Dog" on the sitcom SEINFELD/NBC/1990-98 comedian
Jerry Seinfeld found himself the reluctant
caretaker of a dog named Farfel when its
alcoholic owner had an attack of Bell's Palsy on
the airplane and asked Jerry to watch his dog
while he was recuperating.
The dog constantly barked, crapped on the floor,
chewed clothing, humped legs but was never seen.
When Jerry found out that the Dogpound kept
dogs for a week then killed them, he asked "How late are they open?"
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