Squire’s Back–Oh What A Feeling

This entry was originally published in April 2010. All of a sudden in June 2011 it’s gone nuts with 13,000+ hits today. I have no idea why! Will one of you explain why Squire’s become so popular today? – Geoff Fox

Update – Yahoo Buzz posted a story on Ronald McDonald’s of which Squire was one.

We’ve got the Yankees – Red Sox game on the TV. Early in the game a Toyota commercial played with a gray haired man standing in front of a TV. He was pointing back at an image of his younger self.

Holy crap, Squire Fridell is back!

OK–not a household name, I know. For years Squire Fridell was the peppy pitchman seen during “Toyotathon.” He was there year-after-year-after-year. And then he wasn’t.

I wrote Squire in 2007 wondering where he’d gone. I didn’t know him except from the commercials. He wasn’t tough to find. He is a vintner in Sonoma. Back then I wrote about his witty response.

I wrote Squire again tonight.

Congrats on the new Toyota commercial(s). I saw it tonight while watching the Yankees/Sox game. You should be flattered when they needed to regain a little cred they thought of you.

I hope you’re soaking them good!

They ditched him for a younger look, but he represents what Toyota needs. It makes no difference whether he’s ever changed a lug nut! Oh what a feeling.

7 Responses to “Squire’s Back–Oh What A Feeling”

  1. Ted says:

    I worked as a PA on a toyotathon comercial back in the mid 80′s. Squire was a pompous ass, dissing the Toyota cars between takes and bragging about his Ferrari.

  2. Mark says:

    Ted, sounds about right. He is very in love with himself. Its exhausting to be around.

  3. Paul Walrad says:

    At Saatchi and Saatchi I personally worked with Squire for over 15 years and found him to be one of the nicest and greatest guys in the business. If he was dissing any of the cars it was a joke because that is what he did between takes to relieve the tension on the set. He also went out of his way to help the extras and give them advice. When we did Toyotathon spots we would work from early AM on to midnight and shoot about 5 or 6 commercials. He always came across as excited and fresh on the last shot as he did on the first shot. Squire is a true professional and saved Toyota a lot money by doing in one day what most actors would need 3 days to do.

  4. Geoff Fox says:

    I should add, when I contacted him he was as nice and friendly as could be though he didn’t know me from Adam. I’m sure after 30+ years on-air there are people who worked with me on a bad day too. Even I take angry comments on my own blog with a grain of salt!

  5. Vernon Usher says:

    “This entry was originally published in April 2010. All of a sudden in June 2011 it’s gone nuts with 11,000+ hits today. I have no idea why! Will one of you explain why Squire’s become so popular today? – Geoff Fox”

    I would wager a guess that it’s because Yahoo News is running an article about Ronald McDonald, and in the story, they have a link to your page here.

    Link to Yahoo New report:
    http://tv.yahoo.com/blog/ronald-mcdonald-the-early-years–3123

  6. Jim Powers says:

    As usual, Paul Walrad is correct. Squire was always a pleasure, always light hearted and funny, very funny. No one ever came to the set better prepared and ready to work. He became part of the team, a friend. I am amazed that anyone can even make up something bad to say about him.
    I hate to brag (oh hell that’s not true) but the Toyota Sellathon was my baby. The concept was developed in a Cincinnati saloon by Mike Dever, a damn smart Toyota dealer, me, a halfassed agency guy, and our friend from Tennessee, Mr. Jack Daniels (Black Label). Jack was the creative guy. I knew the look and the energy we needed for these commercials. The talent was going to have to carry a big load because we sure did not have much budget for a set. The talent could not be slick or hard sell. He had to be friendly, likable and hard sell. I was casting my heart out and finding a lot of trolls. No one had both the look and the energy. No one had credibility with the car buying public. I wanted Squire, the smiling, full of energy, credible, boy next door I had seen on a television series. A problem: I just knew what he looked like. I did not know his name or where to find him. If I had not eventually found him this story would have had a very different ending.
    One weekend I was taking the ferry to Fire Island and saw the actor, Tony Roberts, Squire’s law partner in the television series where I first saw him. I asked Tony the name and he told me, Squire Fridell. Early Monday morning I went to our talent department and told them to find this guy Square Frizzel and see if he thinks he can do ten or twelve low budget commercials in two days. It was not as crazy as it sounds because the spot were shot just like it was a live telethon. If someone like Jerry Lewis can do it then we should be able to pull it off without a problem. We had already decided if there was a flub it stayed in the spot (we said that would look real) but still it was a genuine feat for talent to carry a nonstop 30 seconds with all of the people and commotion on the set. It was incredible to watch the energy and professionalism that was Squire. He carried those spots and made it look easy. He kept us loose and laughing and we finished ahead of schedule with no fist or gun fight, a real miracle. At the end of the shoot the director took me aside and said, “We would never have done it without him.” I could only agree.
    Over the years the Sellathon commercials became a lot slicker and more expensive but I doubt if any were ever as effective as those first ones. They broke all kinds of sales records and took on a lot of buzz before buzz meant buzz. I have heard it said, possibly by me, that the Christmas Sellathon is the longest running advertising campaign in automotive industry history. Don’t know if that’s true but it would be a nice legacy. I think I’ll keep it. Thanks Mike. Thanks Squire. It was one hellofa ride. I wonder if there is anyone left out there who remembers saying, “You guys are crazy. A Christmas Sellathon will never work.”

  7. Glenda Farrell says:

    Dear Mr. Fridell,
    Well yes this is how I met him. Mr. Fridell was my high school drama teacher in Pico Rivera California. He has been an inspiration to me ever since I was 15 years old. I am now 52.
    I auditioned for a play in high school named “God Spell” we all know it.
    I knew that I should have gotten the part and was so devastated when I did not.
    When I came into class the next morning, Mr. Fridell took me to the side to talk to me. He told me that he had to give the part to a senior because it was her last year at our school. He said that my audition was great and that I truly had a special gift and never to give up when people tell you “No” I have followed his advice over the years and have overcome some big obstacles. I will never forget his encouragement and his belief in me. Thank you Mr. Fridell.
    I am looking to start a career in acting now. I have the time and definitely the ambition. So Mr. Fridell if your reading this, you may see me soon.
    Glenda Farrell

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