“Did you ever think of me once?” asks the protesting stomach, voiced by a young Gene Wilder, in the highly entertaining animated spot for Alka-Seltzer from 1967. Charmingly drawn by R.O. Blechman, the man with the bulbous nose and pin-dot eyes faces his stomach as they sit in tulip chairs across from each other, bickering. “We don’t get along,” explains the man to the off-camera therapist. “He gave up hot tamales,” interjects the stomach, “Now he’s on a new kick— pepperoni pizzas!” The therapist suggests Alka-Seltzer as the solution, adding, “You take care of him, he won’t bother you.” “Well, I’ll try if you will,” says the stomach quietly, as the tagline reads, “Alka-Seltzer. When you and your stomach don’t agree.”
Bob Schulman was the ingenious copywriter at Jack Tinker & Partners for this award-winning commercial. The next year he came up with Alka-Seltzer’s classic “Pie-Eating Contest,” filmed by Howard Zieffat Yankee Stadium. After the pies—blueberry—are consumed, the contestants head to the locker room. A seasoned pro turns to the newbie. “First contest, kid?” The young guy nods. “Follow me.” The announcer says, “Next time you over-eat, take what the guys who over-eat for a living take. Alka-Seltzer.” Both commercials are archived in the Modern Advertising History at the Smithsonian Institute.
When his associates speak of Schulman, the words “brilliant” and“mischievous” and “one-of-a-kind” crop up often, and they describe his 60-second spots more as screenplays than advertisements.