Nothing says television commercial like a cute little kid with a grinning face and an infectious giggle. It was a formula that worked wonders for a little boy named Rodney Allen Rippy and helped put his mug all over the television set in the 70s.
With an afro that overshadowed the big burger he was holding, Rodney was the lovable kid best remembered on a series of Jack in the Box commercials. In the ads, which first appeared in 1973, he was faced with a burger so big, he could barely bite into it. The burger was the Jumbo Jack and it was a big hit thanks to the overwhelming response to the commercials that would make Rippy an instant, if not fleeting, celebrity.
According to Rodney, as a result of his initial success, he went on the do hamburger ads for another 14 years. He also made numerous appearances on just about every hot TV show of the time, including Medical Center, The Odd Couple, The Six Million Dollar Man and Vega$. He even managed to get mentioned by Snoopy in the comic strip, Peanuts in 1974. And, in what certainly must have been an ultra-cool gig, he co-starred with the Harlem Globetrotters in his very own Saturday morning series in 1974, called the Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine. At the height of his popularity (and apparently as all TV stars of the 70s felt necessary to do) he graced America’s turntables with his own album, entitled: Take Life a Little Easier. It did about as well as one might expect (but is likely a collector’s item these days.)
Rodney showed up in later years in the film, Oh God: Book II and as a recurring character on the television series Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. He also made an appearance with a whole gaggle of former child stars in the film, Dickie Roberts: Child Star. Today, Rodney Allen Rippy is a partner in a film production company as well as a spokesman for Hurricane Housing Relief. He also enjoyed a brief stint, in the spirit of fellow child star, Danny Bonaduce, as a radio talk show host.
But no matter where life takes him, it will be a daunting task to escape the collective memory of those who remember the smiling little boy who just wanted to be able to fit a hamburger in his mouth. Anyone who was around during that time has the image ingrained forever in his or her pop culture memory banks.
Do you remember seeing Rodney Allen Rippy on television as a kid? Do you happen to own his album? Share your memories of this familiar child star of the 70s with all of us in our comments section as we fondly recall his memorable mug.