By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief
What does the Subway Reuben have to do with Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock?”
Why use one of the greatest rock and roll songs of all time as the soundtrack for a TV commercial promoting Subway’s take on a classic American sandwich?
If you haven’t seen the commercial, here’s an abbreviated clip.
“Rock Around The Clock” signifies the rise of rock and roll in the 1950s, when English Teddy Boys were rioting and American teens were dancing in theaters because of the movie “Blackboard Jungle,” the tale of high school delinquents that opens with Haley’s song. I doubt the student thugs were rocking with a Reuben sandwich after trying to switch-blade their new teacher.
You can get a Rock and Roll Reuben, not at Subway but at Southway Pizzeria and Delia in Lewiston, Idaho. A customer described it as “a fantastic experience” featuring “fresh cuts of corned beef with little to no unwanted fat.”
The Subway Reuben shown in the commercial looks disgusting, and the food in TV ads is supposed to be tempting.
The Subway version of rye bread, corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing is nothing I would associate with 1950s diners, which are part of the visuals in the ad.
I’d prefer a big cheeseburger and a large chocolate malt. That’s what I associate with a diner. You know, Mel’s in the TV show “Alice” and Arnold’s/Al’s Drive-In in “Happy Days,” which used “Rock Around The Clock” as its theme song in its first season.
Since the Subway Reuben appears to be a wreck of a sandwich, I wish Haley’s 1954 hit was never associated with the ad.
Somebody needs to do a parody of the ad. This would be in the late Frank Zappa’s wheelhouse. The leader of the Mothers of Invention came up with such 1960s albums as “Cruising with Ruben and the Jets,” “Lumpy Gravy” and “Uncle Meat.”
I imagine a Zappa cover of The Hombres’ “Let It All Hang Out” as a Subway parody in which lyrics would be revised and sung in the style of “Ruben and the Jets” doo wop.
Nobody knows what the Subway Reuben is all about,
It’s too much, man,
Let weasels rip my flesh,
Cook up a Burnt Weeny Sandwich,
Let it all hang out