TBT: D&M and The Menard’s Guy
Here's a Dwyer & Michaels commercial shot in about 1996. This is from a second series of spots that ran after we started on Q106. There were 3 produced that featured Ray Szmanda, The Menard's Guy. We brought him to the Quad Cities for a one day shoot. Why? Who knows…he was everywhere on TV and we figured why not. I think we had to pay him something like $1500. He required final approval of the scripts but I don't recall having to make any major revisions.
It rained most of the day during the shoot so we ran back and forth between the radio studio and Vanderveer Park:
You can see in the last scene of this spot that it had been pouring rain. But, we had to get it done otherwise it'd be another $1500 for another day of shooting. We sat in a van and waited for the storm to break. Then the camera and light guys jumped out, set everything up, and shoved Ray into the middle of the traffic island at Brady & Kimberly to deliver his line:
Back in the day he was an amateur jazz drummer and shared stories with us about performing with Louie Belson and Buddy Rich.
Ray was originally from outside Eau Claire, Wisconsin and worked as a radio and tv advertising executive and ran a broadcasting school. He first appeared as the Menard's Guy in 1978 and continued making commercials for more than 20 years.
Currently 87 years old, Ray is alive and well but officially retired. He divides the year living in Miami and Wisconsin.