Richard Trentlage, Writer of "The Oscar Mayer Wiener Song," Dies at 87

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The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in 2002.

His simple four-line tune is believed to be the longest-running advertising jingle in history.

Richard Trentlage, whose everlasting claim to fame was writing "The Oscar Mayer Wiener Song," thought to the longest-running advertising jingle ever, has died. He was 87.

Trentlage, a professional jingle writer, died Sept. 21 in Libertyville, Ill., his family announced.

The Chicago native also was responsible for "Wow! It sure doesn't taste like tomato juice," for V-8; "Buckle up for safety, buckle up!" for a National Safety Council spot for using seat belts; and "McDonald's is your kind of place!" his relatives noted. But none of these has had the lasting impact of his ditty for Oscar Mayer.

Trentlage learned about a jingle contest that the meat products company was having less than 24 hours before a deadline, but that was more than enough time for him to pen these four lines:

"Oh I'd love to be an Oscar Mayer Wiener
That is what I truly wish to be
'Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener
Everyone would be in love with me."

"The Oscar Mayer Wiener Song" debuted in 1963 and was in use for more than 50 years. He received residuals all along, and the tune "was the biggest thrill I've had in my life," he told the Chicago Tribune in 1998.

Trentlage, a longtime resident of Fox River Grove, Ill., often employed his children to provide the voices for his jingles on audition tapes and in on-air sessions.

"We were always getting out of school to hop a train and meet our dad at a Chicago recording studio," his daughter Linda said in the family obituary. "We never thought that was unusual. It was just part of our regular lifestyle. And it had no negative effect on our grades."

Survivors also include his wife of 33 years, Jacqueline, his other children David, Tom and Becky, and 19 grandchildren.

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