Harry Belafonte's Kids Sing Olds Trofeo-ized Version of Dad's Big Hit, Civilization Collapses

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
harry belafonte s kids sing olds trofeo ized version of dad s big hit civilization

After creating today’s Oldsmobile Toronado Troféo Junkyard Find, it becomes my duty to share one of the most brain-scrambling examples of the “What Could GM Have Been Thinking?” genre of car commercials. Yes, it’s a version of Harry Belafonte‘s “Banana Boat Song,” with “Tro-FE-oh” replacing the famous “DAY-oh,” and sung by Belafonte’s offspring.

Let’s study the new lyrics:



It’s a new generation and we want a new Olds.

Sequential port fuel injection, anti-lock brakes,

(?) come and they want a new Olds.

Visual Information Center, handles great.

This Oldsmobile is not our father’s,

New generation for the sons and daughters.


This is the new generation of Oldsmobile.

It’s hard to figure out what GM had in mind here. If the idea was to pitch the Troféo to younger buyers considering a Detroit alternative to European marques, why use a song that was a hit in 1956? If the idea was to woo Oldmobile’s traditional purchaser demographic (i.e., grumpy octogenarians in the Upper Midwest), why use a song by a well-known Civil Rights-era activist and all-around opponent of American foreign policy, who was loathed like Satan by 99 and many more nines percent of grumpy Midwestern octogenarians? Hey, maybe they’ll buy a Reatta!

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3 of 23 comments
  • Forraymond Forraymond on Apr 20, 2012

    That is right, GM didn't do anything wrong today, so let's drag out some old commercial from the 70-80's so we can make fun of GM. Let's see and hear the Champagne Edition VW commercials from the 70's with the dancing girls and champagne colored balloons or the nail polish paint colors that they tried for a while to attract female buyers. It astounds me how much you can dig up from GM's past, but nary a peep about VW (and they have such an interesting past (SS)).

  • Chicagoland Chicagoland on Apr 21, 2012

    GM expected all the drivers of older 70's era 'disco coupes' to trade in for W, N, and E bodies, as if they were still desired. If it weren't for the full sized trucks/SUV's, GM wuld have goen udner in 1992.

  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.