Hauldren passed away yesterday at 89. If you grew up anywhere in the Chicagoland area, or in an area where Channel 9 (WGN) was carried on your cable, you knew he was. When I was growing up in Kalamazoo, we ALWAYS had Channel 9 on our cable...Bozo, the Cubs, and Empire Carpet commercials...

He was the "Empire Carpet Guy" he did the commercials, and then the jingle he wrote would be stuck in your head for days...

"588-23 Hundred...EM-pire!"

It was later changed to "800 5-8-8, 23 Hundred...EM-Pire!" Always with the singer that sounded like they were out of 1940's musical...

Not only did Hauldren star in the commercials and write the jingle, he was the one who came up with the whole character to begin with. He was an ad man who starred in over 200 Empire commercials, and then they created a "claymation" version of him after he got too old to appear in the spots. Kinda like what they did with Col. Sanders after he died...Creepy.

And Merv Griffin is still dead.