Posted by Bud on January 11, 2010 at 16:18:55:
Jan C. Gabriel's name may not ring a bell, but his voice surely will. It was Jan Gabriel who first came up with the phrase "SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!" for the US 30 Drag Strip and Sante Fe Speedway TV & radio commercials. These commercials were arguably the catchiest local commercials ever.
"SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!" was later copied in many other markets (often with Gabriel himself doing the vocals). It still is commonly used for Monster Truck exhibitions and continues to be the subject of numerous parodies. NBC's Jay Leno and Al Roker use the phrase often for laughs. It is an American institution and it all started because of one local area man.
However, Jan Gabriel did much more for Chicago area media than just promote businesses in commercials. Since the late 50s, Jan has been a radio personality, a radio and TV producer, writer & announcer of thousands of commercials, host of a local TV show, host of a national TV show, president of an advertising agency, and much more. In the early 60s, he was a night jock for WJOB in Hammond - a "screamer" much like Dick Biondi. He would also emcee and DJ dances around the Northwestern Indiana and Chicagoland south suburbs. He was the host of the "Up Tempo" TV dance program that aired on Channel 26. He produced & directed "Flash Gordon Theater" for Channel 7. His nationally syndicated TV program "Super Chargers" ran for a dozen years, locally on WLS-TV & WMAQ-TV. He put out the popular "Battle of the Monster Trucks" video tape series. He was a part-time drag race announcer in the early 60s. That turned into a career as 14-year announcer for the Sante Fe Speedway and another 3 at the Indianapolis 500 Speedway.
In 1990, he found out he had a genetic Polycystic Kidney Disease. In 1992, he had surgery to open up clogged arteries near his heart. It was also around then that Jan began dialysis to keep his blood clean and he was put on a kidney donor list. Early 1993 brought yet another heart surgery. Late 1993 was still another surgery, but this time it was because a matching kidney had been found and the kidney transplant finally took place. This donated kidney worked for about 12 years and life picked up again for Jan Gabriel. However, the kidney failed in 2005 and his poor health returned. In addition to the daily dialysis routine, Gabriel found out that he had Peripheral Artery Disease, a disease that constricted the blood vessels in his legs. It ended up costing him both of his legs. For the last few years, he had been on a kidney waiting list. Unfortunately, his match never came. Jan C. Gabriel lost his struggle at the age of 69 years.
He is survived by his wife Teresa and his daughter, Amanda. No funeral or wake arrangements have been announced.
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