Child star Mason Reese was a TV phenomenon of the seventies, whose precocious presence in dozens of commercials led to TV talk show appearances, widespread fame, and even a starring role in a sitcom pilot. He had an uncommon and wizened quality that sometimes made it hard to believe he was actually a little boy.
He frequented talk shows, especially “The Mike Douglas Show,” which he even co-hosted at times. It is almost unreal to see a seven-year-old boy, whip-quick, who can read at an eleventh grade level, keeping step with adults and keeping them on their toes. In one clip, after being bested by one of Mason’s quips, Mike Douglas asks him, “and how long have you been making a fool of adults?” Mason lights up.
In a recent episode of Jonathan Goldstein’s “Reply All” podcast called “Who is Mason Reese and Why is He Crying,”Goldstein indulges his nostalgia for TV of the seventies by repeatedly watching all of the videos of Mason Reese’s commercials and TV appearances that are available on YouTube. Soon, Goldstein realizes that Mason himself appears to have been the uploader of most of the footage, including a live TV appearance where Mason cries through a performance of “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin. Goldstein sets out for Mason’s New York apartment to find out the backstory of this unusual moment on live TV and why 51-year-old Mason chose to resurrect it for the public.
We highly recommend giving it a listen if you’re curious about the mind of little Mason or want to know what his life has been like post-stardom.
From our archive, we present a video of Mason that’s completely different from the finished commercials or TV available online. It’s behind-the-scenes footage of Mason recording an ad for Dressel’s Frozen Ice Cream Cakes. It’s a window into the authentic Mason Reese, in between takes, and it reveals a truly singular young boy. It’s an excerpt from ADLAND, a 1974 TV documentary by TVTV.