Bill Fitzgerald recalls making a commercial for Star Rapid Dry Cleaners about 40 years ago, shortly after WTTG opened it's station in one room at the Harrington Hotel. That's where the commercial was filmed.
"If that wasn't the first local TV ad, it was darn close to the first," said Fitzgerald, who is still active. During the last World Series he was on regularly in 1st American Bank ads. And then last month he made some stills for the government for use in a U.S. Savings Bond campaign scheduled to run in about 1,200 publications. "They're planning to make a TV spot soon," he added.
Over the years, Fitzgerald has appeared in "every major national magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Life, Newsweek, Time, Fortune, you name it." On TV, he had a national series of commercials for Manhattan Shirts, playing an umpire opposite former Orioles' pitcher Jim Palmer.
As he flipped through pictures, he had trouble recalling exactly which photos went with what ads.
In the early days of television, he met Morey Amsterdam, who had a show on TV at the time. He got a part in one program. A fellow bit player in that episode was named Art Carney.
Fitzgerald, who's also been in some 50 films, gets many "Hellos" on the street, paired with puzzled, "Where-do- I-know-him-from?" looks. He said politicians often give him the "Good morning, sir" treatment because they feel they've met him somewhere before. "I'm big on Capitol Hill," he quipped.