Where would the world be without cheesy local television commercials made by local merchants so desperate to sell furniture, used cars, and appliances that they’ll even dress up in ridiculous costumes to get viewers’ attention? One sterling example of such a shameless huckster is Lou Nicozisis, famed throughout central Pennsylvania for his numerous “over the top” commercials for Carpet Mart (now Carpet & Tile Mart) in the 1980s and 1990s. Nicozisis would go to any length to make a great deal on carpet, even if it meant playing all four members of a barbershop quartet or straddling a giant roll of carpet, à la Slim Pickens riding the bomb in Dr. Strangelove. Over the years, Lou was a politician, a doctor, a Broadway song-and-dance man, and even Billy Crystal’s “Fernando” character from Saturday Night Live. Most memorably, though, he was a ghostbuster.
By 1991, when Nicozisis chose to parody Ghostbusters, the franchise was in a bit of a slump. There hadn’t been a ’busters movie in theaters since 1989, and even the animated Real Ghostbusters series was in its final days. But that didn’t stop the merchant from doing his own version of the inimitable Ray Parker Jr. theme song: “Piles in the aisles! Stacks in the racks! Who you gonna call! CARPET MART!” Bullfrog Films’ Mark Martelli, who brought this ad to The A.V. Club‘s attention, remembers that the ad “ran all the time in Reading, Pennsylvania, when I was a kid.” Pennsylvania viewers, then, would have had many opportunities to savor the subtleties of Nicozisis’ parody, as when he reveals that his “proton pack” is just some rolled-up carpet strapped to his back. It’s masterful. Who wouldn’t want to buy floor covering from this man?