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Young Anthony! in Remake of Prince Spaghetti TV Commercial has North End Connections

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Thomas Lee DeSimone, the face of the new Anthony!

North End-born, Prince Pasta, launched a remake of its famous “Anthony! Anthony!” Prince Spaghetti television commercial this week bringing a new young actor to the role, Thomas Lee DeSimone. The new “Anthony” is 9 years old and the grandnephew of longtime North End residents, Patricia and Armand “Tip” Thiboutot.

Thomas currently lives in Hamilton, Mass. and is the grandson of John J. DeSimone, born in 1926 as one of nine children of immigrant parents from Gaeta, Italy. Thomas’ grandfather worked for the BRA as an urban planner in the 1960’s and was instrumental in various legacy projects of the times. “My father’s heritage and his deep connection to Boston makes it very sweet that my son was able to be part of this culturally iconic brand,” adds John DeSimone, father of the young actor. “The North End was a frequent destination where you got the best pastries and Regina’s was always a special treat,” he says. Thomas is a basketball and soccer player with a twin sister, Michaela Grace. Both are advanced piano players as well as motorcycle riders.

The remake of the iconic TV commercial is coincident with the 100th Anniversary celebration of Prince Pasta, started by Sicilian immigrants in 1912 (ok, so it’s 101 years, but who’s counting?) as Prince Macaroni Company on 92 Prince Street in Boston’s North End. The company added a pasta factory shortly thereafter in 1917 on Commercial Street, still known today as the Prince Building. The surviving New World Pasta company is currently headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The original Prince Spaghetti commercial first aired in 1969 staring 12-year old Anthony Martignetti and Mary Fiumara as the mother yelling out the window … “Anthony! Anthony!” Both Anthony and Mary were from the North End at the time. The apartment building that Anthony was running home to was located on Powers Court in Boston’s North End.

In the new TV spot, young Anthony is shown in black and white running through today’s North End in full color. Recognizable locations include the Prado with Paul Revere’s statue, Hanover Street and Regina Pizzeria. Anthony is shown racing up Margaret Street toward his “home” on Sheafe Street. At the end of the commercial, the out-of-breath young boy entering the family’s apartment has been replaced by an adult actor portraying a grown-up version of Anthony in a modern family.

A kick-off of the 100th Anniversary celebration was held on Wednesday (Prince Spaghetti Day, of course) with Mayor Thomas M. Menino and North End natives, Christine and Carla Pallotta, of NEBO Restaurant. Art students also created pasta sculptures to resemble Boston landmarks. A special food truck will be making the rounds every Wednesday during the month-long celebration and the company has posted 100th Anniversary recipes on its website. The remade commercial was by The Collective @ Lair produced by Nicole Rodan and directed by Thor Raxlen and John Budion. The ad agency was Millenium Communications in Association with Armory NY.

The original 1969 “Anthony!” commercial, shown below, ran for 13 years making it the longest running TV ad. It also brought Boston’s North End into homes across the nation. The commercial still hits a chord because it marks a time gone by when mother’s could yell out the window to find their kids. The ad spot has been used as a reference point for the beginnings of the generational shift in the neighborhood. Some believe the commercial’s huge national exposure may have made the North End more attractive to outsiders that ultimately led to gentrification.

Here is the original 1969 version:

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Leave a comment on this post:

Curmudgeon says:

Personally prefer The Original.

Say, anyone visit the Prince Grotto restaurant which Prince built when they moved the original plant from, where else?, Prince St. in the North End of Baaahstan, up to Lowell? If ya did, yaz might have remembered this railroad overpass in the area of their new digs http://tinyurl.com/lweyqw6

Speaking of Prince St., just down the block was the garage where Brinks Armored Trucks dropped off their money pickups to be counted. In ’49 a gang of “sophisticated crooks” made their way into what was thought of a Fort Knox-like and stole over 2 million making it the biggest robbery in US history. If you have a chance, maybe on Netflix, Hulu or somewhere, watch The Brink’s Job with ‘stars’ of the era, e.g. Peter Falk. Bet you will say/ask at the end: That was a hoot! Now why didn’t I think of that?
“Chow!” as we non-Italians munchers say.

RJ says:

Great commercial
Great job by little girl actress Breanna Lakatos imdb.com/breannalakatos

Keep it up

JillR says:

I don’t know if the new Anthony is an actor but I did read that he IS a MA resident, not a kid brought in from NY or CA. (nothing wrong with NY or CA actors but I like the fact he is local- and Italian!

JillR says:

Oh, duh, I read it right there! (-:

Patty Carrabes says:

This is not good! My husbands cousin is the original Anthony and this is fake. He is still a handsome man and not an actor as is the person in the commercial. Why did they not use the original Anthony???? It would have been more authentic. Not happy with Prince, what a scam!

Joe Messina says:

I sat next to Anthony at St Anthony’s school.

bb says:

It’s a real shame that they didn’t use the original Anthony Martignetti as the grown up man coming through the door. They also had a chance to use his son who is about the age he was in the original commercial. That would have made a much stronger statement.

Gail Pistone Nunes says:

The creative genious behind the original ad was our father Leon Pistone. He was an amazing man and father. As a commercial artist he was talented and innovative, thus the success of this commercial that is as endearing now as it was in 1969. We are so pleased to have the honor of watching again
Lee Pistone Jr., Jane Pistone Bowers and Gail Pistone Nunes

Drew Townson says:

What a brilliant idea. I didn’t grow up in Boston but I remember that commercial and we really did eat spaghetti on Wednesdays. The message is about family, tradition, about going home again, and about how some things should never change. It’s wonderful when 50 year old Anthony walks in the door. The new add really hits a resonant chord with me and others I’ve talked to. Makes me want to buy Prince pasta. Kudos to the production team and whoever had the awesome concept. Love it!

JC says:

Great commercial. Seriously, people are really complaining about this? Honestly, do something with your day. Life’s too short. Great work.

Side note, the people that complained about gentrification, are you the same people that puffed your chests out when The Soprano’s was on HBO?

Curmudgeon says:

Seriously? If my kids heard/read me complaining about people who were complaining about something, they’d tell me I might be the one who needs to ‘get a life’ cuz life’s too abbreviated!! LOL

Old Sox Fan says:

Why couldn’t they have left well enough alone?

Donna says:

Great commercial love it

frank gargano says:

I think it was wrong in making a new commercial for prince pasta

If they would of just put the old one on it would of been 100% better for the anniversary

But I have some leeway they should of done the same run and when he came in the door it should of been the old Anthony

I myself really do not like the new commercial sorry if I hurt any ones feelings but if I don’t say what I really feel then I would not be posting this right

Michaeld says:

Frank, it could have been worse the remake could have featured a 20 something texting Muffy and Buffy telling them that it’s wed.and that they were serving tofu and sushi.

Resident says:

Wouldn’t the follow-up commercial be more realistic if the “1969”Anthony’s wife called Anthony, Jr. who is playing in the yard of their home in the suburbs?–then maybe show “visiting” grandma in their kitchen smiling proudly!

Junior says:

It is great to see them integrate the old commercial with the present north end. Love that Reginas is in there too. Congratulations to Thomas and glad to see a company that didn’t forget where they came from.