Life Call Commercial “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

“…I’ve fawlin’ and I can’t get up!…” This line was spoken in a television commercial for a medical alarm and protection company called LifeCall, in ads that began running in 1987. The motivation behind these medical alarm systems is that many senior citizens today live at home alone, and may find themselves suddenly in medical danger with no one (and no phone) nearby to help them. The product addressed this concern by providing its subscribers with a small pendant, worn around the wrist or neck; when needed, the wearer presses the button on it, and he or she is immediately put into contact with a dispatcher who can send a paramedic, fireman, or other emergency assistance. The TV advertisement featured, in part, a fictional elderly lady named “Mrs. Fletcher” who has fallen, with her walker, in the bathroom. On its face, the commercial illustrates a serious situation for a senior with dire consequences (elderly people with no one to care for them may fall in their homes and be on the floor for hours or even days, unable to get help). The “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” ad had the double misfortune of being unintentionally campy and appearing often on cable and daytime television. The combination made “I’ve fallen… and I can’t get up!” a recognized, universal punchline that applied to many comedic situations. All of these factors made the ad memorable, ensuring the line’s place in pop culture history.