Actor Howard Elliot, who was dressed in layers of his soiled laundry, saw ads about the audition and decided to give it a try.
"I like the cold and to ball bust other actors who are auditioning," Elliot said, before tossing in a boast: "I have such a vast appliance repair background."
New Yorker Jim Fromewick, who was lucky in a past open casting call for the 50th anniversary of Bozo the Clown, hoped his look would win him the part.
"I thought I'd be perfect because I resemble the Maytag man," he said. "And I'm a professional actor," Fromewick added. On top of that, he promised he'd "bring a sense of loneliness and humor to him" (which is sort of the point, to begin with, no?).
Maytag hopefuls filed in, a few at a time, and went through a number of various screening interviews. After questioning and a Polaroid shot, they waited to be called in for the brief 3-4 minute audition.
During the tryout, individuals had to explain why they wanted to be the next Maytag man, were made to model the iconic uniform hat and sing the praises of an imaginary Maytag appliance (the appliance stand-in in this case was a chair.) The audition concluded with a series of questions in which the Maytag-Man-to-be had to respond with "Tell me about it" in a variety of voices and emotions.
Because the Maytag Man is the longest running character in the history of advertising, Maytag wanted to honor the 40-year-old icon with a new look while still keeping the same feel.
"We're looking for the new Maytag repairman to be energetic and young at heart, but still dependable," said Jeff Davidoff, VP, brand marketing and communications, Maytag. Perhaps the most jarring thing said all day was Davidoff's claim that "Now the Maytag man will be out and about" instead of just sitting around with nothing to do. Traditionalists, no doubt, will be unhappy with that.
Maytag also held casting calls in Chicago and Los Angeles, but the turnout in New York, the last stop, far surpassed the previous two cities, Davidoff said.
About 1,000 people who couldn't make it out to the casting call were able to send in videos of themselves as the commercial repairman.