I've fallen, and I can't get up!
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This line was spoken in a television commercial for a medical alarm and protection company called LifeCall. The motivation behind the systems is that subscribers, mostly senior citizens as well as disabled people, would receive a pendant which, when activated, would allow the user to speak into an audio receiving device and talk directly with a dispatch service, without the need to reach a telephone. The service was designed to appeal particularly to seniors who lived alone and who might experience a medical emergency, such as a fall, which would leave them alert but immobile and unable to reach the telephone.
In 1989, LifeCall began running commercials which contained a scene wherein an elderly woman, identified by a dispatcher as "Mrs. Fletcher", uses the medical alert pendant after having fallen in the bathroom. After falling, Mrs. Fletcher speaks the phrase "I've fallen, and I can't get up!", after which the dispatcher informs her that he is sending help. By 1990, the Phoenix New Times reported that "From coast to coast, from playground to barroom, an enfeebled whine rings out across the land. All together now: 'I've fallen . . . and I can't get up!'" The catchphrase appeared on t-shirts, novelty records, and in standup comedy.
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, after first applying in October 1990, LifeCall registered the phrase "I've fallen, and I can't get up" as a trademark in September 1992 until its status was cancelled in 1999. In October 2002, the similar phrase "Help! I've fallen, and I can't get up!" became a registered trademark of Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc. In June 2007, the phrase "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" also became a registered trademark of Life Alert. Both phrases are currently used on their website as well as in their commercials.
Edith Fore was credited as portraying Mrs. Fletcher. Although a stuntperson performed the fall itself, Fore said that she created the "I've fallen" line while discussing the accident with LifeCall.
- "I've fallen and I can't get up!". Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
- Webb, Dewey (December 19, 1990). "CATCH A "FALLEN" STAR". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
- "US Serial, Registration, or Reference No. 74108242". Trademark Status & Document Retrieval (TSDR) System. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
- "Saving a LIFE from potential catastrophe Every 11 Minutes!". Life Alert. Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
- Holmes, Anna (August 15, 1997). "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 16, 2018.