‘NCIS’: Watch Mark Harmon’s First TV Appearance with Father in 1972 Cereal Commercial

Greatness starts from small beginnings. Before he was the series lead on “NCIS,” Mark Harmon starred in commercials and advertisements. His big national TV debut was actually in a Kellogg’s commercial with his dear old man in 1972.

Harmon and his father Tom advertised for Kellogg’s Product 19 cereal. In the commercial, Harmon played against his father in a pick up game of basketball. The elder Harmon narrated about teaching his son the values of working out. Tom also had skills out on the court, beating his son with an off the foot lay-up.

Of course, Mark Harmon sheepishly said he let his father win the match up because it was his basketball. The future actor had much of the same charisma in this short TV spot as he would later on “NCIS” and other shows.

Mark Harmon Goes Into Acting Instead Of Sports

Mark Harmon got some of his athletic prowess from his father. Tom Harmon was a big name among the Michigan football community. In fact, he earned the first Heisman Trophy for the University of Michigan. It became the only one in the school’s history for nearly 50 years until 1991.

But while Harmon followed his father’s love for football, he decided to go out of state. He pursued a college football career and degree at UCLA instead. That school had some pretty famous alum in regards to acting. For instance, John Wayne himself once attended the university.

“I was I was looking for an opportunity to play you know and an opportunity to study what I wanted to study and I think for me the fit was and probably better at UCLA and my dad stayed totally out of it,” he told The Rich Eisen Show.

During his time at UCLA, Harmon made a name for himself and later joined the College Football Hall of Fame. But at the time, Harmon wasn’t interested in either acting or football despite his skills. In fact, he had no clue what he wanted to do with his life. In his early 20s, Harmon wandered a bit until he eventually found his calling.

“I had a bunch of different starts,” Harmon said. “I did a lot of jobs, I sold shoes, I was in law school for a little bit. He added that he, “worked for Adidas for about eight months, and before that, I was doing merchandising in radio in Los Angeles.” 

Eventually, he found acting and the rest is history.