"I've fallen, and I can't get up!" is a popular catchphrase of the late 1980s and early 1990s popular culture based upon a line from a United States-based tv commercial.
This line was spoken in a television commercial for a medical alert and alarm company called LifeCall. The inspiration behind the systems is that subscribers, mostly elderly people in addition to disabled people, would receive a pendant which, when activated, would enable the user to speak into an audio gadget and speak with a dispatch service, without the have to reach a telephone. The service was developed to appeal especially to seniors who lived alone and who might experience a medical emergency, such as a fall, which would leave them alert however immobile and not able to reach the telephone.
In 1989, LifeCall began running commercials which included a scene in which a senior female, recognized by a dispatcher as "Mrs. Fletcher", uses the medical alert pendant after having actually fallen in the bathroom. After falling, Mrs. Fletcher speaks the expression "I've fallen, and I can't get up!", after which the dispatcher informs her that he is sending out assistance.
Taken at its face value, the scene represents and displays a hazardous circumstance for an elderly woman, with possibly dire consequences: an elderly person suddenly helpless at home, unable to get aid, possibly for hours or perhaps days.
The "I've fallen, and I cannot get up" became a hit among comedians. It used bad acting (perhaps intentionally) and appeared during late night hours and during daytime soaps.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office reported that LifeCall registered the phrase "I've fallen, and I can't get up" as a trademark in 1992. In October 2002, the comparable expression "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 trademark. Both expressions are presently used on their website along with in their commercials. The expression is constructed, nevertheless, to be much less campy. It is now normally followed by a storyteller who discusses the reason behind why such a circumstance would be severe, providing the impression that the people behind the notorious business never planned it to have any humor behind it and didn't desire the expression to be used in any funny way.
Another catchphrase which was likewise utilized by a senior man called Mr. Miller in the exact same LifeCall commercial, and also humorously promoted, was "I'm having chest pains!"