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1970s Public Service Announcements
June 24, 2010 4:52 AM   Subscribe

VD is for Everybody.

The 1970s had it all:

Environmental awareness: Keep America Beautiful,
Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute.

Sex: It's the number one fact of life, VD gets around

Drugs: The up and down drugs, Magician Selling Drugs To Kids,
The consequences of dealing drugs overseas

Racism: Mixed company
posted by three blind mice (25 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The VD commercial was very bizarre. I understand that health authorities would want people to realize that everybody was at threat to get VD - what I don't understand is why they would want to make a commercial advocating the position that it would be grand if everybody did get VD. Of course there is an element of cheekiness there but surely that would have gone over the average viewer's head - right? Or am I missing something? Perhaps the 70s were just so strange that they defy historical analysis - in the future, people will ask about the 70s and historians will just shrug. "Oh let's not talk about that. Here, let me tell you about Reagan."

Also: VD propaganda posters.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:00 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"that would have gone over the average viewer's head"....

Yep, we were all idiots back then, if there was anything a bit subtle, we just took it at face value and misunderstood the whole point.....

Now, you kids nowadays, you're much smarter then we are.... (or....considering lady gaga, perhaps not...hmmmm)
posted by HuronBob at 5:04 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yep, we were all idiots back then, if there was anything a bit subtle, we just took it at face value and misunderstood the whole point.....

I knew it!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:06 AM on June 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


in the future, people will ask about the 70s and historians will just shrug. "Oh let's not talk about that. Here, let me tell you about Reagan."

The future is a bleak place if the only choices are the 70s and Reagan.
posted by DU at 5:07 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


About that VD link -- I miss those days. Sex couldn't kill us back then. Unless, you know, you were a little rough.

But that "Racism" link is not a PSA, it's a clip from a lame movie.
posted by pracowity at 5:13 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The" VD is for everyone" is like that Cronenberg film Shivers, or Invasion of the Body Snatchers, except shorter and not at all.
posted by nola at 5:14 AM on June 24, 2010


Shit, I totally did that grocery store guy with the bananas!
posted by orme at 5:21 AM on June 24, 2010


I'm trying to think how I should parse that sentence. With the bananas, you say?
posted by pracowity at 5:28 AM on June 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


The VD commercial was very bizarre. I understand that health authorities would want people to realize that everybody was at threat to get VD - what I don't understand is why they would want to make a commercial advocating the position that it would be grand if everybody did get VD.
I don't think that was even the surface point of the commercial. The point was that "Even these nice people, just like you, can get VD". To make it clear that even though you thought you were doing everything right and not being a slut you could still end up with VD.

What's funny about this is that it really reinforces the stereotype of the 1970s as a time when everyone was running around having unprotected sex with lots of people, I mean, without AIDS and I guess herpes wasn't very widespread at the time(?) So I'm just seeing all these people and wondering what exactly they're doing that they're all getting VD.
posted by delmoi at 5:38 AM on June 24, 2010


So I'm just seeing all these people and wondering what exactly they're doing that they're all getting VD.

Well, I think it's fairly obvious that that baby is a whore.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:39 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oops. I meant, I totally did bananas with that grocery store guy!
posted by orme at 5:41 AM on June 24, 2010


But that "Racism" link is not a PSA, it's a clip from a lame movie.

Heh, a fairly heavy-handed lame movie, even being viewed from the more enlightened New Millennium. People throw peanuts at the kid? The little girl thinks the kid is wondering "where da white women at?". Yikes.

And when and why did the term "VD" switch to being called "STD"? Was "venereal" become considered too hard to pronounce?
posted by fuse theorem at 5:59 AM on June 24, 2010


And when and why did the term "VD" switch to being called "STD"? Was "venereal" become considered too hard to pronounce?

I don't know, but the word "venereal" is needlessly euphemistic and probably means nothing to a lot of people, while "sexually transmitted disease" could not be plainer without drawing you pictures.
posted by pracowity at 6:39 AM on June 24, 2010


I like how there's a group of noticeably "upper class" people included: ballerinas, violin players and horse riders. Your money won't save you from the peppy, tuneful scourge of VD!
posted by Bromius at 6:55 AM on June 24, 2010


The VD film and many, many others, preserved courtesy of The Prelinger Archives.
posted by lothar at 8:59 AM on June 24, 2010


I remember that PSA. I didn't know what VD was but I knew it was bad. I guess it was a success.

Now... who remembers this? A 1960s-1970s animated US-televised PSA against 'hate.' Angry man approaches viewer, head swells and three-pronged arrows whirl in his heart. Head swells and turns red and bursts as narrator says '[when you] hate, you only hurt yourself.' Possibly American Heart Association? I asked in ask three years ago and still no luck.
posted by eccnineten at 9:19 AM on June 24, 2010


Ahhh, fun PSAs. So the magician-contradicting kid could say, "Withdrawal from barbiturates can cause convulsions," and he also knew that sniffing glue can damage your liver and kidneys, yet the little know-it-all couldn't pronounce schizophrenia? Really? And it's just the last three letters that tripped him up? Hm.
posted by heyho at 9:50 AM on June 24, 2010


3 favorites:

Shit, I totally did that grocery store guy with the bananas!
posted by orme at 7:21 AM on June 24 [+] [!]


I'm trying to think how I should parse that sentence. With the bananas, you say?
posted by pracowity at 7:28 AM on June 24 [3 favorites +] [!]


It's like Clue but for my life.

Professor Green Grocer. In the Bathroom Stall. With the Bananas.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:01 AM on June 24, 2010


Okay I totally meant to type something other than "my" there. Oops.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:02 AM on June 24, 2010


I remember that VD PSA. I also remember that in high school (mid-to-late 1970s) being shown seemingly hundreds of educational films, PBS specials and slide shows taken at free clinics about syphillis and gonorrhea. I had gotten the message the first time - "use protection!" - and the daily barrage of that same warning, bolstered by images of chancre-covered genitals, made me wistful for Trigonometry class.

By the way, in those days it was always referred to as "veneral disease" or "VD" (or by the slang terms like the clap or the drip in the really "hip" educational films). And even then those terms were confined mainly to free clinics and health class. That TV commercial was considered very daring at the time to actually mention "VD." Usually it was referred to in broadcast media as a "social disease." (Before I'd been exposed all those educational films I saw a documentary about Al Capone on TV one Sunday afternoon, and the narrator mentioned that Capone eventually died of a social disease, and I remember wondering how bad breath could kill anyone.)
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:12 AM on June 24, 2010


For those who enjoyed the PSAs of their youth, this piece contains some classics.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:14 AM on June 24, 2010


If I remember mostly correctly, the VD commercial was part of an hour PSA about not catching it. At the time, people recognixzed it as satire, not to be taken seriously, and was intended to make the point that you didn't have to to be a junkie from skid row to get it. which was the prevailing opinion.You have to see it in context, with the entire show behind it and I think it was written by Shel Silverstein. Just a different culture. Believe it or not, hippies had a sense of humor. The other song written by Shel for that show was "Don't Give a Dose To the One You Love Most. I've seen both on CDs.

I had no insurance for about a decade, and all my medical care came from the County Clap Clinic, and I taught the kids to go there if you were broke. Anything from the navel to the knees, you took it there. Which led to my making the embarrassing statement that, "Nice peole do get clap. I got it and I'm nice." As it turned out, the final culture was "non-gonorheal something", and you never know when you get answers like that.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 11:50 AM on June 24, 2010


Believe it or not, hippies had a sense of humor.

You had to, if you were "Born in the USA"
posted by Twang at 12:15 PM on June 24, 2010


while "sexually transmitted disease" could not be plainer without drawing you pictures.

Aren't they called STIs now? When did that happen?
posted by Sparx at 2:39 PM on June 24, 2010


I remember seeing that anti-drug PSA with the magician back when it aired. I can't find any verification so it may be pure folklore, but the story went that it was Henry Winkler in the trenchcoat.
posted by mkhall at 4:56 PM on June 24, 2010


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