Advertising in the Seventies

In 1970 TV advertisements were more like cinema ads with the posh voiceovers and orchestral music. Take a look at this precious collection of eight ads. Want to emigrate to Australia or join the men in mining?! The sinister voiceover for Tufty is worrying as his friend gets hit by a car because he didn’t take his mummy with him to the ice cream van. We don’t get these types of scary voices now unless it’s in the advert about not paying your car tax. I wonder what that says about society/government 40 years on?

For mash get smashBy 1976 ads had changed quite a bit and they were more like short films. ‘The family’ was sacrosanct at this time when most were falling apart and the adverts that we saw on TV were either fictionalised sets of idealised family life or images from the past. This montage of seven ads clearly demonstrates the shift. The burger ad here is a classic example of the short film style of ad. The bird in the BT ad is reminiscent of Roobarb & Custard, a very British cartoon. However, the American influence is obvious with the Yorkie and Corona ads, both British companies. The Smash advert is classic ironic sci-fi in which we all believed that robots would replace us in the future.

The 3p Curly Wurly ad with school kids and Terry Scott playing the school boy role is funny. Very ‘Just William’ and possibly true to some school experiences but not mine! More like 1940’s or 50’s. Tufty was replaced by Charley Says, a difference in animation style and also the funny cat made to make you laugh rather than a fluffy toy style squirrel. But still as sexist with the asking mummy business (plus, can you imagine a kid being called Vera now?).

And just in case anyone hasn’t got lost down memory lane already, what about this Thames TV linkage. Classic!


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

The Bionic Woman

Lindsay Wagner as Jaime SommersI named my doll Jamie after Jamie Summers, the bionic woman (although I’ve just found out from Wikipedia that her name was spelled Jaime Sommers). Anyway the fact that I named my one and only doll after her demonstrates how much I loved the character and the programme. Although The Bionic Woman was a spin-off from The Six Million Dollar Man (who cost about as much as a house in London would today so maybe not that expensive), for me Jamie was much more important than Steve Austin. Lindsay Wagner in 2007 receiving TV Land awardJamie was played by Lindsay Wagner who I always thought looked like she could be a member of my family and I imagined being like her when I grew up. And wow, she is still beautiful now. Isn’t it amazing what a bit of bionics can do for you? She only looks a couple of years older than me! One of the things that was excellent about having a bionic woman was that in most of the other action programmes around at the time, the woman would be the victim. But like with Charlie’s Angels and Wonderwoman, this was the new idea that women didn’t always have to be rescued but could rescue themselves. Annoyingly though, they were still soppy over men and swooning as soon as the male rescuer turned up. For instance, the whole reason that Jamie was bionic was because she was Steve’s girlfriend and if she hadn’t been then she’d have just died or been disabled after her skydiving accident. The Bionic Woman with the Bionic DogThere was also a fabulous dog called Maximillion who used to bite through iron bars to escape from the cages he kept getting shut in. When he did this, the film went into slow motion and there was this strange echoing music, the same as when Jamie jumped or listened through her bionic ear. I always marvelled at how he bit through the metal but my mum, ever ready to dispel my sense of wonder, told me that they were probably made of sugar. The Bionic Woman was remade in 2007 but according to Wikipedia was stalled during the Great Writers’ Strike and then didn’t continue. I haven’t watched any of it as I was quite cynical that it might spoil my memories of the original so I can’t comment on whether it’s any good.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Servalan

Servalan looking gorgeous and deadly in Children of AuronAlthough Blake’s 7 has already been covered on popandcrisps, I need to dedicate a post entirely to my prepubescent lesbian wet dream, Servalan. I’ve been researching the Servalan wardrobe recently due to a baking project I’m working on. My lovely writer friend Susie has already beaten me to it on that score but I have some youtubery planned for the Bake 7 bunch that is entirely popandcrisps.

Weird thing about Servalan is that she was ultra-femme vamp yet psychotic murderer and I do wonder how and why I got so obsessed with her. No, really, I was banned from watching. I don’t know whether this was because I started acting like her or my lust was obvious to everyone except me. Because this obsession started long before I even knew what a sexuality was.

So is Servalan a lesbian icon? Well, the fact that there is a drag act devoted entirely to her demonstrates that she’s probably a gay icon. There is the haircut of course, Servalan being the first woman with shaved hair I saw on TV.

Jacqueline Pearce, the actress who played Servalan has according to Wikipedia, settled down in a monkey sanctuary in Africa. I probably would too if there were men dressing in off-the-shoulder dresses and pretending to be me.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Captain Pugwash

Captain Pugwash with Tom the Cabin BoyOne of my favourite cartoons in the Seventies was Captain Pugwash. Although the last series was produced in 1975 (according to Wikipedia) I remember watching it throughout the Seventies, so was probably watching repeats.

Contrary to popular urban mythology, there was no Seaman Stains or Master Bates. I do remember references to Tom the Cabin Boy being ‘the Captain’s favourite cabin boy’ but that’s about the most innuendo that I can recall.

Captain Pugwash was a pirate but a nice one, not the nasty sort. He was funny and had a lot of funny swearwords, the only one of which I remember is ‘shiver me timbers’ but Wikipedia has a nice long list.

The animation style is minimal, like cardboard cutouts that move around on fixed backgrounds. You can see this from clips on YouTube. The modern reinvented Pugwash uses computer animation which is not so endearing.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Catweazle

Geoffrey Bayldon as CatweazleI loved Catweazle! I love cats and always have, and I wanted to be Catweazle because he lived wild, was a magician and completely barmy. Oh and he went around in raggedy old clothes and didn’t care how dirty he got. That would have been me at age around six. Catweazle has nothing to do with cats, by the way, but with the name and his whiskers there’s a link.

Catweazle had a frog called Touchwood (sounds a lot like Torchwood doesn’t it??) and he had funny names for things like he called the telephone the ‘telling bone’. There was a lot of real magic in the program, scrying and runes and things that are authentic for his period (1066, Catweazle was a Saxon). There aren’t a great many special effects in the program, as it was a budget British 1970 TV show, but some great acting. I always got the feeling that it was ‘proper’ magic rather than flash-bangs, and now I’ve found a photo of him I know for sure. Whoever designed the costume either was pagan themselves or knew someone who was.

In the beginning, Catweazle is escaping the Norman soldiers and accidentally escapes into a 1970 farm. There he meets the farmer’s son, Edward, and the first thing he says is ‘art thou Norman?’ to which Ed replies, ‘no my name’s Edward.’ Classic. I remembered this scene from the book, which I read when I was about nine.

In some ways, Catweazle is similar to Wurzel Gummidge who was a scarecrow that came to life. I loved Wurzel Gummidge but I loved Catweazle more because of the magic. According to Wikipedia, the programme was also popular in New Zealand, The Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Sweden and Norway. There is a fan club and you can order the DVDs on Amazon.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Green Cross Code

The Green Cross Code posterThe Green Cross Code was a road safety campaign where Dave Prowse, the bloke who played Darth Vader in Star Wars wore a superhero type suit and told kids how to cross the road safely. This was in the time before there were many special effects so it mattered that he was quite tall. I think he was also the jolly green giant, but can’t find any reference to that even on Wikipedia. So maybe it’s just my bad memory.

The Green Cross Code was a set of rules, one of which was that you weren’t supposed to cross behind parked cars, but to move further down the street to find a place without a parked car so that you could see clearly to cross. Of course, times have changed a lot since this public information film was shot. I imagine that street is now double-parked all the way down with speed bumps dissecting the road.

A number of celebrities would also appear in these films, such as Kevin Kegan (footballer) and Alvin Stardust (rock star). Presumably this was meant to appeal to the agegroup who would swoon over these people. Didn’t do nothing for me as I was only about five at the time! I liked the Green Cross Code man because he had a light-up watch that could transport him out of his little CCTV peep show and into the street. Fab stuff.

Another favourite road safety campaign of the Seventies was Tufty, as seen in this lovely animation. I was in the Tufty Club but only vaguely remember it, badges and the like. I think Tufty taught me how to ride a bike.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Man About the House

Jo, Robin and Chrissy from Man About the House (Sally Thomsett, Richard O'Sullivan and Paula WilcoxI was watching the comedy channel the other night and Man About the House came on. It took me right back! I remember more clearly Robin’s Nest and George and Mildred (both spin-offs for MAtH sharing the characters). 

I probably wasn’t allowed to watch the original program as it was considered quite risqué. Watching it in reruns is quite funny because it doesn’t seem daring at all, but at the time two single women sharing a flat with a single man was the height of decadence. In this interview Sally Thomsett agrees that it’s quite tame by today’s standards.

Chrissy, Robin and Jo from Man About the House (Paula Wilcox, Richard O'Sullivan and Sally ThomsetMy favourite character in this show was Mildred, the older married woman who was a bit of a lush and obviously sexually frustrated (seen here with husband George).

The comedy mostly arose from the innuendos bounded around regarding the relationships between the flatmates. Also the convoluted situations they get into when trying to bring home potential partners to the shared flat.

I can’t imagine any of this is as funny these days when students regularly share in mixed gender environments, but somehow it still seems to work as comedy because everyone is so prudish. Robin is explained away as being gay, or a brother or just a visitor and he ends up borrowing his friend’s flat upstairs to take a girl home. Oh dear. The titles also show some astounding sexism.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room