Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Selling the Essentials---TV News Commercials in the Summer 1969

About the time our Centennial Class was getting ready to come to Vanderbilt for the first time in the late summer of 1969, the ads on the nightly TV news were selling the essentials.

Unlike today, when these shows are populated with ads flacking all manner of prescription drugs, in the late '60s it was all about soap, detergent and toothpaste, the kind of things we all needed to bring with us to campus, especially that toothpaste that would give us all "sex appeal", which was a rather risque thing to talk about on TV in those days.

So courtesy of the Vanderbilt TV News Archives, take a trip back to TV Land, commercial style, from August, 1969. Also see if you recognize the young blonde in the last ad. She went on to be quite a TV and movie star and she has roots here in Tennessee.....

Did you recognize Cybill Sheperd? She was born in Memphis (February 18, 1950) and came to her first brush with fame by being named "Miss Teenage Memphis" in 1966 and then "Model of the Year" in 1968. According to her biography on Wikipedia: "She quickly made a name for herself as a curvy, "real woman", which was a departure from the trend at the time of Twiggy-type waifs."

It was not her 1969 TV "Ultra Brite" ad that led to her next break. It was her fashion modeling and appearance on the cover of GLAMOUR magazine in 1970 that got film director Peter Bogdanovich to cast her in his next movie: THE LAST PICTURE SHOW.

From there it was on to other notable films in the next few years such as THE HEARTBREAK KID, DAISY MILLER and TAXI DRIVER. Later she branched into television, winning acclaim for her work in the MOONLIGHTING comedy series with Bruce Willis and for another series she starred in called CYBIL.

And to think on the national scene it all began with that "sex appeal" toothpaste ad.

Don't forget you have a chance to stand out among your former VU classmates. All you have to do is scroll down and correctly answer the trivia questions in the posting below. My good friend and former WRVU Station Manager Steve Womack has won the first prize, which is a nice Vanderbilt mug. And there are two other prizes up for grabs courtesy of the Vanderbilt Reunion Office, so put in your answers/guesses today.

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