Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Morning with Don Marcks: When Circuses Landed Major Sponsors -- When Kelly Miller Pachyderms on Parade Pitched Chevrolet

While I tend not to regret having taken circuses to task (or did I blast them?) for the crass insertion of advertisements during the performance, I can be nice when it comes to ads on the edge that do not stop the flow of action.  Yes, I am a Pep and PACE-aholic.

Such as, so charming an image from out of the past, this from Don’s letter to me dated October 25, 1958 – anybody out there alive that far back?

“Would be sort of nice to have that idea as the Kelly Miller show had, a large elephant and a small elephant with No Job To Big for the Chevrolet and No Job Too Small for the Chevrolet.”

He waxed reflective: “Actually, you might say this is too commercial but yet all circuses throughout history have done that sort of thing so it wouldn’t be out of line.”

The practice also showed up in circus parades, Don reminded me.  “... but guess they like the money that is in it despite the fact that we don’t care too much for it.

Right on that point, too.  However, that stuff never much riled me.  Such ad art, in motion, never stopped the show.  I think they had painters on the payroll who, daily, created simple ads  on large sheets of paper for advertisers, which they hung around the tent. 

In recent times, I’ve blasted Cirque du Soleil for its high-tech neon ads encircling the tent on the sidewalls.  Ringling, back in the fifties, took a lot of heat for signing onto a multitude of walk around clown gags pushing various popular products, toothpaste to  Tums (for the tummy).  The spectacle became such an orgy of commercialism, the show finally put a stop to it.

Then again, however, I enjoyed the veiled commercials if they were funny, although I can’t recall specifics.  I’d like to see today’s jesters spoofing some of the more obvious targets. Oh, just for starters, the ad for a certain pill to give couples in need a thrill.   Can you see them going to town with this?  

My newly late friend Liz once commented that sometimes, the best thing about television were the commercials.  Either those, or her  favorite program, Masterpiece Theatre.

Towards the end of Don’s two page letter, this:

“If ever you wish to come over it would be nice to have you once again.  Hope to hear from you again and to see you too.”

That’s how it went.  He was a most generous correspondent. 

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