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Sad for the Present
Came across this banner ad while doing the usual online surfing:
Product Placement: These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty
From the question posed a few days ago, your answer:
Click on the page to see the cover of the trade publication, “The World of Pretzels,” which Patricia's grandfather edited.
Yes, “The Big Bounce” is the second film in as many years to feature ... pretzels!
The line is meant to trumpet the product but it almost feels disparaging, doesn't it? Because surely there were more movies with pretzels in them. It's such a standard product. It's as if some industry organization trumpeted their use of couches in a movie. Hey, we were able to make sure there were sinks visible to the public and in close association with this star who used this sink. Tell your friends!
Apparently, though, according to Patricia, scion of a pretzel empire, pretzels were basically an east-coast, Germanic thing and didn't start spreading across the country until the 1950s and '60s. Maybe Patricia's grandfather helped. Maybe Ryan O'Neal did. Who knows? But it's an indicator. Nobody wanted to be the guy who didn't get Clark Gable an undershirt in “It Happened One Night” and thus, and probably apocryphally, sunk the undergarment industry.
Do industry-wide organizations still engage in product placement (“Let's make sure there are oranges in this film!”) or are we all out for ourselves now (“Sunkist oranges!”)? The model is no longer the fear of being the undergarment industry in “It Happened One Night” but the fear of not being Reese's Piece in “E.T.”
Can You Spot the Product Placement?
The photo below was taken from an industry trade magazine in December 1968 bragging about its product placement in this scene from the 1969 Ryan O'Neal/ Leigh Taylor Young movie “The Big Bounce.” Can you spot it?
Here's IMDb's description of the film (which, FYI, helps in no way with the question):
A Vietnam veteran and ex-con is persuaded by a shady woman to rob a $50,000 payroll account on a California produce farm. But who is playing who?
Another question: Is that Stafford Repp, Chief O'Hara in the William Dozier “Batman” TV show, as the bartender? It appears to be, but he's not listed among the credits. But “The Big Bounce” was produced by Dozier, in the wake of “Batman,” so maybe.
“The Big Bounce” is the last thing Dozier would produce. O'Neal, of course, would rocket to stardom with “Love Story” a year later. Repp would act a few more years before dying from a heart attack in 1974 at the age of 56. One of his last roles was as “Dirty Old Man” in the low-budget comedy, “Linda Lovelace for President.” He also apparently filmed scenes in Orson Welles' unfinished film “The Other Side of the Wind.”
Four Inches Longer
Woman shopping for car: It seems so much longer than last year!
Salesman: It is! Nearly four inches longer in some models.
Woman (sitting behind the wheel): Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
-- from Adam Curtis' documentary, “Century of Self,” about the 20th-century attempt, by government and business, to control or manipulate the irrational impulses in human beings that Sigmund Freud discovered and/or emphasized in his work.
The 1951 Plymouth Orgasmatron.
Try This One Weird Trick and Hit 647 Homeruns
The first time I went to ESPN.com's story on a Florida doctor injecting Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez with performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), this was the ad that popped up along the right-hand side:
Two things about the ad cracked me up besides its placement in a tsk-tsking PED story:
- “Cambridge” scientists.Why Cambridge?
- “...one weird trick.” Why “weird” and why “trick”? Why not “ancient” and why not“secret”? Why not “ancient Chinese secret”? If it's because “one weird trick” appeals to a certain low-IQ browser, I then go back to my first question. Will someone to whom “one weird trick” appeals know where or what Cambridge is?
But mostly I love its placement in the middle of the A-Rod story. I like our umbrage at A-Rod and our interest in Cambridge. Is America beyond irony or are we just too stupid for it? Maybe Cambridge scientists can figure it out.
Try this one weird trick and hit 647 career homeruns.