'With a bit of a mind flip, you're there in the time slip, a
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 07/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 70s...big hair, red velour, Technicolor plaid polyester pant suits, smiley faces, boogie vans, roller discos, 8-track tape players, and wall-to-wall shag carpeting...a little film called Star Wars dominated the theaters, American was engaged in a foreign war, and the price of gas went through the roof...er, wait...sounds a heck of a lot the current state of affairs...I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. The 70s Dimension provides a glimpse into the early, and often painful, rapid expansion of television and its potential in terms of a tool for disseminating information to an increasingly growing and diverse public. According to liner notes on an informational booklet in the DVD case, what is presented here by filmmakers Matt McCormick and Morgan Currie was picked after rummaging through some twenty hours of material, all recovered from the dumpster behind a Portland television station. Back in the day when these ads were originally shown, they were either done live, or the shot on 16mm film. There really wasn't any intent to preserve any of this material for posterity, as it was considered disposable, not meant to live past its brief moment in the sun...the DVD is separated into two main sections, the first called `What the 70s Really Looked Like', the second titled `70s Remix'. Within the first section, which contains material as it was broadcast on TV, there are eight parts, listed as follows;
Appearance (5:54) Exercise enthusiast Jack LaLanne hawked crappy exercise equipment, Farrah Fawcett showed us how easy it was to get the feather looked with her Lady Speed Schick Styler, and Mage the manicurist enlightened millions to the miracle healing benefits of Palmolive dish soap `You're soaking in it!'. We also learn FDS was created for that `unique, feminine need', whatever that is...and if you didn't want people to publicly comment on your ring around the collar, you'd better damn well use Wisk laundry detergent.
Appliance (7:09) Did you know Packard Bell used to make color TVs and stereos? A company called Magnavox did, too...and they were made in America, back when our economy was more manufacturing based rather the current trend towards servicing. After a long day of cutting the grass with your Jacobson lawn mower, with its four blades for twice the cutting action, you could settle back with a mixed drink made from your Oysterizer Cyclomatic blender and enjoy a fine program on your Magnavox color TV, with your Channelmaster Color Crossfire Antenna pulling in a near perfect signal.
Drink (7:43) Fresca didn't want us to be left out in the heat, and Olympia Beer touted that it was `in the water', whatever that meant. Coca-Cola was pushing Tab on females, telling them to be a `mind sticker', keeping your shape in shape by drinking Tab so that your husband won't find you unappealing as you sit around the house all day eating bon bons...we also learned, through the fine people of Folgers, that American men hated their wives coffee, often commenting on it publicly, and usually with little tact (Is your coffee really that bad, Janie?). Ahh, Schlitz Beer was a manly brew, one for men looking for gusto wherever they could find it and if you were headed for fun, you headed for Blitz Weinhard Beer.
Food (6:30) Planters was for `snappy snacking', Crisco helped make digestible fried foods taste not so greasy, Wonder Bread was `rich and fabulous', Blue Bonnet margarine had five kinds of flavor, and everyone thought getting a Underwood Devil ham sandwich for lunch was something special. Also, there must have been issues with the public's conception of the safety of grocery store bought meats as USDA told us products with their stamp of approval meant safety...hot dogs must have gotten a bad rap, too, as we got to experience the `truth' about them...I always thought the truth meant they were made from only the finest leftovers of processed animals...
Military (2:24) It's interesting to see how hard some of these military organizations were pushing to recruit women, especially the United States Air Force aka `The Now Place to Be'...oh, not to be pilots, but to be nurses, data entry personal, and other, non combat positions, as they had plenty of `exciting and glamorous jobs for girls'.
Potpourri (6:31) ABC wanted to welcome us to a bright new world with their primetime, Sunday sports and after school specials programming, and we were told to `let go' by smoking LM cigarettes...unless you were of the independent sort, then Old Gold was the brand for you...I mean, why smoke `em if you can't taste `em? All of which was moot if you lived in Marlboro country, because everyone knew that was where the flavor was...
PSA (9:53) In case you don't know, PSA is an acronym for `Public Service Announcements', something all television stations were required to broadcast back in the day, to which they would usually stick them in the schedule late at night or early in the morning as not to use up prime, valuable airtime. There are a number of spots here involving venereal disease, traffic safety, jobs for ex-convicts, and so on...Henry Fonda and The Department of the Treasury warned us of the use of illicit drugs and the band Chicago hipped us musically to the fact that `shootin' dope' meant `loosin' hope'...oh yeah, various church groups seemed to not like technology, especially The Christian Reformed Church. Also included is probably the most famous PSA from this time period in the anti-pollution one with the Native American, cruising down a polluted river in his canoe, landing on a garbage strewn beach, only to have some throw a bag of litter out their car window which lands across his moccasins...to which he turns to the camera with one, single glycerin tear rolling down his face...
Transportation (10:56) The new Cameros were in, along with the Winnebago's...seat belts usage was being pushed, and Caesar Romero informed us that `Airports were America', whatever the hell that meant...we also learned engineers were working on a system of overhead, suspended people movers in order to alleviate pedestrian crowding and traffic snarls within our cities...good job on that one, guys...
The second section, titled `70s Remix', features six experimental video projects utilizing clips and various techniques. The longest runs about 11 minutes, the shortest about two minutes, all very odd, interesting, and even fun...one or two seemed a bit pretentious, but whatever...I thought over all this was an interesting view encapsulating a time many of us might have forgotten (probably on purpose) when television advertising had yet to come into its own...one thing's for sure, regardless the product, advertisers live by a singular constant, sex sells. Overall I though the content on this DVD a little light, but otherwise very good. The picture quality strong throughout, and the menus and content set up very well...also included on the DVD are upcoming releases from Other Cinema titled The Subject is Sex and Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America (1992).
Needs a sequel!
J. D. Stewart | Anchorage, Alaska | 01/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, this is an excellent quality DVD, considering these commercials were scavenged from a dumpster at Portland's ABC affiliate. But over 90% of these appear to be from 1971-1973. The ABC fall announcement of Starsky and Hutch and Charlie's Angel's advertising the Schick Speed Styler appear to be from about 1976, and several others such as Crisco shortening, the Color Crossfire Antena, and Jacobsen Lawn Mower appear to be from the mid-1960's. Nice selection for sure, but too Nixon era, before the bicentenial and disco. These were my favorites:
1. Old Gold cigarettes. For "independent people". Probably a way to justify the reason the cigarette was never popular to begin with.
2. L&M cigarettes. The ultimate relaxation cigarette. The people on the commercial all look too old, healthy, or thoroughly clean and decent to be smokers.
3. The one with a 50-something woman advertising window treatments. The commercial itself is not that interesting, but the woman's bright red suit, half-horn glasses, and teased hair are downright scary. Looked like a 70's elementary school teacher, the disciplinarian you were scared of.
4. The military ones advertising the Marine reserves guaranteeing you a beautiful girl, expensive sports car, and good life, and the Air Force catering itself to females more than any other branch (which I agree).
4. The two at the begining and end of the DVD justifying hot dogs as wholesome and nutritious because each weiner has 10% of your daily protein needs and they're USDA inspected by professionals
5. The famous "Keep America Beautiful" one. The stoic Indian looking into the camera and shedding a single glycerin tear scared me when I was little and seemed so out of character.
Anyway, if the filmmakers could take commercials from about 1975 to 1980, it would be wonderful. Hopefully they read this review"
Another Gem Overlooked by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
Bioman | San Francisco, CA | 03/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The "70s Remix" part of this DVD gets my vote for 'Best' Picture of the year. "Thine Inward Looking Eyes" invokes suspense, humor, pathos and satisfaction without a hint of dialogue. The cleverly-edited short subjects, such as "Mark Roth" and "Toastem Pop-Ups" display more creative versatility than "Walk the Line," "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crash" put together. For those of us who appreciate film as art, "The 70s Dimension" delivers, in a spectrum of browns, ochres and avocado greens, a delightful and refreshing retrospective of a doubleknit polyester plaid jacket culture where merchandise could be purchased with cigarette pack coupons; where your "good shape" ensures your status as a "mind sticker"."