Friday, January 22, 2010

Soda to Be Sociable

I enjoy listening to Old-Time Radio, via Public Domain MP3 downloads.  Even though a great many of the shows contain elements of the era that I'm certain that I would find embarrassing, should someone walk into the room while I'm listening to them at just the wrong moment (and, by that, I certainly don't mean anything sexually suggestive. I am talking about entertainment that my grandparents might have listened to when they were teenagers and/or young adults, after all! Rather, I mean some blatantly racist and sexist overtones that would be considered unacceptable in most modern entertainment), I find something simply fascinating about listening to these relics of what the world was like 50, 60, or even 70 years ago.

Some of these files have retained the commercials that were aired during the show's original broadcast, while others have had the commercials edited out. I'm currently working my way through Have Gun, Will Travel from around 1960, files for which generally retain the commercials.  Apparently one of the sponsors of Have Gun, Will Travel was Pepsi.  During 1958-1961, Pepsi wanted to remind would-be customers that Pepsi was a "sociable" drink.  Here is one of their commercials:

If you don't want to listen to the MP3 file, here are the complete lyrics.
Be sociable.  Look smart
Keep up to date with Pepsi
Drink light refreshing Pepsi
Stay young and fair and debonair
Be sociable.  Have a Pepsi
Much has been said about how commercials try to prove to people how their product will make you more attractive, more desirable, whatever. Still, something about these lyrics just struck me as over-the-top. It's a cola, for crying out loud! To think that I'll be "young and fair and debonair" because I'm drinking a cola sounds a bit absurd, doesn't it?

Truly, there's nothing new under the sun....


  1. We have the DVD box sets for "Have Gun Will Travel" - I wonder how different the radio shows are. You should come visit and we'll watch some. :)

  2. Interesting. I didn't know anyone at home was even familiar with the show (doesn't feature trains that I'm aware of...). I do know that the main actor in the tv version (which started before the radio version, ironically) was a different person than the the radio actor. In terms of basic concept, they seem to be pretty similar (this is on the basis of having watched all of one tv episode, in addition to listen to a bunch of radio eps and what I know from Wikipedia).

  3. I listen to OTR on Shoutcast and came across this Pepsi commercial the other day. I wasn't so focused on the lyrics but rather trying to figure out who sang this particular version.

    Some of the commercials, especially during Dragnet, are amazing as they relate to cigarettes and how Chesterfield (or Fatima or L&M - can't recall) is actually the "best" for you and intimate scientific studies showing no nasal or throat problems. Gotta love it.

  4. Yeah, it's pretty amazing to hear cigarette commercials of the era talk about how doctors support cigarettes and how they're not at all bad for you and such. Abbott and Costello (sponsored by Camel) has a lot of them, too.

    (By the way, Dragnet was sponsored originally by Fatima, and then by Chesterfield--apparently owned by the same company--later in its run)

  5. It was a time when Pepsi made history by competing with Coke - not on price, not on taste - on image. You probably recall the Pepsi tagline: "For those who think young."



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