John Grindrod: An advertisement of yesteryear, a problem still today
Iron Eyes Cody was an American actor that I’m sure many, especially guys, of my generation would recognize. The 1950s and early 1960s were the golden age of Western entertainment, both on television in the form of weekly series like Tombstone Territory and Cheyenne as well as in movies. Cody has played the role of an American Indian over 200 times in so many of these shows and movies.
Despite the impressive body of work by the American actor who, ironically, was actually of Italian descent, he is perhaps most widely known for a public service announcement that aired on television in the early 1970s. effective has won two CLIO awards, given annually to advertisements and public service spots considered to be excellent.
It was the “Keep America Beautiful” campaign that showed Cody in Native American attire paddling through polluted waters past factory chimneys belching noxious fumes. Cody guides the canoe to the shore, gets out and past several piles of trash off the shore. The next image shows a car speeding by as an arm sticks out of an open window and another bag of trash lands at Cody’s feet. The camera pans from the trash can to a close-up of the actor’s face to show a watery stream sliding down his cheek.
The spot’s musical soundtrack is then replaced by the voice of actor William Conrad (well known for his role as round crime solver Frank Cannon on the eponymous weekly detective series Cannon which ran for five seasons in the early 1970s). Conrad used his rich baritone voice to deliver his line: “People are starting to pollute; people can stop it.
I have often thought of this advertisement when driving my work and leisure routes and also when taking frequent walks.
When these public service announcements aired, officials in several states reported an improvement in the waste problem, and the newly created Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 also stepped up its efforts to tackle pollution. industrial. Sprinkle in Lady Bird Johnson’s efforts to organize groups to clean roadsides and plant dozens of wildflowers to accentuate the raw beauty of a pristine America, and it looked like we were well on our way to solving the problem.
Sadly, raw beauty and pristine landscapes aren’t often what I see these days.
As for walking trails, the one that caught my eye recently is the Rotary Riverwalk which stretches for just over eight miles. The section that Lady Jane and I walked took us partly on the parallel paved road to Collett, opposite the refinery and along the Ottawa River. There, on both sides of the path, I saw a wide array of trash, from polystyrene fast food containers to plastic water bottles to occasional disposable diapers as well as many other trash.
While driving, I see lots of scenery right next to roads in Ohio and Indiana to access my accounts. Unfortunately, I’ve often been just as appalled by litter while driving. The litter thrown away is especially bad when I’m on the exit ramps at a stop sign waiting to make my turn. These off-road areas are even worse, especially the sheer amount of discarded cigarette butts that I’m not sure smokers even consider trash.
I wonder if they would change their minds if they knew that the plastic fibers in a cigarette filter can take up to 10 years to decompose. Sometimes I’ll be behind someone at an exit exit and see the car door in front of me open and a hand holding an ashtray emptying everything out of the tray along the way.
Regarding the psychology behind litter, environmental psychologist Lee Chambers believes that if an area is well maintained, people are less likely to litter and, conversely, if an area has a lot of litter, such as the landscape just outside Aside from those exit ramps I just mentioned, many are also more likely to litter. There are also those in environmental psychology who think that the more people who travel long distances to places where they have no real emotional attachment, the more likely they are to litter.
While I suppose some of the theories above have some merit, I will tell you that I travel a lot both for business and pleasure and I can honestly say no matter how much litter I see or how far from home I am, I have no desire to drag a Styrofoam food container or an empty Dasani water bottle out the window.
Yes, indeed, I think about Iron Eyes Cody a lot more these days. And, while I know, having lived as long as I have lived, that we have made societal improvements in the 50 years since Cody’s commercials helped awaken a nation to the fact that trashing the The environment just wasn’t cool, I just can’t help but think those Iron Eyes would still be crying if he was here today.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, freelance writer and editor, and author of two books. Join it at [email protected]