December 27, 2012

"Dodge Coronet scalpum competition"

Watch Tom Lehrer Sell Dodges In This Politically Incorrect 1967 Ad

By Benjamin PrestonThere's nothing like a singing, piano playing math professor to tell you how much better Dodge is than all the other American car manufacturers. As his white guy-dressed-as-a-Navajo sidekick points out, "Dodge Coronet scalpum competition." Groan.

Sure, this 1967 promotional film makes fun of Indians and employs a slutty first grade teacher to sell sex appeal, but Lehrer still does what he does best: offers snarky musical commentary about things. You'll be bored in a Ford, have an ordeal in a rocket Oldsmobile, etc. Yep, classic. Makes me want to drive a Dodge Dart Swinger to the park to poison pigeons.

Comment:  The so-called Indian sidekick appears at the 4:03 mark.

Bold Eagle looks like a dark-haired Caucasian. He's wearing a summer suit with a feather in a headband. He refers to a Navajo blanket, but he doesn't say he himself is a Navajo.

He uses a funny Indian name, talks like Tonto, and points out how the Coronet will "scalpum" competition. He does this by point to illustrations of hairpieces, sans heads, on the blanket. In other words, some Indian has butchered white people, and this murder spree is a lighthearted and amusing way to sell cars.

The ad also features a stereotypical Mexican, El Toro, and a stereotypical saloon girl, Priscilla Smugly. So white males are depicted normally and everyone else is a caricature. Nice.

I'm not sure where this commercial aired. Did people really sit around watching eight-minute pitches for cars in 1967? I didn't.

For more on Indians and TV commercials, see "Mayan Apocalypse" in Chevrolet Ad and Patriots Kick Indian in Super Bowl Video.

1 comment:

Tom Cotrel said...

This film was produced for the benefit of Dodge dealers and others in the distribution chain, not for mass consumption. It would have been shown at sales conventions instead of on TV.
Of note: Tom Lehrer ("The Vatican Rag", "The Periodic Table", "The Masochism Tango") was and is a political liberal.