DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

KIM AKASS

MONIQUE NAZARETH

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
STAY TUNED: Vintage campaign ads
September 17, 2008  | By Diane Werts
 

When it's just too depressing to watch today's mudslinging campaign commercials -- which is pretty much all the time -- you can turn instead to a priceless collection of previous presidential campaign spots. In other words: You can see how we got to the fine mess we're in today.

The Living Room Candidate is an online archive of 300 vintage ads, reaching back to the 1952 Eisenhower-Stevenson race considered the first "TV campaign."

You can watch the infamous 1964 anti-Goldwater "daisy" ad with the mushroom cloud.

A 1968 spot consisting of simply laughter at the prospect of a vice president named Spiro Agnew.

Ronald Reagan's "morning in America" ads.

The 1988 "Willie Horton" commercial targeting Michael Dukakis.

The Living Room Candidate makes itself easy to use, too, breaking out ads by campaign year, by candidate, by political party, by issue (corruption, taxes, war), by type of spot (family, biographical, real people, "fear"), and even a curator's choice playlist of most effective ads.

The collection is an ongoing project of New York's far-too-underrated Museum of the Moving Image. (Based in the Astoria section of Queens, in an old movie studio used by the Marx Brothers, it's off the beaten path, but worth the detour.)

The project's just-posted 2008 cycle adds informative text commentaries on the top spots, with political scholars creating their own annotated playlists. Online resources lead to further details about the funding and production of these ads, to archival versions of previous campaign websites, and to teachers' lesson plans about commercial campaigning.

Plus, there's ongoing tracking of current McCain/Obama TV and web ads.

But here's a taste from way back when:

 
 
 
 
 
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