09 February 2013

Are you feeling euphemistic?

This New Zealand Department of Health public service advertisement appeared in the NZ Listener of 6 September 1975. I particularly enjoy how the ad refuses to spell out what V.D. actually is, and the quote marks around 'at risk'.

Actually, my dear fellow, with a haircut
like that I doubt you're in any danger

This edition of the Listener featured John Clarke as Fred Dagg on the cover: 1975 was the year in which John Clarke rose to fame in New Zealand. In 1975 New Zealand had only two TV channels. The second, Television Two, had just begun broadcasting in June that year. (Generation Y and younger look at you funny if you remind them that New Zealand didn't have television at all before 1960). Prime time viewing was filled by Selwyn Toogood's 'It's In The Bag', generic American detective shows, and very slightly racy family entertainment from the UK in the guise of 'Man About The House', featuring Richard O'Sullivan, Paula Wilcox and Sally Thomsett. The latter was recorded by the Listener with its full cast, writers and producers listed like a motion picture.

The launch of Television Two was notable for two reasons: it featured Jennie Goodwin, the first female newsreader in the Commonwealth, and a bare week after it was launched the channel staged New Zealand's first Telethon. The first charity drive was in aid of the St John Ambulance, and raised $585,000. Telethons went on to become a cultural touchstone over the following decade until the mid-1980s, by which time event hosting costs were beginning to make the large-scale television events less affordable. It's safe to say that none of the Telethons raised money for V.D. - whatever it stands for.

And just pause for a moment to ponder: the young folks pictured in the ad above will be nearing retirement age. They might even be your parents. 

See also:
Health posters: Shifting attitudes, 1969 and 1980s, Te Ara 
History: 1975 key events in New Zealand, NZHistory.net
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