The ‘Daisy’ Ad

Oh, my utopia lies in ruins!  How naïve of me to think a mere atom bomb could fell the chattering cyclops! — Sideshow Bob, “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming”

The zoom shot of Maggie in the flower patch before Sideshow Bob’s bomb detonates is a riff on a controversial TV ad ran by Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1964 campaign against Republican challenger/mafia bedfellow Barry Goldwater, who, on a sheer biological level, can’t possibly be as much of a square as he appears below.

Johnson’s commercial, which ran two months before the general election in the midst of an NBC showing of the Gregory Peck film David and Bathsheba, made it clear what a Goldwater win in November might mean in a Cold War world:

These are the stakes. To make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die. — LBJ

Johnson took heavy flak for the commercial, which critics said was far too insane. It was therefore immediately pulled after its original airdate, only showing the once.

It’s worth pointing out that when the election did come ’round, Johnson won in a landslide (486 electoral votes to 52, with a 52-vote margin of error), so perhaps such tactics were indeed a bit much.

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One Response to The ‘Daisy’ Ad

  1. Mary says:

    I love this one, McGarnagle…since I remember it. All kinds of fear going on in those good ole’ Cold War days. Ducking under our desks in practice for the impending mushroom cloud explosion…a lot a good that would have done. Keep up the good work.

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