Few commercials have been as memorable as the ‘crying Indian’ from the seventies, and I reckon few commercials have had more impact on people’s behavior. The crying Indian left quite a mark on American popular culture.
I was a kid when I first saw that image, and I distinctly recall the sense of shame I felt upon watching it. It wasn’t just that I’d seen people littering like that, I’d done it myself. In fact, littering was pretty damned common back in those days, hence the commercial! I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest the image of that crying Indian moved a lot of people to rethink their behavior.
Some of it anyway.
So, I was pretty damned surprised to learn many years later that the crying Indian belonged to a rather unusual tribe. He was Italian. ‘Iron Eyes Cody’ was born Espera Oscar de Corti. He had been…
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