A Brief History of Clint Eastwood, TV Pitchman

Everyone's talking about the epic Chrysler spot broadcast just after the Super Bowl halftime show, directed by David Gordon Green and featuring Clint Eastwood tottering down a dark tunnel before emerging to exhort our country back to unity, pride and general greatness, hopefully behind the wheel of a Chrysler. "It's halftime in America," the actor-filmmaker announced, rousing millions of viewers nationwide. Stirring stuff -- but how does it stand up against Eastwood's previous commercial and PSA work? Let's investigate.

Remember that time when Eastwood urged folks to donate to the "Will Rogers Hospital and O'Donnell Research Laboratories" in their valiant fight against respiratory illness? It's "Be generous, hmm?" kicker is just as inspiring as "Our second half is about to begin," or maybe it's just me.

Here's Eastwood opposing Proposition 18, the 1972 California ballot measure against obscenity that Eastwood derided as censorship. The measure failed (naturally):

Easily the most memorable Eastwood spot before Sunday's Chrysler ad, this anti-crack PSA has been lampooned, remixed and admired by many. "See this cute little viral here?" Yes, Clint, tell me more!

Not to be outdone, erstwhile First Lady and tirelss anti-drug advocate Nancy Reagan teamed up for a more general broadside against the nation's narcotic scourge. Who hasn't told a drug pusher to take a hike?

Eastwood wasn't messing around with those punks who would defile our public parks, either:

Eastwood later went to the plate for Honor Flight, an organization dedicated to arranging trips for veterans to visit memorials to their wars...

...before asking folks to donate to the memorial fund honoring America's fallen law enforcement officers:

Of course no true California tourism PSA would be complete without the former Carmel mayor chiming in from the links with his signature line:

And finally... It's halftime, America. In an unfortunate twist, the team named the Patriots then went on to lose the Super Bowl, but hey. Thanks for the memories, Clint!

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  • Patrick Hallstein says:

    I think they're going to have to change where people buy these great emblems of our unmistakable virtue. Seems like you should have to hunt them down amongst a "Real Steel" junk heap rather than from someone white-shirted telling you zero percent financing and thirty percent off. In any case, America is sure going to like this King's Speech era where "they're" always hard-pressed, never securely placed and often smacked down, but of undoubtable fight and virtue. All the aristos have to do is match their sense of duty, and do what their (ostensibly) constitutionally fit and bound by God to do -- lead. What is the poor, displaced bourgeoisie to do?

    • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

      This is all thoroughly valid, but ultimately I'm just praying that this isn't the last on-camera performance of Eastwood's life. I would have been fine with Gran Torino!

      • j'accuse! says:

        +1 Stu. Tbh, I thought the advert was fine, just too long. And it should have ended w/ that, "Get off my lawn," moment from Gran Torino.

      • dukeroberts says:

        Clint is going to be in front of the camera for at least one more movie. He'll be playing a baseball scout. The name escapes me at the moment.

  • The Winchester says:

    David Gordon Green directed that ad? Now the half stoned rambling and paranoia about entering the last half of our civilization makes so much more sense.

  • Patrick Hallstein says:

    Eastwood strikes me as one of those guys who is due to regress very, very badly -- and remind us that the quotient of what he had before was not sufficient for it to not twinkle out entirely. In honor of this, though, of what he had and what it allowed him to give, I'm making Gran Torino his last stand, regardless. Thanks, Clint!

  • Mike the Movie Tyke says:

    So if it's halftime in America, we've got less than 250 years to go? Yikes!

    Clint's aged well, though, the granite bastard

    • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

      So if it's halftime in America, we've got less than 250 years to go? Yikes!

      I mean, precisely. I presume this means Zac Efron Jr. will attempt to rally our spirits when our metaphorical "two-minute warning" comes around, by which time the Super Bowl will be played on the moon at the Gingrichdome or wherever.