UW News

April 1, 2010

Bought any Pfffft Deodorant? Help identify this week’s Lost & Found Film

Editor’s Note: The UW Audio Visual Services Materials Library has more than 1,200 reels of film from the late 1940s through the early 1970s, documenting life at the University through telecourses, commercial films and original productions. Some of the short films are easily identifiable, but many more remain mysteries. Who shot these films and why? Can you help answer those questions? Faculty and staff can use the comments field at the end of the story to send ideas. Those outside the University can e-mail filmarc@u.washington.edu.

Texaco’s Tower of Power may bring up memories for some in the campus community, but we doubt anyone’s heard of Pfffft Deodorant. However, they’re both part of this week’s Lost and Found Film, which Film Archives Specialist Hannah Palin believes depicts student projects. The film was found in The UW Communications School’s Film Collection. It’s a black and white sound film and was shot in about 1958.

The film opens with a spoof version of the old TV show, This is your Life, with host Ralph Egbert, then switches to a Texaco Tower of Power commercial. Finally there’s a word from the “alternate sponsor,” Pfffft Deodorant. Pfffft, it’s explained, comes in small, medium and large sizes, the latter being the size of a fire extinguisher.

This film and others like it in the collection appear to have been student projects for Professor Milo Ryan’s Communications Class, Palin said.

“We are looking to confirm that this program was, indeed, produced by students and would be interested in any anecdotes regarding the Communications Program under Professor Ryan and the experience of producing these programs,” she said. “We are also interested in any information about the students, if the programs were ever aired, early KCTS, and the use of a real commercial in a student program.”

And she added, ” For the record, Pffft Deodorant is a staff favorite!”

Last issue’s film, Computer Center, drew several comments indicating that the computers shown were an IBM 7094 and a Burroughs 5500, and that the computer center was in what is now Wilcox Hall. Be sure to post a comment if you can help Palin identify this or any of the Lost and Found films.