There’s nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned public service announcement. And who better than John Wayne to add some gravity to your message?
The legendary actor delivered a patriotic plea for Americans to buy United States Saving Bonds in 1976 and was fully costumed when he did it.
“Hello, folks. I’m John Wayne. You know, with America’s bicentennial coming up we’ll be hearing a lot about our early history and making some discoveries,” he said in the 1976 commercial. “For instance, did you know that when we made the Louisiana Purchase the money came from loans by the American people? The same thing was true when we bought Alaska and when built our first transcontinental railroad. The fact is citizens have been investing their dollars to help America grow ever since 1776. And they’re still doing it today with their purchases of United States Savings Bonds.”
John Wayne’s iconic voice demanded your attention. The Western star’s swagger was unrivaled. The costume he wore, combined with the set, made it look like he took a break from a film he was working on to talk to us personally.
They don’t make ’em like The Duke anymore.
John Wayne is Perfect Spokesman for Patriotic Message
The old cowboy was the perfect representation of American grit. His image embodied the ideals of optimism and bootstrapped determination. These qualities gave him a certain air of credibility, especially for a service announcement encouraging people to invest in America.
“Buying bonds builds security for yourself as well as your country, and that’s not a bad combination,” he continued in the commercial. “So how about making yourself a part of that 200-year tradition? Take stock in America with United States Savings Bonds. Thank you.”
The Movie Star Was Criticized for His Lack of Service
When the US got involved in World War II, John Wayne was in his early thirties. He was technically exempt from military service.
Many of Wayne’s peers, stars like Henry Fonda, Gene Autry, Jimmy Stewart, and Clark Gable, gave up their lifestyles to serve in the military. All of these men were either older or of similar age to John Wayne.
Duke felt like he could contribute to the war effort by making inspirational films for the troops, and he definitely did that. But on a few occasions, the movie star gave some weird excuses for why he didn’t serve. Once, he claimed that he couldn’t fill out his papers in time because there wasn’t a typewriter around.
It was these types of excuses that drew criticism from many. But the reality of the matter was that Wayne did contribute in his own way.