At 95, Betty White is America’s sweetheart, just as she was in 1958 when she starred in her own television sitcom on ABC with Plymouth as her sponsor. Here’s Betty pitching the Forward Look in an original Chrysler promotional spot.
It would be difficult to select a more representative example of the Chrysler Corporation’s Forward Look than the 1957-58 Plymouth. Conceived by the automaker’s famed Vice President of Styling Virgil Exner, the Forward Look design theme featured low, sleek rooflines and elevated the tail fin to an art form. When the ’57 Plymouth was introduced, its catch phrase was “Suddenly, it’s 1960!” and the sheet metal was carried through the 1958 model year with only minor changes. While the industry was battered by a sharp recession in these years, the Forward Look helped to return Plymouth to the number-three slot in sales, trailing only Chevrolet and Ford.
In 1957-58, Betty White—America’s sweetheart, then and now—was starring in her own ABC situation comedy, Date With the Angels, on ABC TV with Plymouth as her presenting sponsor. Commercials were often formatted rather differently in those days, as we’ve seen before. Here, Betty and her co-star Bill Williams simply break character and walk to another stage, where there’s a live, three-minute presentation on the ’58 Plymouth model line, complete with an interpretive dance routine. (By the way, Chrysler’s stylized double-arrow logo used in those days had a name: It’s called a flookerang.) From an episode called “Star Struck” that originally aired on October 25, 1957, here’s Betty.