The spot ran and ran because cable TV advertising got so cheap back in those days. And the Freedom Rock commercial was far from short. Clocking in at 2 minutes.
People watched this long commerical so many times that if you were like me, you had the song clips that they played memorized. Freedom Rock showcased Vietnam-era hippy and protest music. You could get it on four records, three cassettes, or two CDs. Until I rewatched this commercial, I completely forgot that they still sold records back in 1987!
And there’s an interesting story behind the commercial. It looks like it was shot on a set, but it was actually shot in a Colorado Springs forest. They guy on the left is Michael Beard. He was a local actor who worked at the area opera, dinner playhouse and would substitute teach. He got paid $700 bucks to play the stoned and shaky hippie on the left.
The guy on the right is KILO radio DJ Red Perry. He actually stared in a second Freedom Right commercial by himself, where he wasn’t in costume.
Red Perry is also known for an April fools joke where he told listeners that Pink Floyd was going to play on his radio station’s rooftop. 4,000 people showed up, forgetting it was April first. Sadly, he passed away in 1995.
KILO that Pink Floyd was going to play on the station’s rooftop. More than 4000 people showed, apparently forgetting it was April 1.
Michael Beard, the hippie on the left, lives in Osaka, Japan these days. He stars in movies and in Tokyo theater productions.
And back in 2013, New Hampshire band Rippin’ E Brakes asked him to reprise his role to help them promote a Kickstarter campaign for one of their records.