Morning in America

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"Morning in America" is the common name of a political campaign television commercial, formally titled "Prouder, Stronger, Better" and featuring the opening line "It's morning again in America." The ad was part of the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign of Republican Party candidate Ronald Reagan. It featured a montage of images of Americans going to work and a calm, optimistic narration that suggested the improvements to the U.S. economy since his 1980 election were due to Reagan's policies and asked voters why they would want to return to the pre-Reagan policies of Democrats like his opponent Walter Mondale, who had served as the Vice President under Reagan's immediate predecessor Jimmy Carter.

The phrase "It's morning again in America" is used both as a literal statement (people are shown going to work as they would in the morning), and as a metaphor for renewal.

Details[edit]

Full text of the ad:

It's morning again in America. Today more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country's history. With interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980, nearly 2,000 families today will buy new homes, more than at any time in the past four years. This afternoon 6,500 young men and women will be married, and with inflation at less than half of what it was just four years ago, they can look forward with confidence to the future. It's morning again in America, and under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?

The ad was written and narrated by ad man Hal Riney, who also wrote and narrated Reagan's resonant "Bear in the woods" ad (titled "Bear") as well as his "America's Back" ad. To many, his rich, avuncular voice represented wholesomeness and authenticity.[1] Bernie Vangrin of Hal Riney & Partners was the Art Director of the ad, which was directed and filmed by John Pytka of Levine/Pytka Productions.

Resonance[edit]

This advertisement won industry awards and praise from the political and advertising world. Republican strategist Dan Schnur said of Riney's work: "Most political advertising hits viewers over the head, while his work makes just as strong a point but in a less confrontational and a more soothing manner." [2]

References in media:

  • "Bill Bennett's Morning in America" is the name of prominent conservative and Reagan cabinet member William Bennett's radio talk show, a direct reference to the ad.
  • In the music documentary film American Hardcore, Vic Bondi, of the band Articles of Faith, expresses the ethos of the 80s American hardcore punk movement, presented as opposing Reagan and the mainstream, stating, "Everyone was saying it was morning in America. Someone had to say, 'It's fucking midnight!'"
  • The Onion satirised the phrase in its Our Dumb Century collection of mocked-up newspaper front pages from the 20th century, with Ronald Reagan announcing in December 1987 that 'It is Late Afternoon in America' and outlining a five point plan to take a nap.[3]
  • In Back to the Future Part II, in Cafe 1980s, there is a TV screen waiter resembling Ronald Reagan, who welcomes Marty McFly to "Cafe 1980s, where it's always Morning in America. Even in the afterno-no-no-noon!"
  • In an episode of TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, Joel Robinson is attempting to portray Roy Rogers after watching a Western-themed short film; however, his impersonation soon devolves into random quotations, one of them being "Well, it's morning in America!" Crow replies, "No, it's not!"
  • In the episode of the TV series Mad About You titled The Glue People, as a favor to Jamie, Paul makes a campaign ad for long shot NY mayoral candidate Brockwell entitled It's morning in Central Park. After he sees the ad could sway his friends to consider voting for Brockwell over Giuliani, he eventually regrets making it and compares himself to Leni Riefenstahl the infamous propagantist.

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