Hooked on Plaza Drugs

Here's a vintage TV commercial, originating in the mid-1960s. We can bank on that date because of the wardrobe styles and the 16mm film is in color. Such technology would have been a superfluous expense in the earlier black-and-white era.

Plaza Drugs is an Atlanta landmark, primarily due to this ad which ran every night, apparently, for at least 15-20 years. I remember it following "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" when I was in early high school. WSB-TV, Channel 2, sandwiched the spot between the end of every Carson program and the station's "National Anthem" sign-off at 1 a.m. The piece would show on other stations in the market, usually during the wee hours or occupying time slots when the rates were minimal.

Plaza Drugs Commercial via YouTube

I recall three versions of the advertisement, this one being the final. All used the identical footage and essentially the same narration. The soundtrack was rerecorded with changing musical accompaniments and voiced by different announcers. For a dozen years or so, the pharmacists in the white coats could be heard saying, "Check," as they marked off items on the impressive Plaza Pharmacy note paper.

One particularly somber violin melody was a background theme, haunting and annoying me throughout high school, college, and life. I would stumble out of my chair or bed to turn the volume down on the television whenever I anticipated the Plaza Drugs commercial to be shown.

The hokey presentation was and remains a stock joke for thousands, perhaps millions, of long-time residents of the area, many of whom would not have been caught dead or alive in the store's tumultuous neighborhood of decades ago. Who would risk everything and white dainty gloves to purchase seemingly old-fashioned cosmetics and Hallmark cards at 4 o'clock in the morning, while derelicts lurked and urinated near the front door?

The operation's key selling point was the promise, "Plaza Pharmacy is never closed. Open day and night, including all holidays."

Those words are ingrained and trusted as gospel. The liars have been closed since 1997, according to a source.

Today, "the complete meals and fountain delights" are an apparel business.

Plaza Pharmacy is always clothed.


Thanks to Stan Malone
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