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30 May 2010

Ray Charles In Campaign For National Organization On Disability (1985)

In 1985 the Edwin Bird Wilson agency volunteered to do an Advertising Council campaign for the National Organization On Disability. The commercial was produced by Jenkins Covington Newman Rath, filmed in LA, and directed by Bob Wolfe. After Ray's rendition of America the Beautiful at the Republican National Convention in 1984, there was no question of what he should do on camera. So that is the music he played while urging viewers to sign up as local volunteers for the disabled. Actually, that is what you will think that he is doing - playing and speaking from a phenomenal memory - but while, having taped the music, Ray was really sitting at his piano reading a braille text of his remarks cunningly concealed on the keyboard. Also read this and this. The making of-story is here.

Some sources suggest that there was a second commercial in '87, but after seeing the PSA below, my conclusion is that there probably was only one - which was produced and broadcast in 1985, and re-broadcast in 1987.

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