Although Roman Holiday (1953) with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck introduced American audiences to the romantic image of a young man zipping around cities and coastal roads with a beautiful woman wrapped around his waist, motor scooters weren’t really “cool” in the United States until the early Sixties. For one thing, Italian scooters like Vespa and Lambretta were re-branded and sold by Sears and Montgomery Ward. It wasn’t until 1961 that these Italian companies succeeded in attaching the cachet of the Italian Bohemian to their products through a combination of advertising and the release of a Rock Hudson film called Come September. Even then, the sense of fun and romance displayed in advertising everywhere else in the world was rarely employed in the United States. Instead, American ads touted fuel economy, avoiding traffic, affordability, and saving space in one’s garage for a proper Detroit leviathan.
September 28, 2011 by The Belated Nerd
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