Earth Day and Iron Eyes Cody

Iron Eyes Cody

Happy Earth Day, everyone! To celebrate the holiday, I thought I’d show you all this Public Service TV commercial from the 1970s.

In less politically correct times, it was known as the “crying Indian” commercial. (Watch the whole thing and you’ll understand why.)


This non-profit ad was made in 1971, and it played throughout the 1970s. 

The actor, Iron Eyes Cody (born Espera Oscar de Corti, 1904~1999), was not actually a Native American. He was an Italian American; but he portrayed Native Americans in various roles over his career.

That fact alone would be controversial today, of course. In more sensible times, it was no big deal. 

This ad is a trifle maudlin, but pretty good, overall, for something that was made nearly 50 years ago. And it still packs a little gut-stab. So in honor of Espera Oscar de Corti on Earth Day, please don’t pollute.