As you might guess from retro film and television from the seventies, disco was a big deal. It was a trend that was easy to latch onto and appealed to multiple generations. So a lot of people latched onto it. A great example of how much it had infiltrated our culture is this educational “Disco Break.”
Sponsored by Ritchie Datsun of Glen Burnie, MD, these short clips not only advertised the product, but attempted to teach people how to disco. In this commercial segment that ran during an encore SNL broadcast from 1979, we are going to learn the shoulder lift.
Now let me just say, it is easy to say, “let’s learn the shoulder lift,” but let us consider what we are really teaching here. We are telling people to lift their partner and put them on their shoulder and spin around. I have had struggles lifting up a gallon of milk at the supermarket. Lifting a persona and putting them on my shoulder, just seems impossible. Yet in this Disco Break, it is done with ease. The woman is perched upon the unstrained mans shoulders and he just spins with ease.
It is a magical bit of advertising. Not only because it mentions a car name you don’t hear about anymore AND captures Disco at the height of its appeal, but it would also never happen now. If a Disco Break showed up on TV and attempted to tell you to lift someone over your head nowadays, it would need to be accompanied by impossible number of disclaimers.
So enjoy the magic of this Datsun Disco Break. It is about 30 seconds long. You might learn a thing about disco. But just be warned, lifting someone and putting them on your shoulder is not easy. It also does not look as cool as these people make it look. Especially if like me you are straining and wheezing during the entire experience.