How radio ads helped shape Quentin Tarantino’s 1969 L.A. for ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’

Much of the hype around Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood has been around the director’s ability to accurately build a specific time and place, in this case 1969 Los Angeles.

A huge part of that was how Tarantino deftly used radio as a device to transport us, specifically with one of the most popular L.A. radio stations of the time: KHJ, or Boss Radio.


But it wasn’t just the old-school DJs, with hits and b-sides by bands like Deep Purple, Paul Revere & the Raiders, or The Mamas and the Papas. Part of what puts the viewer so specifically in that time and place are the ads.
Long before satellite radio, Spotify, iTunes, or any other kind of advertising-free music, the only way for people to listen to the tunes they liked was alongside ad jingles. In an unskippable universe, the repetition of certain ads would sear the most catchy among them onto your brain, as anyone over 40 can tell you about TV or radio of their childhood (“By Mennen,” anyone?).

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