Louisiana Digital News



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The United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Social Security Administration presented this film as an informational viewing opportunity for Americans, as new legislation affected the Social Security Administration for the first time in decades beginning around 1963. A multi-colored map of the nation appears with the SSA’s official title (00:05-00:36). The public service announcement is the second episode in a weekly series that dates between 1965 and 1967. This was a transitional period in which the Social Security Administration underwent major changes. At the same time, initiatives by the government emphasized improving information access for the public. The SSA’s Information Officer during this time period, Roy L. Swift, is introduced as host at 00:40 and presents an introduction to the rest of the film’s cultural icons and anecdotes. Swift participated in much of the time’s public outreach to inform every American of the ways in which he or she would be affected by Social Security. The film is part of a larger project undertaken by President Johnson to improve mass communication and public information during his time in the White House. President Johnson spoke at the annual Social Security Administration Awards Program in Baltimore, Maryland and attended many other publicity events to encourage participation and awareness of the organization’s newest modifications and additions. The film emphasizes the benefits and importance of social security for each individual in the nation. Roy L. Swift was also involved in the messaging and outreach surrounding the Medicare aspect of social security. The film incorporates cultural zeitgeists in its messaging, citing New Orleans and Bourbon Street’s jazz influencers (2:03-12:50). The narrator, Swift, again links SSA benefits to Jazz by way of the musician Sharky Banano, introducing Medicare to the public while explaining what the musician receives from the program starting at 13:23 in the segment. The film also introduces us to Danny Barker, assistant curator to the New Orleans Jazz Museum (5:40) and musician Slow Drag Pavageau. Many items are shown at the museum including Louis Armstrong’s trumpet. At 10:20 the riverboat Island Queen is briefly shown. At 11:48 are more shots of Bourbon Street.

Joseph Gustaf “Sharkey” Bonano (April 9, 1904 – March 27, 1972), also known as Sharkey Banana or Sharkey Bananas, was a jazz trumpeter, band leader, and vocalist. His musical abilities were sometimes overlooked because of his love of being an entertainer; he would often sing silly lyrics in a high raspy voice and break into dance on stage.

Alcide Louis “Slow Drag” Pavageau (March 7, 1888 – January 19, 1969) was an American jazz guitarist and double-bassist.

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