BB Video: BIG YANK, a Weird '70s Jeans Ad (Oddball Film)

Today's episode of Boing Boing Video is a vintage 1970s television ad for a brand of jeans called "Big Yank." When I first watched it, I was immediately convinced that this ad was all about the giving of wedgies -- to one's self, to others, no matter! Wedgies, wedgies, wedgies. Or maybe the ad was about something even more inappropriate. At any rate, I thought it was funny.

The video comes to us as a special courtesy of Oddball Film and Video, a San Francisco-based firm that maintains a truly amazing and extensive archive of weird old moving images. They do regular screenings, too. BB Video will be bringing you more from their superbly surreal collections in the weeks to come.

Where to Find Boing Boing Video: RSS feed for new episodes here, YouTube channel here, subscribe on iTunes here. Get Twitter updates every time there's a new ep by following @boingboingvideo, and here are blog post archives for Boing Boing Video.

(Thanks to Boing Boing's video hosting partner Episodic, and to Robert Chehoski and Stephen Parr of Oddball Film + Video)


  1. Whoa! At the beginning that is definitely Sarah Holcomb, the girl from Animal House and Caddyshack.

  2. That first actress is Sarah Holcomb, who appeared in 2 of the biggest comedies of that era – Animal House and Caddyshack – before disappearing from film altogether.

  3. I think the ad pretty much says it all. Might as well shut down the cloud. There is nothing left to see after that.

  4. Isn’t the first woman in this commercial the check out girl at the supermarket in Animal House?

  5. when i saw YANK and Weird in the post title my brain kept insisting on processing this as Weird Al lol

  6. Well done Mr. Trash. I would have thought that very very few people would have spotted her or known the 2 film story.

  7. Just a correction to suggest in the video titles. The post says this is a vintage 1970’s era television commercial, but the title card on the video says it is from the early 1980’s. I would guess that Sarah Holcomb was just getting her start in the business when shooting commercials like this, before hitting the big time with Animal House (1978) and Caddyshack (1980), so the 1970’s citation is likely correct.

    Sad note on the IMDB entry for Holcomb explains why she only made four films in her brief career:

    A drug and alcohol addiction was the reason for her leaving acting altogether.

    Best remembered as the girlfriend who passes out half naked on top of Tom Hulce in Animal House (1978).

    Her film career consisted of only four films in a two year period. Two of those films turned out to be the most successful low budget comedies of the era, Animal House (1978) and Caddyshack (1980).

    According to the director, Reverge Anselmo, Dori Lawrence, of the film Stateside (2004) was based on a real actress in the 1970s who did four movies – two of them big hits – before disappearing from the industry. On the DVD commentary, Anselmo reveals that the actress’ brother plays the character of Silvio. The actor is David Holcomb leading many to believe that the actress is Sarah Holcomb of Animal House (1978) and Caddyshack (1980). Someone listed as “S.H.” is thanked in the end credits.

  8. Very Funny, though the mom giving her family a BIG YANK sends me a place of very dark inappropriate humor

  9. The small town in Pennsylvania where I grew up had a Big Yank factory. It was the source of much juvenile humor. We would take our pictures in front of the BIG YANK sign, making the (in)appropriate gestures. Unfortunately when it came to double entendre it was second in line to one of the other local industries in town – Flavored Nuts.

  10. “cotton celanese fortrel…”– what??

    did a google on it and apparently: “Celanese” is a company; “Fortel” [sic] is a Celanese-trademarked name for a type of polyester.

  11. Big Yanks were the cheapo alternative to more expensive Levis when I was in Jr. High. Guaranteed harassmant/weggies if you dared wear those goofy things to class. Crazy marketing if you think about it. No kid ever had a second pair no matter how poor they were.

  12. Yay Oddball! Xeni’s not kidding…I’ve been in there. If the Ark of the Covenant was a PSA, Top Men would store it at Oddball.

  13. There was no Magic Denim quite like Lawman Jeans, but this video is magic. Thanks Fiddy for the interesting trivia.

  14. “When I’m home alone and have that special feeling, I just give myself a…. well, you know.”

  15. I can easily imagine Dan Ackroyd and Laraine Newman doing an “Ass-O-Matic” sketch about these. “Mmm, that’s some good ass!”

  16. Oddball Film and Video looks like it has some really cool footage. Is there any way to get to see some of it without being in California, or forking out license fees?

  17. In the mid ’60s in the Bay Area there was a series of Levi’s commercials. Seems they asked various bands (if I recall among othere was Jefferson Airplane). They essentially told them to do a 1 minute commercial and mention “stretch Levis” and “dacron polyester”.

    Now, in those days regular levis were $4.25 and the very nice (skin tight) stretch levis were $5.25 – and worth it. longer lasting (oddly) and very very comfy.

    I wish I had all the commerials – they were pretty good.

  18. To Johnny Cat (that is my favorite brand of cat litter btw)
    RE: Lawman Jeans. Do you remember the Lawman Jeans commercial from, I think, the late 70s/early 80s? It was shot in a few Seattle area high schools. I’ve been trying to track down that commercial for the last 5 years.

    At least I think it was Lawman Jeans.

    1. It was Lawman Jeans… sometime in the very early 80’s. It was shot at two Seattle high schools (I don’t know which ones) and one Portland high school (Parkrose High School). In each segment of the commercial it featured (I’m assuming)the student body from the school that segment was filmed at, singing and dancing like it was a musical… something like, “Living out my dreams, in my Lawman jeans.” Let’s see, I was around 12 or 13 at the time and I remember it because I’m from Portland… plus I thought it was a pretty cool commercial. Don’t ask me where you can find it , though.

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