Warning to Hollywood studios: Condom manufacturers can advertise on TV, but references to prophylactics in commercials for movies are a no-no with the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which controls advertising and ratings for the film industry.
Producer Ray Stark has faced the MPAA's condom taboo with his upcoming "Steel Magnolias" for Tri-Star. In an original spot for the film, newlywed Julia Roberts is startled to find that friends have decorated the wedding car with inflated condoms. Mom (Sally Field) comforts Roberts by telling her the condoms will remind her of the importance of safe sex.
CBS OKd the "Steel Magnolias" commercial for viewing after 9 p.m., but the MPAA nixed it.
MPAA's Bethlyn Hand, who supervises the review of such advertising, explained that independent stations with more liberal standards might have aired the spot in earlier time periods. "Advertising must be suited for a general audience," she added. "Parents must find nothing objectionable."
Stark protested the edict in a letter to Hand: "(Condom) is a word that may not be part of the everyday vernacular at the MPAA office in Sherman Oaks, but it is one propelled into the spotlight by the Surgeon General, by sex educators, (etc.)," Stark wrote.