Flower Power

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Daly

On an August day in 1964, a freckle-faced 2-year-old toddled into a flower patch in upper Manhattan wearing a top with buttons in the shape of teddy bears. What she had no way of knowing was that she was about to be the star of the first--and still most infamous--political attack ad. Forevermore, little Monique Corzilius would be known as the Daisy Girl.

"I do remember the flowers," says Corzilius, now 50 and working in finance in Phoenix. "I used to do it all the time: I would pick daisies and pluck them. What kid doesn't do it?"

What most kids that age cannot do is count to 10. A man from the ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach had sought an assurance from Monique's dad that she was up to the task. "I said, 'I can't guarantee what any kid will do,'?" Fred Corzilius recalls.

Off Script: The director told Monique to "be loud" as she began counting: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 7, 7, 6, 8, 14." "Cut!" the director cried. After many similar takes, the director finally decided that a miscount might be more appealing, anyway.

The rest of the commercial stuck to a one-page script that nobody thought to show Monique's parents, who didn't assume it was any more political than the Lipton Soup print ad that had been their daughter's debut as a child model. They were unaware that when the camera moved to an extreme close-up of Monique's pupil, viewers would hear a booming male voice counting down as if at a nuclear-test site--followed by a mushroom-cloud explosion reflected in their daughter's eye. …