2007   APRIL 24   #114

Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation - The Challenge of Change

1. There Is Nothing Like a Dame (3:13)
2. Makin Whoopee (3:03)

When I discovered that in 1970 the Ortho Corporation produced an in-house musical, I practically had a heart attack. Could it be? Yes, it was: a hitherto unknown corporate musical made for salesmen, about selling birth control to women.

The souvenir LP was titled "The Challenge of Change" and has no credits - actors, musicians, or otherwise. All the songs are parodies. The show looks and sounds like a low-budget affair, as does the jacket, which is a slapdash paste-on sheet with a few tiny black and white shots of the mutton-chopped audience and the meager stage show (two photos are reproduced here). I know of only one other copy, though they're probably languishing out there, somewhere.

Ortho's parody of "There Is Nothing Like a Dame" is simply jaw-dropping. It's right up there in the pantheon of criminally weird corporate tunes. My theory is that it may never have been intended for the album or show, as it's clearly a muffled demo recording. The second, er, slightly more subtle track, "Makin' Whoopee," has a backup band accompaniment and a more professional sound, as does the rest of the album.

Interestingly, the lyrics pretty much indicate that Ortho, as early as 1970, thought they were doing God's work by spreading birth control everywhere they could. It wasn't just a job - they won't stop until every woman's got some! Oh, wait - only "happily married" women. Hmmmmmmmm.

- Contributed by: Jonathan Ward

Images: Ortho!, Ortho!!

Media: LP
Album: The Challenge of Change
Date: 1970


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