Nitrate-base film original.
© Naturgy Foundation, 2020.
La dignidad de un pollo (A chicken’s dignity) is the title of this advert, which was broadcast for the first time in 1929 and was created by the film studio Emérita Films for Catalana de Gas y Electricidad (currently Naturgy). This studio had already been commissioned to produce the film La fabricación del gas de hulla (Synthesis gas production) at a time when cinema was seen as a great tool for dissemination and propaganda. These types of documentaries and adverts were used to publicise the image of an industry that had been hailed as an undeniable example of progress and modernity.
The black and white advert tells the story of a chicken that is going to be cooked in a charcoal oven, and decides that it does not want to die in these circumstances. In fact, it would rather be roasted in a gas oven. So, it escapes to the neighbours’ house, where they have a modern gas-powered kitchen.
The animated illustrations are interspersed with captions that, with a rather sarcastic tone, transmit messages of modernity, comfort, and cleanliness, key aspects in the introduction of gas-powered household appliances. This time saw a great revolution in terms of these new inventions that would make many aspects of life in the home much easier, from gas heaters, lamps and hair curlers, etc.
The images of the advert were inspired by some illustration created by Joan García Junceda in 1927 for the leaflet of the “Hotel Industry Exhibition”, which was held in the same year to show the applications of gas energy in the domestic context. These types of illustrations and comments, which are considered inappropriate nowadays, should be understood in a historical and social context that is, luckily, very different to our current situation.
Arroyo, Mercedes: <<Gas en todos los pisos. El largo proceso hacia la generalización del consumo doméstico del gas>> [online]. Scripta Nova. Revista electrónica de geografía y ciencias sociales, no. 146 (August 2003),