It comes in eye-catching contrast to modern television's living-color pictures -- a black and white campaign advertisment filled like a family album with still photographs of Patricia Roberts Harris.
First, she is at a campaign stop talking to an old man. Then another still photo of Harris at age 5 with her little brother; pictures of Washington 30 years ago; Harris at a Delta Sigma Theta convention; at a postal workers' strike; a desegregation rally; a picture of Martin Luther King at a lunch counter; a long shot of 14th Street, and then the pace quickens for flicker-quick shots of U.S. ambassador Harris; Carter cabinet member Harris, and finally, Harris campaigning for mayor with a child laying her head on her shoulder.
Over the pictures, a male voice: "The story of our city has been her story . . . and as the city grew, she grew."
The ad has been playing for a week, the first of a flurry of television and radio spots for Harris and for Mayor Marion Barry that will intensify this week, as the Democratic primary campaign enters its final month. Between them, Harris and Barry have spent a total of more than $500,000 to produce and place ads that will run until Sept. 14, election day.
For Harris the ads are a key to her plan to beat Barry, who has raised more than $900,000 and who, according to the most recent poll, holds a 13 percent lead over her.
She is counting on her ad campaign to reach into the average Washington voter's living room and appeal to what she believes is a quiet but substantial wellspring of discontent with Barry's record; a wellspring she is counting on to surface and carry her to victory.
"We want the first ads to introduce Pat as a warm, kind person and let people know what she's been doing ," said Neil Oxman, the head of The Campaign Group, a Philadelphia media group that produced Harris' ads.
"There are people in D.C. who don't know that Pat went to Howard University," he added, "that she has lived in the city for 33 years. Everyone doesn't know everything about the woman and that generates whispers and talk about who people worry she might be."
Barry's ad campaign, meanwhile, is an attempt to cast a new light on an often-maligned record that he believes is better than most voters think.
"People know that he cares," said Terry Coventry, creative director of the Abramson Associates, Inc., a Washington company. "He was working in the neighborhoods for no money before Washington had a mayor . . . But when we asked people for a specific reason why they liked him, what he has done, he gets a lower rating. They don't know what he's done. Our ads are an educationing process."
This week Barry will begin airing three television ads on drugs, housing and job development.
The ads praise his record in combating drug traffic, improving housing and attracting jobs to the city, but Barry does not appear in person or speak.
"He's well known," said Barry's campaign manager, Ivanhoe Donaldson. "We don't need him in the ads."
Although Barry has said crime is the No. 1 issue in the campaign, he does not have an ad speaking to the rising crime rate. And while he regularly boasts of his success in gaining control of the city's budget problems, he does not have an ad on that issue either.
"Financial matters are a question in Northwest, not Southeast," said Coventry, who prepared the Barry ads. "We want to appeal to the whole city."
Barry's advisers point to ads about his fight against drug pushers as his message on crime.
The ad on the drug issue, like all of Barry's television spots, begins with a shot of one of his campaign posters. As the camera moves in it focuses on the gleam in Barry's left eye. An announcer says: "Mayor Barry. He saw what drugs were doing to people. And had the vision to do something about it."
The scene changes to 10th and S streets NW. Ciella Jefferson, a black woman, is standing in front of her home. A white woman can be seen behind her. "Drug dealers used to sell right here," says Jefferson. "In broad daylight. Upsetting the neighborhood. But that was before Mayor Barry. He got tough on the pushers. Got them off our streets."
The Barry poster reappears on the TV screen as the announcer says: "The fact is Mayor Barry has doubled the drug arrests in D.C. When you cut through the promises, one record speaks for itself. Mayor Barry. He's more than just talk."
While Barry's claim to have doubled drug arrests from 2,986 in 1978 to 5,813 in 1981 goes unchallenged in the televison ads, it has been a target of comebacks from his challengers at forums. John Ray, the at-large Democratic council member, tells audiences that fewer than 85 of the people arrested in 1981 went to jail, with the others returning to the streets within hours because Barry's drug sweep "is more for appearances than results."
Ray ran a series of radio commercials in March and says there is "a possibility" he may advertise on television if his campaign can raise the needed money. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), has said that at this point she plans no radio or television ads.
Barry's TV ads are 30 seconds long, with the exception of one 10-second spot that features only an announcer listing Barry's accomplishments. Harris' TV commercials are 60 seconds long. Her campaign has yet to produce radio advertisements.
Harris, who has been pointedly questioned about her sharp criticism of Barry's record at some forums, has no criticism of him in her ads.
In addition to the biographical ad, Harris' campaign is scheduled to show another ad focusing on Harris as a person. That ad is cut from televison news tape of her now-famous testimony before Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.) when she was being confirmed by the Senate as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Proxmire asked Harris, an attorney, if she could properly represent the poor and Harris told him she was "a black woman, the daughter of a dining car porter . . . " and that she could not buy a house in certain parts Washington until recently. When Proxmire asked if she was saying she should be confirmed because she was black, Harris, in a scene full of passion, answered: "Senator, to say I am not of, by and for the people is to show a lack of understanding of who I am and where I came from."
Pollster Peter Hart, who is working for Harris' campaign, described the biographical ads as "low key." He said the advertising on issues which will follow the early ads will become more pointed, but he said final decisions have not yet been made as to just what issues those ads will address.
"Most symphonies start in a pastoral mood and build toward a crescendo," he said. "You can expect the Harris symphony to build to crescendo."
Harris had her first week of television ads presented before and after news telecasts and feature news programs, such as Phil Donahue, Good Morning America and PM Magazine. Carol Marchesano, president of Marchesano Goldberg, an advertising firm, described that pattern of television time as "a complete buy for the better-educated voter."
The television buying schedule for Barry's advertisements is not yet available. His radio ads so far appear aimed at a market of older, mostly black voters, Marchesano said.
In the last week, for example, Barry purchased ads in this way: 47 on WOL (black adult contemporary music); 38 on WHUR (progressive black music); 35 on WYCB (gospel inspiration/information); 30 on WTOP (all-news and Orioles games); 28 on WRC (news/talk); 27 on WOOK (album soul); 17 on WMAL (pop music and talk); 15 on WGMS (classical music); 12 on WGAY (beautiful music) and 8 on WKYS (urban contemporary).
His 60-second radio ads, like the television spots, center on his record. He has seven different radio ads, dealing with the issues of eviction, unemployment, women, the arts, jobs, drugs and the elderly.
Those ads feature Barry's voice as well as people who say he has helped them, and they have an added edge apparently meant to cut at Harris, who has held federal posts but never a major local appointment or elected position. At the end of Barry's radio ads the announcer says: "Mayor Barry. His entire public career has been focused in one direction. This city. Your city . . . "
"That's not anti-Harris," said Paul Lutzker, a political consultant who works for the Abramson firm, "that's pro-Barry."