Bubbling Up In The Hot '70s: Jacuzzis, The Untold Story

By Rebeka Knott
Left: Al Pacino in 'Scarface.' Right: A heart-shaped hot tub at a Cove Haven resort in the 1970s. Sources: eBay; goretro.com

Turn the lights down low and fire up the jets -- it's Jacuzzi time in the '70s. Jacuzzis and hot tubs proliferated in the decade of disco, with these relaxing and soothing bathtubs becoming the must-have feature for a truly swanky, sexy pad. Jacuzzi room decor seemed to strive for a perfect balance of comfort and indulgence, with shag rugs and wood paneling. Of course, the outdoor hot tub was a thing too -- how peaceful it was to admire the natural scenery while tiny bubbles tickled you belowdecks, and really the rest was history. Jacuzzi bathing was so much more than a bath -- it was an experience.

Jacuzzi was a brand name that came to be used to refer to all hot tubs containing air jets; meanwhile, in the age of Jacuzzis, hot tub became a verb -- one would go hot tubbing with friends. Or, if one were adventurous or lucky, complete strangers.

Did one wear a swimsuit in the Jacuzzi? Personal choice, but true Jacuzzi aficionados wouldn't be caught dead in trunks or a bikini. The social nudity of hot tubs and Jacuzzis made them excellent settings for steamy scenes in movies, if not main characters in movies -- from Hollywood Hot Tubs (1984) and Hot Dog: The Movie (1984, and yes, we know it was about skiing) to the present day and Hot Tub Time Machine (2010). Hot-tubbing James Bonds included Sean Connery (in Never Say Never Again, 1983) and Roger Moore (in A View To A Kill, 1985). John Travolta and Lily Tomlin attempted Jacuzzi lovemaking (which is harder than it sounds) in Moment By Moment (1978), as did Anthony Hopkins and Bo Derek in A Change Of Seasons (1980). Irascible millionaire Thornton Mellon (Rodney Dangerfield) practiced marine biology with several coeds in a Jacuzzi in Back To School (1986), and the final boss, of sorts, in Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (1987) was a babe in a Jacuzzi.

With all this high-profile hot-tubbing and Jacuzzifying, we're surprised they ever waned in popularity. But they did. Here's a look at the history of Jacuzzis that might just inspire you to call the plumber and install one yourself.