By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun
A while back, I got an interesting e-mail from a good friend, Crazy Dave in Denver (CDinD for short), with a whole slew of ads from a bygone era. They appear to be authentic, in fact, I seem to remember some of them. They come from catalogs, newspapers, and magazines make outrageous claims, and are aimed at a less politically-correct, more gullible, and certainly a far less health conscious consumer population.
As I attempt to give the word pictures for these ads, please try to picture the illustrations some in black-and-white, some in sepia coloring, and some in full color. Some of the ads have well defined borders, some are wrinkled, and some are dog-eared and torn. Here we go!
The most outrageous is an ad by Colt Manufacturing Company which says, “Isn’t it time you gave yourself a Christmas gift?” It offers up catalog listings for all manner of revolvers and automatic pistols. Apparently, the only background check back then was whether or not your check bounced.
The next most outrageous ad shows Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher looking kids along a fence putting up a Lincoln Log cabin. The ad reads like this: “COCAINE Toothache Drops...Instantaneous Cure! Price 15 Cents. Prepared by the Lloyd Manufacturing Co. For sale by Druggists.” Nothing more needs to be said here.
Next, we have a couple of cigarette commercials. An advert for Tipalet shows a well-dressed young man blowing smoke directly into the face of a beautiful young woman in a low-necked top. The caption reads, “Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere.” Believe me, from the rapt look on the beauty’s face, she is ready to follow.
I can remember the next one which shows a very serious Marcus Welby, M.D. looking doctor at his desk and, instead of a prescription pen in his hand, he is holding a Camel cigarette. The caption reads, “More Doctors Smoke CAMELS than any other cigarette!...The Doctors’ Choice Is America’s Choice!...For 30 days test Camels in the “T-Zone” (“T” for Throat, “T” for Taste).” Today, that same doctor couldn’t even come to work since virtually all hospital campuses are smoke-free from the parking lots on in.
Several ads were really chauvinistic and would surely offend The Little Women of today. Picture this one for Kellogg’s PEP cereal. We see a picture of June Cleaver in a print dress and apron, and holding a duster. She is beaming up at Ward who has his arm wrapped around her and the dialogue balloon reads like this: “So the harder a wife works, the cuter she looks!” Then there is a drawing of Ward and June where he says, “Gosh, Honey, you seem to thrive on cooking, cleaning, and dusting — and I’m all tuckered out by closing time. What’s the Answer?” And she says, “Vitamins, Darling! I always get my vitamins.” It closes with a real grabber: “Vitamins for pep! PEP for vitamins!”
Dormeyer has a raggedy one that shows 10 different kitchen appliances and says: “WIVES. Look this ad over carefully. Circle the items you want for Christmas. Show it to your husband. If he does not go to the store immediately, cry a little. Not a lot. Just a little. He’ll go, he’ll go...HUSBANDS: Look this ad over carefully. Pick out what your wife wants. Go buy it. Before she starts to cry.” Kinda tugs at the old heartstrings, don’t it?
Here’s Ward and June again standing behind a blender/mixer. “I’m giving my wife a Kenwood Chef...The Chef does everything but cook — that’s what wives are for!” I find this one offensive to me. In our household, I am the chef, I do all the cooking, and the cleanup is what The Little Woman (she hates that name) is for!
A Blatz Beer ad has a drawing of a young mother clasping her young child to her bosom and reads as follows: “How Mother and Baby “Picked Up”...A case of Blatz Beer in your home means much to the young mother, and obviously baby participates in its benefits. The malt in the beer supplies nourishing qualities that are essential at this time and the hops act as an appetizing, stimulating tonic.” Yeah right! Why don’t they just put out a line of baby food products like Strained Barley, Malt, and Hops?
Schlitz Beer has a cool ad which touts a real innovation: “Some day all beer cans will open this easy! Now only Schlitz brings you — coast to coast — the world’s easiest opening beer can! The new aluminum Softop can! Real Gusto — Real Easy!” I’ll bet there are some folks out there who have never used a “church key” and think the “pull-tab” and “twist-off” bottle top have been here forever.
I’ve got a few more but I’m about out of space. It’s too bad that you will never learn “...How television benefits your children...can mean better behavior at home and better marks at school!” or that the Lard Information Council shows Ward, June, and Beaver frolicking on the beach under the caption, “They’re happy because they eat Lard!” or the ickiest of them all which touts “Sanitized Tape Worms...jar packed...easy to swallow...Eat! Eat! Eat! & always stay thin...FAT...Banished.” All of these alleged “truths” appear to be stranger than “fiction.”
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org