Thursday, April 30, 2009

vintage life ads of the day

Vintage Ad #805: Lemonade Stand Kit

To end a month of daily vintage ads, two selections from a mid-1950s issue of Life. The first shows how a generation was reared to be corporate shills—we're not sure if there a secret Minute Maid surveillance vehicle sent around the country to check up on happy lemonade sellers who purchased this kit to verify that they were selling Minute Maid and only Minute Maid. Those who substituted another brand were subjected to a lecture on how they betrayed the trust of the company who provided these wonderful decorations and costumes and how it wasn't honest to display Minute Maid's name when selling, say, Jane Parker lemonade.

Closeup of Lemonade Sellers

Also note the attitudes of the era in full effect, as Sister is merely the assistant, seen serving (but not drinking) the pink lemonade. Awww.

Vintage Ad #806: Surprise! Soup Shakes!

At least the product from the lemonade stand looks refreshing. Now I have nothing against serving certain types of soup cold—a bowl of fresh gazpacho is refreshing in the summer, while dessert soups like Hungarian sour cherry add a nice finish to a meal. Cold Campbell's tomato soup with milk and cinnamon sounds less appetizing, though this may be my bias against plain tomato soup showing. Cold condensed cream of mushroom in a glass...okay, who let the Campbell Kid play with the bar shaker (or are their eyes bulging at what the test kitchen is forcing them to pitch)?

Source: Life, June 18, 1956 - JB

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

vintage blue jays scorebook magazine ad of the day

Vintage Ad #801: Lonesome Charlie Wants to be Your Friend
When you need a friend, Lonesome Charlie is there. Nothing suits a romantic ballad in a grassy field or a sunset stroll than a cheap fruit-flavoured wine beverage. All that's missing is easier-than-easy listening music.

Source: 1978 Blue Jays Scorebook Magazine 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

vintage for men only ad of the day

Vintage Ad #804: Electric Spot Reducer
But wait, there's more! For a limited time, we'll toss in a set of sanding discs that allow you to use the Spot Reducer for simple household tasks like finishing furniture!

Considering that this magazine is titled For Men Only, I'm guessing this product was meant to be purchased as a gift for the little lady, or else it wasn't considered macho enough to show a man using this product apart from its untapped potential as a workshop tool.

For Men Only was one of Martin Goodman's stable of men's adventure magazines that flourished from the early 1950s through mid-1970s. Though the contents page indicates this issue was put out by Canam Publishers (one of about six million publishing house names Goodman operated under), this issue bears the Atlas distribution logo that also marked Goodman's comic book line, which evolved into Marvel Comics. Stories tend toward the first person and are distinguished by sensationalistic titles and gory subheads. These magazine filled their audience's cravings for blood, guts, military adventure, exotic animals, illicit activities, true crime, medical oddities and the occasional slice of cheesecake.

Among the articles in this issue, besides those mentioned on the cover:
  • "The Day it Rained Blood"—a tale about construction workers falling to their death while building an unidentified Canadian bridge in 1949. Subhead: "They were squashed off the bridge the way you would wipe a spider off the sidewalk with your shoe. Then globs of human flesh spattered the ground."

  • "Blast Out His Belly"—a story about a battle with guerillas in Egypt in 1951. Subhead: "I lunged for Davis's body as a hot slug slashed across my wrist. I had to get him out of their line of fire, but my hands kept slipping off his bloody arms."

  • "I Bucked The Winds of Hell"—an account of surviving treacherous conditions near Thule Air Base in Greenland. Subhead: "I tried bending backward and digging my heels into the ice. Then my legs slid out from under me and I slammed into a wind-blown drift—backside first."

  • "His Head Began to Bloat"—disaster strikes a sponge-fishing crew in the Gulf of Mexico. Subhead: "Tons of water closed in on him, forcing flesh and blood into the only open part of his suit—his diving helmet."

Source: For Men Only, January 1955 

Monday, April 27, 2009

vintage saturday night ad of the day

Vintage Ad #803: Should You Offer a Kamloops Kicker to Your Victorian Aunt?

Isn't it time an enterprising, would-be hipster bar resurrected frozen tears of joy as a drink element?

In the end, this "Victorian aunt" enjoyed her Kamloops Kicker, but wasn't moved enough to leave the drink maker anything more than her colourful dress.

Source: Saturday Night, November 1965 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

vintage globe ad of the day

Vintage Ad #739: Je-e-e-rry Gets Excited Over A Bowl O' Oats
Never mind Je-e-e-rry's prowess on the court...the critical question raised by this ad is whether a hearty bowl of Quaker Oats tastes better when served in English China. Je-e-e-rry doesn't care, though he is starting to wonder if his constant yelling of "oh boy!" while downing a bowl is a side effect of the "ultra violet rays" his breakfast was exposed to.

Source: The Globe, March 1, 1934 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

vintage detroit tigers scorebook ad of the day

Vintage Ad #780: Baseball Fans Guide to Ball Park Franks

This ad appeared in Tiger scorebooks for several years, providing fans with all they needed to watch out for when downing hot dogs. Ball Park Franks were developed for the Tigers by a local meat packer in the late 1950s and continue to be sold at games, even if they no longer promise to plump when you cook them—there's no trace of a slogan I often heard during childhood on Ball Park's website. Could the expansive quality of hot dogs no longer be an attractive quality?

The 1976 edition of the Tigers climbed out of the American League East basement after two consecutive last place finishes, though they still stunk (74 wins, 87 losses). The bright spot was rookie pitcher Mark Fidrych, who passed away two weeks ago. Gaining national attention for talking to the ball and other antics, Fidrych's 19-9 record earned him Rookie of the Year honours.

Source: 1976 Detroit Tigers Scorebook - JB

CORRECTION: I goofed. The slogan is in the title bar of the website.

Friday, April 24, 2009

vintage national lampoon ad of the day

Vintage Ad #635: How to Pick Up Girls!

The source of today's pick might lead you to think this was a satirical piece...but it isn't, though it may seem like one thanks to the march of time. Author Eric Weber spun off his techniques for picking up hot chicks into an album (which WFMU posted as part of the 2007 edition of the 365 Days project) and a made-for-TV movie with Desi Arnaz Jr. as a pickup artist, Richard Dawson as a fashion photographer, and everyone's favourite "is he dead yet?" celebrity, Abe Vigoda.

Were, as this ad promises, the tips provided in this book a better investment than a nice shirt? Depends on the shirt. I suspect none of the lines offered have the awe-inspiring power of one a friend came up with in university: "hey baby, want to break in a geek?"

Source: National Lampoon, September 1973

Thursday, April 23, 2009

vintage time ads of the day

Vintage Ad #238: Grunt...Marketing Man.

Vintage Ad #239: Dolly Flapper...Marketing Man

Vintage Ad #240: Air Monkeys...Marketing Men

Under all of the oddball nicknames for these jobs lie marketing men...or so CN would have had you believe in this series of late 1960s advertisements.

Sorry, I can't top those names. The only thing I can come up with at the moment is that the car toad looks more like a sour puss.

Sources: Time, September 20, 1968, November 1, 1968 and November 8, 1968 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

vintage playboy ad of the day

Vintage Ad #800: The Glorious Belfast Bash, Jack Davis Style

The unmistakable art of Jack Davis highlights today's ad pick. Contrast the depiction of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem with the off-kilter characters around them that walked out of Davis casting central. Seeing Davis's work is often comforting, thanks to the toxic amount of Mad books and magazines I read in my teens, along with all of the covers, movie posters and advertisements he has worked on through the years.

A sidebar depicted other Columbia releases of the time, including albums from Johnny Cash (Orange Blossom Special) and Thelonious Monk (Monk).

Here's a clip of the group performing on The Ed Sullivan Show around the time this ad would have appeared on newsstands in 1965.

Also in this issue:

  • The first excerpt of Ian Fleming's The Man With the Golden Gun. Fleming had promised Playboy the pre-publication serialization rights shortly before his death in August 1964, having been satisfied with the magazine's previous handling of You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The accompanying painted illustrations are clearly based on Sean Connery, though Roger Moore would be 007 by the time the story reached the screen. The serialization wrapped up in the July issue.

  • The Playboy Interview with satirist Art Buchwald.

  • A feature on racy discotheques in San Francisco, including obligatory shots of bra-less go-go dancers.

  • A nostalgic look at childhood purchases of penny candy by Jean Shepherd (A Christmas Story). While reading this piece, it was easy to conjure Shepherd's voice telling tales of late-night toothaches. wax dentures, cranky store owners, and detailed descriptions of jawbreakers.

  • The opening installment of a series on the history of sex in the cinema by film critics Arthur Knight and Hollis Alpert. Presented for historical curiosity is The Kiss, which caused a ruckus when it hit vitascopes in 1896 (relax, it's safe for work).

  • Contributions from Arthur C. Clarke, J. Paul Getty, Shel Silverstein and P.G. Wodehouse

Source: Playboy, April 1965 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

vintage chatelaine ad of the day

Vintage Ad #740: Halos for Husbands
Today's pick features a fine array of products for the postwar home. Hubby may not have had a golden ring around his head over half a century later if he had invested in stock of the company Northern Electric evolved into, Nortel Networks.

Northern Electric was the spin-off manufacturing arm of Bell Canada, whose roots dated back to the mid-1890s. When this ad appeared, ownership was split between Bell and what was effectively NE's American equivalent, Western Electric. According to the company's official history, over 136,000 small Baby Champ radios were sold by Northern Electric in 1946. There's no mention of appliance innovations from that year, but the company appears to have introduced a Hammond organ with vibrato.

Source: Chatelaine, November 1946 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

a theatrical princess: bonus features

Before reading this post, check out this week's Historicist piece on the Princess Theatre.

Vintage Ad #797: Have a Heart at the Princess Theatre

From the week the Princess reopened in October 1917, an early musical from Jerome Kern (Show Boat) and P.G. Wodehouse (the "Jeeves and Wooster" novels) while both were involved in creating small-scale shows for the Princess Theatre in New York. Eighty-seven years passed before Have a Heart saw its next New York production. After that came a return to the Princess by Henry Miller (the actor, not the controversial author), who had starred in the production that ran when fire destroyed the original building in 1915, Daddy Long-Legs.

Vintage Ad #798: Mysteries and Pantomimes

A random ad pulled from 1929, just over a year before the Princess closed for good, featuring two productions from England. The Jade God ran just under 100 performances on Broadway that year, while this version of Humpty Dumpty premiered a year earlier in the UK.

Sources: The Toronto Daily Star, October 6, 1917 and August 31, 1929 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

don't put the wrong grease in this guy's car

Vintage Ad #791: Why It Pays Not to Put the Wrong Grease in a Car

Question: has the hapless mechanic fallen back far enough to avoid receiving an injection of grease in his leg?

Source: The Motor, March 1936 

Friday, April 17, 2009

vintage good housekeeping ad of the day: no more me-too meat loaf!

Vintage Ad #795: Me-too Meat and Other Experiments from Campbell's

A trio of delights from the Campbell's Soup test kitchen. The "frosting" on the meat loaf looks like lard as much as the fluffy potatoes that are supposed to be in it. The mini loaf appears to be a seasoned burger placed on top of spaghetti but not, alas, all covered in cheese. The latter is reserved for the aptly named "crowning glory" of this ad—a dish that resembles a meat-based bundt cake with cheddary frosting.

Source: Good Housekeeping, August 1969 - JB

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

picture communication symbols on playground equipment department

Picture Communication Symbols
A few symbols from the new inclusive playground at Toddy Jones Park in Amherstburg. Several family members took a good look around while on a stroll around town on Good Friday, when we tested the heavy-duty swings and play sets designed for children with special needs. I couldn't stop bouncing on the cork-like surface under the equipment. The bottom panels don't lie, even if you're a few decades older than the intended audience.

Photo taken April 10, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

scenes from a future toronto high school computer lab

News this morning that Future Shop will donate $50,000 to the Toronto District School Board to upgrade the computer labs in two high schools. The catches? The schools must be within seven kilometres of a Future Shop store and the labs will be painted using the chain's grey/red colour scheme. While it appears the electronics chain's conditions extend to decor and potential naming rights for the lab, one wonders how far they could go...

Morning class. Hope you're all ready to dive into the exciting world of building web sites today in the Future Leaders Tech Lab (TM). Before I can begin, there are a few matters to take care of, which are sponsored by Future Shop...get it first! Here to provide some vital information is ****** from the local Future Shop.

(enter a Future Shop employee)

Good morning class! My name is ****** and I'm here to answer any questions you may have about products at Future Shop. I can let you know that we have HP computers like the ones you are using today on sale this week for only $500, after the $175 mail-in rebate. If you are interested in buying one, come see me during class and we can discuss protection plans and payment options. We can also provide...

STUDENT 1 (yells):
Sir, this is so gay!

Be quiet! Pay attention!

As I was saying, we can also provide you with the Microso...

Sir! Sir! I'm bored! Can I hang out in the hallway?

Yeah, I'm bored too! Can I do my homework?

TEACHER (sighs):
Not until ****** has finished...don't forget that they are paying for this classroom.

You know, if you need help with your homework, we can add in, for only $19 extra, a suite of...

STUDENT 4 (rises):
Corporate infiltration of the classroom corrupts the educational system! We are not...

STUDENT 1 (interrupts):
Dude, speak English!

They're saying "this sucks."

The teacher said "sucks!"

TEACHER (sighs, then murmurs)
It was easier when I showed videotapes...

Maybe you should just start the class.

Sure. OK class, click on the Internet Explorer logo, which is...

ENTIRE CLASS (in unison):
...sponsored by Future Shop.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

good things to know about the sandwich

Vintage Ad #786: The Sandwich

Today, a few tips on sandwich making from Canada Packers that may come in handy when you need to figure out how to use any leftover roast beast from Easter or feel like throwing something meat-like other than ham or turkey between slices of bread (apologies to the vegetarians in the audience).

The Bologna "Aloha" doesn't come as a shock, as this was the heyday of adding pineapple to anything. Even the Golden Arches succumbed to pineapple sandwich mania in the early 1960s with the short-lived Hula Burger (pineapple and process cheese on a bun).

Source: Chatelaine, July 1970 - JB

Friday, April 10, 2009

the esso bicycle

Vintage Ad #784: The Esso Bicycle

Now here's an intriguing idea. Drop your car off at the garage, get free use of a bicycle until the car is ready. Under the circumstances I usually take my car in for work (drop off at lunch hour, pick up after work), a bike ride back and forth would beat cranky passengers and sardine can conditions on the bus. Theft would probably be the downfall of any such program.

Source: The Sunday Times Magazine, May 24, 1970 - JB

Thursday, April 09, 2009

skeptical cow department

Vintage Ad #771: But Is It the RIGHT Truck to Transport a Cow In?

Based on today's ad and one posted last week, I'm coming to the conclusion that 1945 was a golden year for humourous usage of cows in automotive part manufacturer ads. Nothing like a bug-eyed bovine to convince buyers to try out new axles!

United States News published its first issue in 1933. Its emphasis was on hard news or, as the front cover of the issue today's ad was drawn from proclaimed, "the only magazine devoted entirely to reporting, interpreting and forecasting the news of national affairs." International news was left to its sister publication, World Report. The two magazines merged in 1948 and continue to this day as U.S. News and World Report. More on the contents in a future post.

Source: United States News, September 14, 1945 - JB

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

the lesson of the oxford road

Vintage Ad #255: The Lesson of the Oxford Road Is...

Will the old-time highwayman be able to make a heist or two on modern travellers driving to London or Oxford? A lovely illustration for a classic British automaker.

Source: Punch, April 25, 1928 - JB

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

what sort of man reads playboy (or mad?)

Vintage Ad #782: What Sort of Man Reads Playboy? (2)

The answer: a man who makes a wonderful survey statistic. Never mind if he likes jazz, in-depth interviews, cartoons or boobs. The success of Playboy in the late 1950s and through the 1960s made a parody almost inevitable...

Vintage Ad #783: What Sort of Man Reads Mad? with this take from the "usual gang of idiots," who take deadly aim at the social status some followers of the "Playboy Philosophy" hoped to achieve.

The fun continued inside, with an issue of Playkid (a junior version to prepare youngsters for the adult world). This parody included a spread on hip fashions for sophisticated fourth graders (space helmets from Woolworth's and worn-out Keds) and the Playmate of the Month, the Coppertone Girl.

Sources: Mad #61, March 1961 and Playboy, August 1967 - JB

Monday, April 06, 2009

enjoy red pelican at the ball park...and at home

Vintage Ad #781: Enjoy Red Pelican at the Ball Park
It's opening day for the Tigers and Blue Jays, who will battle it out at the Skydo...Rogers Centre tonight. Cue a baseball-themed ad as today's pick.

It's safe to say that there were baseball nuts on both sides of my family. Aunt Gladys was a decent player in her youth and followed the Tigers closely for years. Dad could rattle off the names of anyone who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs AAA team in the 1950s. During my childhood, he attended two Tiger games a year—one with his fellow teachers and one with me. Our usual pattern was to take a special tunnel bus from Windsor to Tiger Stadium, grab a handful of programs and yearbooks, pray our seats weren't one of the infamous obstructed views (which other family members were the lucky winners of one year) and wolf down as much junk food as possible. This always included a thick, steaming hot dog that the grizzled sellers would slather a thick layer of mustard with a wooden stick that looked like a tongue depressor. I always made sure to have a chocolate malt cup, which was ice milk served with another tongue depressor, which made we wonder if a doctor was in charge of the stadium concessions. None of the games we saw were of great historical importance, not even the last major league victory for Glenn Abbott.

The trip back to Windsor was rarely dull. Entertainment ranged from congregations of Hare Krishnas wandering by the bus stop at the southeast corner of Michigan and Trumbull to drunk fans on the bus who provided full reenactments of Bob Uecker Lite Beer commercials...

(Ah to serve up the exact ad!)

Once back across the border, we'd head over to Harvey's by the University of Windsor if either of us still had room in our stomachs. Fish fingers and fries way past my bedtime, wahoo!

As for Red Pelican Mustard, it was a home-grown product served up at the stadium. It never seemed easy to find at the major supermarkets and vanished from the market completely around 2003. The take-home version by the 1990s came in small plastic bottles with a red cap. Red Pelican was brownish-grey in colour and had a sharp, crushed mustard seed taste. Dad was a Red Pelican fan and hunted for it if the usual spots were out of it.

The last game we went to at Tiger Stadium occurred around 1990-1991. One of Dad's friends from his high school days in Leaside was in the area for a business meeting and landed some tickets. My legs were stretched out on top the Tigers' dugout. Having entered my teens, I didn't feel the urge to lean over and ask for autographs—let the little kids do that. We figured nothing would ever top those seats and ended our treks on a high note.

Source: 1976 Detroit Tigers Scorebook 

Update (Jan 16/15): Red Pelican is back! Pricier than the old days, but still tasty.    

Sunday, April 05, 2009

the great mustard detective

Vintage Ad #720: Hot Clues to the Great Mustard Mystery!

The mystery to a modern diner is "browned corned beef hash slices." Hash has always been presented to me as a loosely-composed dish, never formed and sliced...unless the Heinz test kitchen is referring to the canned form, which could easily be cut into circular pieces and plopped on a bun.

I've also never seen a jar of prepared yellow mustard used as an official substitute for butter beyond the odd sandwich. I will listen to any stories that convince me that this was ever the case.

Source: National Home Monthly, March 1947

Friday, April 03, 2009

kitschy beach towel department

Vintage Ad #446: Indian and Lifeguard Beach Towels
Which provides more kitsch value for lying on the beach: the "heap big Indian" from a cigar store or an old-timey life guard house with "gay red tassels" on its roof? Are these towels thirsty for water, adventure or friskiness?

B. Altman and Company was a New York-based department store that operated from 1865 to 1990. One of the chain's final locations was planned for the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga but cross-border shoppers never had a chance to check in out (though the fixtures were in place before the company pulled the plug). Its intended space later housed AM&A/The Bon-Ton before being demolished a few years ago for the mall's most recent expansion.

Source: The New Yorker, May 19, 1956 

Thursday, April 02, 2009

scary cows department

Vintage Ad #352: Night of the Mooing Cow

At last...the often unacknowledged correlation between child-eating cows and faulty automotive/farm machinery parts! While the gag writer thought it might be cute to have Bessie scare this pair of kiddie campers, perhaps the cow was seeking revenge for the family member who became the pair of shoes on the ground.

This proves yet again that anything could be used to pitch war bonds in times of crisis.

Source: Country Gentleman, July 1945