Thursday, February 11, 2010

vintage our army at war ad of the day (or what's your b.q.?)

Vintage Ad #1,040: What's Your B.Q.?

Are you ready to compare your degrees of tolerance towards cabbages, foreigners and pulp fiction?

Given when this would have been published (December 1965 or January 1966), I'd be curious to see how the like/dislike portion would have been filled in areas at the heart of the civil rights movement—what would a kid in New York City's response have been like compared to one from Alabama?

This quiz to test your levels of prejudice was one of a long-running series of public service announcements from the National Social Welfare Assembly that were published in various DC comics between 1949 and 1967. A scan of the Grand Comics Database shows a similarly-named PSA was first published in early 1959—given how dated the art looked on similar PSAs that ran during the mid-1960s, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the same ad with an updated like/dislike list. If that's the case, this quiz was brought to you by editor Jack Schiff (who championed fillers like this to prove comics could be a constructive influence on 1950s youth) and artist Bernard Baily (the first artist/possible co-creator of the Spectre, a hero not known for showing the utmost respect towards those he enacted vengeance on). During this PSA series' early years, it could be argued (as Bradford Wright suggests in his book Comic Book Nation) that Schiff took a risk during the height of the McCarthy era in extolling liberal values of brotherhood and tolerance to developing minds in an age when being even slightly left of centre led to catcalls or worse.

Polite Dissent has a healthy selection of these ads in its PSA section, which include a mix of timeless lessons, smug superheroes and hopelessly outdated content.

Source: Our Army at War #166, April 1966 - JB

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