Old self-improvement schemes never die. Recently, I spotted this antique advertisement from 1954 that alerted me to the existence of Pelmanism, the brainchild of William Joseph Ennever.
The Pelman Institutes of England and America apparently once claimed over half a million followers. But now they're long gone. Yet that has not stopped at least two folks from trying to resurrect the copyright-abandoned mind-strengthening course and claim and market it as their own. You can see their pages here and here.
Oddly enough, the last vestige of Pelmanism most people know, without realizing its true origin, is the card game we call Concentration or Memory or Pairs.
[From Fortune for December 1936. Two image files, click separately.]
Sniffles = Death.
Not the most subtle or believable of Madison Avenue appeals. Sure, in that pre-antibiotic age, pneumonia was deadly. But I can't imagine that the proportion of cold-sufferers who contracted pneumonia--at least among the affluent audience for Fortune--was any higher then than it is today. In other words, miniscule.
[From The Saturday Evening Post for January 29, 1966.]
Of course, the very first thing you'll load aboard your interstellar ship is a new Frigidaire. What's that you say? These women are not astronauts, but rather futuristic housewives, and the Fridge remains earthbound? Then why are they wearing those bubble helmets? Future pollution? But what about the helmet that features a cutout? And the slit glasses? If only the geniuses who created this ad were still around, we could ask them to explain....
This ad from the late 80s makes you wonder what they put in those Kinder chocolates besides toys. Maybe if you eat enough of the "Kinder Surprise" the humpty-dumpty guy will start to make sense. Me Scrooble Now. Whee!
[NOTE: this is actually two image files, upper and lower, and you need to click on each one for enlargement. From The Saturday Evening Post for October 23, 1965.]
Sorry I didn't get this one up in time for Fourth of July--but then again, WU hadn't debuted then!
In any case, this ad is very confused. It seems to be appealing to the mystical vibe of the ever-iconic American War of Independence, what with the flintlock pistol and all. But then again, Sexy Car-crawling Girl is patently an attempt to attract the Pepsi Generation, those wild 'n' wacky "rebellious" kids, with their surfboards and long hair and love beads.
So who's supposed to want to buy a Polara? Mom and Pop Daughters-of-the-American-Revolution? Or little Janie Peace-Sign?
You've probably seen this girl before, though you may not remember where. Her name is Jennifer Anderson, but she's more popularly known as the Everywhere Girl.
Her rise to ubiquity started a few years ago when she agreed to do a photo shoot for a stock-photo agency. She didn't get paid much. It was a royalty-free assignment. She posed around Reed College, pretending to be a college student (even though she had never been to college herself). It was a one-day assignment. At the time, she didn't think it was a big deal.
But for some reason, the images of her taken during that shoot became some of the most popular stock photos ever. They've been used by Gateway, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Visa, the BBC, the US Navy, Microsoft, Greyhound Bus Lines, numerous textbook publishers, as well as a whole host of other businesses. Whenever advertisers want an image of an attractive young college student, they seem to turn to Everywhere Girl.
Here's a great example of Madison Avenue trying to a) make a problem that doesn't exist or is minimal into an overwhelming burden that only their product can alleviate and b) bring the vaunted "miraculous" power of scientists and scientific imagery into the marketing mix.
Did women in 1939--or ever--really ask their friends for a hygienic crotch alert?
Cruel, sadistic prison guards subjecting inmates to horrible excruciations. It's a sad practice as old as history. But seldom before today has the vile ritual reached such depths as reported in this story.
What exactly is the new nadir of torture? Here's the quote:
"Houghton also said that Botas and Viveiros forced him to watch a Burger King cartoon on his office computer and sing along to a jingle that accompanied the commercial. He said that all three officers laughed and 'were getting a kick out of it … that they could take advantage of me.'”
Oh, the humanity!
Recovering my senses, and getting over the evident confusion on the prisoner's part between "cartoon" and "commercial" (his mind is obviously shattered, after all), I had to ask, "Which Burger King commercial?" Not watching much TV, I'm unsure what's currently on the airwaves that might have registered on the radar of the abusive guards. But they were after all using a computer, presumably to visit YouTube. So I found five possible torture jingles.
Which one do you find most excruciating? Or do you have another candidate?
Books Selected and endorsed for Pure Weirdness by Your WU Team
Who We Are
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.