Category:
Business

Follies of the Mad Men #10

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[From Good Housekeeping for December 1958]

Here's part of the reason why we're a nation of fatties today. "Lose weight the hard way? No thanks! I'll just compress my flab and strap it in with manmade materials!"

And why is it that the only women ever shown in girdle ads are already so trim and underweight that they aren't the real customers?

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 11, 2008 - Comments (10)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Fashion, Food, Torture, Fetishes, 1950s, Women

Follies of the Mad Men #9

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[This image is from The Saturday Evening Post for May 5, 1945. As you can tell from the slightly mismatched borders, it's two separate scans, upper and lower, with the division just above the punchline caption. Excuse my impoverished Photoshop skills.]

Once upon a time, hillbillies were a powerful iconic staple of American life. But alas, no longer. Perhaps The Beverly Hillbillies was their dying gasp. Since then, PC guidelines no longer allow for such stereotypes, as the Abercrombie & Fitch folks found out a few years back, when they tried to market this T-shirt. And so our national mythology is a little drabber and duller.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 09, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Business, Advertising, Political Correctness, Regionalism, Television, 1940s

Follies of the Mad Men #8

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This image comes from the cover of The Saturday Evening Post for March 15, 1965, and is attributed to the artist N. M. Bodecker. It touts the article "Madison Avenue: The Big Invisible Sell."

How many of these famous icons can you identify? My answer-key after the jump!




More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 07, 2008 - Comments (10)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Magazines, 1960s

Magic Cheese Chips

They admit it's "decidedly unusual," but I think it would sure beat stuffing envelopes. "Simply drop into hot grease and they're ready to eat -- big, tasty, crispy, delicious!" Question: What makes them magic?

From the July, 1934 issue of Modern Mechanix. (via J-Walk)

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Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 05, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Business, Advertising, Food, 1930s

Pelmanism

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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.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 04, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Eccentrics, Fads, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Games, History, Historical Figure, New Age, Self-help Schemes

Get Your Geek On

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Yes, the San Diego Comic Con--or "Nerd Prom" as it is sometimes called--might be over for another year. But it's never too late to fill your life with tchotchkes that uphold your geek credentials. And it's especially easy when you have a resource like The Budk Catalog. Imagine the envy of your nerdly pals--and the instant appearance of a SWAT team--when you parade through your hometown while wearing these Wolverine claws. Hospital coverage due to police sniper fire not included.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 01, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Business, Products, Conventions, Geeks, Nerds and Pointdexters, Hospitals, Literature, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Pop Culture, Comics

Divorce Deli

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Minister Chuck points me toward the Divorce Deli. It remains a question as to whether pickles are extra.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 31, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Domestic, Divorce, Food

Follies of the Mad Men #7

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[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.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 31, 2008 - Comments (8)
Category: Business, Advertising, Insurance, Death, Family, Hygiene, Medicine, Couples

Annoying Gadgets

We all love gadgets. Except for the truly useless and frustrating devices. Those we hate and ridicule. The Japanese actually have a term and category for such items: Chindōgu.

Recently, while browsing through the catalog for WHATEVER WORKS, I found two examples of Chindōgu.


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This anti-cootie sack for the paranoid traveler seems utterly useless. Wouldn't the bedbugs crawl inside within seconds of contact?'













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This spinning fork is guaranteed to suck all the pleasure out of an eternal childhood pastime: making S'mores. When the batteries die and the plastic handle melts, all the fun comes to a tearful end.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 30, 2008 - Comments (5)
Category: Business, Products, Domestic, Food, Inventions, Travel, Hotels

Follies of the Mad Men #6

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[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....

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 29, 2008 - Comments (13)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Domestic, Fashion, Food, Futurism, Literature, Science Fiction, Travel, Space Travel

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Alex Boese
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.

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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.

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