[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?
[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.
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 >>
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
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
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.
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.
Minister Chuck points me toward the Divorce Deli
. It remains a question as to whether pickles are extra.
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.
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.
This anti-cootie sack
for the paranoid traveler seems utterly useless. Wouldn't the bedbugs crawl inside within seconds of contact?'
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.
[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....