Not ever to dance again

Is the ad implying that one of her legs got infected from a dirty bandage and had to be amputated? Or perhaps a foot? Because that's the only reason I can think of why she'll never dance again.

Pittsburgh Press - Nov 8, 1936

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 13, 2017
     Category: Advertising | 1930s

You may not too far off the mark, Alex. Keeping a wound clean and well protected with a sterile covering is essential to staving off bacterial infection. Antibiotics did not exist at the time - Fleming had not yet convinced others in general to pursue his observations about the penicillium fungus and its bacterial killing properties. So, yes, what we would consider today as a minor infection in a minor wound could become a threatening medical crisis in those days, leading to amputation or even death.
Posted by KDP in Madill, OK on 12/13/17 at 08:01 AM
Prontosil, a sulfa drug, was introduced in 1935 as the first antibiotic to treat infections other than syphilis. I don't know how widely available it was in 1936, but it was the beginning of the end of massive fear of minor infections.

My first guess (keeping in mind it's only a guess) is the ad's implication is damage to the foot which makes dancing painful/awkward rather than actual amputation. In 1975, 1/4" was cut off the tip of my finger in an accident. It healed over nicely but I had to change the way I do a lot of little things (like typing) because if I touch something in just the right(wrong) way, it's like shooting a needle under my fingernail. It can even do that when I'm wearing work gloves. I imagine if the doctor removed part of the heel or the ball of the foot to keep an infection from spreading, it might leave a spot like that. Learning to walk normally might be possible, but dancing would definitely be out of the question.

Googling 'amputee dancer' yields half a million results. Granted prosthetic technology has advanced an incredible amount, but there were some good artificial feet and legs back then. While looking up women disguising themselves as men so they could fight in the U.S. Civil War, I ran across an account of a woman who had kept it a secret for more than a decade that she had an artificial leg (discovered when they were preparing her for burial).

I don't have the Google-fu for it, but I'm sure some master of the art could find if there was some well-known dancer of the time who was sidelined by an infection, and the ad was playing off that.
Posted by Phideaux in in his own little world on 12/13/17 at 01:34 PM
Commenting is no longer available for this post.