Kelvinator - Hybrid Species

For a long time (I'm going to say 1950's -1960's), it was pretty fashionable to use photographs in print ads, but to "plus them up" with some airbrushing - either lightly or rather heavily. In this ad from Kelvinator we see a strange array of airbrushing, from mostly-photo-with-light-airbrushing, to completely cartoony.

The topmost picture is only lightly retouched, but if you look really closely at her face, her eyebrows are pretty seriously drawn in... like with a sharpie. The woman in the middle picture is a kind of middle ground, as if they started with a photo and then had the artist paint over her completely. Cute eyes though. At the bottom we see Wilma Flintstone a cartoon of a woman completely made up. She could have been drawn by Hanna-Barbera. When I look at her, I imagine her being voiced by June Foray.

Here's a perspective goof they missed. Look at the floor area of the bottom picture (even though there is no floor in it). The fridge's front and back feet are even with each other, as if the camera is lying on the floor. Now look at the woman's feet. The front foot is lower than the back foot, as if the camera is at waist height. The perspectives don't match. Maybe she's stepping down off a little footstool that wasn't painted in, along with the unpainted floor? This is a pretty minor fumble, but it makes me feel like a big man to point it out. There. Now I am a big man. That would explain the difference in floor height.

The tile in the top picture is very anachronistic. That tile may have been in fashion in 1961, the year this ad was published, but I associate that green-with-white-smears tile with basements and gas station bathrooms. Now that I picture this tile in my head, I also see it chipping away in spots, revealing salmon-colored tile underneath, with the chippy green crumbly bits sliding around under my feet as I wonder if I've just contracted dysintery from the sink.

Wait a second. Those aren't coffee pots in these pictures. They're hukka pipes! What goes on? Now I know the truth behind her smile. Look at her. That's a "please don't tell on me" smile. It looks like people really knew how to start the day right, back  in '61!


Scott & Turner's Rose Hip Syrup - The sugar they need.

Scott and Turner's was some kind of brand of syrup or something, to be dribbled over anything you wanted to be sweet and syrup-covered. The headline in this 1948 ad reads "Here's the vitamin C and sugar they need". Say what? Yep.

In England, during World War 2, and even for a while afterward,  most of the staples of daily life were rationed. Anything needed to keep an army on it's feet went to the army first, and to the civilians second. Each family was only allowed so much, and it was metered out by the government. Sugar was one of those precious commodities.

It sounds really weird to a modern person, for whom getting enough calories is not a problem. High calorie, low nutrient food is cheap and plentiful now, but in 1948 London, it wasn't to easy.

Actually, sugar (well, a form of it) is absolutely vital to sustain human life. Glucose is the only energy source used by the brain, and horrible things like diabetes are what can happen when a person's body doesn't deal with sugar properly. However, your body can make glucose from almost any kind of food you eat, so this ad's claim that you need to eat sugar is sort of a complete lie.

(Aside: Diabetes is the result of a berserk immune response, so don't let anyone tell you that a given bogus food supplement is helpful because it "boosts immune response". When your body's immune response is "boosted", it attacks your own body. Aside to the aside: Calling something a "food supplement" is an easy dodge of any and all government regulation. Food supplements need to show no proof of efficacy or safety to be sold in the marketplace They are self-monitored, which is to say, they run on the honor system. The FDA claims the responsibility to come down on dangerous food supplements only AFTER they come to market and are being sold to people. Clap, clap. "Supplements" enjoy a special set of very slack regulations. Food and actual medicines are much more tightly controlled.)

In the picture, happy boys are shown playing a merry game of "crotch hop" or "groin vault", as if sugar is to thank for their exuberance. Well, the whole thing about a "sugar rush" is a myth. The more likely explanation for kids' freaky behavior at holidays and birthday parties is that, on these occasions, kids are overstimulated by having a bunch of friends around and opening presents. The intake of sugar at these wingdings is coincidental. There is no scientific evidence that sugar in any amount will make a kid behave like a ferret full of espresso. But, people never let evidence get in their way of believing whatever they want to believe. It is somehow reassuring to know that advertisers have been lying to us as long as there have been advertisers, don't you think?

In all likelihood, the boys in the ad are just happy to have the war over with, and excited to be wearing such tiny pants.


Wheel Squeal - Being a fake asshat is still being an asshat.

Dateline Hot Rod magazine, 1972. The world gasps before the unprecedented coolness of a product so earth shattering it promised to change the world of being an asshat forever! Wheel squeal: the electronic burnout simulator!

"But bro," you're surely mumbling, "are you telling me I don't have to crater my clutch to get that super bitchin' burnout sound?" No sir, my good jackass! With Wheel Squeal, you can get that highly radical burnout sound electronically. Just send $6.95 in 1972 to the address shown in the ad.

For your $6.95, you got a tape and some instructions. The instructions almost surely showed you how to mount speakers in your trunk and not much more. That's $35.39 in current money, and for a cassette and some directions, it's also a ripoff in any era's currency. The sunny side of doing business with the kind of mouth-breathing jerkoffs who buy the Wheel Squeal is that if you dangle the carrot of mythic burnout coolness before their eyes, they'll hand over as much of their burger-flipping money as you ask for.

Who was the market for the Wheel Squeal? Well, the ad attempts to appeal to the reader's judgement, arguing that popping your clutch to achieve wheel spin costs "big bucks". True enough, but the flaw in their plan is that even the marketers behind the Wheel Squeal found a way to overestimate their customers. They're hoping that buyers will be desperate to win the admiration of "the crowd" with burnouts, but will have the wisdom and forethought to be concerned about their car's well-being. Doing burnouts for social status and responsible car maintenance are mutually exclusive. Unless, however the inventors are more clever than that. It may be more likely that the Wheel Squeal target market does not maintain their cars well enough for them to be capable of doing a burnout. What with the low compression and worn out spark plugs and filthy air filters and general shittiness of the cars belonging to the people whom I'm going to go out on a limb and assume are - get ready for this - boneheaded male teenagers, wheel spin may be nothing more than a distant dream. In 1972, $6.95 could probably buy an air filter and maybe some spark plugs, but that probably wouldn't be enough to place our theoretical meathead in the rarified air of burnout heaven.

But, for $6.95, he could buy himself some street cred among his knucklewalking friends. Also, maybe taking money out of the hands of really stupid people in exchange for a stupid product is a a favor to us all.


Stratolounger - Gold and orange and stripes and paisley is the new black.

Gloria had been days in the preparation, but it was all worth it. Tonight's "new chair party" was going to be out of sight, and the whole neighborhood knew it.

She and Doug had spent his whole lung transplant bonus from the factory on the living room redecoration.

First, the carpet went in. That ugly old oak floor was covered in the most luxurious deep pile, in the latest shade of Bile Yellow. The other day, she had dropped a hot dog with mustard near the window and when she came back in with a cloth, she didn't know where to wipe!

Gloria was absolutely smitten with the wallpaper in the "King Edward's Royal Movement" pattern. After she had the walls done, she had plenty of wallpaper left over... enough to make the curtains! That was a fun afternoon!

All of this was just a backdrop for their new Stratolounger. They had spent weeks choosing just the right fabric. It had to go with everything, so it was quite a decision. In the end, they went with Circus Tent Velour stripe. It offset the paisleys and fleur-de-lis in the wallpaper perfectly.

Whoops! There was the doorbell! The guests were arriving. Mr and Mrs. Horstenvorst were the first to arrive. Mrs. Horstenvorst was wearing her new Fruitcake Satin pant suit, which was beautiful with the Stratolounger. And Gloria's own skirt was Gastric Mucosa Gold. Sometimes, everything just clicked!

Even Professor Hawking loved the Stratolounger in the kitchen. It doesn't take a genius to recognize good decorating! Be careful, professor! Once you lean back in the Stratolounger, next stop is the moon!


Hall of Heads - Part 3

This morning brings us four new entrants into the Hall of Heads. In case you missed parts one and two, Disembodied Floating Heads were very popular in days of yore, and usually they looked unwilling at best, and creepy at worst. Let's see which one is the best of the new bunch, shall we?

First, we have Louis Schirmer, a man determined to show the world how much joy and amazing profit one can get from raising orchids in your living room.

Well, for one thing, he calls himself an "orchidist" and even calls himself the "Dean of U.S. Orchid Growers". I don't know if the Greater New York Orchid Society understand the debt they owe Mr. Schirmer, but it looks like they've stood on the shoulders of a giant to get where they are now. Where are they now exactly? Well, all over New York, by the looks of it. That's why they're the Greater new York yadda yadda society. Good for them!

Yeah, fine. But what about his DFH qualifications? Well, nice glower. He doesn't look like an especially jolly flower dean. He sort of looks like he may be dead or just really really tired. Must be hard work keeping up with all those flowers in your living room. Also, he's chosen to run his picture with the neck cut out. Good job! That makes him look extra disembodied! No neck, and his picture looks dead. It's looking good for Louis Schirmer!

Next up. L.C. Lane, B.S., M.A. President, RTAA & Pierce Schools. Who? Yep. THAT L.C. Lane. Who?

Well, crafty old L.C. wants to teach you how to fix TV's. Sounds familiar. Why, Lane is trying to horn in on R. L. Sprayberry's market! A bold move! I like the in-your-face directness of Lane's approach. Kudos, Lane. Sprayberry's not going to take this lying down. Watch your back.

 What about L.C. Lane, B.S., M.A's DFH? Hmm. Bored expression. Pouchy cheeks. Mr. Whipple moustache. Hair parted with a slide rule. Well done. Ah, but he didn't clip out the neck, losing him valuable creepiness points. Lane has a great Django Reinhardt look to him, and he's assaulting Sprayberry on his home turf. I hope to see good things from Lane and his disembodied floating head in the future.

Who's next? Hm. Drunk cop. Nice skeptical expression. Apparently crime detection "exciting, profitable" and... "pleasant"??? Drunken policeman, I like your mushy face and your misunderstanding of the word "pleasant", but you're no Louis Schermer.

Anybody else? Clearly fraudulent baldness advert, you're up. Show us what you've got!

Ridiculous claims of 20 minute hair growth don't win you squat in the HoH, Baldness ad! Show us your DFH! Hmm. Clip art Happy White Male. Nice angry bald man stuffed into the background. His mouth is covered up as if he doesn't have the right to speak for being so bald. Nobody wants to hear what baldies have to say? Wow, that's pretty offensive. Well done. But you know what? Honorable mention only! Come back when you've got a photo cut out with safety scissors!

Winner: The corpse of Louis Schermer, Orchidist and Dean of U.S. Orchid Growers! DING!


AC Spark Plugs - Johnny's first plug.

Joke #1: Johnny always felt happy and a little sad, dropping his parents off at the prom. Would they have a good time with their little friends? Would they meet the couple they would eventually marry? Would some older couples try to give them liquor? He could only wait at home, watch Jack Parr, and worry. It was the role of a son.

Joke #2: Buh bye folks! I appreciate your business. Enjoy your single gigantic spark plug!

Joke #3: Johnny was at his wit's end. Mom and Dad had been fighting all afternoon. He'd had all he could take. On the ride home, he made them stand in the trunk, so he could have some peace.

Joke#5: Buh bye folks! Thanks for stopping by! Them spark plugs should last you a year or two. Now, I'm still a little drunk from lunch, and I'm not sure if I put those in right, so if you ever get out of the car, try to wear rubber shoes or you'll ground and be vaporized. Come back soon!

 Joke #6: It was a controversial new driver education program. Kids learn more quickly without all the "bossiness" of direct instruction. Just give them the keys and let nature take it's course. It's safer for the instructor, at least.

Joke #7: Okay, Johnny, last test. Do it just like in the book. Hands at three and nine. Carefully mash the brake and gas pedal at the same time with all your strength. I want to see lots of smoke, Johnny!

Joke #8: Johnny, stop smiling dear. You're not moving now, and the car's not going anywhere till that man puts the spark plug back in. Finish your cupcake, darling.

Joke #9:  Don't be nervous, Johnny. It's only your first solo drive. Now Remember, I left it in reverse, so you'll have to...NO JOHNNY! OH DEAR GOD!


Charles Contnental House - Effin classy, baby!

In 1974, if you had a couple of hours to kill at Chicago's Midway airport, you could find an Ihop, or eat at Jack-In-The-Whatever, or you could get classy by dining at the Charles Continental House, pretty much at the foot of the runway. It was located at 5400 South Cicero, near 55th street and Archer Ave.
When I am elected Supreme Ruler of the Universe, all restaurants will be hideously overdecorated by a member of the Gambino family. It doesn't matter which one. I bet even the Gambino's dog would have had a certain flair for paneling. One could say that the Charles Continental House (or CCH) had a color scheme, but one would be pretty wrong. Yes, it had a color scheme in that they hatched a scheme to use color.

"Let's see. We got your blue squishy divider thing there, and your kinda corpuscle-red carpets. Byootyful, byootyful. Good start. Howsabout some of them green water glasses there, just to make sure people don't think we only know blue and red, hah? And order us up a couple gross of them fancy statuaries there, you know, to give the place a nice schmear of class."

Accessorizing their dining room was handled with similar restraint.

"We needs us a chandelier. None of the ones in this catalog looks nice enough. Order me up a couple two three of them and we'll stick em all together into one big nice chandelier, yeah!

"Roll through the rest of this restaurant stuff catalog, and if you'se see something that's got gold on it or looks like a Greek wit no arms, you buy it!"

In the lounge, you'd be pampered with the best of the carpet that was left after the fire at the Condessa Del Mar. If you were dining in the lounge, you'd be insulated from the exuberance of the bar area by a completely soundproof patio railing. Meanwhile, your mood would be complete, with the help of the light filtering through the colored plastic wall divider thingy, enchantingly. Music was provided by the complete catalog of Sergio Mendez and Brasil 66.

So, the next time you've got a layover at Midway in 1974, please drop by the Charles Continental, won't you? The atmosphere makes the food seem undercooked, and nobody cares how you smell in an airport.


Jantzen - Abracada-bra

Sometimes I see evidence of That Which Is All But Lost From The World, and when I find it in such a humble place like this underwear ad, it's even more impressive to see and sad that it's so rare now.

This ad for Jantzen lingerie is a masterpiece. Every line was expertly arranged to work with the composition. This drawing is all about "S" curves - a clever choice considering the subject matter. You can find them everywhere, even if you zoom in to the magician's fingers. Plus, all the esses work together instead of becoming a jumbled mess, which they almost surely would have, in the hands of a less skillful artist. I can't say a bad thing about any of it. I only with they'd sprung for full color.

 It's really disappointing that there's no signature. I'd really like to figure out who did the work. Unlike Monday's Petri wine advert, this drawing gets better the longer you study it. At first glance, the Petri beaver had the look of a Disney character, but that suspicion didn't hold up too even the most casual inspection. This Jantzen ad really does have the effortless mastery of the best Disney artists.

It clearly states that the Jantzen company was based in New York at the time, so they would have had easy access to the best commercial artists to be found.I wonder if any Disney artists moonlighted for advertising firms.

Nobody cares about drawing any more. That's an exaggeration, I admit. FEW artists concentrate on drawing any more. I think because of that, there's less concentration on composition, form, and line of action. It's more about technical skills and software. Art schools can promise parents that, upon graduation, their son or daughter will know X and Y software. Schools like to be able to make promises to parents. The promise that no school has ever been able to make is that the art student will "get it" - that he or she will be a good artist. As the art field became more technical, schools were able to make more and more concrete promises about what the students would be able to do after graduation.

There's a TV commercial for an art school where they brag that "You can't draw? It doesn't matter!" and then they go on to point out the technical aspects of art that make room for the visually illiterate. Hoo-ray. Remember in the Ren & Stimpy episode "Stimpy's Cartoon", where Ren wants to help, but he has to admit that he can't draw? Ren tells him "Lots of people make cartoons that can't draw!" and then he places him in control of the whole project. "You can't add single digit numbers in your head? It doesn't matter! You can still be a banker!" Same thing. There is very little emphasis placed on fundamentals. That's why the place where I work can't find good artists.

That's why it's incredible and sad to see work of this caliber selling underwear. It makes it seem like, in 1948, there were brilliant artists to spare, and now the well is running dry.


Camels - Trust your "T" zone, idiot.

Lung cancer was linked to cigarette smoking as early as 1929. The first time cigarette advertising was restricted was in 1940 Nazi Germany. Say what? Yep. Starting in 1967, America began to restrict the advertising of cigarettes, sort of.
But in 1946, the party was still flying high! This ad for Camels uses a few kinds of misdirection and inference to make you think that cigarettes are healthy for you. The general thrust of the reasoning is that "If doctors do it, it must be good for you." That's a serious logical fallacy that most grownups can see through.There are also doctors that kill themselves. By R.J. Reynolds' reasoning, we may well believe that killing yourself is good for you.

They don't actually lie, here. They just surveyed a bunch of doctors, who smoke already, which brand they preferred. They'd rather you just assume that they asked all doctors, not just the ones who smoke. But they asked the ones who have already demonstrated their lack of judgement and capacity for denial.

Look at the busy survey crew, or, the carefully staged dramatization of the alleged research crew. Look at them tabulating and researching. "Which brand do doctors prefer? Which brand? We MUST KNOW! You call that tabulating? Tabulate harder!"

Hey, look at the size of that woman at the top. She must be twenty feet tall. She probably got so big smoking healthy, delicious Camels. Incidentally, there's no law against handing out free product to a customer base and then surveying said customer base to see which product they use most. Oh yeah, Camel found that doctors smoke Camels most, by the way.

Camel used a great piece of adver-babble: "The 'T' Zone". That stands for "taste" and "throat", as you see. They call it a laboratory for testing cigarettes."Only your taste and your throat can decide which cigarette is best for you... and how it affects your throat." Okay, we found our first actual lie in the ad! A biopsy can tell you how a cigarette affects your throat much better than your throat can.

Here are some examples of the same unassailable logic we find in this ad...

"More obese doctors eat Crisco shortening by the spoonful, washing it down with a glass of bacon, than any other brand. Only your 'L-Zone' can tell you which lard is right for you."

"More Ford salesmen die in fiery explosions in a 1974 Pinto than in any other car. Only your 'D-Zone' can tell you how refreshing your incineration feels."

"More Musicians use Heroin than any other opiate. Something about an 'H' or whatever. Just go find some heroin, okay?"

"More advertising executives cheat on their wives in The Bahamas than in any other Caribbean commonwealth. Trust your 'Scumbag-Zone' to tell you which cabana is the right one in which to hump your secretary after dropping a roofie in her drink."

"More R.J. Reynolds chemists drink the blood of orphans than any other child. Trust your 'Ghoul-Zone' to tell you which orphan's blood is the sweetest and stickiest. You might try blinding them first, so it's harder for them to run away."


Petri Wine - Drinking on the job.

This full-page ad features a pretty nice illustration by Nick Carter. His signature is in the lower left. I'd never heard of him, but that doesn't mean he's not famous. All I could find were more ads for Petri wine, all of which seemed to be pretty similar to this one, with some kind of highly rendered cartoon character.
 It's really nicely painted. Maybe it's because of the era (1949), but as soon as I saw it, I looked for the signature, because I assumed it was some kind of Disney thing and I was half expecting to see a familiar name on it. Nope. I don't know this "Carter" guy. As I looked at the illustration a little longer, it seemed that Carter was making some mistakes that no Disney artist would have made. Beautiful rendering over a slightly wonky drawing.

Petri wine was a sponsor of the Sherlock Holmes radio program, which ran from 1939 to 1947. This as is from the post-Holmes days, but it looks like Petri were still doing well, because full color full page ads in Life magazine couldn't have been cheap. The curious can download free MP3s of the show (and loads of others) from Archive.org.

 Rendering cartoon characters realistically brings up some weird problems. Most obviously, when you render up a cartoon character as if it were a real-life thing, it can look creepy. The giant, staring eyes and generally bulbous proportions of most cartoon characters would be downright unsettling if you encountered them walking down the street. You know... like the freaky Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, Garfield, or Scooby-Doo movies? Those things make my skin crawl like it's trying to get off. I've run into this problem a bunch of times when I've been asked to render up a line drawing of a character as if it were a real thing. Once you start shading, airbrushing or lighting a cartoon, you are eyeballs-deep in the uncanny valley. Make a cartoon real, and you've got a crime against nature whose every breath must be a hellish torment of broken anatomy. "kiiillll meeeeee" they seem to groan.

This beaver's pretty nice, though. Carter's done some great work rendering the fur.Fur is as pain to paint. You don't want to just paint every hair individually, but you can't just spray it with a huge airbrush or it'll look like it's molded plastic. You pretty much need to make it blotchy but soft, like you see here. Lots of  variations of your base fur color blending into each other.

I don't think Carter had any formal cartoon training (Yes, there is such a thing.), though. There are some mistakes in the structure of the beaver that none of my cartoon buddies would have left alone.
The beaver's right hand, holding his head... the fingers have that "fan of fingers" look that we see a lot in portfolio submissions. Each finger is drawn as one unjointed sausage, and they have a slight negative bend. You can do this with your own hand, but it really hurts. Why is his hand cupped so severely? Shouldln't it just follow the curvature of his head?

For hands, you can usually get a really good start just by drawing a mitten and then adding some finger divisions. From there, you can refine it, depending on the needs of the illustration, but for cartoon characters you can almost always leave it there. It may take a few attempts to get it right, but this wil generally be better than the inexplicable "finger fan" that so many people seem to like drawing.

Second, I would have brought the lip line up into the cheek, instead of leaving the strange no-man's land between the two. Cartoon characters look happier this way. I think Carter was using his own human (probably) face as reference, and that's not always best for cute cartoon characters.

If I had to guess, I'd say that Carter probably started with a photograph of a person in the beaver's pose, and sketched over it. This leaves the cartoon character looking like a person in a costume, and limits the character to the constraints of existing human proportion. This is a standard operating assumption for illustrators. However, cartoon characters are often big squishy bag shapes, with stumpy legs.

I think this beaver could benefit from shorter legs, which are of little use in this picture. His belly could be bigger too, to make him look more jolly.

I still like it, though.


Sleep Secrets VERY Revealed!

Any magazine read (nearly) exclusively by men will find an excuse to run pictures of women in as little clothing as possible. In all my years (exaggeration) of reading Mechanix Illustrated (not really), I've come to expect (hardly) more maturity (no)  and responsibility (hah) from this publication (yeah right).
 In December 1957, Mechanix Illustrated ran this groundbreaking study of "The Strange Sleeping Habits of Women". The title of the article is a bit of a giveaway. The magazine seems to understand that most of their readers have never been near a sleeping woman... or been in the room where such woman-sleep is performed.

Why is the article so focused on the sleep habits of women only? Even if the research were legitimate, why would the findings be important to Mechanix Illustrated? Because the readers of MI know that sleep is important for good health, and they're concerned with the well-being of women. That's why they yank the covers off the model right before they take the picture.

Strange Sleeping Habit #1: When you take away the blanket, they become "cold" and curl into a ball. Bizarre!

Why was this experiment conducted only on women? Why was it only conducted on HOT women? Wearing sexy nighties? With makeup on? With the lights on? The three in this picture get to use blankets. Why is that? Maybe they had ugly bodies.

Here's a sample of the incisive science reporting one can expect to find within the pages of Mechanix Illustrated: "The snoozing human guinea pigs get all kinds of electrodes and measuring devices taped to them to find out just what happens to the human organism when the snores begin to rumble." Well done gentlemen. I think I heard that exact phrase used in a NASA press conference. "What tests will the Spirit rover be able to perform with it's impaired mobility?" "Oh, all kinds of stuff." No further questions.

 Strange Sleeping Habit #2: Women often sleep in various positions while unconscious!

"Sleeping position may reveal personality, according to some phychiatrists." This is pseudoscience. The way science is supposed to work is that the theories and findings of THE MAJORITY of scientists are to be taken seriously. Those are the theories that have undergone peer review and are accepted by the scientific community. The over-simplified opinions of cranks are to be scanned, posted and ridiculed. I'm doing my part. The idea that sleeping position reveals personality is right up there with palm reading and tea leaves. However, it is a decent excuse to take pictures of babes in their nighties.

Strange Sleeping Habit #3: Not getting sleep is bad for you. Yeah, that's not a habit. It's just a fact or something. Shut up.

Female victims subjects were, uuh... subjected... to the tilty maze toy thing test (see picture). Researchers found that doing the tilty maze is hard, and even harder when you're groggy. But, while watching her progress with the maze, it's a good opportunity to look at her boobs (see picture again).  On what parameters are they grading her tilty maze performance? Completion speed? Not everybody can finish the maze at their best.

In the other picture, we see a lab technician looking at a comparative chart of how hot the tests subjects are. We do not see his left hand. I'm sure it's doing something sciencey.


'58 Ford Fairlane - Ruthlessly Tested on Europe's Widest Roads

This Ford Fairlane ad wants us to believe that the car was tested on the roughest roads of Europe. It's advertising, so of course it's dishonest at best. Still, I don't think there's they tried very hard to find tricky testing grounds.
"Our drivers often bypassed modern highways in order to test Ford's ride on the roughest roads...roads little changed since the days of ancient Rome." I guess Europe MAY be famous for having rough roads, but more than anything, they're famous for being narrow and twisty: roads that I promise you this barge would never be able to navigate. "We took the '58 Fairlane to Europe, where we chose the widest roads we could find, in order to test the car's width. We found it's enormousness to be unmatched!"

The copy in the ad seems to cherish the boatlike qualities of the Fairlane. "U.S.A.! Sailing along a newly built highway, the '58 Ford handles like a dream." Plus the car features something they call "Even-Keel suspension". The idea of a '58 Ford making it through a Roman-era European city is laughable.

Lots of European cities have been around since before there were cars. The streets were designed for foot traffic, and humans and animals have a turning radius of zero. This is one reason that small cars have always been popular in Europe. The other is that gas proces have always floated around their natural high price in Europe, but in America, they've been kept artificially low with the help of government subsidies. As of January 25, 2010, a gallon of premium in Europe cost the equivalent of $6.83, whereas in the U.S. it cost $2.95. So, Europe has been dealing with expensive "naturally priced" gas for a long long time.

So anyway, there's Europe with super narrow streets meant for humans and maybe horses or something. A 1958 Fiat 500, for example, had a wheelbase of 72.4 inches. The Fairlane had a wheelbase of 118 inches. That's pretty close to double the length.

To be fair, the ad sings about the ride quality of the Fairlane (read: tall squishy suspension) and not the agility. But it imples that European roads are somehow the worst in the world, making them an ideal place to test the quality of a car.The difference between an American car and a European car is usually size and handling, not the floatiness of the ride. In truth, almost anything you do to make a car handle better will make the ride stiffer. This is beginning to change, with the advent of electronically controlled suspensions and magnetic hydraulic mediums, which can change their viscosity when a charge is applied. However, these technologies are mostly found on higher end models at this point.

To see the fundamental difference in the way Americans and Europeans think about cars, consider the kinds of popular motorsport in each country. In Europe, they like Formula One, in which super high tech cars race at speeds of 220 miles per hour through road courses and ancient cities. Americans like Nascar, where you can watch Hillbillies drive in a perfectly smooth circle at 188 mph. In europe, they also like to race four cylinder sedans up an unpaved mountain course for half a day, but Americans like to race 1100 horsepower cars in a perfectly straight line for six seconds at a time.

Granted, the American way of racing means you can keep an eye on the "action" without moving too far from your beer cooler. U.S.A.!


Fiberglass House - Just be careful not to touch it.

Joke #1 This year, instead of building your own house, why not save money and get "groovy" at the same time by purchasing the former set from The Monkees?

Joke #2 Flesh-eating virus: The only real threat to the house made from flesh!

Joke #3 Bobby had to take a time out by the refrigerator. He should have known better than to misbehave today. Daddy was always like this after he'd had a few furnace filters.

Joke #4 Bobby, you really ought to play nicer with The Hulk. You wouldn't share your train with him and now I have to repair the wall.

Joke #5 "Son, you're almost four now. You're nearly a man. Soon you'll be wondering about girls and things like that. I think it's time I teach you a little about fiberglass."

Joke #6 "Look what I got, son! It's a new furnace filter. Ssssh! Don't tell mommy. It'll be out little secret. Let's hide it here in the fridge where she won't see it. This is going to be the best Valentine's Day ever!"

Joke #7 "Becky, you finished your homework early today. As a little treat, how about if you feed The Giant Cone some fruit and maybe the teapot?"

Joke #8 The least popular tile pattern in history: Giant College Ruled Loose

Joke #9 "Becky, you finished your homework early today, so why don't you pick what we have for dinner? ... as long as it's fiberglass."