Dixie Cups - Love is all you need

This ad for Dixie Cups leaps out at the eye as looking distinctly, unmistakably 70's. Incidentally, it's on the opposite page as the Pinto ad from the other day, found in a 1973 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. (I wonder what people grew in their gardens in 1973.  Huh huh huh huh huh...)

Most marketing creates nothing. It generally does not innovate or have original ideas. It follows trends and apes the fashionable style, holding a mirror up to society that reflects what we were doing five minutes ago. The 1968 Beatles film Yellow Submarine brought the psychedelic art style of the sixties to mainstream attention, and commercial art felt the influence for the entire decade of the 1970's.

When talking about the "Cosmic Art" from the 60's, people mostly attribute the style to Peter Max. While his name is the most famous from the movement, it's not entirely clear that he invented it. There seems to be a bit of argument as to who came first, but these names rise to the surface: Peter Max and Heinz Edelmann. Edelmann was the art director on Yellow Submarine.

My first example of the Max / Edelmann style of illustration is the board game Payday, from 1975. Lame, I know, but I wasn't even born when Yellow Submarine came out. So, yeah, when I wind back the mental VCR to my earliest impression of 1970's cosmic art style, I get this on the screen:
This Dixie Cups ad is a fairly weak example of the Max / Edelmann style. It only borrows the bright watercolor rendering and bulbous, simple line work from the cosmic style. generally, the execution seen in the Dixie ad looks kind of... uuh... amateur, like a kid in junior high saw Yellow Submarine on OnTV and had a go at it himself.

I don't see Dixie cups around much anymore. This may be because I'm no longer a kid, but I don't see them around my friends' houses who have kids. In the 70's, Dixie cup dispensers were frikking everywhere. For those who don't know, a Dixie cup dispenser is a plastic cylinder stuck to your wall (usually near a sink) with an adhesive pad. It was always an act of shortsightedness. Within a few months, you got tired of buying the waxed paper cups to refill the thing, and it hung, abandoned, on your wall until eventually you got sick of looking at it and tried to tear it off. Good luck. The stretchy foam of the sticky pad was damn near impossible to remove completely, and you were likely to tear up the surface of the wall in the attempt. Throwing away a paper cup every time you have a drink of water is a huge waste, and most people decided it was better to use a washable cup. So long as they remembered to wash it, transmission of ringworm and trenchmouth wasn't a big problem.

My house was built in 1956, and so it survived the 70's, but not unscathed. I have a horrible beige Dixie cup dispenser in my bathroom and another one near the slop sink in the basement. The one in the bathroom is a decorative hanger type, where the cylinder of cups hung from a stylized hook. Thanks to the current popularity of toothbrushes with curvy handles as big as a hot dog, I can hang my toothbrush in the stupid plastic hook. Maybe when I have a week's vacation to kill, I'll take the eyesore down, including the stretchy foam sticky pad.


Italian Swiss Colony - Old world charm meets old world charm.

Joke #1: Those who know good wine come to find it at the Italian Swiss Colony, nestled here in the storybook mountains of our parking lot...

Joke #2: In the late 1800s, a small group of Italian Swiss settled here in Asti, California. They were fleeing their war-torn homeland, which had endured years of war with the Australian Japanese, the Polish French, and the Mexican Russian Anglo Egyptians.

Joke #3: The Italian Swiss Colony donates 25% of their wine making proceeds to the Italian Swiss Research Fund, working to find a cure for colorblindness, and dressing like a Christmas ornament.

Joke #4: Hi. Italian Swiss Colony, right? I'm droppin' off a pair of multicolored sign gesturers for youse guys. Sign here and here, please. Okay... says here you paid for four hours' worth of gesturing, so we'll send a truck back at eleven to pick em up, which works out fine, cause they gotta go straight down to a car dealership in Riverside so they can point at some used corollas.

Joke #5: Italian Swiss Colony: For over fifty years, Making fine wine in the tradition of old Italian Swiss Colonia

Joke #6: ...so come on down to the Italian Swiss Colony, where the whole family can sample our fine selection of hand made wines, take in the the mountain scenery, and enjoy a hand crafted Italian Swiss Colonic.

Joke #7: Italian Swiss Colony: gesturing toward signs in Hansel and Gretel costumes for over fifty years.


Ford Pinto - History lesson. Kaboom.

The Ford Pinto wasn't a bad looking car, in my opinion. Sure, the wagon shown in this ad is kind of lame, but the front end is pretty cool looking. In normal hatchback form, the Pinto is a car I'd own... with better wheels and a little more power under the hood, but that's as may be. The fun part about Pintos is that they were kind of "explodey"

You can read full accounts of the Pinto's story here and here. Here's my attempt at the Cliff's Notes version of the story.

In a low speed rear-end collision, Pinto gas tanks would reliably rupture and explode. Also, the doors tended to jam shut in such collisions, trapping the passengers inside, burning to death. Funny coincidence.

Ford engineers recommended that the design be changed to prevent this, at a cost of $11 per vehicle, by repositioning the gas tank. A cost-benefit analysis was done, and president Lee Iacocca determined that, what with court costs and law suits and re-engineering the car, it was cheaper to let 180 customers die. Not kidding.

This table is from one of the links shown above:

Savings: 180 burn deaths, 180 serious burn injuries, 2,100 burned vehicles.  Unit Cost: $200,000 per death, $67,000 per injury, $700 per vehicle.
Total Benefit: 180 X ($200,000) + 180 X ($67,000) + $2,100 X ($700)  = $49.5 million.
Sales: 11 million cars, 1.5 million light trucks. 
Unit Cost: $11 per car, $11 per truck. 
Total Cost: 11,000,000 X ($11) + 1,500,000 X ($11) = $137 million. 

And then, a funny thing happened. Goodyear had developed a rubber bladder that, when placed inside the fuel tank, would prevent fuel from leaking. Tests showed it worked every time. This bladder would have cost $5.08 per vehicle, cutting the cost of saving 180 lives roughly in half. The test document was covered up by Ford, but became part of the inevitable lawsuit that cost Ford more than three times what they could have spent to do the right thing and avoid the whole mess.

In a later lawsuit in 1979, Ford Motor Company became the first company ever to be indicted on charges of criminal homicide. Ford was acquitted. Shucks.

To add insult to injury, Iacocca was hired by Chrysler, where he oversaw the introduction of the K-Car. This is a move widely regarded as The Worst Thing Ever Done, until Pontiac built the Aztek, that is.


Nash Airliner - Sleeping in your car, made glamorous.

Joke #1: -Honey, don't you think one of us should be steering?
-Hmm? Oh, I'll steer in the morning, dear.

Joke #2: Yes, John, this is very romantic. Ooh, I just wish I could marry you all over again! You make me feel like the luckiest woman in the whole parking lot! Can we also pee in a cup and eat from a dumpster?

Joke #3: Hey... sweetie. How about me and you slip into the back seat and have Suzie drive us to that place in the park from senior prom?

Joke #4: -Psst! John! Wake up! I think there's someone outside!
-Go back to sleep, honey. There's always someone outside on the highway.

Joke #5: Mmmm, darling. Every speed bump and pavement separation feels like the magic fingers bed at that one motel you forced us to stay at.

Joke #6: This is such wonderful fun, darling! You should have lost your job years ago!


The School of Accountancy - Will teach for brains.

Monty Python was always merciless to accountants, portraying them as "irrepressibly drab and awful". My personal experience has not borne out this stereotype. This ad from England's Picture Post magazine in 1948 did nothing to dispel the myth, thanks to the glowering Disembodied Floating Head of the founder, J.D.C. MacKay.

As a DFH, it's sort of "meh". Mostly because they left the neck on the head. To be truly disembodied, you'd need to trim the neck from under the chin, to leave the head properly floating. But check out the stare! Yikes almighty.

Now that I look at it, he doesn't look so much dull as evil. MacKay looks as likely to tear out your throat as explain amortization. Honestly, so malevolent is his frown that I think the school would have been better off not using the picture. Why not use an ink drawing of a happy graduate with dollar signs flying out of his head like everybody else? Nope. If the school was founded by Uncle Eats-your-face, his scary puss goes on the ad.

Sure, there's plenty you could learn from a man like this: the value of British Pounds as compared to, say, sweet juicy brains for example. Should you defer the expenses incurred while harvesting human souls to the following year or reconcile them this year? J.D.C.'s your man. I'm sure the commute to campus won't be a back breaker. He probably will flit through your bedroom window in the dark of night to discuss your marks.

In one of our stellar historical document coups, Phil Are Go! HQ has acquired the syllabus from J.D.C.E.F.G.H.I.J. MacKay's Freshman course. See what you've missed by being born too late, stupid?

Ch 12 - Auditing liquid assets via the "long curved knife" method.

Ch 34 - Fleeing the mortal villagers through non-corporeal travel: Knowing when to become an "intangible asset".

Ch 6 - Manufacturing overhead.

Ch 7 - Manufacturing overbody.

Ch 9 - Issuing prospectus, prospectres, and free roaming spirits.

Ch 30 - Redemption value, and why it should always always ALWAYS be zero!

Ch 4 - Performing the Rite of Rescission.

Ch 10 -  Soul proprietorship. Storing the soul as a tax-deferred expense.

Ch 19 - Absorption costing: Blood blood blood blood blood blood blood blood blood blood.

Ch 7 - Withholding the soul from those meddling kids.

Ch 13 - Split Offering: Again with the long curved knife?

Ch 2 - Double-Declining-Balance Depreciation Method (DDB): Murdering lots of people and messily devouring them.

Ch 41 - Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC): How to get into people's houses when they're sleeping so you can kill and eat them.

Ch 22 - Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB): Hiding from them in your dank, subterranean crypt.


Speedway Books - Your car is amazing.

Your car is amazing. The poor jerks stuck in 1953 couldn't even dream of having a vehicle as fast, durable, and capable as yours is. It doesn't matter what kind of car you have. The heaps from 1953 are rubbish in comparison. Observe...

This ad ran in Popular Science - a magazine for gearheads and technically gifted nerds. It offers amazing things to those who order their books, which show you how to modify your car to achieve greater performance. Thing is, though as far as power goes, the average car today can humiliate these pie-in-the-sky promises, right off the lot. Except for fuel economy. 45 MPG is still pretty hard to do, without resorting to a hybrid drivetrain. Even if you consider that these "tricks" were probably completely fake.

Here are some numbers, for those who like numbers: Speedway Books promises you a 0-60 time of 12 seconds. Wooo! Is that with the windows up or down? A 2005 Toyota Corolla (the most beige and ordinary of all possible cars) goes from zero to sixty miles per hour in 9.7 seconds, and that's the automatic transmission model. A 2002 Honda Civic does it in 9.4 seconds. This would win amateur drag races in 1953. I'm not sure who they're trying to impress with their promises of "faster get-away".

As far as top speed goes, most passenger cars are easily aerodynamic and powerful enough to go at least 110 MPH, which is a speed limit voluntarily imposed on your car by the car's computer. For those who didn't know, your car won't let itself go too fast. There are some speeds that few people need to surpass. The coolness and ethics of this fact are debatable, but the safety is pretty solid. Point is, you car could easily go faster than a '53 Buick, and do it on half the cylinders and half the gas.

Your car can turn quicker too, so not only could you outrun a retro-boat, you could out-handle it, too. Ever see a car chase in an old police drama from the 50's? For those bulbous old boats of yore, turning a corner at any speed is a traumatic experience. They wallow around on their suspensions like a hog in mud. This explains Americans' preference for racing cars in straight lines. Even if you're currently driving an SUV of some kind, it could probably run rings around an average car from 1953.

Also, your car is several times less likely to kill you in an accident, which is a promise that even this ad doesn't attempt to make. Cars were designed do sustain as little damage as possible during a collision in the past, which makes sense as long as nobody is inside. Crumple zones were developed by Mercedes-Benz in 1952. They eventually, SLOWLY, caught on, and by the 1980's, most cars were designed to sacrifice themselves in order to save the passengers lives. In 1953, cars were built to be rigid. Whatever you ran into had almost all of it's force of impact sent right through the steering column aimed straight at your chest. If you made it past the steering wheel safely, you still had the windshield to look forward to. Oh yeah, we have airbags, too, which are pretty neat.

In September 2009, the IIHS performed a test collision between a 1959 Chevy Bel-Air and a 2009 Malibu. The results were impressive. The '59 driver would have been mushed into jelly, whereas the '09 driver would have walked away... maybe not very far before needing to sit down again and have a deep breath, but still.

So, yeah, enjoy your supercar, lucky dweller of the future!

Also, water does not burn. I'm sure that's just a typo, right?


Mechanic's Browlite - Special attack powered up!

In 1953, the boundless joy of the Eisenhower administration notwithstanding, there was a lot of extra anger in people's brains. Yes, radio was fantastic at the time, people had cool looking appliances and everyone lived in mid century modern houses, but there was still a lot to be angry about. All cars looked like they were made of boobs. Television was, for the most part, lame... all three channels of it. There were only two haircuts available: "man" and "lady". People of all races were forced to become white at gunpoint. America was on the brink of a psychiatric armageddon. Enter the Anger beam Browlite.
The Anger beam Browlite worked on the principal of Psychic Funneling and Expurgation or something. The device was worn on the front of the head just above the eyes, where it blended in seamlessly with the wearer's eyebrows. Two sensors on each arm of the glasses were gently forced through the skull and inserted into the temporal and occipital lobes of the brain, where anger is stored. The simple electronics inside the device would turn the psychic energy into heat and light. Also some blood. At will, the wearer, or "Angerer", could release anger in the form of a not-really-focused beam that projected from between the eyes in a wide arc. The resulting beam burned with the fury of ten billion suns or 900 degrees, whichever came first.

The heat and duration of the Anger Beam varied in proportion with the user's anger, and at an inverse proportion to the user's rationality. Inexperienced users could easily ignite paper or wood just by thinking about grammar school. Senator Strom Thurmond was said to have burned a hole in the universe upon failing to find his name mentioned in The Kinsey Report. He then went on to inflict his revenge upon the nation until 2003, when the last portion of his carcass finally finished dying.

Novelty Mart, the merchandiser of the Anger Browlite, was directly responsible for the creation of millions of supervillains virtually overnight. By 1954, it had become a secret headquarters for global evildoers, changing it's name to Novelty & Evil Mart. Having chosen the price point of $2.98 for their hot-selling instrument of evil, Novelty & Evil Mart found themselves unable to absorb the cost of moving their facilities to a subterranean cavern or hollowed-out volcano. Cost-benefit analysis forced them to remain at their old address of 59 East 8th Street, new York, although the location was thereafter listed as "secret".

All Anger Browlites ceased to function in 1967, when everything became peaceful and groovy forever more.


Can-O-Matic - Don't ask why.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't see these around much any more. Nope. I just checked. It is just me. You can still buy them. Nope. It's not just me. I never see them on my friends' kitchen counters.

We had one of these things when I was "wee". As it is with so many things during kidhood (Tang, vacuum tubes, ketchup), I didn't question it. But now that I'm a big huge man, I can call into question the necessity of an electric can opener by going "double you, tee eff?", as I like to say, in Verbose Text Speak.

In 1961, middle America was delirious with it's own greatness. We had defeated Jerry, and put a man on the moo... (no wait. That was seven years later.) We had put a man on the television in the form of Jack Parr. And to put a Dairy Queen swirl of soft serve on top of that meat loaf of achievement, we then turned our considerable will on the humble kitchen, and found it lacking. "Let us" we intoned, "create a doohickey that shall", we said, raising our hand to the sky, "through the vigor of electromechanical automation", a single tear of righteousness rolling down our cheek, "open up a can of tomato soup." A thunder thingy happened and some majestic sunlight or something came down and made drama.

What I remember of my mom trying to get this thing to work was... well, my mom trying to get this thing to work. The opener wouldn't get a firm grip on the can, or the cutter wouldn't bite into the lid, or the can wouldn't rotate when the machine tried to rotate it. If my mom swore, she would have sworn at this thing.

The worst part about opening a can with a manual opener is the fact that the lid becomes a weapon with an edge as sharp as one molecule. This, I would think, is the problem that needed addressing with any automated solution, but nope. Electric can openers were a veritable production line of DIY shiruken, ready to cut the world in half if you drop it edgewise on the floor. If you were designing an electric opener, job one should be that it somehow rolls the edge of the lid, so that your Veg-All is relatively free of arterial spray when you feed it to your family. The age of Aids was still a decade or two away, and people in the sixties could still savor the risk-free richness of human blood, but it was, even then, kind of gross. The one job that an electric can opener handles for the weary chef are those horrible ten seconds of crank turning. I think this is a solution no one asked for.

Also, these devices became another six pound lump taking up space on your counter top, even if you did find them useful. It'd fit nicely between your electric food chewer and your electric sponge squeezer. The electric salt shaker hole-clearer-outer could stay in the cabinet except on special occasions.

Wait a second. It has a three-position bracket? Forget everything I said. My days as a lousy two-position bracket owner are over. I have to have one of these, pronto.


Timber House Lodge - Where Keebler elves stay.

 love the Timber House Lodge. I bought this postcard from the Timber House Lodge for a dollar, which, in case you didn't know, is a pretty decent price for a weird old postcard from the sixties.
When I'm out on the road, having the Great American Vacation,  I don't want to stay at a place that looks like my house. I don't want to stay at a place that looks like a museum, either. I want to stay at  the weirdest place I can find!

The whole point of being on vacation is a break from the mundane. A getaway. To me, that means sleeping in a bizarre hotel with a theme whose execution borders on the frightening.

The Timber House Lodge is located in Chester California, near Lake Almanor, some kind of geographic body, possibly of water. Phil Are Go! would appreciate any roving field reporters verifying this lake's watery nature first hand. Also if you could snap some current pictures, that'd be good too. We would also like to announce that Phil Are Go! is now accepting applications for roving reporters. Roving experience rquired.
An intensive five minute Google investigation reveals that the THL still exists. Kudos on that. Existing is one of my top priorities for a motel getaway. Whether or not the interesting decor is still in place remains unconfirmed. Photos seem to be rare, save for this exterior shot.

 Screw the present. In 1969, the THL was a fibrous, termitic wonderland of variously displayed tree segments! Bar stools made of tree slices. Wood slabs on the walls. Massive hollow stump lamps hanging from the ceiling. Wups! Don't saw that tree down. That's a load-bearing log! In the winter, this place would be the perfect apres-ski rest stop. What better place to pour various boozes down your throat that a surreal loggy funhouse of a lounge? Stover mountain is nearby. I'm sure that was the meat of THL's business in the winter.

It may look corny and cheap, but this kind of effor is anything but easy. Go lift a log. Go on. I'll wait. See? They're heavy! Jim and Gena Hupp (the original proprietors) must have reeeealy wanted this to happen. I tried to make a few things out of logs before, and it's a lot of work. First off, they're not straight. Trees may generally grow in an "up" direction, but try to stick any two together at a right angle and I'll just wish you luck. Here's my top for getting a log to stand vertically. Hang it by the very top and dip it in a shallow pan of water. Trace the waterline with a marker and cut there. You've just found the log's vertical balance point. You're welcome. I've just told you how to do it. Now would someone please build a ridiculous tree hotel closer to Chicago? I need a vacation. I would also welcome the following insane themed hotels...

The Visible Hotel - Motor lodge with no drywall!
Deb's Hotel and Dry Storage - All food in powdered form. Every room rigorously dehumidified for your discomfort.
The Hobo Suites - Every room an alley. Every cigar stuck on a toothpick.
The Hospital - Looks like a hospital, Smells like a hospital. Half the price.
The War Room - Choose from WWI, WWII, or 100 Years War suites. Room service generously rationed. Bombings on the hour.
Donny's Day Care - Feel like a kid again at $100 nightly. Diapers optional.


Kaiser Aluminum - Space is made of metal.

Joke #1: Okay, children. Let's look at some great space technology brought to you by Kaiser aluminum! You three girls, though, will probably want to move on to the next exhibit over that way. It's got some pink frilly crap in it, which you'll enjoy. Right this way, men!

Joke #2: Okay, kids, behind me you see the wondrous "Macroscope", developed by Kaiser aluminum over a period of five years. By looking through it, you can see big things at their actual size! Any questions?

Joke #3: Yes, I'll answer all your questions about Kaiser aluminum in turn. I'll have to wear this helmet, though. You know, kids, I've been to space, but I still can't bear to be breathed on by you filthy, filthy children. You there. Stop picking that!

Joke #4: Thanks for coming out to the Kaiser aluminum fun factory today, kids! Before I choose one delicious earth child to grind into a paste, I'll need you all to remove any watches, jewelry or other "un-grindable" objects and place them in that tray over there. The machine can't grind metal.... especially if it's tough, lightweight Kaiser aluminum, ha ha!

Joke #5: You know, kids, I've been to space so many times, I can no longer tolerate Earth's "atmospheric pressure". If I were to remove this helmet, my head would explode like an over-ripe tomato. Now, a little while ago, I prepared a crushed human head and a smashed tomato, to see if you can tell the difference! I'll be right back.

Joke #6: Gosh, kids. It's awfully easy breathing in my space suit, here. You know, I don't know how you children endure Earth's thin atmosphere, ha ha. Tell you what... I'll invite one of you kids into my space suit here with me, to see what I mean. How about you, Jimmy? ...Jimmy? Hey, I'm talking to you.

Joke #7: You know, children, up there in outer space, there's no nice gasses or stuff to breathe and junk. Or sandwiches. Mice don't go to space, heh heh hehe. All of us astro-explorers or whatever breathe sweet, savory nitrous oxide to breathe. You kids are really huge. Who wants to try on my helmet?

Joke #8: As for me, I became a "spacer" for the adventure and the feeling that I'm helping expand human knowledge. And because my wife can't find me there. Say, how many of you kids are married?

Joke #9: You know, children, they say that in space no one can hear you scream. That's why I record the screams of my dying crew on my hip computer here, so I can hear them again and again. Who here can scream really loud?

Joke #10: Yes, I know what you're all thinking. "If he's so strong, why does he need that helmet to breathe?" Well, do you think this railing can hold me back? I can step right over it you know! You all think you're better than me? I was once like you! DON'T YOU LOOK AT ME!!!!

Joke #11: ...And Kaiser aluminum will be there to build the rockets that take man to the... Wait, I'm getting a transmission from the Space Council. Yes, yes. Understood.... Okay, children! Let's all step into the host immobilization chamber to your left and hold your hands above your head. Try not to make any screaming sounds. Say, are any of you allergic to ovapositors? Ha ha! Only kidding! It doesn't matter.

Joke#12: At last! Daddy is free from his aluminum prison, and now with Maria gone, nothing can stop the Von Trapp family singers! "Hey you, murder-face. Help me take off this belt."
"Hey mister, shouldn't we be farther away when the rocket takes off?


Chox Hot Chocolate - Watch the tongue, kid.

Location: Beatrice food, 1948, October was just around the corner, and the weather in much of the country would be turning cooler. It was almost the high water mark for anyone in the heated-sugary-milk industry, and the Chox brand was ready to seize the lion's share of the market.

The executives had entertained proposals from the marketing department. The meeting and deliberation had taken a long time. The board room was filled with cigarette smoke, and the butts were an inch deep on the floor. It was 1948 after all. It was all worth it, because they had the perfect campaign lined up. It wasn't very innovative or clever, but these were not the things that drove the sweetened dehydrated lactic goop market. Tradition. Comfort. Familiarity.Warmth. This is how you got the mother's dollar in the fall.

The director tapped his pen on the desk, deep in thought. They'd need an adult female hand model, aged 30-35 and one boy. This boy had to have that Tom Sawyer "aw shucks" all American look. Definitely a plaid shirt. He'd have to look reeeeally happy about hot chocolate. Hmm. Flipping through headshots. He would be ordering lunch. This could take a while.

Wait. Who was that kid they used for the erector set ad in Boy's Life? The kid with so much energy they had to use high speed film just to keep him in focus? Kevin something. The director's finger stabbed the intercom. "Get me the talent agency. I got our boy!"

Zip pan to photo studio interior. Light is dim, apart from the set, consisting of a kitchen table and one chair. The perspective between the cup of chocolate and the kid meant that the shot would have to be comped later. The foreground elements would be shot separately from the boy so that they both could be in focus. The two shots needed different lenses. That was extra time of course, but the art department had a guy who was a wizard with the x-acto. They'd airbrush the steam in later, as usual.

They were getting the right energy from Kevin, but something was still not there. The kid's hair was a little messy, as if he had just climbed down from his tree house. They tested different angles for the kid's head and messed with the lighting. Eventually they  realized they needed a little backlighting so you could see the chair the boy was sitting in, until then, he looked like he was belly up to a bar or something. Closer, but still not right.

Then the photographer had it. "Yoo-hoo, Timmy or whatever, stick out your tongue, honey, like Wiley Coyote. Farther... more.... yes! Now move it to one side. No. Other side. Bingo! It was horrible, but the director knew it would sell. It was an utterly unntural gesture that no human had ever performed willingly. Mouth wide open in a huge grin. Tongue poked out of the corner of his mouth like he's, what? Licking his lips? Only cartoon characters did that. No boy had ever made that face, and he looked borderline insane. Insane for Chox hot chocolate. "That's lunch, everybody!"


Little Ads - Opportunities all over the place.

Wow, that guy MUST be successful! A table full of broken clocks and he has time to sit and clean his nails.

This ad probably got a lot of mistaken responses from readers unfamiliar with the term for lock repair.

Learn these timeless cowboy classics; "I'm a Short-Handed Ranch hand", You Stole My Heart and Borrowed my Arm", "Lonely For The Wrist of my Life", "My Humerus Ain't Humorous" and many others.

Ummm, that's not Mickey.

"Write for free book". Yes, that would make it free... but isn't that the absolutely slowest way to get a book?

"Custom bibs! Magic liquid prints photos directly on fabric. Never forget what's for dinner! Lobster, crab, chicken, Dean Jones...

"Train your voice! Earn your toga. Special shouting helmet included with membership." Also, apparently lethal to minors.

"Watches Wanted... even Ingersolls." Hey, what have these guys got against poor old Ingersoll?

"Learn how to draw funny pictures for money". Tired of all those fancy artists walking around with their capes and top hats? Get rich the easy way! Cartoonists get free money just for being artsy! Dine on solid gold omelets! Throw away perfectly good merchandise! Get so rich you hate yourself! Send for free detals.


Brunswick Mineralite - Insanely happy about bowling.

I often find myself trying to reationalize why advertisers chose to go with illustrations instead of just using photograhps. Something something printing technology something cheaper to reproduce blah blah nope. I guess people just liked them. Brunswick liked them because no actual human can look this happy. Like, scary happy.

This guy really really really likes bowling. His eyes impossibly dilated to single molecules of insanity, he inflicts his victorius rictus on the world. Try doing that with your arms. It hurts, right? Look at his right foot in the illustration. The foreshortening done here is something I would call "ill-advised". It reads first as a club foot and a second later as the bottom of a normal foot. Was there photo reference? Maybe, but it kind of looks like it was drawn out of thin air. Who would make this pose naturally? Only the love of a fine bowling ball could drive a man to this extreme. That must be some ball.

Here's the same man as a boy. Clearly, he's felt the same way about Brunswick bowling balls for a long time. There were days when he wouldn't even eat, chossing only to lie on the couch, caressing his Brunwick and, when mother wasn't in the room, slipping a thumb into the finger hole. So deliciously wrong, and so right.

Mother didn't feel the same about bowling as father and brother did.

"Where'd the ball go, mommy?" "Te hell, darling. Baby Jesus knows that bowling is Satan's game. That's why we need the protection of Doogie Howser, patron saint of bowling, to protect us. He's here right now is you believe hard enough."
"'It's streamlined, strikingly modern, beautiful and functional,' Says Catherine Fellmeth of the Brunswick Centennial Ball return." Apparently she's "of the ball return" in the same way that I'm "of Chicago". She seems so impressed with Brunswick, she's chosen to live in the ball return. That's commitment.

Ha ha! Kooky old "Special" Ron. he's always getting into trouble. "No!" his ethnic friends shout. "That not a bowling ball! That bowling pin! You all backwards! That why we lose!" It's like this every league night!

"Ya see, the Brunswick masking unit promotes concentration. You gotta get up close to really see how it's put together..." Grandpa look out! Noooooooo! The Mineralite ball shoots so straight and true, Grandpa never had a chance.


Honeywell Chronotherm - Gimme that house.

This ad for Honeywell thermostats is from 1943 concerns itself mostly with war bonds. For those younger than sixty: a war bond is just a low-interest loan to the government in a time of war. War bonds are purchased by citizens on a voluntary basis to assist the government in financing a major war. The interest paid on war bonds is generally less than what can be gotten on other types of investments, so the basic motivation is that of helping out with the war effort.

Yes, very nice, but look at that unbelievably cool house!
In 1943, Art Deco had mostly run it's course, but it's sleek sensibility had been given a new life in "streamlining". I could try to paraphrase, but Wikipedia says it best...

"As the depression decade of the 1930s progressed, Americans saw a new aspect of the Art Deco style emerge in the marketplace: Streamlining. The Streamlining concept was first created by industrial designers who stripped Art Deco design of its fauna and flora in favor of the aerodynamic pure-line concept of motion and speed developed from scientific thinking."

There's nothing I don't like about this house. This ad was scanned from American Home magazine, and there is a definite sense, in flipping through the pages, that America was thinking about two things at the time. One was World War 2 (duh). The other is modernism. This ad is just one example from that magazine of America's preoccupation with the future and minimalism. Maybe it went hand in hand with the idea of economy, something they could thank WWII for? Maybe simplification was an easier pill to swallow than the over-ornamentation of classicism? There's no maybe about the fact that everybody was more than eager to look forward to better times. I dunno, though. I can just as easily see people taking comfort in styles of the past, when things are grim.

Look at the car in the garage, though. That's a dead giveaway. Designers in the 40's were still not so great in imagining cars of the future. The car is very vertical, and current cars are very horizontal and low to the ground. Hey! A two-car garage! That was a pretty rare idea in 1943. Very few people could imagine owning two cars at the time. Futuristic indeed.

Lastly, I like the near-perfect isometric perspective of the illustration. I know exactly where I'd park my Zaxxon spaceship when I come home from a hard day of using my space bullets to line up my ship to fly through small holes in fortress walls. Pew pew pew!