Multiplane Camera - 3D, the good way.

On January 25th, 1947, the English magazine Picture Post ran an article on Song of the South, Disney's most embarrassing release. It's a movie that Mickey and Co. would love to pretend never happened, due to it's racist content. You can't buy it or see it on YouTube.

That's as may be, but the article also features a pretty good photograph of Disney's (Meaning they owned one, but not that they invented it.) multiplane camera.

A multiplane camera is a massive apparatus designed to make very fancy cartoons, and to break the spirits of men. It is huge and complex, with several planes of animation painted on transparent layers, so that when the camera looks down through these layers, the camera's depth of focus creates the illusion of depth. Characters can be in focus, while other layers of the animation are out of focus.

You've seen the results of this type of camera if you've seen Cinderella, or Popeye Meets Sinbad the Sailor (1936),my personal multiplane favorite. Although not the exact same machine as a conventional multiplane camera, Max Fleischer's setback camera used miniature three dimensional sets and 2D animation cels to create a similar illusion.

 This kind of 3D works for me in a way that the Avatar kind doesn't. I don't like wearing the glasses. The illusion works some of the time, and when it doesn't, it just gives me a headache. I much more enjoy the illusion of watching a miniature world moving on a table top than the electronic illusion of being in a giant 3D world.

So who brought up miniatures? Well, exaggerated depth of field is what you get when you're shooting with a macro lens. Long story short, when the lens is focused on something very close, the background becomes very blurry, as well as anything that manages to squeeze between the lens and the subject matter. On your point-and-shoot camera, it's the little tulip icon, and it makes all your tiny stuff seem magical.
An interesting equivalent (because I like them for the same reason) is tilt-shift photography. Basically, this is the technique of using a special lens to make real-world scenes look like a tabletop miniature. A tilt-shift lens is really intended to take pictures of things without perspective distortions. But, if you use it wrong (right!), you can make big stuff look tiny. Hooray!

Or... you can fake it in a computer and get similar (really similar) results. There are lots of tutorials on the web that'll show how to do it yourself. The trick is choosing a photograph that is suited to the effect, like scenes shot from a distance and above, like you're looking down on a model. I recommend searching YouTube for some tilt shift videos.

If I wanted to read into my preference for tilt shift versus Avatar-type 3D, I may deduce that I insist on feeling huge, rather than feeling like I'm in a giant world. I say I just like train sets, and I don't like having headaches.


THIS Button? - Trudy and Todd.

Joke #1 - "So, if I press THIS button, the east coast will be ash and rubble? THIS little button? This teeeesny little button? Are you sure, Todd? It doesn't look... *ACHOO!*"

Joke #2 - Todd could practically hear the blood pulsing through Trudy's veins. His hands trembled. The hunger, the need that drove all his kind to such acts of violence was calling out to him from millions of tiny capillaries right there, only inches from his face. Just one quick nip and... NO! he mustn't! Ne loved her. he had to be strong. "Yes, THAT button will make everybody in Russia explode, darling."

Joke #3 - "When words come out of THIS hole in your face, Todd Darling, my brain goes 'LA la la la laaaaaa la la la la dee dummmm.'"

Joke #4 - "SOMEone smells like artichokes and pudding. Know who, Todd? It's yyyyyyyyyyyyyYOU! Now come here and give me summa dat pudding!"
Joke #5 - "Oh! You startled me, Todd darling! I was just about to have a coffee break, but first I need to push this button and blow the Chinese sub out of the water. You'll never guess what Nora had stuck to her lip today!..."

Joke #6 - "Toddy, can you guess which one of these tanks has chlorine gas in it, darling? Breathe one and see. If you pick wrong, YOU'RE buying dinner!"

Joke #7 - "No! Don't press that button! I was saving that button for my other girlfrien-! Oooops!"

Joke #8 - "Awww, has someone been curing cancer while I was away at beauty school? Todd, you know I don't like it when you put your work before me."

***Commenter jokes will be added to the post***

Joke #9 (Thanks Dave) - In the home of tomorrow, every room will have a built-in adultery detector!

Joke #10 (Thanks Other Phil) - It had never occurred to Todd that the elusive clitoris might not actually be ON a woman's body, but could be found on something as mundane as a laboratory control panel. The fellas were not going to believe this.

Joke #11 (Thanks Dave) - "I want to go to this planet!"
"Um... dear, the solar system map is a little further to your right."

Well joked, gentlemen!


Celotex - Keeps Steve Allen quiet

When we last left Steve Allen, he was promoting Wurlitzer electric pianos. He won some grudging respect despite the fact that he seemed a little prissy and a lot nerdy. Now he wants us to buy Celotex ceiling tiles in 1958, and he's selling them by showing us his super fantastic pad. Goddamn you, Steve.

There's Steve with one hand on the piano... and one elbow. Steve recorded so many albums that he probably sounded pretty great right as the picture was taken. Maybe he's inventing a new chord that can only be played by one hand, one elbow and Jayne Meadows' thigh?

So, Steve had a huge career, wrote a ton of books, got to sleep with Jayne every night AND had a house this cool, all while looking like the kid that ate paste in first grade. Hat tip to you, Mr Allen.

I'm getting pretty curious about this guy. I know he did a bunch of songs for Eyde Gorme and other famous sixties-type entertainers, but I couldn't hum one if you threatened me with violence. Maybe I need to fix that with the help of Amazon or iTunes? I have some homework tonight.

Anyway, there's Steve's house. Giant beams, stone floors, really cool room divider thing, very mod coffee table floor-to-ceiling windows, and ceiling tiles made of wadded paper (we hope). Do a Wikipedia search on Celotex and, rather than finding an article on the company itself, you find lots and lots of court cases, some of which are related to our old friend asbestos. Uh-oh spaghetti-o's!

I couldn't easily find any evidence that the Hush-Tone tiles in this ad were made with asbestos, and Steve lived to a pretty ripe old age of 78. So, assuming this ad was honest in that Celotex tiles were used in the Allen home, it doesn't look like asbestos took him out.

And even if he had died of mesothelioma, he'd just write a song about it and make a bunch of money. Steve was just that good, apparently.


Little Ads - Test own, ummmm, "E", "A", I mean "Y".

Joke #1 - Test own eyes right at home. Sue self for malpractice right at home.

Joke #2 - Tempt owl ears right of whole. SAIL up to ISOO of grasses.

Joke #3 - NEW! Point at new sensational device right at home!

Joke #1 - NOW he has what looks almost like A NEW SKIN... and new nose, and lips. STILL looks like SISSY! Read FREE offer!

Joke #2 - The great Acne Treatise of 1948 was one the first peacetime accords put forth by the United Nations in the postwar era.

Joke #1 - Draw anything you can see with lucy! Imagine your new life as operator B!

Joke #2 - Looks like a fun, artsy new way to stalk your soon-to-be girlfriend.

Joke #1 - Unfortunate that they chose to print the only drawing of the user being electrocuted. Come to think of it, the artist must draw pretty fast!


Quick Cadillac

Late start this morning. Here's a Cadillac ad to stare at. I don't like Cadillacs, and never really have. The new ones are so boxy that they look like buildings. Cars should not look like buildings. This example is from 1952, when Cadillacs were bulbous, phallic, and largely fulfilled the wishes of most American male car buyers. Note the two chrome tits on the bumper. Classy! When one person calls "fun" and "exciting", another person sees as "juvenile". Anyway, it's a nice eyeful.


Kool Aid Golden Nectar - Brain drain.

One of the funniest things I ever saw on The Simpsons (a show almost devoid of anything funny in the last ten years or so and which should subsequently be canceled, sorry, fanboys) was a dream sequence in which Homer meets the Kool-Aid man. Anyway, Homer 's having his surreal flight through a colorful wonderland when he is greeted by the Kool-Aid man. He immediately jumps inside the Kool-Aid man's head/pitcher and drinks the appropriately red liquid inside. Kool Aid man keeps truckin' right along at first, but after a second he becomes dizzy, staggers, and falls down... presumably dead.

This is what I think of when I look at this 1957 ad for Kool-Aid. The marketing division of General Foods obviously wants us to think of Kool-Aid man as a living pitcher - merely a vessel for their product. The Kool-Aid itself is not his mind, or his blood. So, we shouldn't be horrified that he's pouring out his brains for us to drink.

Clearly, The Simpsons thinks of it differently. When I first saw this scene, I laughed so hard i cried. Homer's gluttony is such that he takes the life of a magical being by devouring it's mind, only a little dismayed and confused to find himself sitting in the drained skull of a dead miracle afterwards.

I prefer the Simpsons' version of Kool-Aid man physiology.

The weirdness of an anthropomorphic pitcher doesn't stop me from wondering if his chalky stick arms are just a rendering style or if they're the way he is made. The "humans" also have stick limbs, so maybe it's just the art style.

That doesn't mean I'm going to ignore the fact that Kool-Aid man is tipping his pitcher head by pushing up on his own handle. It doesn't work that way. You can't propel your sail boat by using a fan. Kool-Aid man is running the risk of breaking his handle off.

I was hankering for some Kool-Aid up to this point, but their blatant disregard for the laws of physics turns me off. They can keep their tall frosty glass of refreshing Kool-Aid. I'm going to drink mind-blood from the skull of a mythical character instead.


Large Machine Training - Two of everything.

Joke #1 - "Boys, it's time you met your mother. This is the Twinnitron. Hoyt, you came out of the left chamber, and Herndon came out of the right one. As you can see here, we had Hoyt's dial set to "pretty stupid". Somebody must have bumped it. Sorry Hoyt. Yeah, I knew you wouldn't mind."

Joke #2 - "Before you get out into the field, boys, you'll need to put in a few hours on this, the Second Base Machine. It's crucial training that you all need badly... especially you, Hoyt. By this time tomorrow, you'll all be ready for the prom."

Joke #3 - "So you see, Terrence, the right dial displays your chosen quantity of clones, and the left dial is where you set the type of clone. Somehow we wound up with a pair of "doofuses" instead of "dudes". (The second shift is getting a little sloppy.) So just push these two idiots into the recycler. Sorry boys"

Joke #4 - "So you see, Terrence, the right dial displays the duration of the experience and the left dial is where you set your desired intensity. Okay, Hoyt, pull out and zip up. It's your brother's turn to try it. Gentlemen, we're all going to be rich!"

Joke #5 - "So you see, Terrence, as I turn this handle, this needle moves around. Pretty cool, huh? The right dial is something I still haven't figured out, but that's how innovation goes. In another year, I think I can get the machine down to about half this size."

Joke #6 - "So you see gentlemen, as I turn this handle to the right, the needle goes to the right, indicating that I've turned the handle to the right. Both sides do the same thing, so there's one for each of you. Try it out for yourselves. Terrence and I will be back in a few hours to see how you're coming along"

Joke #7 - "And as I was explaining in the classroom, this left dial displays Hoyt's dorkiness in meganerds. And we can see Herndon's uncoolness displayed on the right. So, as Hern wets his pants there, you can see the needle rotating to the right. Good job, Herndon. That's mighty dorky. Try to keep up, Hoyt."

Joke #8 (Guest joke by John Griffin) - Dr. Mengele showing off his Mengelizer.

Joke #9 (Guest joke by John Griffin) - "As you can see from this gauge, the first twin is quite aroused."

Joke #10 (Guest Joke by Jeremy Hornik) - "Though much more daring in design than their American counterparts, Italian automotive interior designers totally misunderstood the actual purpose of the cupholder."

Joke #11(Guest Joke by Jeremy Hornik) - "Well, boys, the Yale Science Club has its first prototype of a robot woman. Look! Boobie clocks!"

Joke #12 (Guest joke by Craig F.) -  "Now turn your head and cough".

Joke #13 (Guest joke by Sue) - "Take a good look at these bodacious dials, boys. They're the closest you're ever going to get to manipulating ANYTHING that looks like a breast!"


UPDATE! Due to overwhelming commenter demand (one guy), we are posting the entire ad. "Is it real science?" As real as an ad gets, Mr. Pryor.


Westinghouse Roll-Out Washwell - Dish bin.

Sorry for the gap in posts. My brother selfishly chose to get married this weekend, ignoring the needs of the blog  completely. The P.A.G. staffers responsible for filling in for me have been sacked and made fun of. We are now reviewing applications for new backup snarky jerks, to prevent any further gaps in wiseass remarks about old pictures.

I sometimes wonder why more freezers and dishwashers aren't bin-shaped, like this Westinghouse Roll-Out Washwell dishwasher.

In the case of freezers, it would retain cold air much better, since cold air is heavier than warm air. Pulling out your freezer "drawer" wouldn't drop the temperature of the freezer by twenty degrees, like it does with a door on the front, which dumps it's cold air all over your feet when you go in for an ice cube. For dishwashers, it'd be much easier to seal against water leakage, I would think. The evidence is clear that they've pretty much got the door-type dishwashers figured out. I've never had one that dribbles water around the door seal, and that amazes me. Sometimes engineers figure things out without any help from me. The audacity.

Americans, despite their claims of loving freedom and, and creativity, are terrified of any new idea, and habitually retreat from any true innovation, to hide behind convention, where they can then continue professing their deep love of innovation from a position of safety. This dishwasher looks too much like a trash bin, and as such, would not sell well among open-minded Americans. Did it do well in 1950? Who knows? But, you don't see many designs like this any more, and sealing a huge door on the front of the machine is way harder than a simple bin shape with a sealed lid. There's got to be some reason we do things the hard way.

That kid's pretty funny, poking the waste disposal to see if it's hot or something. Time to make fun of him.
Joke #1 - "Well, lady, I'm not sure what's causing your problem. The motor's still good. the seals haven't failed, and the wiring checks out. Whatever the trouble is, I think it's something to do with girls, which are icky. Three hundred seventy five dollars, please."

Joke #2 - "Hooray! Daddy says I'm just like him now! It didn't hurt, and I got to have ice cream! My 'fore-skin' is in there."

Joke #3 - When he misbehaved, Timmy was placed in the cabinet under the sink, where he listened to his friend, the disposal, grumbling away about nice things like revenge..."

Joke #4 - "When I grow up, I want to be a Westinghouse Waste-Away Food Waste Disposer. Daddy says I'm going to be a choreographer if it kills me. Mommy wants a divorce."

Joke #5, from Sue! - Little Johnny spent the evening looking for the peas he saw Daddy shove in the disposal. If he could only find the goods on the old man....


Benedict Peas - A vegeteble betrayal.

Here's an ad from Picture Post magazine, which you will recall is an English magazine. This ad is from 1948, and wants us to buy canned peas. Ugh. I frikkin hate peas. They smell like underpants and each one is a little plastic bag of mush that bursts when you bite it, spewing it's load of fecal paste all over your tongue. But, this was England shortly after WWII, and people were probably thankful for what they could get.

Strangely, the label seems a little proud and a little ashamed of the word "processed". They handle the text in that lawyer-ized "we don't want to say 'processed' but the law says we have to" kind of way by making it small and tucking it up above "peas". They also make it the same length as the word "peas", which helps it to go unnoticed, because it doesn't jump out at you the way it would if it were a different length. In America, we'd just stick "processed" down below, or better yet, round the back of the can where you're more likely to read it after you've payed for them.

It's not like "processed" means anything. It could just mean the peas have been chosen for uniform size, and cleaned of stems and other unwanted materials. But people expect their food to seem like they're eating it right out of the ground, even when it's spent a few weeks in a can on a shelf. People are unreasonable.

My dad liked peas. He'd have them as an evening snack while watching TV. No bowl or heat required. He's crack open a can of peas and eat them with a fork, right out of the can, watching M*A*S*H. Yep. Dad was in the army. My guess is this is where he learned to stomach canned peas under the least appealing conditions.

The nutritional claims made in the ad are not convincing to me. I'd rather eat four times the volume in mashed potatoes. I'd rather eat seven times the peas' volume in carrots. Make me eat peas and you'll get three times the peas amount of vomit on your table. Put me through a war and half starve me for a few years and I may sing a different tune, but for now, that's my decision.


Hammond Solovox - An app for your piano.

I'd never heard of the Hammond Solovox until I flipped the page and saw this 1950 ad. So, it's time to do some more technological archaeology. Team GO!, ... to the internet!

"Our piano was almost forgotten - 'til dad gave us this Christmas present!" Any technological novelty may enjoy a brief period of excitement - even one you screw to your piano. The Solovox was one of the earliest synthesizers, and certainly one of the very first that could be purchased by consumers.

The Hammond Solovox attempted to add some capability to a standard piano by mounting a small electric analog synthesizer underneath the piano's keyboard. It could produce just one note at a time, so chords were an impossibility, which is what they mean by "SOLO-vox" the term "solo" is still used today to describe a patch in a synthesizer intended to be used for single melodies over chords played by another instrument.When you dial up one of these sounds on a modern synth, more often than not, the synthesizer will only produce one note at a time, nomatter how many keys you press. This is intended to mimic the functionality of old instruments as well as conventional ones. A flute, for example, can only do one note at a time.

There were two main components to the Solovox: the keyboard and the sound generator unit, connected by a few cables. Sounds were produced by an oscillator, tubes, and a speaker. The tone cabinet is very shallow, clearly intended to fit underneath the piano without kneecapping the musician. The sound is something like a viola with a bad cold. The Solovox's keyboard (or "manual" in organ-speak) could be played with either hand, thanks to what looks like a limited amount of horizontal adjustability. Twelve square toggle switches on the front of the keyboard changed the voice of the Solovox to simulate anything from an unhealthy viola to a sick cello.
I can't find any pricing info for the Solovox, but it was produced from 1940 to 1948. I'll assume it cost a crapload of money, making this a toy for the rich, or a well-funded church.

"But what about MY Christmas present?" says Mom. "Doesn't anybody want to try the trombone?
I can't deny the fun of having more than one sound under your fingers. Years ago, I had a pile of terrible Casio-grade electronic keyboards, and I used to put one on top of the other so I could play them simultaneously in different combinations. This is really fun, and teaches you how waves overlap and effect each other. Now that I'm a big man and have a few shekels to spend on my hobby, I have a big Roland workstation. It's a very powerful instrument, which lets you do almost anything you can think of, including splitting the keyboard into two different instruments. technically, this is the same as having two keyboards, but it's just not as quick or fun as dialing up two sounds on different devices and hearing the sounds pulse against each other to make a new sound that, combined in your ear, exists only in your head. Wooo. Freaky!


Tabcin - Diane's mouth mountain.

Just like low-budget TV (i.e. Svengoolie), cheap ads are often the the most amusing. This ad for Tabcin is a tall and skinny job with one spot color and a bizarre rendering of a woman about to sneeze. I guess Tabcin was a prehistoric pain reliever. Either the pills came in teeensy little bottles or Tabcin pills were the size of milk duds. Anyway, this weird little picture needs the business. Begin!

Joke #1 - Tabcin now comes with a patented Grief Napkin in every box. The Tabcin Grief Napkin is made from baby-soft fibers and absorbs most major negative emotions, like despair, melancholy, sadness, fey, anger, sexual avarice, fury, misery, "the blues" (for our "rural" customers), rage, depression, satire, and communism.

Joke #2 - Diane awoke with a start. Ants! She could feel them crawling around in her stomach. She didn't know why she chose to have a nap in the back yard. She had no idea why she thought it was a fine idea to sleep next to this anthill... with her mouth open. She felt like a fool. All this feeling and thinking was making her light headed.She needed to have a rest. Hmm. That beehive looks like a comfortable place to sit down.

Joke #3 - The winter comes alive at Alpine Valley ski resort! New for the 2010-2011 season: Mouth Mountain! Your kids will feel like they're skiing and/or sledding right through a woman's head! TWIRL down her semicircular canal! SWOOP through her sinuses! ZOOM over her- oh never mind. Just fly to Aspen.

Joke #4 - The expedition wasn't going well. Three more men were lost in the sandstorm two nights ago. Doctor Ferdstrom now had reason to doubt his own senses. They had scaled a sand dune leading into this colossal woman's mouth. The team was dying of thirst, and there were pools of enormous saliva here. If it turned out to be a mirage, they could be drinking the sand itself- a fatal mistake. It had to be real. Why would they all share the same unearthly hallucination? He addressed the team. "Gentlemen, we will shelter here in this really huge woman's head.It is well known that hyenas and other predators are active in the night, so we will make our camp up there in the nostrils. We can ascend with grappling hooks and ropes. Men take the left nostril, and the ladies of our group shall occupy the right, for privacy's sake. Be sure to stake yourselves to the face of the septum or you may be dislodged. She may have hayfever. Also, she looks like a 'picker', so sleep lightly and be ready to move."   -Excerpt from "Voyage to the Really Huge Head", Jules Verne's failed comeback novel.

Joke #5 - Diane hated losing bets. She had disappointed her guests and let that mischievous Margaret Binchfirth get the best of her. Her dinner party was ruined. Diane could not, in fact, empty the entire salt cellar into her mouth. Defeated, she let the salt run from her mouth onto the table, where it would soon blend with her own salty tears. Gary wouldn't even meet her gaze. This was the worst anniversary she ever had.

Joke #6 - Ad seen in Modern Eating Disorder magazine. "Dr. Skinnyton's Dribble-Free Puke Chute".

Joke #7 - The party had beaten the Lady Beholder down to half it's hit points, and they could taste victory. But tasting defeat in the air, the Lady Beholder unleashed it's fearsome breath weapon, the Ray of Misery. 8 d12 of damage in a 30 degree cone radiating 45 feet from the creature's mouth. Save versus cold for half damage and a really bad headache.


Greyhound - Relax, with gritted teeth.

Here's a 1954 Greyhound ad featuring a really nice painting of a terrified woman making an escape from some wintry hell, by the skin of her teeth. The gritted teeth are a parody of a real smile. She's looking out the corner of her mouth, hoping not to be recognized. Her back is straight as a broom handle. The ad says "relax", but she's clearly scared to death... of what? Let's investigate.
Looks like she's afraid of that boy outside pulling the sled. What's on the sled? Could be a kid in a red snow suit, or the flayed corpse of one of his playmates? I think that's the only reasonable assumption.

Or the sled's passenger could be a simulacrum of a kid in a red snow suit made from a pile of beef cutlets. That's also the only reasonable assumption. Either way, the kid waving at the bus is bad news.

This reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode, "It's a Good Life" that featured Billy Mumy as a spoiled boy with god-like powers that held an entire town in a grip of terror. He turned his dad into a jack-in-the-box. This sled-pulling boy must be similarly terrifying. How did this lady manage to get on a bus and make her escape? Barely. That's how. "Hey lady! Dont'cha wanna go sledding with me and my new brother, Lil' Beef? After that, we're gonna have a cookout, ha ha!"

See the wonderful amenities Greyhound provides for the passenger escaping a nightmare scenario...

1. Wall-mounted vomit duct, for when the offal piles up a little too high and your stomach lurches.

2. Bulletproof, zombie-resistant Pana-View windows give you a clear view of the carnage.

3. Never-Flex seats favor the posture of rigid horror. You can slouch when you're dead.

4. Patented armrests are extra-pliant for easy nail-digging.

5. Some kind of bagel-based suspension.

I'm definitely booking Greyhound for my next apocalypse.


Zenith Black Magic - Huge sign.

Here's a fairly gorgeous painted ad for Zenith's Black Magic line of TVs. The artist is uncredited, but it looks like Haddon Sundblom to me. Since the ad ran in the Dec 5th issue of Look magazine, Christmas ads are plentiful. This ad shows us an apparently well-to-do couple having guests over to watch their new TV... sort of like a party. I guess that makes sense. A TV like this was pretty impressive in a 1950 home. It'd be like having a holographic TV today. You bet you'd invite your friends over to see it.

This TV set is called "Black Magic", which is surprising to see. It's hard for me to imagine any product making it to market today with a name like that. In 1950, Exotica was still a popular trend in music, and imagery of primitive cultures was fun to play around with, so maybe that explains the name. If LG marketed a TV called Black Magic this year, the factory would be burned to the ground by devout Christians wishing to promote the brotherly love, peace and understanding taught to them by their "holy book".

Speaking of factories, Zenith was a big presence in Chicago, and had a huge distribution center out on the west side, right off I-294, in Northlake. I drive past the old Zenith sign every day on my way to work. The gigantic sign was a Chicago landmark for years, but Zenith was bought out by LG in 1995, and by 2007 or so, the sign went out. To give you some sense of the sign's scale, each of those bulbs is an industrial flood lamp, which are about the size of a grapefruit. It must have been expensive to run. Here's a picture of the Zenith sign on Flickr in a still-functional state.
 You can still see the sign in Google maps, here...

View Larger Map

The ad also briefly mentions "Phonevision". "What the hell is/was Phonevision? Hurry up and tell me, you jerk!" you say? Calm down, I'm getting to that. It was Zenith's pie-in-the-sky attempt at pay TV. That's dreaming pretty big  for 1950. Basically, you'd call Zenith and ask for a movie, then Zenith would send your set-top box a signal, via the phone line,  that would allow it to descramble the signal. A $1 charge would appear on your phone bill, which comes out to about $9 today. Phonevision was first  tested in Chicago, and then here and there around the world, but never got any real traction. Nice try, Zenith. People just weren't ready for pay TV.


Little Ads - Wonders of our future today, this afternoon.

New Melton Pocket Movie Viewer allows enjoyment of prurient movies anywhere. Bystanders need never know you're doing something illicit, unless betrayed by sneaky grin on face. Audio not supported. Manufacturer suggests falsetto voice muttering sweet nothings to yourself, as inspiration.

Inflatable cornice resembles thick tufted material. Only requires re-inflation every 72 hours. Doubles as flotation device in case of total house submersion. Can be filled with helium to ease load on unstable foundations.

German floating motor propels swimmer, or "shvimmer". Motor unit floats on surface of water or "vasser". Air for motor is drawn through a T-shaped snorkel, or "shnitzel". Eliminates need for inflatable cornice flotation devices, advertised above. Can aid in rescue of swimmers drowning in shallow water, within twelve feet of device. Footage of girl also available as 8mm film for use in Melton Prurient Pocket Movie Viewer, advertised above
Survival Ration Lasts Six Days. Can store food and drink for six days, eliminating the need for emptying coffee cans and painting with special enamel. Ideal for those who enjoy putting small cans inside larger cans, and then removing them. Moustache included.


Old Gold - Overposed.

Here we see Old Gold cigarettes being pushed as "safer" than other cigarettes. This is like getting crushed by the smallest piano in town. But we're not going to poke fun at the ridiculous claims of cigarette companies (although I will point out that back in 1952, the truth in advertising laws were even more useless than they are now, and Old Gold was not required to even mention what study supported their bullshit claims). Nope. Today we're taking the high road and making fun of the overposed model.

Presumably, this super dramatic picture is meant to resemble the "you may now kiss the bride" part of a wedding. Your heart is supposed to melt, imagining what it would be like to kiss this lovely woman who has just dedicated her life to you, whose mouth smells like a trash fire.

Think of all you'd have to look forward to, waking up as her husband on a fresh September day, with the trees just turning orange, smelling her first smoke of the day drifting up the stairs from the living room, soaking it's reek into the carpet and all your clothes. Maybe you'd make some toast, listening to her hack up a half pound of phlegm into the bathroom sink while just starting in on her second smoke of the day. At least you'd have lots of time together in a few decades, while trying to figure out how you'd pay for her lung surgery, which would buy her a few more years, ultimately leaving you with crippling debt after her early funeral and futile cancer treatments. If things go well, maybe only one of your kids would have diminished lung capacity and asthma.

There's just one thing to make her picture prettier...

 Aah. There we go. A lifetime of pleasure.


Johnathan, Doreen, and the Radio... Some captions.

Joke #1: Johnathan, you're being rude. You should look at the radio when it's talking to you.

Joke #2: Johnathan, this has been a long time coming. I'm leaving you, and I'm taking the RCA radio console with me. You just can't compete, John. It has a hand-rubbed mahogany cabinet, a Vita-Tone speaker... and have you seen the size of the record changing arm?

Joke #3:
Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea. Before we get on with tonight's program, I have this special announcement from a very special listener: "Dear Johnathan, I'm leaving you for Bill Vrabden , the radio announcer. Best wishes, Doreen." Well, I'd like to thank lovely listener Doreen for that announcement. I guess we're official now, baby! Tonight we feature music from great breakup scenes in movie history, hand-picked by me, Bill Vrabden, radio announcer.

Joke #4: Johnathan, this is so hard to say. I've... I've been seeing another man. His name is Sal Glondrik, and we met at the circus. Here, let me get him out of his storage cabinet so he can confront you.

Joke #5: Johnathan, you and I have been drifting apart for some time now, and I'm leaving you. I don't know how to put it in words, but I've always been able to express myself best through the art of tap dance. Here, let me put the music on...


Rejected Trojan condom ad number  412.


MGA - Now you're talking.

The Labor Day weekend car posts continue today with this ad for an MGA. By contrast to yesterday's barge, the MGA was positively tiny.

It wasn't as quick as the '58 Impala (18 pounds per horsepower compared with the Chevy's 11lbs per hp), but I'd imagine it was quicker through the bends, if that's what you're into. I am, thanks. It's the polar opposite of the "more is more" Chevy. Plus, they brag about their gearbox, instead of luxury and cushiness. And hey! No tail fins! Bonus!

Sadly, like most British cars, it had serious reliability problems. Ah well, I didn't say I wanted to own one. I just want to look at one, and perhaps have a ride in one.

I'm not sure why they felt the need to show a shifting diagram in the ad. You'd think that would belong in the owner's manual. But, maybe they were trying to emphasize the car's fun-to-drive performance? 108 horsepower in a light car (1988 pounds compared to the Chevy's 3500) with a 94-inch wheelbase (that's pretty short) sounds fun to me.