English Electric - 'Streuth!

It's been a while since we had a report from our 1952 London bureau, so... Utility update now, from our bureau in 1952 London! English Electric, bringing you better living, through not whacking your head on a kipper in the dark.
Here in Chicago, we've been conditioned to assume that, if ComEd is running ads telling us how nice it is to have electricity, they must be jacking up the rates, or deflecting another round of complaints from the Citizens Utility Board. Either way, a non-specific ad from ComEd feels like a thinly veiled threat to cut off the juice if we don't stop questioning them. I can't wait 'till Google figures out a way to provide some competition in the utilities marketplace.

Anyway, here's English Electric pointing out how nice it is to have the lights on. Fair enough. A little over ten years previous, the English were using their electricity to spot German bombers, so I don't imagine there was too much complaint about electric bills in'52. I don't even know how the English pay for their electricity. Direct from the consumer? Paid from the tax revenue? There's no way to find out, so don't even wonder.

Nice artwork in this ad, though. One signature is pretty clear: Clixby Watson. I know... "Who???". It took some experimental searching before I figured out his first name. Charles "Clixby" Watson (1906-1964) was a prolific commercial illustrator who worked in pretty much all media. He did the bottom painting of the people in the street. I can't imagine what he could do to look more English in that photo.

The signature on the top painting is way harder to read.
think it's Kenneth McDonough, an artist who seems to have done mostly paintings of air combat. His era is right for this ad, and the style doesn't look very different. It's possible I got the name totally wrong, though. Anyone? Anyone?

Anyway again, below are both paintings from today's ad, reproduced for you in gorgeous 2,000 pixel width. The top one looks about right for use as a wallpaper on my smartyphone. It doesn't have a focal point or anything, which to me says "phone wallpaper". The bottom one is a squeaky-clean ethnocentric picture of imaginary London life, and is less appealing to me. People always muck up a painting by being in it.

Get your rude finger ready to right click these little slices of Anglocana onto your hard drive in three, two, one...
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Fil said...

Jeepers, that ad is sort of chilling. They really seemed to have had no reason for running it except to remind the consumer who held the cards, and they had better not forget it.
I imagine the electric company chaps behaving like Bill Hader and Fred Armisen in the 'Visiting the Queen' sketch on SNL.

BrainThought said...

Google Utilities?!? Perish the thought... Oh, but they sort of tried.

While not really a utility company, Google made a go of giving people utility meters. The Google PowerMeter, was an attempt to get people to understand the how-and-why of their electric bills. Few showed intrest though and even fewer utilities would 'play-ball' for obvious reasons. It went away September 16, 2011...

As for the electric company chaps, I always imagine them acting more like the phone company in this SNL sketch: http://www.hulu.com/watch/4163/saturday-night-live-ernestine

Fil said...

brainthought, I havent seen that sketch for... when did it come out?... probably that long.
Good pull!

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