1960 Plymouth Fury - A non-Neon.

The Automobiles and Convenyances editor dropped this on my desk this morning. It's an ad for a 1960 Plymouth Fury. I'd heard of them, but I hadn't seen one. I immediately shouted down to the workers on the floor to go buy us some presses and then stop them, because this Fury is going in today's post!
Christine was a '58 Fury, but this '60 is close enough, and she can haunt my dreams any night she wants to. What a way to go.

There's some really good B.S. in this ad. The "Dura-Quiet" body construction was not, I assure you, a collaboration between the brilliant engineering team of Mr. Dura and Mr. Quiet. This is when the product development team telephone the marketing department and tell them about the new thinking on body construction. "it should be a lot stronger and quieter than the old construction method, we think". Then, the clever people put their finger on their chin for almost an entire coffee break and come up with "Dura-Quiet", then go back to telling each other how clever they are for the rest of the year. Thanks guys. You're really earning your twelve grand a year, aren't you?

This supremely clever thread is still woven through the fabric of the automotive marketing industry. It's a rich tapestry of genius. You've seen the commercials for Auto Zone's house brand of car batteries, "Duralast"? Wow, guys. Really? "Duralast"? What are the names you turned down? "Last-O-Long", "Very-Last", "StrongZap", Last-O-Dur", "Dura-Dur", "Start-A-Much", "Nevr-Stop-Starting"? If the goal of the creative team is to think of names that your average mouth-breather would think up, why do we need to call you a creative team? I think I'm in the wrong business. This just in: average salary in the marketing industry is $63,000. I just coughed up seven product names that are just as retarded as "Duralast". I'd like my check sent to GO! Tower, #1, GO! Plaza, Chicago, Illinois, 60606060.

Jeez! Look at those ridiculous fins and headlight eyebrows! Look at the huge wraparound windows. This is a million years away from a Dodge Neon, the company's "low-price car" of forty years down the road. The Neon is famous in my mind for being the second most paint-falling-offest car ever made, after the 1992 Pontiac grand-Am. Progress. What a bummer.

Know what isn't a bummer? Free pictures of this car on a transparent background in two sizes. You know the drill. Big and small. Left and right. Click through the little ones here to get to the biggers. Get your rude fingers ready to right click them into your personal multicar pileup in three, two, one....

UPDATE: Looks like the slackers on the Photoshop and Blandishment squad were slacking off when they prepped these PNGs. I'll personally fix the missing windows in the left-facing versions and re-post tonight. Stay tuned.

UPDATE UPDATE: The windows have been fixed. Please grab the PNGs at will.


Pazo - Grill and bear it.

Hemorrhoid news now, from our long-time friends at Pazo! If you use Pazo, you'll be able to stand up again!
Apparently, every cartoon and sitcom I've ever seen has been wrong. Hemorrhoids make it hard to stand, possibly near a heat source. Good to know.

If you have trouble "down below", Pazo can help you out. And by "down below", I mean WAY down below. You know the place. Yes, your feet. Simply apply a bit of Pazo to the affected area and you'l' be back on your feet in no time.

Look at that happy gent, grilling up some.... some what? The grill is carefully arranged so that we can't see what's on the menu for our happy pedestrian. From this we can only assume that Pazo is also a good barbecue sauce. That's right. It's the only possible assumption we can make. if you don't like it, go and assume your own assumption! That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you move product and break into new markets. Pazo! It's what's for dinner!


Central Mutual Insurance - Tomorrowiness.

The Central Mutual Insurance company new a good thing when they saw it. Space was big stuff in 1957. All the world's scientists had nipple erections for the I.G.Y. project, and Russia's Sputnik was about to scare America into a trouser-moistening hysteria, motivating them to build Nasa in '58. What to do? Sell insurance.
"Tomorrow Minded". Tomorrow minded how? Did Central Mutual underwrite part of the government's efforts to put a coffee maker into orbit just so they could say they did it? Nope. They just want you to plan for The Future, and getting your attention with some spacey imagery is job one. Aah. Well, they made some nice art for their ad, at least.
America's first satellite would eventually be Explorer 1, pictured above. It was the symbol of America's tumescent excitement about space. Hands above the table please, gentlemen. If Nasa had been run by women, would Explorer have looked the same?

Here's a watercolor of Central Mutual's advertiser's hired artist's impression of a satellite, which you'll agree looks rather Sputniky. And why not? It was the only successful satellite at the time this ad ran. Note the safety tips on the ends of the antennae. We don't want to poke space's eye out. This would be the dominant American image of a satellite until the Space Shuttle program of The Seventies, which allowed every American to see video of satellites being placed into orbit. This revealed to everyone the fact that satellites from now on would look less like chrome basketballs and more like dishwashers. Progress.

And here's the super brilliant house that we all hoped to be living in. Some of us are still dreaming of owning a futuristic lair of such enviable coolness. Such crazy angles. Wantwantwantwant. But look at the little man next to the car. All the future in the world isn't going to help you remember where you left your keys. Maybe you left them in the solarium, where Bond will find them and escape with your wife and nonspecific sports coupe?

"I think I left it in drive."
Lastly, we bring you this watercolor astronaut, in the Michelin Man-style spacesuit that everyone imagined but nobody ever used. Note the two change makers on his breasts. He must be parking cars in orbit. Poor job he's doing of it, too. Look at the satellite. It's getting farther away with every orbit. You call THAT geosynchronous? You're off the mission. You can walk home. Maybe he's staring up at the satellite, wondering if his bubble helmet will be enough to protect him from the rather pointy parts, once it's unstable orbit brings it out near him? I hope he has Central Mutual. Pitching their services as "future minded", they'd better cover satellite-related injuries. Also some kind of joke about Laika, Russia, and coverage of "acts of dog". [Note to self: have an intern polish up this last paragraph into a delightful zinger.]

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Westinghouse Dry Cleaner - The first nice laundromat.

Our 1962 bureau sends us this otherwise boring Westinghouse ad featuring a really cool laundromat scene with a Jackie O simulant dry cleaning her miniskirt. If there was a laundromat this hip near me, I'd save up all my quarters and wash up my stinkables there, instead of in my own basement.
The walls look like they're covered with some kind of formica with aluminum strips between the panels. Those stripes are mighty cool, Jackie. No wonder you do your wash there. You're looking pretty good too. Back in '62, Jackie O was the shit, although I'm sure she'd want to hear about her having-it-going-on-ness described to her in different terms. Too bad, Jackie! I can't stash my cool just because you're a square who's married to a bigger square!

A heroic fella might have his crack team of Blandishment and Photoshoppery warriors make a special crop of the laundromat scene for use as a wallpaper on some kind of standard-ish 1024 x 768 computer monitor. So be it. There, now I am a hero.

Click for wallpaperable size. You're welcome.

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O Jackie....


Scripto Write Angle - Unclear on the term.

You know how you can tell when your shopping cart has a bent wheel? How the bent one flops around and never seems satisfied where it is? I think that's how it was to use the Scripto Write Angle pen, as seen in this 1962 ad. The tip is bent at an angle, presumably to make it easy on your wrist. It must have been a huge success, which is why everyone still uses them.
Oh wait. You don't use these? Well I don't. I thought you did. Go ask a few people. I'll wait.

No one? Hmm. That makes sense, because I'd never heard of it either.

When a shopping cart wheel bends, it's always the vertical spindle that allows the wheel to spin. That's what bends. When that spindle bends, it's no longer perfectly vertical, and the caster wheel is always forced by the weight of the cart to flop to the axle's lowest point. This Scripto Write Angle? Same thing. Unless the barrel of the pen is kind of fat and super grippy, the pressure of your hand will always cause the pen to try to flop over onto it's side. Imagine always having to look at your pen to see which way the tip is pointing. To the right? Well, it's time to shuffle your fingers around the pen to get it pointing down. Is your hand a little warm? Well, you'd better hope it doesn't get slightly sweaty, or you'll lose traction in your pen and it'll flop over onto it's side.

Gosh, this is the best pen I've ever used, and I'm not just meaning that, Mister Scripto Market research man. Can I stop writing now? Okay then, can I have a different pen? Okay then, please enjoy this Scripto Write Angle jammed into your temporal lobe. How's the angle feel now? I'll bite a hole in my finger and write in blood instead. It's less annoying.

If you're a Scripto collector and simply must have your own copy of this ad, you can run straight off to Ebay and buy one for five dollars. Or, you can just save the large version (below) of today's picture and print up your own copy, if that's what you're into. You're welcome, weirdo.

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Western Electric Trimline Phone - Convergence of technologies.

"Technological convergence" is the combination of devices through a kind of evolution. The most notable of which is the modern cellular telephone. Behold the first (or at least a first) baby step: the Trimline phone, by Western Electric.
You can probably find a cranky person who'll tell you that phones have gotten too complicated, and that they try to be too many things. Your phone has basically become a pocket computer. Sometimes, my desktop PC goes a week without me powering it on, because I can do email, listen to music or podcasts, mess with the web and, if I get desperate, talk to another human being with it.

There are things that phones aren't very successful at yet. Mine doesn't hold my entire music collection, which requires a minimum of 80Gb. But, it can hold an admirable amount of music... certainly more than I, strictly speaking, need to have with me at a given moment. I look forward to carrying a phone in my pocket that can accomodate a 128Gb micro SD card. Those are the ones that are the size of your pinky nail and pose a realistic inhalation threat, should you be brave enough to prize it out of your phone with a set of tweezers. The cell phone is pretty amazing. It is known.

Check it out. "Decorator colors, including new rust and chocolate brown." Brown is making a hideous comeback, people. Keep your eyes peeled for metallic brown paint on new model cars. I think I saw a brown Ford Fusion the other day. My eyes still feel like they didn't wipe thoroughly.

Back in 1980, Western Electric Trimline phone had the (apparently) boast-worthy feature of combining the keypad with the handset. I dimly recall using one for the first time and thinking it was pretty spiffy. Back in '80, you could probably find someone crabby enough to complain that the Trimline was "too fancy" and that phones should be simple like in the olden times, when you had to dial on the base, or better still, you had to crank the crank on the base and shout for Mabel to connect you with the Sheriff, if you heard someone rooting around in your coal shed late at night. Incidentally, this phrase can, even now, be quite suggestive if you work your eyebrows the right way upon utterance.

So, yeah. It's all relative. Combining the two halves of the same device was noteworthy in 1980, just as combining too many communications devices can be a frustration to some people today. For my next feat, I will augur the controversially combined technologies of The Distant Future. Let us remember that those who forget the future are doomed to do it anyway. Let's not forget to not combine the following...

Telephone and Hover-Skis

Telephone and Oscillation Overthruster

Telephone and Microwave Vibrator

Telephone and Nanoblimp

Telephone and Interocitor

Telephone and Trans-Cranial Bore

Telephone and Nuclear Pipe Organ

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Radio Shack TRS-80 - A "powerful", "expandable" "microcomputer".

 Aaah, the simple pleasure of laughing at computers of the past. Here's a wonderful page from Allied Electronics' (Yep! Still around.) catalog of 1977, the first year that Tandy's TRS-80 microcomputer was available. Who can resist the lure of a computer rendered as a woodcut in vivid black, white, and brown?
There it is, in all it's liney glory. The TRS-80 actually was pretty "micro" for the time. Remember that computers tended to be sofa-sized or larger back then. Read the impressive specs! Read them again because you're not used to seeing numbers that small! Then marvel at the bargain price of $600. For me, the most shocking number in the price breakdown is the monitor. $200 for a twelve inch monochrome CRT seems criminal to my spoiled eyes.

For those of you too young to recall, computers of this vintage stored their info on tape. For consumer units like the TRS-80, that meant cassettes. Yes, you'd put in a cassette and press "play" to run a program. This was cutting edge, people, believe it or not.

There's some nicely weird art in this ad. The Blandishment and Photoshop Squad has separated the dorky clip art guys and the TRS-80 "product shot" from the catalog for solo performances in whatever document, email, or ransom note you choose. Send your letters of gratitude to them here at GO! Tower. I'll be sure the recycle bin reads every word. get your rude fingers ready to right click some clunky computing onto your hard drive in three, two, one...

1000 px wide.
1000 px wide.

200 px wide.
200 px wide

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Chef Boy-Ar-Dee "pizza". Get thee gone, charlatan pizza!

Some more craptacular pizza-in-a-box news now, from our 1958 bureau! Reports say that - let's see here - Yep! Cheef Boy-Ar-Dee knew nothing about decent pizza in 1958!

This time, the offender is Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, presenting this kit to an unsuspecting public. Properly unpacked, mixed, rolled out and baked, it made a pizza that looked like the surface of a burn victim.  It was pretty much a dough disc with a smear of  sauce and a light dusting of cheese. Hold me back.

Every city has strong opinions about pizza. I imagine that most cities wish that Chicago would please shut the hell up about our pizza. I know Chicago is supposedly the deep dish pizza center of the world (and that's my preference) but everybody I know will eat thin crust too. There are plenty of good thin crust pizza places in Chicago. Every city I've been to has had really good pizza. It's not hard to make... for us here in The Future. Apparently in '58, they were still trying to crack the code.

This feeble offering from Chef Boy-Ar-Dee could go nine rounds with Appian Way in the battle of who could make the most wretched pizza. In later years, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee would go on to market greater crimes against humanity, but this ad comes to us from the early years of their pizza hate crimes. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Let us never forget.

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Little Ads - Secrets of beauty, wealth, and dolls.

A new cub reporter stationed in 1939 dropped these little ads on my desk this morning. They were originally published in Pictorial Review, a magazine targeted at housewives. It seems women are not to different from today. Their husbands don't let them control their own money, they seek secrets of eternal beauty, and they want to help ventriloquist dolls write poetry. Some things never change.

Secrets to beauty: 1) Smile 2) move the light from directly overhead to just behind the camera 3) don't be named "Eunice". I just saved you a dime. You're welcome.

You know how all husbands control the finances in the house and women wren't even allowed to see what money looks like? Me neither. I don't understand the headline of this ad. I do understand the appeal of stockings with a sofa in them. "Guaranteed hosiery... 9 months furnished." Where do I sign?

This ad isn't selling anything, and they're giving away Charlie McCarthy dolls to whoever sends in poetry suggestions for their limerick. It must be for a radio promotion or something. Or, more likely, once he had your address Charlie McCarthy would visit you in the night and murder the crap out of you. Everyone knows ventriloquist dummies are evil. My brother had one called "Willy Talk". His head was a three pound sphere of PVC that could knock out a pony if you got a good swing with it. If Charlie McCarthy is reciting poetry at me, I figure my number's up. He's not getting my address. He's freaking my shit right out.

 Or, more likely, once he had your address, Charlie McCarthy would visit you in the night and murder the crap out of you. Everyone knows ventriloquist dummies are evil. My brother had one called "Willy Talk". His head was a three pound sphere of PVC that could knock out a pony if you got in a good swing with it. If Charlie McCarthy is reciting poetry at me, I figure my number's up. He's not getting my address. He's freaking my shit right out. Jerry Seinfeld understands.


Driving dad.

Joke #1 - "You can let go of the wheel, dear. We crashed three minutes ago."

Joke #2 - Don really felt more relaxed and focused behind the wheel. It really was working. Maybe when
his promotion came through, they could have personal massagers installed in all the seats.

Joke #3 - Even in 1959, hybrid cars were mostly powered by the smugness of the driver.

Joke #4 - "Honey, your driving is so much smoother and somehow more determined. I think your new eyebrows are working!"

Joke #5 - Don seemed transfixed. He looked so peaceful. Shelly wished she could see what he could see. She also wished he could see the school bus they just drove through.

Joke #6 - Don was a different man now. Confident. In command. Even more virile. Shelly could see it, and so could little Darla. He felt reborn. Thank God for truck nuts.

Joke #7 - New breakthrough safety device will not allow car to start unless you have a healthy prostate.

Joke #8 comes from a long-time commenter by the name of Anonymous2. Thanks A2!Although she tried her hardest to humor him, Ellen still couldn't hear or see the Little Rascal "Darla Hood" Ken said haunted the backseat of thier Plymouth. She'd just smile and say "Yes, Dear". Ken decided today was the day Ellen was going to meet her.

[Commenter jokes will be added to the post.    -Mgmt.]


Rath Thick-Sliced Bacon - Artery pron.

I'm not in on the "yay bacon" internet fad. I'm also not in on calling every fad a "meme". Richard Dawkins coined the term to describe cultural ideas and practices that live or die by their own merit, like organisms. A fad is a fad.

Still, there are those who are still shaking tambourines and blowing horns on the bacon bandwagon. I attribute this partly A) to the mischievous fun of liking something that runs contrary to what your doctor tells you, and B) to the tribal motivation of doing whatever your ingroup counterculture says you should do. For you guys, here is some bacon pronography. Enjoy.

Lest you forget, (unspoiled) cooked meat generally has two colors- red and yelllow. The red part is muscle tissue, and the yellow part is fat. I cannot believe how much of this bacon is pure fried fat.

This ad is a classic sales strategy for products that have limited range. Bacon is for breakfast, and Rath wants you to eat it for every meal. So, they launched this campaign to try and help their customers to get over their breakfast-only mental block. Thanks guys.

As a side note, it's a little odd that whoever lives in the cabin in this picture (for not much longer, I bet), doesn't seem concerned about hygienic food preparation. The breakfast is on a plate. The piggy-blanket whatchacallems are on a plate. The tomato slice is lying on the table. Oh! Wait! That's not a single slice. Now that I look clisely, the contour of the underside of the tomato shows us that it's half a tomato, not just a slice. That's a little better, I guess. I would be more likely to place a tomato directly on the table than a watery tomato slice. Still a little weird, though.

Here's a breakfast that I painted a million years ago at one of my old jobs. The boss didn't use it. Fine with me. Into the portfolio it goes.
The bacon in my breakfast painting is mostly fat, too, but it's still leaner than the Rath product shot. If you're painting bacon, you'd better have some obvious stripes of fat running through it, or people will assume it's ham. This is in accordance with Phil's Rule of Painting: people don't question a photograph, but a piece of art must match their expectations and assumptions, whether or not they are accurate or naturalistic. Now that I look at this painting for the first time in a long time, I realize that my parsley (which actually looks more like broccoli), has no shadow underneath it. I should have at least darkened the are under it a little bit. As it is, it looks like it's floating. That can't be right. Have you priced hoverbroccoli these days? I can't even afford to paint that stuff. Ah well. I don't think I'll be going back into the piece to fix it. Gotta move on.

Better to paint it than to eat it... unless it's on a club sandwich. I can't say no to a nice club, and once in a while a little bacon's not gonna kill me any sooner. And also, in a club sandwich, it doesn't leave a greasy film on my mouth, and I don't have to look at those hideous yellow fat stripes.

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