Treet Safety Razor Blades - Conspicuous vintage.

Today I stormed in to the P.A.G. offices as usual and found this ad for Treet razor blades on my desk. It made me go "ha ha ha" because anybody can take one look and identify it as coming from The Thirties.
Click for big.
It's just barely from The Thirties (1939), but in accordance with my Theory of Decade Lag, it's well within the bounds of Thirties-ness.

The Theory of Decade Lag, which is to say that it is mine, and that I have it, and that I formed it, and so it is my theory, states the following: Any decade does not begin to form it's own identity for at least two years. Watch a movie from 1981, and it looks like The Seventies. Watch a TV show from 1992 and it looks like its from The Eighties. With rare exceptions, I think you'll agree this is true.

So, yeah, the cartoon in this ad has The Thirties all over it. Terrytoons, Merrie Melodies (produced by Warner Bros.), and Fleischer Studios had their heyday in The Thirties, and the look of their cartoons typifies cartoons from the era. Round, bubble-like cheeks, big, doll-like eyes with huge pupils, and an affinity for tight, curly linework stand out as characteristics of this time.

One of the panels from this cartoon could be useful as clip art: the middle one with the man chatting up the misses. Look how shiny his face is! See those lines? Here it is, presented for your right-clicky pleasure, cropped and 'shopped to get rid of the ad copy. Click through for the big one. You're welcome.
Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Here are some FaceTube videos of 1930's cartoons, for those who demand evidence of Thirtiesness. Please enjoy.


Steve Miller said...

Mr Shiny Head certainly looks like those newspaper cuts for various trades -- butcher, baker, auto repair guy -- but Miss Interested (left, with red hair) brings to mind Bette Davis. whose buggy eyes were so prominent someone had to write a song about them.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

You're right, Steve. Weird thing is, if I were to try and mimic this (deceptively simple) cartoon style, I'd have to concentrate really hard. There are a lot of visual cues that the original artist probably took for granted, but a contemporary cartoonist would have to try and learn them all in order to pull off the look.

Thanks, for reading, Steve!


MrsBug said...

I was going to argue about the Merrie Melodies heyday (I think it's the 40s), but after seeing those two clips...well, I think you've pegged it.

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