From Shorpy



The sun didn’t come out; the sun is like a friend who owes you money. That was fine, I suppose; we’re used to that.. There was a chill in the air, of course, but rain was predicted, and rain kills snow. It melts it away with clinical efficiency.

Then the weather app - the Yahoo! one; it’s very pretty and has plenty of information displayed with admirable clarity that doesn’t sacrifice utility for graphical ingenuity or vice versa - said that the rain would change to snow.



This was not entirely unexpected, since the temp was slated to go below 32.

Then it said the accumulations would be five to nine inches.



Hey, any excuse to play with this new GIF builder program. I read somewhere that people argue over the pronunciation of GIF. Hard G, or choosy-mothers-choose soft G? The former, of course. The G stands for Graphical. So there. You don't say Jirafical Image File. No, you want a G as hard as an Audrey Totter Glare.


Well. Thank you all for buying the book. I do not feel foolis for trying this out, and will do more. I took some of the money and turned it right back into the website: bought some matches. I used the eBay app, which ticks down the remaining time right there in your hand. Waited until the last 10 seconds, and BOOM. BID. Slid right in there and won the entire shebang.

The tension would have been greater if there'd been another bidder, I suppose. But for all I knew there were several others doing the same - hanging, waiting, and when I appeared as the high bidder with three seconds left to go, they could do nothing but sputter in a hopeless futile rage.

Hmm, there has to be an old movie clip for that. Something comes to mind; let's see if I can find it.




The Citizen Kane trailer, of course. I won a bottle of champagne on a ship by recognizing that guy.

I've set these to stop looping after 20 times, because they're just too distracting. Reload if you'd like to see them again.

Anyway: Thanks to everyone who chipped in. Of course there's still time ; it's not going anywhere.





Okay, one more. Jack Webb. It's great!





And now, we completely change the design style of the site, and go back to our usual subjects.



I love this.



Not for the ad itself, which isn't particularly interesting, but the details.

Don't move, Sachel Boy! Stare at the bread untol the nice photographer man says you can movie.



The bread wasn't a Wonder. It was a Marvel. It was dated:



Imagine how her terror was replaced with the flood of relief when the kidnappers took off the blindfold and said "that represents your previous state of bread purchasing!" All was forgiven when she realized the bread was dated fresh daily.




Monarch still exists, but as of this writing their website redirects to the Brazilian version of the Google home page. Makes sense. A cached version shows a rather ordinary site, but you learn that they sell Nesbitt’s in other markets. Really. I loved Nesbitt’s as a kid. Haven’t seen it in years. The site says:

Nesbitt’s, a long time consumer favorite soda brand, has a multidecade history in the US and abroad. Nesbitt's Orange soda was first bottled in 1938. Marilyn Monroe modeled for the brand in 1946; it was the official orange soda of Disneyland between 1955 and 1960, and it is purported to have been an Elvis Presley favorite. The Monarch Beverage Company acquired the brand in 1997 and maintains the international rights to the trademark, US rights have been sold to Big Red, Ltd.

They also make Kickapoo Joy Juice, and there’s a story. First of all, that’s another drink I haven’t seen in a long time. (Only available online, it seems.)

Kickapoo Joy Juice® is described in Al Capp’s comic strip Li’l Abner® as “a liquor of such stupefying potency that the hardiest citizens of Dogpatch, after the first burning sip, rose into the air, stiff as frozen codfish.” A more palatable version of the tonic is offered by Monarch with a light and sweet citrus flavor complemented by ginger notes.

The label uses Hobo.

Now then: KickapooJoy Juice was brought out in 1965 by Nu-Grape, which was eventually folded into Monarch when the companies merged with Moxie. (That’s right: Moxie, one of the greatest brand names ever, disappeared into Monarch.) Mountain Dew went national in 1964. The two looked the same, had green bottles with hillbillies. Joy Juice was a rip-off of Mountain Dew, in other words. Kickapoo used Li'l Abne yokels, which no doubt they thought would give it a leg up over the Dew team's lack of backstore. Didn't work out that way.

Seems a long way from the girl drinking pure juice from enormous fruits pierced by helpful self-aware rabbits.



Apparently motor oil used to have wax. That would be just great for those cold early mornings.


Havoline preceded Texaco. It was the product of the Havemeyer Oil Company, which was founded by John Havemeyer in 1901. The company lasted 8 years before it was purchased.

A 1900 Yonkers Church director lists the Havemeyer family living at 360 North Broadway:



I’m bet that’s the original wall. The steps are so narrow, the plot stretches to the corner, the apartment buildings are crappy 70s structures. I’ll bet it was all one big house, and the Havemeyers were doing okay prior to the invention of Havoline. Let’s see what the Google tells us. . .

It tells me I’m wrong. But not by much. I found an old map and picture of the place. The northern part of the block was someone else's house. The Havemeyer pile was used as a resort for a few years, and then down it went. Havemeyer’s father - John C - must have left a pile, because he was a sugar refiner, local businessman, and son of a man who was mayor of New York for three terms.

So I imagine they did okay. That sugar business, by the way, controlled over half the sugar sold in America. Made something called Domino sugar - which, if poured in a gas tank, ruins the engine the Havoline lubricates.

One of the Havemeyer daughters married an heir to the Vanderbilt fortune, and collected art that formed the basis for the Shelbourne museum. She doesn't seem to have had any children; what became of the line I don't know.

But Havoline is still around.




My dad would refer to underwear as Skivvies, and I always thought it was a Navy term. It was a brand name.



Let's compare and contrast. 1945 or so:



And a late 50s redesign:



"New Flavor Blend" sounds scientific, which was a good thing. Who wants one simple boring flavor, when you can have blended flavors specially selected for the most margarine satisfaction money can buy? The letters are jaunty and friendly, and jump up and down as if eager to please and excited by the new blend. It's not the best package from the era - it's almost as if everything from that era was close, but not quite there. They were taking the old models apart. No road map. And it would only get worse.

This is one of the reasons "Mad Men" fascinates me - it's not the plots, really. It's a soap. Take away the era and the look of the show, and the advertising milieu, and it's just a soap. Add the set direction, and it's a soap in costume dress, something that appeals to people who get a certain tingle when they encounter artifacts from that Distant Golden Age still in place. Of course, it's Golden mostly because its contours and shapes and colors and materials remind the target audience of their own footie-jammie age. It's nostalgia for something never experienced as an adult, which is the most unreliable variety of an untrustworthy emotion.

As it heads towards the 70s, you see how advertising is changing - as I wrote in the work blog, there were two different approaches to the Ketchup Pitch, the conceptual and the literal. Both were good. But both were missing the effervescent brio of the 50s advertisments, the carefree confidence, the illustrated fairy-tales of domestic life, the carefully staged photographs from Rob-and-Laura-Petrieville. Ads got stark and bold - catchphrase, picture, whitespace.

Ads started to be about ads, and that's when they got worse. I have 60s Life magazines, and they're just dreary compared to the journals of the 50s.








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