There's a reason for this picture, and I'll explain it tomorrow. No, I'm not there.

I am busy, however. I'm tempted just to run the Lorem Ipsum so can guess which generator I'm using this year for placeholder copy:

Something incredible is waiting to be known shores of the cosmic ocean billions upon billions intelligent beings white dwarf radio telescope? Astonishment as a patch of light the sky calls to us Sea of Tranquility great turbulent clouds a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam?

And so on. It's a Carl Sagan generator. I suppose billions upon billions gave it away. I still don't quite know why that was a catch phrase intended to inspire recognition and familiar amusement. It w as a statement of fact. Might have been the way he pronounced his Bs.

Imagine being a fine scientist and in the end you're remembered for the way you swallowed your Bs.




I have Disney+ for "The Mandalorian," and am amusing myself with the vast catalog of other stuff. Reminding myself that the quantity of meh in the Star Wars movie greatly exceeds the good moments, although "Mando" ups the game so well you get angry that the people responsible for the movies made such a hash of it.

On a whim I called up “Jungle Book,” which I remember anticipating keenly when 9. I had the soundtrack. Saw it at the Towne Theater, probably. I had a scrapbook in which I pasted newspaper items of note, and I recall that I saved the ads - the Coming Soon, the Here Now, the diminishing sized ads that said last week, the one-line that said last day. There was something bereft when the movie you liked left the theater.

Because it was never coming back.

The animation, compared to what was, and what would be, isn’t impressive by either standard, but it was what I grew up with.

What fascinates me now: the voices. I know I’ve mentioned this before, and it’d nothing particularly unusual, but we children had no idea that these voices had connotations for our parents we couldn’t grasp. Just as the kids who saw “Wizard of Oz” never saw Glinda the Good Witch as anything but.

I mean: Louis Frickin’ Prima. Phil Harris! George Sanders - it’s all perfect casting. And they all belonged to my parents, not to me, but because I didn't know their history, they belonged to me.

(five minutes woolgathering, resulting in a slight change of topic)

If my dad was still alive I would ask: why did you have the Danny Kaye version of “the Thing” instead of the Phil Harris version? I doubt he’d be able to supply an answer, which is the difference between us; I could muster a convincing explanation for such a meaningless question, even if I didn’t know why, because making such distinctions is the sort of thing on which you hang your identity, you know. It may seem absurd to the Youth of Today, but whether you were an Elvis Costello person or a Rupert Holmes person said everything. Might not Harris v. Kaye be the same?

The Kaye version is less rote, and has better mimicry, but the Harris version has Phil’s braggadocio and straight-ahead style that made him justly popular. Kaye acts the role better; the arrangement is more interesting.

Also, he opens the box.

Adam West covered it and he shouldn’t have done that

About the composer:

In the late 60s, much of his success came from working with Leonard Nimoy, for whom he produced and wrote a great portion of Nimoy's music.

In 1969 he reached the charts as a performer, with his group, the Charles Randolph Grean Sounde, doing a version of Robert Cobert's "Quentin's Theme" from Dark Shadows.

Anyway. Now I hear Phil Harris a few times a month when I catch an old Jack Benny show. My grandfather loved Jack Benny; my dad ran a Texaco station during the time when Jack did ads for the brand. Now I watch the Baloo the Bear scenes and I don’t hear a bear, I hear Phil Harris in a studio.

But Woody and Buzz are Woody and Buzz. Go figure.




It’s 1918, and you can really start to see modern ad culture take form. The ads are still too wordy, but they’re much more sophisticated than 1908. The pitches are subtler. The artifice is more concealed. The days of saying “Buy This Soap For It is Good Soap” are gone. Now, sometimes we don’t even know what they’re selling - at first.
If you’re drawn to this and make it all the way through, you associate the axles with the solidity of the American banking system. On the other hand, it seems a bit much to expect anyone to read it. A glance at the image and the biggest line of copy is enough.
Meanwhile, in the Sex Sells department:



How long did that slogan stay around? Decades. Timeless. Can’t be improved upon. Did they improve upon it? No.
There’s a question no man will answer in the affirmative.

Read the copy - it sets forth the evening’s diversions in a very specific way. "Good Dinner - brisk walk, just enough footage to lead you there in time for the feature. Check to make sure it's a Paramount or Artcraft picture - ask the box-office man - seat in the 12th row, on the side. Fine. The star you lke - a foremost star, directed by a master hand in a clean, worth-while story."

One of the brands is still with us, and in fact I just paid money the other day to see some its work. 102 years later.

Why, it’s Auntie Witch come to see the new baby! You’re not so bad. Momma says you’re evil and hate her and want to bring Momma paint but I think y0u’re nice. What did you say? Do I miss the days before Baby came? Wellllllll . . . yes, I guess I do. But there’s nothing I can do about that.

What did you say, Auntie Witch? What did you say? Auntie, that’s wrong!

But can you? Can you really?

The use of the newspaper picture with the rips and thick drop shadow is brilliant. I don’t know who was the first.
It uses an appeal to another authority, in this case the newspaper, which isn’t reviewing the product - that would be just more booshwa - but showing in real life how the product was revered.
This ad, on the other hand, must have looked stiff and hokey compared to the other illustrations. Judging from the house in the distance, dad’s uniform job pulls in quite a good amount of hay.
It’s such a specifically rendered house - it has two windows at an angle to indicate the location of the staircase. Either the artist was drawing something he saw out his own window, or that was a house that meant something to him.
The fragrant Butter-kist angel proclaims the verdict: SUCCESS!


“AMERICA’S NEW INDUSTRY,” it says, even though the machines had been around for 20 years. Hard to argue, though. Who doesn’t like popcorn?

Finally: look who was picking up a few extra dollars doing an ill for Mr. Punch.

Knocked it off over lunch. That's our Clare.


That'll do; see you around.



blog comments powered by Disqus