Typically, this podcast will be about antiques, vintage, & collectibles (with plenty of contextual history & culture commentary), but this second episode has a lot to do with gender, so I am linking it up here. It’s under 3 minutes long, but if you prefer to read it, you can do so here.
Curtis Howe Springer was a self-proclaimed medical doctor and Methodist minister, though he was licensed for neither.
A popular radio evangelist, Curtis Springer eventually “created” space in California’s Mojave Desert dubbing his settlement, the “spa,” and the ensuing miracle cure products “Zzyzx” (pronounced, according to his products, “zi-zix”) as a gimmick to ensure that the brand would be “the last word” in health.
He called himself “the last of the old-time medicine men”- the American Medical Association called him “the King of Quacks” in 1969.
A few years later, he & his cult-like followers would be called out for squatting – swapping Federal lands for government prison.
Sharing this because I have a fascination for medical quackery… And I’ve just listed an empty can of Zzyzx for a friend on eBay – and all this research can-not go to waste!
For posterity, B-Plus was a “scientific blend” of “delicious basic foods in a dry or dehydrated form.” Which, according to the can’s wrapper was “the bulk equivalent of 1,000 Ten Grain tablets.” This is important, because the Springers believed “certain values” were “lost in the compression of tablets.”
Can features a number of graphics, including images of Curtis & his second wife, Helen, and the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Resort.
This old advertising tin of medical quackery stands approximately 5 1/2 inches tall, 4 inches in diameter.
A “Helen Springer Product, Basic Food Products, Baker, California.”
Reposting this from another site (as I will be deleting that old thing) – in light of my conflicted desires about seeing the new Natalie Wood documentary – which, sadly, was in the press at the same time as coverage of Kirk Douglas’ death, and the rape that Robert Downey Jr. is supposed to have outed (tho it wasn’t really a secret).
It takes me a while to get around to reading all the magazines laying around our house. Not just the vintage ones, but the new ones that keep arriving. Normally I wouldn’t be so keen to mention the belated reading of a story that’s already made the rounds on the Internet at the end of last year, but this one struck me.
In the December 26, 2011/January 2, 2012 issue of Newsweek, Nancy Collins covers the mysterious death of Natalie Wood. The story is “newsworthy” because the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has decided to reopen the case of Natalie’s drowning death based on new testimony from several witnesses, including that of the actress’ boat’s captain, Dennis Davern who published a book about Wood’s death, Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour (2009).
I remember being in high school when Natalie’s body was found on November 29, 1981. I knew little of Natalie then. I had only recently discovered her in a TV viewing of Westside Story, and, like most everyone, had fallen in love with her as Maria. In my state of youth, however, I did not quite consider her “old” at the age of 43 — perhaps because she was still the vivacious Maria in my mind. Even then I was not a celeb-hound and did not read the myriad of publications making money off her death, and so I was not bombarded with other images of an older Natalie Wood.
All of this makes me slightly odd, I’m sure.
But I do remember being not only sad at her death, but feeling a certain mistrust, a certain suspicion of an accidental drowning.
It was rather a haunting feeling. Something that’s stuck with me all these years and had me reading the article in Newsweek. But never enough to prompt me to turn detective or anything; plus, my detective skills fall into the research category and as the death was ruled accidental, my skills wouldn’t turn up anything new really…
So, reading this article was rather like hearing about Natalie Wood’s death for the first time. This time, having seen more of her films than Westside Story, I knew more about the woman, the actress. But the details in this article were news to me.
For example, I never knew that Christopher Walken had been on that boat that fateful night. Not that I knew who Walken was back then. (I’ve never said I was cool — either as a child or now.) And it was sort of odd to imagine them, Wood and Walken, as contemporaries.
It was also odd to imagine Robert Wagner as he’s depicted in this article… He was one of the Harts in Hart To Hart, and he and Stefanie Powers both had seemed tragic for their losses. A more mature me realizes that all these things can be true, can be motive; but they need not be either.
I really have no ideas on the accident Vs. murder angle. Either is just as plausible.
And I agree intellectually with the points of tragedy and age brought up by Nancy Collins in her recent article.
But what strikes me most of all about all of this is the fact that celebrity and death continue to equal profit in publishing.
This means that Collins, the writer, and I, the paying consumer who reads (and continues to write herself), are perpetuating the tragedies involved, aren’t we?
What is it about beauty, glamour, talent, death, and tragedy that captures humans so? When they are combined, they create some sort of alchemy that’s nearly impossible to deny.
The lives, loves, and losses of these famous people are exaggerated versions of things in our own lives, and the drama does more than intrigue — it creates a shared sense of nostalgia in which we can each experience our own sorrows and joys in a more distant way which may be disconnected from our own pain but also connects us to one another.
For these reasons, stories are powerful, popular and even positive. But when one takes them too far, when one forgets that Natalie was a real person and so her death was real to her and all who love(d) her, and pursues the subject with a fascination which removes the dignity from the souls involved, we are perverse. And this includes the media which banks on such attentions.
So no, I won’t seek to consume all media coverage of the newly re-opened Natalie Wood case; I won’t set any newsfeeds or searches, scan tabloids at the grocery store, etc. But when these stories appear in the publications and news shows I am already reading and watching, I likely will continue to watch… With a sense of respectful guilt to monitor my level of fascination.
In the 1920’s and 30’s, a boy dreamed of owning a horse, and of being a writer. Encouraged by his high school teacher, he wrote every night after dinner for an hour. He worked on his book through high school and continued as an undergrad at college.
In 1940, his book was finished, and Random House was going to publish it. The editor told the author, “Don’t figure on making any money writing children’s books.” The author disagreed, saying “If you can write a book that will interest children you can make a living.”
His first book was an instant hit when it appeared in 1941, and it developed it into a series — even a fan club. This series has sold over a hundred million copies in the last 60 years, and even inspired several feature-length films in recent years. The author had proved his point well.
The Black Stallion was so successful, that Farley had enough financial security to quit school and travel around the world. Though flooded with an avalanche of requests for sequels to his book, being drafted into the service during WWII to work as a government reporter during the war, prevented the release of the next book. A few years later, he met & married his wife, and he settled down. Because of the success with the first book, Farley wanted to write full time, and told his editor of his desire. This was the response from Louise Bonino, Farley’s editor, in a letter dated February 8, 1945:
“Your desire to devote yourself exclusively to writing after the war is perfectly natural, but I know of only one writer of teenage books who has managed to come pretty close to what you’re after. Even he admitted to me once that if he were to depend on book royalties alone, he wouldn’t be able to support his family. The last thing in the world I’d want to do would be to crush an extremely worthwhile ambition, but I would feel remiss both as a friend and as a publisher if I didn’t caution you to do some careful arithmetic before you decide to burn your bridges.”
In October of 1945 the wartime restrictions on publishing were lifted and Farley released his second book, The Black Stallion Returns, to immediate success. Soon the royalties were enough that the Farleys had no concerns about making ends meet.
I have no doubts about the editors’ sincerity in their cautious statements — I’ve made similar statements myself to authors from time to time. (Heck, I’ve even pondered if we’ll make a living being publishers.) But Farley is an inspiration.
When speaking in classrooms, libraries & at book fairs, Farley often shared his philosophy that you can make a living doing what you love best, or doing something related to it. He took his two loves, writing & horses, and put them together with hard work, making his dreams a reality. Along the way, he inspired countless readers, certainly some horse owners, many authors, more than a few filmmakers — and he inspired this publisher.
At the time of his death, Farley had received over 500,000 letters from fans, and his books remain popular generations later. It’s a wonderful legacy for an author. But Waler Farley the man has an even larger legacy: one of imagination and inspiration for all.
“I don’t think kids are encouraged to use their imaginations,” said Farley. “Imagination can help you reach into the heavens to grasp an idea, bring it down to earth, and make it work.”
Now those are words to live by, to write by, and yes, to publish by.
NOTE: This is a rerun or “classic” post I am resurrecting from an old dead site ;)
In 1885, W. Duke & Sons inserted “sexy” trading cards of actresses in their packages of Duke’s Cigarettes. This act is said to have led to Duke’s becoming the leading cigarette brand by 1890. Widely heralded as the birth of sex in advertising, i,e. the use of images of women in ads without any connection to the product being sold, these trade cards have led to many a scholastic “sex sells” advertising paper.
While the photographs of actresses seem rather tame to us today, the photographs on the trading cards were considered “lascivious” by some. Complaints even led to James Buchanan “Buck” Duke being advised, via letter, by his father Washington Duke to cease use of such images “as an inducement to purchase” — for fear the immoral “mode of advertising will be used and greatly streghten [sic, “strengthen”] the arguments against cigarettes in the legislative halls of the States.”
Did the use of lascivious ladies on the tobacco trading cards help to make Duke the most popular cigarette brand?
But not entirely for the reasons one thinks.
It would be folly to overlook the other factors involved in Duke’s success. Such as Buck Duke’s ingenious idea to use a small cardboard insert, printed with a series of themed images (ranging from life tips and birds, to flags and Civil War heroes) along with the brand name. These cards were a completely new way of advertising tobacco and cigarettes, and they stiffened both the boxes and cigarette sales. Then too, Duke was the only large tobacco manufacturer to take a chance on the imperfect Bonsack machine – which, once perfected, cut the cost of cigarette manufacturing in half. And there’s also the fact that tycoon Buck Duke merged the five largest tobacco companies in America to form the American Tobacco Company in 1890. But even that doesn’t give the full picture.
To get a clearer picture, one has to look at the times in fuller context.
By the 1890s, use of female celebrities was already a powerful marketing gimmick. It began by using the more “mature” theatre actresses, those in their 30s and 40s, as spokespersons. Some, such as Julia Marlow, even had products made in their names.
But as opera and motion pictures were deemed more legitimate, younger famous performers were also used to sell — and to sell to women. For in fact, female celebrities were not only beautiful, and so used to motivate everyday men and women to purchase, but everyday women themselves were used to legitimize and make palatable such “unsavory” enterprises as the nickelodeon and motion pictures themselves. (No small surprise then, that women would become the biggest draws in entertainment.) In placing women on trading cards and other advertising pieces, women were also used to make the whole notion of smoking acceptable and even desirable in two ways.
The first, likely, was the use of the iconic American Girl imagery to made smoking — especially the brands using the images — not only the popular thing to do, but the acceptable thing to do. As Bergeret wrote in Vanity Fair (April, 1915):
She [the American Girl] incarnates the spirit of her nation; she is the living ideal, the only adornment of a country that, without her would be a veritable cave of Alberic, a black and smokey dollar-forge. It is true, too, that the United States owe her all they possess of art, of good breeding, of humanity… she is the standard-bearer of American ideas and products over all Europe.
And, in 1889, in Jonathon and His Continent: Rambles Through American Society, Max O’Rell would describe the American Girl as follows:
No matter how much of a butterfly she may be, she never loses sight of the future. She does not say, as she sits musing on marriage: “What kind of man shall I suit?” but “What kind of man shall I choose.”
Showing American Girls, however attractive, was less about sex than it was about being appropriate, being the upstanding sort that would marry and carry on in the best American way.
The second path was all about selling directly to women themselves. While not completely culturally acceptable, women were using tobacco and smoking at this time — and even earlier. Corporations no doubt sought to court females directly as consumers for their tobacco products, using female celebrities as they had been with other products for women.
None of this precludes a primal male reaction to the sight of a beautiful woman; lascivious or not, men will be, well, men. And too often women are too quick to call them on it. However, to see all advertisements, tobacco or otherwise, at this time or now, as purely sexual is to underestimate the importance of just how the female form figures into shifts in culture — and, indeed, the historical purchase power of women themselves.
For example, this 1871 packaging for Pearl cigarettes is often called “the earliest known use of sex in advertising.” But isn’t it at least equally possible it was just using the already classic beauty of the Venus de Milo? “Lascivious” is in the mind of the viewer. Or collector.
I spotted this pair of vintage crochet (or knitted?) potholders at one of the local antique shops and I had to go back to snap a pic of it because it drove me that nuts. I know it’s a small thing, a petty thing — and, since this about little underthings, perhaps a petty-coat thing, but the fact that “his” is embroidered on the “men’s underwear” but only “her” is embroidered on the pair of “lady’s bloomers” just, well, gets my panties in a bunch. It should be “His” and “Hers.”
Also, underthings as pot holders just makes me feel like it’s all about negative body issues…
Whether or not “you’re with her,” you have to recognize the historical step of Hillary Clinton becoming the first female presumptive presidential nominee for a major U.S. political party. However, she was not the first woman to run for president. Rachel Maddow covered the titillating news (and nervous giggling that ensued) when other women ran for president of the United States of America. Maddow’s coverage includes vintage news clips reporting on Maine Senetor Margaret Chase Smith’s run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1964 and when Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American congresswoman from New York State, ran for Democratic presidential nomination in 1972.
Thankfully, there were no advertisements, real or parody, featuring any of the candidates in their underthings. A sign of minimal respect, perhaps. But then, the Maidenform “I Dreamed I won the election” ad from 1958 must have brought many a chuckle & guffaw. (More on the classic vintage lingerie ad series here & here.)
Donald Trump may pretend to be a Bible-toting evangelical with his “two Corinthians” bit, but he has more in common with Bible-thumping Ted Cruz than some may have realized. Both patriarchal fools have appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer for alleged sex scandals — cheating on their wives, to be precise.
I’m sure by now you’ve read all about the #CruzSexScandal. While The Daily Beast reports such tales of Cruz’s cheating have been peddled for months, one must remember that sometimes the Enquirer gets it right. Even if you go by the old idea that if you throw enough things you’ll find something that sticks, the publication was also right about Trump’s affair with Marla Maples.
Since this past survey of cheaters at Ashley Madison suggests that evangelicals are the least faithful when it comes to spouses, perhaps that all plays to the evangelical base anyway.
…Then again, it seems evangelicals are always ready to cast the first stone — even if they are the most repressed and tend to be anti the things they themselves cannot control, like alcohol and sex. (That last one is why they are so anti-abortion — it’s all about women’s sexual autonomy.) That’s one of several things (like fake women bots) we can learn from the whole Ashley Madison hack & ensuing debacles.
Image Credits: 1993 National Enquirer signed by Donald Trump & Marla Maples (& Vanna White) via eBay — current price: $150.
When discussing political collectibles, there are the strange, and then there are the tacky. And in my opinion, little is tackier than Nixon.
You know, I say this with affection, as I am collector of Nixon items and oddities.
Nixon naughtiness is out there, and I must have it.
Since those first purchases, I’ve kept my eyes open for more Nixon items.
“Yes Nixon, No Jelly,” a tab from a candy company to promote their ‘Peanut Butter No Jelly’ candy bar during the campaign. It is interesting to note that the candy bar, like the President, is no longer… I imagine more folks miss the candy bar.
Yes, there was a matching McGovern one too, but I like mocking Nixon — & I have quite the Anti-Nixon collection to prove it! *neener neener*
There are a few reasons why Nixon is so easy to mock. One’s the man himself. The other is that Watergate changed the way we looked at our politicians and leaders. With this new awareness, or cynicism, Nixon spawned more ‘stuff’ than you can imagine.
When looking for Nixon collectibles, I recommend this book by Eldon Almquist, who once ran the Nixon Collector’s Organization: The Political Collectibles of Richard M. Nixon.
The Just Not Sorry extension, which is downloadable at the Chrome app store, underlines self-demeaning phrases like “I’m no expert” and qualifying words like “actually” in red in Gmail like they’re spelling errors. Hover your mouse over the red words, and you’ll see explanatory quotes from women like Tara Mohr (“‘Just’ demeans what you have to say. ‘Just’ shrinks your power.”) and Sylvia Ann Hewlett(“Using sorry frequently undermines your gravitas and makes you appear unfit for leadership.”). Reiss and her team also drew inspiration from business writer Lydia Dishman and a comic by artist Yao Xiao on why “thank you” is more effective than “sorry.”
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.slate.com
May just try this to see how often I am making these errors…
Sourced through Scoop.it from: salsa4.salsalabs.com
Surprise, some men are on the list.
If you must know, I voted for Margaret Cho.
All I know about this vintage photo is what the seller notes:
a vintage & original 1963 gelatin silver publicity photograph promoting “The Obscene Couch” featuring “Lovely Karen.” Karen is lovely indeed as she shows off her curvaceous beach body and wild, mod blonde hair. This film was also known as “The Oblong Couch” and was eventually released under the title “Saucy Aussie.” An exciting film artifact and interesting in the fact that all publicity images advertised Lovely Karen yet she appears nowhere in the credits of the film. Starring role went to Sheree Steiner and the production company went on to make a few other sexploitation films such as “Wild Hippie Orgy.”
Measures 8″ x 10″ with margins on a glossy, single weight paper stock.
While the “Lovely Karen” isn’t quite in the buff (at least not here), I’m thinking fans of nudies also know their sexploitation films. And I’m hoping buffs of in-the-buff can share what they know…
For those of you who love Vera Francis, here’s another vintage photograph of the nearly forgotten & neglected African-American actress.
From the 1950s, this photo features Francis in what is called “a Southeast Asian view” of costuming.
Publicity from MGM’s 1955 film The Prodigal, in which Vera played an “Indian Girl.”
Measures 10″ x 8,” on a single weight glossy paper stock.
A vintage gold plated golf tee in the shape of a women’s nude body. The seller says it’s circa 1960s and, in case you don’t actually have the balls to use this on the golf course, this risque tee will arrive with a bunch of golf balls.
Americans are obsessed with breasts. Not just looking at them, judging them, but controlling and legislating them. Like the old “children should be seen and not heard,” there are rules about just how, when, and why breasts are exposed. In public and in private. Even if those breasts are doing the most natural thing in the world: feeding babies. According to the “seen but not heard” societal law, the sucking sounds of an infant clearly ought to be held against the child — except that mothers are blamed for everything, including the soft but necessary noises of a nursing infant.
But we all know it’s not the noises thing that bothers people so. It’s the sight of a nipple. Even the fear of seeing a nipple outrages folks. Sadly, we are not winning this fight for the right to bare our breasts. But Robyn and Michelle Lytle, a Chicago-based couple, are on a mission to fight it. In a not-so-subtle way. They are the women behind The TaTa Top Shop, which sells TaTa Tops: bikini tops in various flesh shades — complete with nipples.
Now, before you think this is some sort of gag gift thing, like those t-shirts ; it’s not. “The TaTa Top was created in response to current censorship issues regarding women’s bodies.”
Always one to push boundaries and challenge authority, Michelle decided that The TaTa Top was the perfect way to stir things up and get people questioning the current law.
The TaTa Top is far more than nipples on a bikini top. As a brand we work to promote questioning the social norm and digging deeper when it comes to society’s expectations.
…From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to use a sense of humor to shed light on some serious issues while simultaneously raising funds for two areas we are extremely passionate about: breast cancer awareness and women’s rights. It’s great to create a product that makes people laugh, but it’s even better to be able to do something very serious with that success. For each TaTa Top sold, $5 goes directly towards supporting one of our partnered organizations, and this is what it’s all about!
But the couple isn’t above selling a few of these bikini tops for bachelorette parties. I doubt they would mind — or could control — selling them for bachelor parties either. (Because nothing is funnier than a man dressed like a woman, right?) At least the Lytle’s and their charities would get some money. Proving that nipples — at least faux nipples — are good for something.
Bettie continues to “wet” appetites and satiate thirsts, so why should she not continue to adorn sets of glasses?
When Jord came to me with the offer to review one of their handmade wooden wristwatches, I took one look at them and I knew that the Koa & Black, from the Dover Series, was special. While the idea of a wooden wristwatch is certainly a novel one, it was the gears that moved me… Usually all glorious gears and stuff that makes a watch tick is usually hidden on a watch. But with this Jord watch, you can see it work!
I knew it would be perfect for my dad. He’s not only one who appreciates craftsmanship but is a craftsman himself. Not only does he make new things, mixing the old with the new, but he’s handcrafted furniture for the house. I just knew he would love the juxtaposition of the smooth wood next to the metal gears as much as I do. (Admittedly, my dad often prefers his gears rusty; but then the timepiece wouldn’t work!)
Just as I’d hoped, my dad did love the watch too.
Since one of the relatively important aspects of a wristwatch is the personal statement it makes, the attention it receives, I asked my dad to wear it when we were selling at the opening weekend of the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market. (Just like hubby and I, my parents are antique dealers.) I just knew the wooden watch would garner the attention of those who appreciate quality timepieces, as well as those who admire craftsmanship — and just plain like cool stuff. In spite of the bad weather, which required us to cover ourselves (and our antiques!) up more, when the watch was visible it received a fair amount of admirers.
But perhaps the most telling compliment came from my nephew, Nicholas, who is the youngest of the grandchildren. Because my dad has made so many things, Nicholas asked if Papa made the watch!
For many younger folks, wearing a wristwatch seems unnecessary if not antiquated. But hold on; if you think that our tech gadgets have replaced the “antiquated wrist watch” and clocks in general, I have news for you. It comes via some of my dad’s knowledge too…
You might have noticed in the photos that my dad wears his wristwatch in an usual manner…
With the face of the watch not centered on the wrist, but rather sitting along the side of his wrist (on the radius, if you want to be technical about it). For as long as I can remember, my dad has worn his watch this way. And there’s a reason for it.
For decades, my dad worked as a salesman selling tools to big companies in what is now known as the Rust Belt. Often in sales meetings, or any meetings at all, there might be a reason the you might want to make note of the time. But being spotted checking your watch communicates all sorts of negative things. While you might merely be wondering if you’re running on time for your next appointment, the client may see your peek at your watch as an indication that they are being rushed — or worse, that they are boring you. What to do?
One of my dad’s first bosses taught my dad a trick: Wear your wristwatch as shown so that you can take a look at the time without the person across the desk from you ever noticing.
Wearing the watch as my dad does allows for a surreptitious look at the time without offending anyone you are trying to impress — be it a buyer or an interviewer.
Honestly, it works without a desk or conference table too.
I’m not sure wearing a watch this way would have helped Ben Carson, or even President George H. W. Bush in ’92; but it certainly can help most of us. Take heed, graduates and others going on job interviews!
(I dare suggest that many of the young people rejecting wristwatches are not employed. They don’t yet know the value of being able to reflect your personal style at work — or how important it can be to steal an unnoticed look at the time. Meanwhile, as many younger folks seem to be eschewing watches and clocks, the prices for vintage and collectible timepieces have been soaring. Perhaps it takes a matter of experience to appreciate not just “old” stuff, but the value of timepieces as well.)
But back to the stunning Jord watch…
It’s at once rustic and elegant, combining earthy and tech to make a functional timepiece that’s unique. The wood also works nice with less formal attire, including Casual Friday, hanging out with friends — and, as it must do for any Wisconsinite, looks great with Green Bay Packer gear!
It arrived as expected for a pricey luxury wristwatch, in a nice wooden crate of a box, with all the related info inside. The only bad thing I can find to say about this watch was that the information card included in the box was difficult to read: black text on a busy image-laden background — and slick & shiny with lamination yet. Even for the younger among us with better eyesight. I can understand wanting a “sexy” card. And giving it a protective coating so it can last. But, honestly, the company would be better off going with black text on a white or light background so that it is easy to read.
That said, we obviously figured out how to work it. And, yes, this beauty works. In fact, with the visible gears, this wristwatch is really cool to watch. If you aren’t a fan of the gears, there are other styles as well — and, yes, there are women’s watches as well.
Official review disclaimer: While I did receive the wristwatch from Jord for review purposes, it did not sway my opinion in any way. It never does.
This holiday weekend, in honor of Memorial Day, I’ve seen this poster circulating quite a bit…
But there are some things you should know. (Yes, feminists often don’t have the luxury of taking the holidays off.)
“Good work, sister. We never figured you could do a man-size job!”
America’s women have met the test!
Artist: Packer. For Bressler Editorial Cartoons, Inc.
What a lovely backhanded compliment this whole poster is.
The whole gender dynamic is astounding…
…The language — use of “never” and “a man-size job” — is insulting.
…The man being shown as larger to impress upon us both the size of the job and the ‘little lady’ is a bit of visual overkill. (But, hell, shouldn’t that USDA prime cut of red-blooded American beefcake have been drafted?)
Fundamentally, it seems this poster was designed to assuage male discomfort at the notion of “Rosie the Riveter” women working outside the home rather than actually thank women for their work.
During WWII, almost 400,000 women served in the US armed forces — including 6,500 Black women who faced even larger racism hurdles to do so. Those are pretty big tests too, poster.
However, despite any of their wishes, women could not serve in combat. Because “menstruation & bears!” or something.
But still, even without combat duty, many women — over 400 of them — lost their lives serving their country in the armed forces. In addition to the fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons we lost, we also lost mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters. More were wounded. Women sacrificed mightily. And not just the danger of “those spreading hips that may come from long hours of sitting” too. They gave their lives and limbs, just as men did; only the women suffered more in secret. Just as they do today. Just as they always have during war: See This.
Whether women & girls worked in factories or shipyards, in the armed forces, in their yards planting victory gardens, in their homes — wherever they worked — they served this country. To the best of their ability — and as much as they were allowed.
This holiday, remember everyone who gave for this country.
While searching for those 70s sex feet, I stumbled into these kitschy vintage bare feet salt and pepper shakers. I guess not all of them are vintage; but they nearly always have bright red toenail polish.
Why anyone wants to put bare feet on the table, let alone shake their contents onto your food, is anyone’s guess. Like momma always said, there’s no accounting for taste.
But what I do want to figure out is why the big toe is raised like that…
One seller, of this pair of mismatched bare feet ashtrays, states, “Designed for use as a pipe holder and ashtray.” So perhaps that big toe helps hold the pipe. …But that doesn’t explain the s & p shakers, does it. If anyone can shed some light on this whole thing — explain just why this is a thing — please, please do!
In the 70s, footprints were big things. Sometimes they were quite literally big things; such as the giant, and very fuzzy, footprint rugs my sister and I had in our room. (See other things that may have been in your bedroom back then.)
Other times, the feet were smaller.
And in pairs.
If you were cognizant in the 1970s, you likely recall all the pairs of mating feet. Because many adults labored under the incorrect belief that such pairs of feet were somehow not understood by children (umm, this is exactly what many children saw when they opened the door to your bedroom), these sex feet were everywhere.
And — surprise! — there’s sexism involved in such a sexual revolution.
Typically, sex feet are shown as heterosexual couplings in the missionary position; which is neither all that revolutionary or, for many, very pleasurable. We are able to see that it’s a man and a woman doing it missionary style as there are two sets of feet — but not of the same size. This is typically deciphered to mean that the larger feet belong to a man. After all, hetero-normative rules state men are to be larger than their lady partners. And his feet must be much bigger because, you know, big feet mean big penis. That’s the myth, anyway. And he must be on top because he is The Top.
Besides, who would change their minds (cross their legs and feet) and say “no” other than a woman?
But if you think this is all about the Free Love movement, sex feet were often presented or captioned with odd supposedly humorous notions revealing traditional values. Like this ashtray and its “Man does this mean we are engaged” speech bubble.
Along with confusion caused by missing punctuation, there’s more than a little cognitive dissonance between the “free love” and the marital sentiments or concerns. But then, the liberating 70s was always more than a little confusing that way.
Some people think that the only premiums that came in boxes were in cereal boxes for kids. Sure, there were those coupon books and other early loyalty programs designed to bring people back to certain department stores, gas stations, grocery stores, and other shops. But when it comes to actual free things inside boxes, most people think of the toys and surprises inside cereal boxes designed to make the kiddies beg mom and dad for the stuff. But there were other premiums, including those in products for adults. And primarily these offers were specifically aimed at those adults in charge of most household purchasing: the American housewife.
The competition was fierce in this market on all sorts of points, just as it is today, on everything from cleaning power and amount of suds (any real expert will tell you cleaning has more to do with physical scrubbing and agitation than chemicals and soap suds) to product versatility, and, because some cleaning still was done by actual human hands (something I still highly recommend), how gentle the product was on the little lady’s hands.
Those of us who are at least 40 years old may vividly recall these premiums and brands — not coincidentally because of the soap operas, which were, at their very essence, dramas created for housewives to watch and therefore pushed soaps and cleaning products; hence the name soap operas.
Lever Brothers, makers of Breeze laundry soap, partnered with Cannon towels for a luxury co-branded premium giveaway, eventually offering three sizes of towels.
(This stuff is apparently so nostalgic, that someone just paid $39.99 for an old unopened box of Breeze with the towel still inside.)
My mom watched the CBS soap operas, as did her mother before her. As a result, our family was loyal to the family of Proctor & Gamble products. Proctor & Gamble put towels into their boxes of Bonus laundry detergent — as this fabulous musical commercial from 1960s illustrates. Note the gender split — and how the little woman’s knowledge (and sexual necktie manipulation) wins out.
Later, P&G would graduate from towels to putting glasses and china dishes with a wheat pattern (some even with gold trim) in boxes of Duz, the “does everything” laundry detergent. Incidentally, those wheat dishes were once clogging thrift shop shelves, but now, nostalgia coupled with the fascination with Mid-Century Modern, these dishes are making a comeback.
However, when it comes laundry detergent premiums, I don’t think many things are so firmly entrenched in our collective minds as Dolly Parton pitching boxes of soap with towels in them in the 1970s. While there is some debate as to whether the brand of detergent was Breeze or Duz (it was, in fact, Breeze; and we pray again to the YouTube Gods that someone can upload such a commercial!), almost everyone recalls the ads. Especially the kitsch factor.
Dolly herself admits how corny the ads were:
I remember seeing you on “The Porter Wagoner Show,” pulling out giant towels from boxes of Breeze detergent.
It was actually a bath towel — we used to have to do our own commercials on those shows, and they were so corny. But I still have some of those towels that I’ve kept through the years. Those were the days — “And you can only get them in boxes of Breeze!” And honestly, with that towel inside, there probably wasn’t more than half a box of Breeze. But people didn’t care because they were getting something free.
Corny or not, to this day, when I see a small hand towel covered in gold roses, “zeenyas!”, or other yellow flowers I instantly think of Dolly Parton. Its not just Dolly’s love of yellow roses, but those 70s yellow florals that stick in my mind. And that’s not all. Whenever I am at someone’s house and they have a similar looking towel out for use, I am convinced my hands smell like vintage detergent too. Come to think of it, that may be why I don’t like those wheat patterned dishes either.
Evelyn Nesbit aka Evelyn Thaw, who we discussed in conjunction with sex scandals and reports of roofies in 1910, is making the news rounds again. This time it is at The Daily Mail, with lots of photos; but she was also at the BBC at the end of 2014.
All that may just provide some cultural context to Nesbit’s sweet song of freedom from men, sang a decade or more after her divorces.
As I mentioned, I’m downsizing; so lately, I’ve primarily been focused on listing in our Etsy shops. (1, 2, and, now, 3.) This has led to lots of posting at Things Your Grandmother Knew and Kitschy Kitschy Coo. (But don’t worry, the next stack of ephemera has plenty of “women’s issues stuff”, so then this blog will be busy. To everything, there is a season…)
One of the more rare items I am parting with is this antique real photo postcard featuring two female couples. I’m rather certain this is a legit “lesbian interest” photo, as it is called in the trade, and not some mere drag party of the past. However, without any living folks to tell the tale, it is hard to say definitively. There is a certain combination of affection and defiance as opposed to the hamming it up for the cameras which is usually found in ye olde crossdressing and drag parties and films of yore.
This reminds me of the fact that many sellers will call any photo of same-sex folks being affectionate as LGBTQ history. Rather than rant about that, I will simply direct you to where others have done a good job covering the issue: Brothers In Arms (NWS), naked Vintage Soldiers (NWS), and Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch. (It is perhaps no surprise that all of this talk involves men, not women, but then “everyone loves a lesbian.” …Well, almost everyone. Everyone does love Lincoln, however.)
Yes, I’m still Tumblr-ing and Scooping. (You might mostly be interested in what goes on at the women Tumblr tag and the Herstory & Dare To Be A Feminist topics.) But I have still managed to make a bit of time for reading…
What I’ve been reading:
My friend Gracie compares the past and present of sex trafficking: 1978’s The Minnesota Connection Vs 2015’s Trafficked: The Exploitation Of Women & Girls In The Bakken & Beyond. (Oh, sure, North Dakota, sex trafficking gets coverage, including a 30 minute news documentary; but the environmental damage being done in the Bakken and the related train bombs notsomuch. The legislation is even worse.)
Speaking of politics… Oh, if only!
At ErosBlog, Bacchus discusses (NWS) this article at The New York Times. (See also my earlier article: Grandma Was A Swinger: Estate Sales & The Ephemera Of Women’s Lives.)
That’s it for now; time to
make the donuts get back to work listing the collectibles.
Elizabeth Magie, a crusader against big business, devised the classic capitalist game decades before the man credited with its creation.
A a lover of board games, history, and women, this is fascinating (and disturbing).
Who doesn’t like a company that preaches values while looking up a lady’s skirt?
After complaining about Uncle Sam’s tax, ye olde Day & Night tobacco company wants you to get your money’s worth.
When you spend a nickle for tobacco, do you want your money’s worth, of part tobacco and the rest in coupons for pot-metal knives or brass watches?
I would point out how such an advertisement which combines capitalism with complaining about taxes — all while belittling women — reminds me of specific political parties, but I don’t have to spell everything out, do I?
Card for sale here.
Just in case you thought the 1950s were such a pure time… Via.
If you collect vintage magazines and ephemera like I do, you know there’s nothing new under the sun. The celebrity names & faces change, there’s “modern” graphics and trends too. But the push on beauty and grooming products remains true. This little bit comes from Beauty On A Budget, a promotional piece for hair & beauty products (copyright 1957 The Gillette Co.). The illustrations may be period, and the kitschy-cute names too, but the tips on treating your hair problems are rather straight out of any beauty column today. Meet Harriet Haystack, Olivia Oilwell, Selma Snowfall, Cora Cornsilk, Barb Wire, and Delia Droop — “six sisters with vexing hair problems.”
Despite their hair problems, most if not all of the sisters must have gotten married as they all have different last names! Perhaps that’s because they were lucky smart enough to watch Gillette’s helpful film, a Toni Company’s color movie entitled Heads Up For Beauty. It included pointers from “famous beauty consultant” Carol Douglas — and those pointers helped Ann Watson “change from an unattractive girl into a radiant bride by improving her personal grooming.” One prays to the YouTube gods for someone to find and put this movie up online.