When You Accept Being A Woman…

accept-being-a-womanSaturday was odd. It started out a funny sort of awkward, had some slight awkwardness in the pursuit of kitschiness, and then by dinner time, went full-throttle into just plain awkward. But the real kicker of it all is that at about 10 PM, I went to the bathroom and made the discovery that I was starting my period — and you know what my first thought was? I thought to myself, “Oh, that explains it.” As if my freakin’ period & all the hormones it implies were somehow responsible for the stuff that happened that day.

Could hormones make my eyes more sensitive to my neighbor’s blinding shirt? Sure. And maybe you could argue that my psychic prediction of his request was female intuition inspired by my moon time. But the irony of his request, the still-drunk-the-morning-after oddness was not my doing. And there’s no way in heck that the stationary dry hump I received from a drooling disabled girl can be attributed to my soon-to-be-on-the-rag status. But still, that was my first thought.

Why?

Because we women are told that we are nutty when we’re on the rag. We’re told, directly or via insidious “jokes,” that strange things occur because we menstruate. Or because we are pregnant. We women are driven by our hormones, you know, to the extent that anything & everything outside of us is our hormones’ fault — or at the very least our hormones color our perceptions. Our bosses aren’t asshats, our husbands aren’t abusive, those guys aren’t too handsy; we’re too bitchy, too sensitive, too moody.

The message gets pounded into your brain, your psyche, to the point that you no longer have faith in your own response, your own experience — you see a bit of menstrual blood and there you are, questioning whether or not the days events actually occurred.

Accepting being a woman does not include accepting the notion that menstruation invalidates your experiences — or that you should shush yourself, counter your beliefs, or otherwise weaken your voice.

The “inner yous” the women need to clean, the emotional douching that needs to be done, is to get rid of the notion that our biology makes us crazy. Because the notion that as women our perceptions are all wrong because we have hormones is the crazy one.

Desperately Seeking 80’s Madonna Fashions?

UPDATE 10/18/2014: I’ve a pair of the black Desperately Seeking Susan boots for sale in my Etsy shop!

Speaking of 1980’s-Desperately-Seeking-Susan Madonna & boots

desparately_seeking_susan_boots

Fans of the film Desperately Seeking Susan will remember that the whole hullabaloo started when Susan (Madonna), trades in her fabulous jacket for a pair of boots spotted in the window at Love Saves The Day (the old, original location, not the new one in New Hope, PA) — and then Roberta (Rosanna Arquette) buys the jacket, gets hit on the head and, trying to discover who she is, uses the key in the jacket’s pocket to open the Pandora’s-box-of-a-port-authority locker, setting off a romantic comedy of mistaken identity. An entirely awesome film. Seriously. Just try not to enjoy Desperately Seeking Susan.

With the 80s fashion comeback, blah-blah-blah, how would you like to be so hip & retro it hurts and have these boots? (Frankly, back in the day, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in them — too copy-cat, even though I was dressed as scandalously; but now those boots are kitsch-a-licious — now with added irony!)

madonna-wearing-the-boots

Bakers – Leeds owned the license to copy the boots designed by the film’s Costume Design Assistant, Alison Lances, but Town & Country knocked-off a netting with sequins over vinyl version. Frankly, it would be hard to tell the difference, right?

bakers-leeds-ad-for-desperately-seeking-susan-boots

But good luck finding either of them — if & when you do, be prepared to pay several times the original $49. Yup, even for pleather.

However, crafty girls could likely figure out how to adopt this vintage hairpin lace crochet pattern to make the netted boot overlay and add sequins, right? (Click this larger image from MadonnaUnderground.nl to guide you.)

boots-bakers-leeds-box

If rhinestones & shiny bling aren’t exactly your thing, you can opt for more punk studs — no, not men with attitude; boots with stud decorations, dears. Alyssa Zukas AKA Two Sting Jane does — and she even shares how! (If that link doesn’t always work — and it is wonky, giving 404s, try the DIY link and scroll; it’s worth it!)

And, because what are shoes without the right handbag, why not make a purse version of the iconic skull suitcase.

desperately-seeking-susan-skull-suitcase

However, if you never ever would have traded costume designer Santo Loquasto’s jacket for those boots…

desperately-seeking-susan-pyramid-eye-jacket

Well, copies of those jackets were licensed and made “retail available,” just like the boots, and advertised on MTV.

despereately-seeking-susan-jacket-ad

Made by Identity, Inc. &/or Creative Embroidery Corp. (I say “and/or” because both were marketed by Targeted Communications, Inc., so they could have been the same company.), the jackets have a hefty priceif & when you can find them.

creative-ebroidery-label

If you can sew or at least embroider, you can add the pyramid & eye, like that on a dollar bill, and the phrase “Novus Ordo Seclorum” to a jacket — just like Awsumgal did — sure, it’s a doll’s jacket; but it’s the same steps, just a different scale.

So get crafty and create your own fashion homage to the 1980’s that you so desperately seek. Aidan Quinn sold separately.

Did Margaret Sanger Sell Dainty Maid Outfits?

First my disclaimer: I sadly do not own this old advertisement & instructions for the “Dainty Maid Outfit” (douche bag, antiseptic powder, and syringe); I found it while searching at the Library of Congress for photos of Margaret Sanger for the eugenics post.

complete-dainty-maid-outfit-ad

The reason I didn’t include it then & want to discuss it now is two-fold.

One, there’s some confusion over Sanger’s connection to the item.

While the LoC notes that this paper, published between 1900 and 1930, was part of Sanger’s collection, saying, “Like many of her contemporaries, she retained all kinds of printed matter accumulated during her career, including pamphlets like this one relating to women’s gynecological health and hygiene,” it’s not entirely clear that this is the end of the antique ephemera’s story.

In 2006, the Margaret Sanger Papers Project (MSPP) reported this (links added by moi):

In his recent book, Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book (New York, 2004), author Gerard Jones highlights the role played by the poet and editor Harold Hersey in the pulp publishing industry. Hersey, one of Sanger’s lovers in the late 1910s, later wrote an unpublished biography of Sanger. He worked closely with Sanger in the early days of the Birth Control Review. “We didn’t only sell magazines,” Jones quotes Hersey as saying, “but also razor blades and other items.” “The ‘other items’,” Jones explains, “were contraceptives. Sanger was not only a proponent of birth control but a mail-order dealer, with her own line of condoms, diaphragms, and ‘Dainty Maid’ douche kits.” That is new information to us. Sanger was always extremely careful never to associate with the commercial trade of contraceptives. Her opponents often accused her of profiting from her cause, but there has never been a shred of evidence she received money for selling birth control or taking part in a mail order business – under or above ground. It is possible that one distributor of the Review, Eastern News, used its sales network to send illegal publications, condoms and liquor around the country, but most likely Sanger had no knowledge of it. For his sources, Jones cites Hersey’s autobiography, Pulpwood Editor, which does not mention the mail order venture, and unspecified collected material by Michael Feldman, a researcher on the comic book business. Thanks to Professor Ed Shannon for bringing this one to our attention.

However, there was a 2007 release The New Pulpwood Editor also. And, despite claims to Hersey’s “unpublished biography” of Sanger, others claim to have a copy. All of which not only further confuses things in terms of what source was used, but leaves the accuracy of Hersey too far down the pecking list at this point to even verify it.

But regardless of the characters involved & their individual characters regarding telling tales (& proper documentation of sources), how can the MSPP claim Sanger’s ignorance to The Dainty Maid Outfit when the LoC has it — and in their Margaret Sanger collection (Papers of Margaret Sanger, container 252) yet?

The second reason I brought this vintage female hygiene ad up separately should be apparent: researching is not for the timid, not the easily exhausted.

If this was a product Sanger offered via mail order, then perhaps The Dainty Maid was more than a cleansing douche… Contraceptive products, illegal at the time, were sometimes sold with the word “French” used as a secret code to communicate the “illicit” purposes of the product; either to wash away sperm post-coitus or perhaps even the “antiseptic powder” was even a spermicide.

Fishy French Tampax

I found this French ad for Tampax via Tom Murphy at The Ephemera Network. Tom doubts this ad campaign could be run here in America — for quite obvious reasons.

french-fish-tampax-ad

The French translates to “I am like a fish in water.” Not that that clears anything up.

Because no matter what language or the word for “fish,” any society with a female population is aware of that fishy smell — though less realize it’s likely due to Bacterial Vaginosis; they just mock it and women in general with tacky references to hyper-sexuality. So I’m really surprised that this ad could run anywhere.

Not just because of it’s potentially suggestive humor, but because why would a company, especially a feminine hygiene product, want to link itself to such an offensive thing? Especially as some experts believe that tampons can change the normal balance of vaginal bacteria; don’t think that’s how you want your target audience to think of you, Tampax.

Whatjamacallit Wednesday: Vintage Asian Themed Planter Ad

I often spot these vintage Asian themed pottery pieces in antique malls, flea markets, garage sales, etc.– I mean literally this same TV planter. (Of course, when I go to search for them online, no luck. But then, in my defense, there are plenty of words one can use to describe them.) Anyway, because I really do see them often, when I spotted this ad in a copy of The Workbasket from the 1950’s (July, 1952, if memory serves), I had to scan it and share it.

vintage-asian-tv-planter-ad

A few things to notice:

* The color “Chinese red” is not capitalized.

* The planters were sold, among other options, as decor to set on top of your TV.

* The pair of “hand painted figurines in matching or contrasting colors” were sold separately — sometimes you will find these have survived without the wooden planter and they will be sold, individually or in pairs, as shelf-sitters. (They also may have been sold independently too.) The pair of figurines were less expensive than the “etched hardwood” planter in “rich hand painted finish.”

Twitter Of 1950

Quick, a vintage news weekly magazine, promoted itself on page 65 of the July 31, 1950 issue, with quotes from readers (along with a subscription form, should you so be moved), which illustrate that the “quick” news blurbs and short “frequent,” “accurate,” and “up-to-the-minute” information was “invaluable” to professionals, such as John L. Gary, Superintendent of Schools, La Center, Washington, and Margaret Webster, “distinguished Shakespearean director.”

quick-mag-promoting-itself-july-31-1950

Then people were thrilled to receive “digests” of “what is going on in the world,” to have “short-cuts” assisting them, helping them save time in a rapidly moving world — just as those of us who use Twitter do now. Well, at least that what Quick wanted you to think so you’d be moved to clip that subscription form and send it in.

I had just scanned the page from Quick magazine so that I could make the pithy comparison and add this 1950’s update to your history of Twitter (see also: Robot Messenger Displays Person-to-Person Notes In Public, Aug, 1935), when what do you suppose happened?

Just a few days later, presumably after finding & reading my article about the vintage publication, Clyde Hostetter, Professor Emeritus at California Polytechnic State University, emailed to ask if I have a copy of Quick published about 1948 “with a cover photo of sick women lying in a hospital corridor as the result of a mass food poisoning in Topeka, Kanas.” Seems Mr. Hostetter, then a writer/photographer for what was then the Topeka Daily Capital, is the one who took the photo of the woman suffering from food poisoning and, it being his first & only cover photo on a national magazine, he was eager to have a copy of it.

This is not the first time I’ve been delighted to make connections with people over my old magazines & ephemera; for example, I’ve helped provide images for the new walking tour of the Hingham Shipyard Historical Exhibit & helped family of legendary poodle trainer, instructor, & author Blanche Saunders find out more about “Great Aunt Blanch.” So it was with sincere regret that I wrote back to Hostetter to inform him that I did not own the copy he was looking for (even though I write about things found in Quick quite often, I currently only have three issues of that magazine). I told him if & when I discover a copy, I’d be sure to let him know.

Hostetter did have a great gem to share about the good old days of journalism — and it’s equally applicable to today’s discussion of Twitter & blogging:

I forgot to mention the joke that went around in the newsrooms when Quick first hit the newsstands with its acutely shallow summary of the week’s news. It was said that Fleur had another idea for a magazine called WORD. It would be published weekly like Quick. Every week the editorial staff would gather and chose a word for the total content of that week’s issue.

I find it very interesting (and, I’ll admit, somewhat amusing) to consider those days of print journalism, the old guard & the new guard competing against the assault of that new menace, television, discussing integrity & worthiness. Its comparisons to newspapers and magazines today and their view of the internet and digital media cannot be underestimated. And the super news is that Mr. Hostetter seems willing to continue sharing his memories of those days… So stay tunned to read more in the future.

Whatjamacallit Wednesday: All About Long Faces

Today’s whatchamacallit is a vintage advertising trade card from Long’s Radiator Shop in Grand Forks, North Dakota. This card advertised the local shop as well as their “exclusive agency” for S. J. Radiators (with) Freeze-Proof Cores — something quite valuable up here in the frozen tundra. Because the smart folks at Long’s Radiator Shop knew that a bit of humor would make folks hold onto the card a lot longer than some sales-y pitch, the card has one center illustration of a man which, when tipped, communicates different moods based on his selection of radiator repair shops.

The first, “I Am Mighty Sorry I Did Not Have My Radiator Fixed At Long’s Radiator Shop,” give him a “long face.”

vintage-longs-radiator-card

Flipping the 4 inch card, and he gets “the Long’s Face” instead; “I Am Mighty Glad I Had My Radiator Fixed At Long’s Radiator Shop”

vintage-longs-radiator-card-2

“Milwaukee Blue”

In the 80’s, I worked in the cosmetics area of a department store — but not just for any cosmetics brand, it was Estée Lauder; and not just any department store either, it was Marshall Fields. Hence I had a lot of training, including district training sessions, which meant traveling to or training with people outside of Milwaukee.

One of my first large training sessions I learned that Milwaukee was famous for more than being America’s Dairy Land, known for more than the land of beer & brats and its associates sports teams; Milwaukee had a bad rap beauty wise.

The other Lauder beauty advisers teased us all for having named a particular type of customer after our area. These customers were those who were stuck in a decade or two prior to the one we were all living in now — most commonly seen as the swipe of blue eyeshadow across the lid. This 1974 Aziza Eyes ad illustrates the look.
1974-aziza-eyes-advertisement

This look began in the 60’s & had a resurgence in the 70’s, so it was completely dated in the 80’s, prompting the other Lauder girls (mainly those from Chicago who kept looking down their powdered noses at “small time” Milwaukee — grrr) to dub the beauty faux pas “Milwaukee Blue.”

If this post serves any purpose it is to remind you that many of those cosmetic girls are indeed talking about you & your dated makeup look.

I suppose “Milwaukee Blue” has left the vocabulary of most women in the beauty business by now… Which makes me wonder what the latest local beauty slur is.

A Rose Made From Any Used Stocking Still Smells As Sweaty

At my other blog hubby & I do a quasi-regular feature called “Craft-Scan Fridays”, so I was digging ’round in my old crafting magazines. This lead to a vast number of possible posts — and, being too eager to wait & schedule them all out for weeks & weeks, I thought I’d share one here.

This gem on how to make nylon corsages from old nylon stockings, pantyhose & other hosiery comes from The Workbasket magazine (the June 1952 issue).

make-nylon-corsages-1952

nylon-corsages-last

It fascinates me for several reasons.

One, the long history of recycling ladies’ hosiery. You may recall such things from war efforts, but this was also a huge arts & crafts fad in the 70’s. The notion of recycling appeals; but the irony of using fabric that’s been on your feet, possibly next to your sweaty crotch, to make flowers is inescapable.

Two, check out the nice ad placement for All-Fabric Tintex (which, by the way, is still around). The vintage ad even promotes sending in for “a free illustrated Tintex flower leaflet” — which sounds just like The Workbasket article itself. The vintage nylon corsage article might as well be an advertorial.

Things I Want In My Hubbard Cupboard

The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest was published by Elbert Hubbard, and so is yet another thing Roycrofter-tian. One of my husband’s obsessions, I am granted free access to and use of all of our duplicate copies, so you should expect to see them here from time to time.

Today I present advertisements for White Hyacinths and Woman’s Work — prominently featured in The Philistine because the books were written by none other than Elbert Hubbard & his wife, Alice Hubbard, respectively.

white-hyacinths-womans-work(Ads, and “inspirational work advice,” from The Philistine, Vol. 26, March, No. 4, 1908)

The first book, as you can see by the old ads, is “a book for lovers — married or unmarried” — but don’t think it’s recommending scandalous romantic relationships prior to marriage; White Hyacinths is a book about one’s love affair with life & the earth, as seen in the book’s most complete title “So here cometh WHITE HYACINTHS Being a book of the heart by Elbert Hubbard wherein is an attempt to body forth ideas and ideals for the betterment of men, eke women, who are preparing for life by living.”

Intriguing, yes; but my personal vintage book lust is currently in hot pursuit of the second book, Alice’s Woman’s Work.

Tell me, ladies, that this ad copy doesn’t make you clap your hands with joy:

Woman has always been demoneized by male men. Mrs. Hubbard thinks this is an error for both parties and gurgles her disapprobation in Caslon. Woman’s services have been paid for in clearing house promises payable in Heaven.

…Scripture charges her with disarranging the plans of Deity; the Puritans invented and operated the ducking stool for her benefit; all of the twenty witches hanged at Salem were women; she was voted out of the General Conference of Methodists — although the mother of John and Charles Wesley, and seventeen other Wesleys, was a woman, and a preacher; a woman was recently sentenced to prison in England because she insisted on having her political preferences recorded; Blackstone calls her an undeveloped man; women are not allowed to speak in Episcopal nor Catholic churches; good priests refrain from loving women as a matter of conscience, and spiritual expediency, so it seemed necessary for Mrs. Hubbard to write this book as an apology for being on earth and an explanation regarding the weaker sect, and also the unfair sex.

Or this, from the second ad for the same book:

Here is heresy, proud and patent, telling why woman is a plaything for men when she is pink and twenty, and a drudge and scullion when winter touches her hair with the frost of years — sometimes. The worst about the Marital Steam Roller is that the race suffers.

Let no presumptuous person arise and dispute this fact: women are the mothers of men. And in spite of all we can do, the qualities of the mother are the heritage of her sons. To have a truthful, direct and gentle race of men who are strong enough to look each day in the eye, who are afraid of no man, and of whom no man is afraid, we must evolve a race of mothers who are not burdened by idleness, overwork, skimped allowances or the masculine idea of Run-and-Fetch-my-Slippers.

Mrs. Hubbard is a working woman. She is Vice-President and General Manager of The Roycrofters, a corporation that employs five hundred people. She has thoughts and expresses them.

(See full scans of ads, above and below, by clicking on them.)

white-hyacinths-warning-womans-work(Antique book ads from The Philistine, Vol. 27 October No. 5, 1909)

What’s not to love?

Sadly, copies of Women’s Work are difficult to come by. Isn’t that usually my luck? Or is that simply human nature to desire the harder to find object?

I suspect that even among the Roycrofters and fans of Roycrofters, that White Hyacinths’ beauty was far more appealing than the self & societal work presented in Alice’s book. I’m only guessing; I haven’t gotten my hands on either yet. (My Hubbard Cupboard is bare.)

The opening line in the 1909 ad for Woman’s Work read, “Men afraid of an Idea, or women incapable of the same, will do well to eschew the book by Alice Hubbard entitled Woman’s Work.”

From the looks of what few copies remain, most people preferred to eschew.

Or, maybe, just maybe, those who have the book love it so that they keep it close to their bosom.

No Valentines, Red River

I found this vintage Valentine’s Day card at Cherryland Postcard Auction (lot #1667, if you’d like to bid online), and fell in love with it because it’s clearly an old promotional item from True Confessions magazine.

true-confessions-valentine-opens-to-illustrations

I love (and therefore collect) past issues of the publication & am dying to see the illustrations on the inside… I’d love to buy it, but…

But all of this just reminds me of all the old ephemera I have — and that is a problem living here in Fargo during this historic 2009 flood of the Red River. Certainly it is not the time to add to my collection.

As I type, hubby is still toiling down in the basement, lifting & propping as best he can to get all the boxes up a few inches, just in case our house (currently one of the areas designated as an “evacuate to” area) has issues from sewage backup or sump pump failure.

I’m not being lazy; I’ve taken my shifts and now need an emotional as well as physical break. I’m not from this area originally, and while I’ve seen the usual spring flooding here the past five years, I’m still not familiar with all the locations and flood terminology — so I’m doing my best not to panic. (Just how does one not panic when the hospital just two blocks east of you announces they are evacuating due to the flood? I’m expecting a tsunami any minute.)

So it’s no new old Valentines for me.  And the Red River is only getting one if it spares my house.

How Can Any Man Love A Listless Cranky Woman?

By drugging her, I guess. At least that’s the impression I get from this vintage ad for Jayne’s Tonic Pills found inside the 1941 Jayne’s Almanac,published by Dr. D. Jayne & Son, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. (Yup, the image gets big enough to read if you click it. So click it and follow along with the class.)

Well, I guess it is just pushing iron and B-1… But still, check this out:

If your husband isn’t as attentive as he use to be; or, if you are single and the telephone never rings any more for dates, the chances are it is your own fault.

Wow. It couldn’t possibly be that hubby’s a jerk, having an affair, or secretly hiding the fact that he’s gay (maybe all three?) It couldn’t be that the guy in 2A who waits for you at the mailbox every day has cut your phone line. Nope. It’s you, babe.

Whatever men do — or don’t do — it’s your freakin’ fault. So even when you’re continually complaining about being so tired, don’t check all the facts or see a doctor — take the tonic. And like it.

Oooh, tiny, pleasant pellets, in a small handy package… Wait! Isn’t that how I got into this marriage in the first place…?

And when the iron binds your intestines tighter than a Chinese foot in a lotus-shaping shoe, just as effectively forcing you to hobble about, I’m sure Jayne will have another tonic for that.

But only take it if your hubby is unhappy with your hobbing about &/or constipation. Because if it ain’t bothering him, it just doesn’t matter.

Messy Marvin Meets The Messy Witch

What follows are scans of all the pages in a retro Hershey’s promotional comic story book featuring Messy Marvin. This is apparently the top story portion, separated by perforations, from a larger activity book. (This explains the perforation-bumps running along the bottoms of all pages — and some color bleed.)

(I’m tossing this into the 80’s pile because while the book may have been copyrighted in 1979, we all remember Messy Marvin from Hershey’s 1980’s advertising campaign.)

I love how much the Messy Marvin on the front cover looks like Peter Billingsley (did). I don’t know who or what this Suzy was.

While this was the story book above the activity book, you’ll see there are plenty of directions in this part too. This page instructs you to color it; but the previous owner only did the first panel.

Note that this page directs readers to use the Messy Marvin Magic Decoder to find out what the evil “dragoon” says. In true lame don’t-make-the-kids-work-too-hard style, the answer is provided for those kids who didn’t have one. (Sorry, but I grew up in the days where they didn’t give you the answers, where the blanks remained blank until you got your hands on the magic decoder… Those blanks haunted you, the text taunted you… And true friends made deals: “I’ll get the activity book, you get the decoder, and we’ll meet back here on Saturday.”)

Anyway, the dragoon’s message is as special as Ovaltine’s was in A Christmas Story; but then, the whole book is an ad. I guess by this time, even the kids were so jaded that they expected such shameless promotions.

“ALGU EP!”

“Mirror, mirror please tell us what to do.” The magic mirror’s answer is revealed when you hold it up to “another” mirror. Since the book didn’t cheat and give you the answer, I hope kids knew that “another mirror” was a real mirror.

“Marvin, since you’re so messy you better let me carry that potion!”

(I love seeing the eraser marks as the former owner tried to deny his mistakes in doing this puzzle.)

This page includes a dot-to-dot. Apparently dot-to-dots were so difficult for kids in the 80’s to do that Hershey’s was compelled to give the answer. The former owner sure found counting from 1-59 was such hard work that he gave up at 7 and read the answer, I guess.

They fall… All the way down Craggy Peak…

Into and through the waiting arms of the Ghosties!

“Don’t worry about the evil dragoon! Just as we can’t go there, he can’t come here.”

(I bet this writer went on to write for the SciFi Channel.)

BRAP
ZAP
GRIP
GRAB

Trees you are and trees you will be… Until my Hershey’s syrup is returned to me!

Pages to color and decode? Didn’t they learn anything from the failed dot-to-dot attempt?

Not bad, found them together and in only three days.

That’s nearly as easy as flipping the book to read the answers!

Marvin was even messy as a tree, but they know he’s not messy when he makes chocolate milk with Hershey’s syrup — however, he must find the mean and messy witch’s glass first!

He found the witch’s glass, did you?

One last puzzle before your advertising activity book is done — and if you solve it, maybe you can have one. *wink*

Memories Of Messy Marvin

Among the Messy Marvin ads, I found this cup:

Perhaps the Messy Marvin cup brings back memories for you. Heaven knows I was too mature to drink from a Messy Marvin cup (but wapatui from a dorm garbage can was fine). I do remember the print ads and commercials; they were everywhere.

Hi, my name’s Messy Marvin.

I got that name because no matter how hard I tried, my room and my clothes were always messy. But then one day, Mom brought home thick, rich, yummy Hershey’s Syrup in the no mess squeeze bottle. And before I knew it, I was making the best chocolate milk I’d ever had. But I wasn’t making a mess. It’s fun, too. I just pull the cap and squeeze. Nothing drips, nothing spills.

Now Mom’s happy and so am I.

My room and my clothes are still a mess, but at least there’s hope.

Look for a quick shot of a very young Tracey Gold in the second commercial in this video collection:

This ad campaign pretty much rendered any kid — even a ‘college kid’ — a Messy Marvin to anyone older; thanks, Hershey’s.

And yes, the child actor who played Messy Marvin was the same kid who played Ralphie in A Christmas StoryPeter Billingsley. Which makes the Ovaltine decoder ring storyline ironic.

Apparently Billingsley too felt some disappointment with the ring; it’s not one of the film’s props that he saved. According to SFGate’s The Poop interview, Billingsley kept the BB gun, the bunny suit and the slate board.

I wonder if he kept any Messy Marvin mementos?

“My brain is a poor cocoon — the Libby’s jingle goes in like larva, but it never enters the pupa stage and morphs into a beautiful butterfly leaving me with an earworm.”

I spotted this retro doll, a promotional piece for Libby’s foods, at an antique store.

It reminded me of the following:

1) I am getting really old because more and more stuff from my time is now entering the “collectible” category and being sold in antique stores (if not, yet, actually as antiques).

2) I have a friend whose nickname is Libby; it’s a shortened form of her online user ID “Libertine”. I am forever singing, “When it’s got Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s on the label label label, you will like it like it like it on your table table table,” to her. It’s especially a hoot if you wiggle your eyebrows during the “you will like it like it like it on your table table table” part of the lyric.

3) When you reference “online user ID” in conjunction with “retro 70’s” stuff, your brain hurts a little.

4) No matter what you put in your brain, if there’s a jingle in there, it will over power it all and come out victorious. My brain is a poor cocoon — the Libby’s jingle goes in like larva, but it never enters the pupa stage and morphs into a beautiful butterfly, leaving me with an earworm.

5) Funny thing about recalling jingles, no matter how many times the earworm loops, no matter how many times you find yourself singing it aloud, you suddenly wonder if the version you are singing is the accurate version…

I searched the Internet for a video of the old Libby’s commercial; but none had that jingle.

I wouldn’t call all this a waste of time, an hour later I have these two gems to share with you:

First, a 1960’s commercial in which Libby’s makes up a “Sloppy Joe” dance craze to peddle product:

I’m too young to remember that one; but I’m betting if there were any of those t-shirts etc. still around in an antique store I’d want one. Bad.

I vaguely recall this Libby’s canned vegetables ad with Tony Randal:

I don’t recall these 70’s ads for Libbyland dinners…

But then, we weren’t allowed to have TV dinners, so maybe I had no dietary connection to leave a lasting promotional imprint… Those folding tray/boxes are completely fascinating!

Dogs In Advertising

An ad for Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky featuring a Scottie and a Westie, found in the July, 1974, issue of Psychology Today (I shared an article on political activism from the issue here, and sent scans of article pages on nuclear families to Shawnee too).

I don’t think dogs should drink whisky. Even if the dog treats are healthy.

But these dogs are less worrisome than the bulldogs mentioned in the latest T-Mobile commercial. Have you seen it? The grumpy guy is complaining that he doesn’t like commitment, so the wife says, “We’ve been married 40 years.” He retorts it’s only been 38. And that he doesn’t like sticking with the same thing, to which the wife replies, “We’ve had 11 bulldogs, all named Steve.” What the hell are they doing to their dogs?!

I’m no math geek, but that’s like what, 3 years per dog?

I could get a calculator & do the math, but I keep loosing my calculator. I should have saved one of those giant calculators I sent out for Valentine’s Day for myself.

I’m not exaggerating; the calculators were huge. I knew you wouldn’t believe me, so I took pictures. See, just one is the size of my Cairn Terrier (named Toodles Squirrel-Face Davidson III).

I gave them to folks double-dog-daring them to lose them. They even can be hung on the wall. (Just $3.99 each at Hobby Lobby — because you know I love the Hobby Lobby.)

Huh. I guess I just made my own ad featuring a dog.  But my dog wasn’t drunk.  And she’s well over 3 years old too.

It’s 1936: How Badly Do You Want To Be In Moving Pictures?

So you want to be a glamorous Hollywood star, hmm? Well, it’s time to get beautiful, baby!

Have a few extra pounds, but exercise is leaving you without your pep? Did dieting only take the weight off of your face and neck, leaving you feeling irritable and looking like a scarecrow? Did diet pills take too much weight off, leaving you without your feminine curves? What’s a woman to do?!

Well, if it was 1936, you’d have The Roving Reporter to help you. But then, she’d be stuffing you into a girdle. Like a sausage maybe even.

Apparently it takes a long time to get you into this girdle; you have 10 days to lose 3 inches — or is that 3 pounds in 10 days? The ad states both… Maybe that’s the way around the money-back offer; confusion.

The good news is that the Perfolastic Girdle also massages you. I can’t imagine how… Damn, now I can’t stop imagining it. Ack!

Meanwhile, as your nether-regions sweat it out, your hair is breezing through life.

In that same 1936 issue of True Confessions, an ad for the “Air-Conditioned” Hollywood Rapid Dry Curler:

Hollywood stars like Jane Hamilton fawn over these curlers — likely that’s what they used to set their hair (while sitting in girdles), preparing for a chance to get in the movies. Which is exactly what the next ad from this vintage magazine is about.

Hey, little girl, step into my truck and I’ll make you a star!

Super Bonus Points for the talent truck to be sponsored by The Hump Hairpin Mfg. Co. (makers of Hold-Bob bobbypins).

My mom would totally kick my ass if I went near that truck.