Monday, January 24, 2011

Those crazy teenagers...

This seems to be the default pose to use when picturing Those Crazy Teens in the '50s...

I guess her pose is supposed to symbolize the playfulness and nonconformity of youth, and perhaps the rejection of the staid societal norms of the previous generations. Then again, maybe she's just wearing antigravity socks.

Actually, in the 1956 ad above, her inverted body actually serves the product in that it shows how comfortable it is to lie directly on a carpeted floor. The same pose is also found in this 1951 ad, coupled with some hip teen lingo to show how "with it" Post Toasties are, Daddio:

The pose probably reached its apotheosis in 1963, when uber-teen Ann Margaret lolled on her back for all of America to publicize the movie version of "Bye Bye Birdie."

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

What's really behind the smoke?

Here's an early-1970s ad that seems to have sparked a lot of "outrageously outrageous outrage" on some sites around the web:

"It's rude/it's sexist/it's unhealthy" goes the shocked, shocked criticism of this ad -- which, seen in the context of the times, seems as about as pointless as sneering at it for its pro-smoking advocacy.

What I found interesting was reference point for the headline. "Blow in her face and she'll follow you anywhere" wasn't just referring to the fruit-flavored tobacco (which, the ad presumes, she'll find aromatic). It's a paraphrasing of a catchy come-on -- "Blow in my ear and I'll follow you anywhere" -- that was popularized by 1969's and 1970's #1 TV show, "Laugh-In." Used as both a pickup line and a punchline, I seem to recall even Dick Martin using it in his routines with partner Dan Rowan.

Finally, before we leave this Tipalet ad behind, in its defense, may I point out that the man in question isn't really blowing the smoke directly into the woman's face, but more considerately, slightly to her left (towards her ear actually, bringing it back to the original phrase). Anyway, I think the woman may have a greater worry about where that cigarette ash lands when it finally breaks off.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Picking a fight over female boxers

It's a thin thread on which to hang this presumption, but is there something more behind this 1979 ad than just a pugilistic image to represent tougher nails?

Now, I admit that the idea of casting an ad model as a boxer wasn't new, and pre-dated even the post-women's lib era, as seen in this 1961 Maidenform ad:

But is it merely a coincidence that 1979 was also when this Barbra Streisand movie was released, and became one of the year's top grossing movies?

(And yes, the only time Streisand's character got in the ring was to verbally spar with the fighter she "owned," played by Ryan O'Neil -- but as the poster above makes clear, the movie's publicity all about putting Ms. Streisand into boxing imagery.)

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Where's Gladys?

This one's too easy. A 1974 ad from paper manufacturer Crown Zellerbach:

"Promise her anything," the ad begins, assuring the reader that "behind every promise made with a credit card...there's a modern system of paper forms to make sure the promise is a guarantee." (This is pre-analog and pre-digital transmission of data.) All well and good, I suppose, but what, you're wondering, is the point with the photo and headline?

Actually, if you were watching TV back in the early '70s, you already know what the point is. The photo is a clumsily staged knock-off of a popular "Laugh-In" skit featuring series regulars Ruth Buzzi and Arte Johnson:

Here's how Wikipedia explains it:
...dowdy spinster Gladys Ormphby, clad in drab brown with her bun hairdo covered by a visible hairnet knotted in the middle of her forehead. In most sketches, she used her lethal purse, with which she would flail away vigorously at anyone who incurred her wrath. On Laugh-In, Gladys most often appeared as the unwilling object of the advances of Arte Johnson's "dirty old man" character Tyrone F. Horneigh.

In a typical exchange, Tyrone accosts Gladys and asks, "Do you believe in the hereafter?" "Of course I do!", Gladys retorts defensively. Delighted, Tyrone shoots back: "Then you know what I'm here after!"
(This is actually the second ad from the era we've found that seems to trade on Ms. Buzzi's Gladys character; here's the other.)

That mystery solved, here are two others: I don't know why the woman above, who may or may not be actress Stockard Channing, has replaced Gladys. And I'm a little fuzzy on the headline, except to speculate that it's meant to sound like one of Tyrone's leering come-ons; maybe it was a recurring phrase he used.

And if you're thinking that this is all an awfully round-about way of getting to selling paper forms, I think you're right.

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