This 1947 Blueprint yearbook referred to one of these fellows as “Lonesome Polecat,” and I immediately thought that that might be the best name for an indie folk band ever, until I Googled it, and DARNED if it isn’t a song from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It includes the lyrics, “a man can’t sleep when he sleeps with sheep.” Goodness!
This Del Masters pinup opens itself up to many questions. Firstly, we all know that hitchhiking is frowned upon, especially once serial killers came into vogue. Who knows what kind of person might rescue her? Secondly, there is no way that seaplane could spot her thumb from so high above. Even supposing it is a seaplane that had the capability of landing Sully-style near her, the waves would topple her raft, especially if she insists on standing astride it. The last thing a pilot wants to see is a distraught young woman in a wet, white shirt.
Thirdly, both she and her luggage would be better off sitting down. Surely she’s not wearing stilettos, or the raft will be sunk in no time. Why is she on a raft in the first place? Did her boat overturn on a three hour tour? Did everyone else perish? Did one oar float away? It’s a good thing she’s decked out in her best seafaring ensemble, garters, and flimsy blouse. Let’s just hope that pilot isn’t on his phone, or he may just miss her.
The reputation of Pabst Blue Ribbon in 2022 is more for nostalgia’s sake than for any prestige that it might hold in a world of craft IPAs, ciders, stouts, and porters. Around here, they price It low for hipsters to drink it ironically. But the Tibbetts seem to be enjoying it. And who were they? Well, Lawrence was an opera singer, actor, and radio host. His mustache never suited him, and he evidently drank heavily for years. In fact, he fell in his apartment and hit his head on a table, which proved fatal. I doubt anyone here has ever heard of him. But Laurel and Hardy did.
While it would seem curious now to make plans to meet up with friends at your local Walgreens or CVS, time was when drug stores had soda fountains and lunch counters.
These University of Texas students enjoyed coffee with friends, exchanging notes and cramming for tests, with a view of pills and potions behind the glass at Home Drug in 1948. Today, these brown bottles might prove too tempting for thieves, and certainly not appetizing for patrons in the booths. Did y’all ever drink a soda or take in a BLT at the local drugstore?
Delta Sigma Theta was founded 99 years ago at Howard University. This chapter of ladies studied as Jayhawks in Kansas. While Greek life itself has never mattered to me, what does matter is pictures. And I love this one. Not just the dresses and the hair and the double strand of something too jagged to be pearls, but I love old people names. Oreta, Betty Lou, Ivor, Cozetta, and even Dymple. Look at them subbing in Y’s 80 years ago, like they do today. (Think Kyndyll instead of Kendall.) And of course, there’s Dorothy Swope. I bet she traded that surname for another in the next five years, but on this day, in that dress, she was a Swope.
Yearbooks offer windows of potential. Young people on the precipice of adulthood, away from home, focusing their career paths, making friends, falling in love. Who knows what these women accomplished, how many people today remember their names? Maybe one reached 100 and still exists. But now they’re on the internet, forever preserved in youth, smiling in a time before Pearl Harbor, not knowing what would come.
In 16 seconds, a trotter can travel one furlong. That’s a sentence I bet you’ve never said. We can deduce that the one trotting, the horse, is the trotter. Back in 1949, when this ad debuted, most folks knew what a furlong was: 1/8 of a mile or 660 feet. That’s further than I have to walk to go to my neighborhood mailbox. The Kohl’s is a half a mile away, so it’s half of half of that. Now I can picture it. I bet I could trot it in a flat minute, but surely not 16 seconds. And that’s the value of language in advertising; making sure your readers are on board. Today, the only furlong referenced is Edward, the hot mess of an actor, bless his heart.
Bayer came out in the century before the one we were all born in, unless you’re wee and Generation Z. And it’s the gold standard for folks with any heart issues to take each morning; I myself took a yummy chewable low-dose one for two years before I could discontinue it. It’s time-tested and cardiologist-approved. If you don’t take it, you’ve got friends or family who do. And if by chance, they want to sprint a furlong, they won’t drop dead of cardiac arrest while doing it.
If you’re the kind of person who wants extra credit and likes to learn old measurements, I’ll toss this bonus pic in for you.
Feel free to incorporate it into this weekend’s conversation, perhaps talking about how one day you’d like to retire and live on an oxgang. Wouldn’t we all?
You’ve probably never heard the name, Jerry Ambler. As you can see in this 1947 ad, he was a bronc-riding star, winning the North American Saddle Bronc title in 1941 and 1946. Born in Alberta, Canada, Ambler became the best of the best. The Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Jerry’s asserts that his greatest achievement came in 1946 when he was declared the World’s Champion Saddle Bronc Rider. Though the ad seems to imply his experience with off brand smokes was during service in WWII, I find no record of military service, only rodeo competitions. Perhaps simply the rationing of cigarettes was enough to make him long for Camels.
As often happens with spokespersons in these post-war Camel ads, they pass from cancer. Ambler did not. A car accident took his life at the age of 47. Let’s hope that during those years, the Camels pleased his T-Zone and took the edge of a long day in the saddle. As the years pass by, fewer and fewer of us remember how important the T-Zone was back in the day.
Our collective perception of cigarettes has changed so much since this ad was published, when doctors both smoked and endorsed cigarettes.
Cigarette sales peaked in 1981, and have been falling ever since. In a world of manufactured viruses and death by Grand Canyon selfies, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death, and these ads remain an interesting testimony of the world that was.