1940s, Austin, College, Culture, Food, Fun, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Texas, Vintage

Dine & Drug

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?

1940s, College, Culture, Fashion, Fun, Hair, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, School, Style, Vintage

Swope Is A Real Last Name

University of Kansas, 1941

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.

1940s, Advertising, Culture, Fun, History, Nostalgia, Travel, Vintage

But We Don’t Use Furlongs

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.

wikipedia

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?

1940s, Advertising, Art, Culture, Fun, History, Nostalgia, Vintage

“It’s Swell To Get Camels Again”

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.

1940s, Culture, Fun, Funny, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Vintage

Simian Takeover

LIFE September 1, 1947
By 1947, George Vierheller had already been director of the Saint Louis Zoo for nearly 20 years and felt at ease with his wards. As you can see, he had a certain laissez-faire approach to monkey business. Here, we find Tommy and Cookie taking issue with who really is who at the zoo, while George takes a cigar break. The zoo's website quotes Vierheller as such: Shortly after I became a zoo man, a friend of mine advised me: "George, don't merely sit in the chair and listen to it squeak." 

So George became a hands-on boss. 

You’ll note that he went ape over gorillas as well.

Even in the last year of his position at the zoo in 1962, Vierheller was still making friends and sharing vices.

LIFE by Francis Miller

A bronze statue of him was commissioned that same year, representing the love he shared with the animals.

racstl.org

1940s, Advertising, Art, Culture, Fun, Funny, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Vintage

Prince Ali, Fabulous He

LIFE, July 22, 1946

Okay, let’s unpack this post-war ad for White Rock. We’ve got a trio of businessmen in straw boater hats and a Middle Eastern prince whose head has turned toward the topless fairy/cocktail waitress. Remember, somebody had to pitch this idea to White Rock, and White Rock said, “Absolutely, it’s a go.”

Then somebody said, “Let’s use ‘by the beard of the prophet‘ because that’s what Muslims say.” And they did. And it’s wonderful. Here’s some context.

And doesn’t Psyche looks smug? She knows she’s all that and a bag of chips–and a barrel of oil. Plus, she has the courage to use terms like “bracing alkaline tang.” Yum! That’s how I like my water.

Though she may have been coy, suddenly she’s (how you say) riding high with Ali. The artwork makes you wonder if she’s wearing a sheer halter or going completely topless. All we know is no matter how many gang signs he flashes, she most certainly will not share his throne.

And stay on the label, she did. In fact, White Rock purchased the rights to a painting titled “Psyche at Nature’s Mirror” by Paul Thumann at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and it’s now the longest running beverage logo. Cheers!

1930s, 1940s, Advertising, Art, Culture, Fun, Funny, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Pics, Vintage

Terrier Tends To Terrain

1943 Arbutus

No doubt about it, those ads in the back of vintage college yearbooks are odd. But who can ignore this dandied-up pooch? Not me.

Some ads have state embodiments to catch your eye like Old Man Texas here.

1938

Texas Power & Light does them one better with its intricate artwork.

1943

Some ads are so simple, that they’re barely there.

1938
1943

Some hardly make a lick of sense.

1937
1943

And some conjure up the devil himself!

1950
1940s, Austin, College, Culture, Fun, Funny, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Texas, Vintage

Pleased As Punch

1947 Cactus

It’s party time again, and the gang loves it when Alan’s punchmaster for the night. He might only be 20, but he knows where to score the Everclear and kick the night into high gear. Some have claimed that after two glasses, that wallpaper becomes 3D. They advise against a third.

Someone should have told Peggy.

1940s, Art, Culture, Fun, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Vintage

Carving Out New Friends

Mr. and Mrs. J. Watson Webb

I realize that most of us had to stem our woodcarving budgets to almost nothing under this economy. But back in 1946, when James Watson Webb and his fantastically-named wife, Electra (which is more fun to say than Alexa) sat down in their posh residence on the North Shore of Long Island, only the most desirable location at the time, trees were plenty, and money was no object.

JW was no commoner, no basic blogger like you or I. Nay, he was born into greatness. His mother was a Vanderbilt, his grandfather an ambassador to Brazil under Lincoln. So he did things neither you nor I could do: graduate from Yale, found a brokerage firm, play on the American polo team, serve in the House of Representatives. Do you feel like a loser yet?

Electra herself was the daughter of a sugar tycoon, and she spent her days on buying sprees, snatching up bits of Americana and brilliant craftsmanship (like those above) to add to her collections. Everything from paintings to quilts to New England furniture. At the tender age of 18, she bought a wooden cigar store Indian for $25 and named it Mary O’Connor after one of her favorite family servants. What others at the time would have called tobacco store junk was art in the eyes of Electra.

The year after the above shot was taken, she established the Shelburne Museum, a home for her treasures, and became a pioneer in preserving remnants of early Americana. It houses the SS Ticonderoga, a passenger steamship, an 1890s rail car, a light house, and various sleighs and carriages. Aren’t the grounds lovely? They even have an apothecary shop!

shelburnemuseum. org

Mary O’Connor eventually wound up on the other side of the country, in the California home of her son, J. Watson Webb, Jr. As he had no children of his own, one wonders where Mary is now. The museum?

Mary O’Connor herself https://www.vermontwoman.com/