When A Plate Of Ribs Was $1.35

Today we take a quick look at yearbook ads in the back of my 1955 University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida yearbook. Yes, ads might seem banal, but I enjoy the localized details, like this dry cleaning ad.

The cartoons are simple but fun; you can even see cleanliness emanating off the fabric. I like the dime price, the cellophane, and the so very Florida salute to the explorer who led the first Spanish expedition to the state over 500 years ago, Ponce de Leon. In case you’re wondering, yes “peaceful protesters” did vandalize the Ponce de León statues in Miami. What else are you going to do when you’re on unemployment to kill time?

Next up is a BBQ menu with prices one can’t even begin to process.

Have you ever heard of “corn-on-cob”? I’ve only eaten corn on the cob, but I respect the brevity. To think that in one lifetime, a rib plate could go from $1.35 to now $19.00 under this administration is absurd. Why, two chicken plates back then would barely buy me an iced tea today. Another fun fact is the location on the Dixie Hi-Way, which of course, doesn’t exist. The Dixie Chicks had to become the Chicks, Lady Antebullum had to become Lady A, so the Dixie Hi-Way gave way to a series of roads with boring names.

With Florida only being a stone’s throw from the not yet communist-oppressed Cuba, how could they not peddle some cigars? And look! If you buy two instead of one, you save an entire penny! One red cent! Go on, get your college kids some smokes to burn off the steam from finals.

We wrap it up with an all-American product that may surely contribute to diabetes, but don’t it go down nice?

Ah, yes, the delicious and refreshing teeny weensy bottle of Coca-Cola. Imagine how much energy it could provide to the person who had to draw that ad, with all those little lines upon that hand. Plus, it’s fun to note the six digit phone number. Well, that’s all from Coral Gables, y’all. Go out and enjoy a $19 rib plate.

Frosty, Man, Frosty

1958

Now in Detroit! I’m not sure why this ad was targeted specifically at Detroit, giving its citizens (comprised of avid surfers along the Detroit coastline) access to the friendly Pepper-Upper. “Frosty, man, frosty” seems consistent with the beatnik counterculture depicted in the Dobie Gillis show that would air the following year. But isn’t the temperature of the drink dependent on its storage, and not its ingredients? Couldn’t any drink be frosty, man?

Like a pineapple, which is neither pine nor apple, Dr Pepper is neither medicinal nor peppery. But that didn’t stop the jingle makers of the 1977 commercial from using the bandwagon formula of letting all of America know that he, she, and they are peppers, and you might ought to get in line and become a pepper yourself. My friends and I loved to sing along with David Naughton when he appeared on our little black and white screens, donning a vest, and cavorting about. Oh, to be peppers!

Having lived in Texas my entire life, where DP was omnipresent, it was always an option. Many of us have visited the Dr Pepper Museum, as well as the Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Company. We know it was created by a pharmacist in Waco 100 years before we started drinking soda, and we knew the period after Dr was dropped in 1950.

However, it could never top Coke in my opinion, so I opted out of consuming it thrice daily during times of low blood sugar (10, 2, and 4). In fact, I’ve never even ordered one at a restaurant. Perhaps it’s a guy thing. My husband adores it. Oft times, I’ve ordered Coke in a restaurant, and been challenged with “Is Pepsi okay?” which it never is, so I settle for iced tea. But no server ever asks, “Is Mr. Pibb okay?” Never. DP is always available, and unlike a box of chocolates, you always know what you’re gonna get.

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Miller High Life Scores A Win

Keeping up with new Hallmark movies is exhausting these days, whatwith new movies every Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday (which cuts into Bible Study), and sometimes new movies back to back at both 7pm and 9pm. We can’t keep up. But watching hundreds of Hallmark movies means we’ve seen dozens of gingerbread houses being constructed (mostly poorly) in family homes, B&B’s on the verge of bankruptcy, and town festivals. Sometimes simply building them brings two foes together.

But IRL, I’ve never made a gingerbread house. I’ve spent Christmas with different families in different cities, and I’ve never even SEEN a gingerbread house in a person’s home. Do people even eat them? Aren’t they messy? Do they wind up in the Glad bag on December 26th?

But today I saw Miller High Life’s take on the seasonal hobby, and I have to say I’m impressed. Who needs a house when you can have a dive bar?

It’s no joke, and it’s perfect for 2021. Despite all the fear and oppression of American liberty, some industries have banked record revenue, like Big Pharma, Domino’s, and beer. Pfizer reportedly nets $268 million PER DAY and counting, as long as more and more boosters are required. And they will be. Granted, beer hasn’t seen vax $$, but nothing makes folks want to drink more than living through the 2020s.

While many restaurants have folded during the pandemic, we’ve seen craft beer pubs pop up all over our city, and adjacent cities as well. The parking lots are always full, despite pint prices that were $4 last year, now doubled for ales like Electric Jellyfish. Beer is in, man, and it won’t quit. Sure, not Miller High Life. God in heaven, not that. But dive bars? You betcha.

And you just know that when that Gingerbread man enters, everybody knows his name. Who wouldn’t want to grab a pretzel cue stick and play some billiards under actual working lights? Maybe take a load off on some peppermint stools. The kit even offers syrup to drizzle on the floor.

To the marketing geniuses at Miller High Life, I raise a glass of cheap, bland domestic ale to you. Just this once. God bless us one and all.

Swiss Miss Chooses Coke

Ah, springtime in Switzerland! Love is in the air, on the cool of the crisp, pure breeze, the crusts are cut off our picnic sandwiches and a German Alpine hat-donning senior has just procured more bottles of Coke for us! How could life get better?

1958

Over 60 years have passed, and Coke is still going strong in Switzerland. Although the national Swiss drink is Rivella, which sounds like a lot like rubella (aka German measles), Coke is still number one. If you ain’t first, you’re last. Sorry, Rivella. I won’t even show you the ugly label of a Rivella bottle, which looks like a second grader won a label art contest, and the contents appear akin to diluted tea. Hard pass. Coke wins.

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“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.

Gifts For Dad For 2021

1954

An era of subtlety, the 1950s was not, as evidenced by these Cutter Cravat artist originals. Frankly, it’s difficult to interpret what the patterns actually were. We have words for argyle and houndstooth and checkered, but these are littered with sprigs and swirls in bold (and often clashing) colors. What man dare sport the blue one in the center, that splays out at the bottom? It appears to depict an engagement ring.

Note how wide one appears against the lapel of this jacket. A bold and festive statement. Would you dare?

1951

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!

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.

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1943

Some hardly make a lick of sense.

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1943

And some conjure up the devil himself!

1950

Timber!

Today we take a trip back to June of 1972. The image above is the cover art of my Betty and Veronica from the Archie series. However, it doesn’t seem to reflect summer at all. Note the brown leaf on the ground. It reads more like a back-to-school issue.

Obviously, when I started collecting Archies as a child, I had no notion of female objectification, and was clueless to the rampant innuendo in the comics. All I knew is I liked the artwork, teenagers were cool, and they had style. In fact, if nothing else, Archie magazines reflect the style of the times. I mean, how much shorter could Veronica’s mini skirt get? She had a wardrobe malfunction nearly 50 years ago. Plus, we get a bonus shot of a coiffed hairstyle and checkerboard collar. Yay, 70s!

For a fashion-focused lass like myself, Betty seemed the height of fashion in her mushroom blouse and patchwork pockets.

In fact, patches were de rigueur for males as well. Archie forfeited his time with Veronica, in order to have Betty sew patches on his army jacket. Note two things you rarely see these days: a woman sewing and a TV with legs.

So while you may not count me among the comic book nerds of The Big Bang Theory, I do assert the value of comics in reflecting the current times. (They were a’changing.) Dig Archie’s groovy stripes and denim vest. Right on!