Now I’ve Had The Prime Of My Life (No, I Never Felt Like This Before)

I remember reading an article when Ronald Reagan passed, stating that, at his year of birth in 1911, life expectancy was 49 years old. Reagan died at 93. Clearly, medical care had improved during those 93 years. But it’s still hard to believe the age was 49, due much in part to children dying. This ad from 1937 claims that many folks could actually expect to live past 60 at that point. Some of you have already hit that milestone, with decades yet to come.

It’s Christmas, and no one has time to read a 5,000 word count life insurance ad, so here’s the gist: 40-60 is the prime of life. Anything past 60 is a bonus. Don’t get Bright’s disease (kidney issues). Let your doctor use fluoroscope and X-rays and sorcery to see inside your body. And most of all, DO NOT SCOFF AT BEING CODDLED. Remember, you’re in the prime of your life!

“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.

Follow Me For More Recipes

pleated jeans

I saw this pic today of a patron in a Texas HEB and knew that I could not keep it to myself. At first, I thought someone was hoarding foil or plastic wrap. Then I realized it was Hungry-Man frozen dinners. Dozens of them, supplemented by what appear to be frozen pizzas and some Stouffers tossed in. But the core demand here was blue cartons. All of them. The entire stock. It reminds me of the Parks and Rec scene wherein Ron Swanson demands ALL of the bacon and eggs.

Is this a Christmas gift for a home-bound relative? Is the gift of cardiac failure and diabetes the gift that keeps on giving? I myself have never eaten Hungry-Man. So my palate never knew a salisbury steak nor a meatloaf. But who could not be tempted by this chicken caressing a waffle? Are you a man or a mouse? EAT LIKE A MAN.

Pinnacle Foods

Does that tactic really work in this day and age, where gender is as fluid as the maple syrup on that waffle? Many men today have never changed their own oil, chopped firewood, or kilt them a bar when they was only three. More men today have eaten couscous and know how to properly say acai. But not at Hungry Man. They doubled down with their new double meat bowls because America. Chute, yeah. Try their Mexican Fiesta Enchiladas, complete with coconut-flavored pudding. If that’s not diverse, I don’t know what is.

I can’t see Millennials buying these. Why buy a $4 meal when you can buy a $7 green smoothie? So it must be older folk. Will sales plummet as years go by? All I know is there’s a giant vacancy in the frozen foods department, and a man somewhere who won’t be hungry for long.

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

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.

1938
1943

Some hardly make a lick of sense.

1937
1943

And some conjure up the devil himself!

1950

Tips For Keeping Warm This Winter

Univ of Miami 1955

No, that’s not a young Bing Crosby; it’s Joe Henjum, Band of the Hour drum major, “resplendent in his plumed bonnet.” I don’t have to tell you how his head retained warmth in that hat. It could also transport wine bottles, a leghorn chicken, or even a pair of Justin Ropers.

Musically inclined, Joe also played clarinet and saxophone. He met and married his college sweetheart, JoAnne there in college, and they enjoyed 56 years together. But I doubt he kept the hat.