Last time I talked about the American magazines which appeared in Albert Taylor’s newsagent’s shop from time to time during the early 1960s. They all had one thing in common. They had advertisements for what we all thought were rather bizarre products which were largely unobtainable in England. On the other hand, had a lorry arrived in our village, full of “Crawling Hands”, we would have been fighting each other for the chance to purchase this amazing toy for only $4.95, plus an extremely reasonable 50c for postage and handling:
Wow and double wow!! It walks across the room and the ring on the third finger sheds light over the floor. What a bargain. I wondered how much $5.45 in 1960 might be worth today. Well, it’s between $45-$50. In English money, that’s around £34-£37. I repeat. What a bargain!
I’m not so sure about the next one though. A whistle for dogs?
What kind of trick is that? You can’t hear it but the dog can? What rubbish. How do you know if it works?
And how will you know the dog has heard it if he is habitually disobedient? And why should he obey a whistle that you cannot hear when he can pretend he hasn’t heard it and you are none the wiser?? He’ll just carry on in the same old way and you’ve wasted your money.
This is a much better product. While my friends join the Boy Scouts, I can put on my black mask and become a member of the Judean People’s Front, or perhaps the Judean Popular People’s Front, or even the Popular Front of Judea.
What have the Romans ever done for us ? “Romanes eunt domus“:
As an adult, I can see now that the majority of the adverts appeal, for the most part, to two categories of customer. The first category is that of the person who is perhaps less intelligent, shall we say? He does not know the names of the simplest dinosaurs. He needs pictures to distinguish between a cave BEAR and a Giant BIRD, or between a GIANT WOOLLY MAMMOTH and a thirteen inch long JUNGLE SWAMP :
In the intelligent section of the magazine, however, much more technical language is used. And if you’re intelligent enough to know what a Styracosaurus is, you’ll definitely want one with a wind up motor :
It isn’t the most intelligent kind of person, though, who will pay money for an authentic fingerprint kit, but is unaware that it will be completely useless without access to the FBI fingerprint database and three years at Police College:
Other adverts just offer products for customers who want to frighten people. They want to scare the living daylights out of the last few friends they have. Perhaps they’ll do it with a monster fly:
They’d like a mask that makes them look like their movie heroes:
Or, the only full colour advert that I could find, a zombie mask:
Presumably, they will wear their mask with their eyeball cufflinks:
And what a slogan.
“NO–THEY’RE NOT REAL, BUT THEY LOOK LIKE IT !
Surely that has a future with a publicity hungry plastic surgeon. It’s certainly better than this excessively subtle 1950s ad :
I borrowed that advert from a website which boasts 39 more. Take a look. It certainly shows how attitudes towards women have altered over the years.
Or have they?