In our little village in the early 1960s, all of the various American magazines which appeared from time to time in Albert Taylor’s newsagent’s shop had one thing in common. They had advertisements for products which were largely unobtainable in England. I don’t know if this was in the aftermath of World War II or because of rationing, but none of the shops around where we lived had giant monster feet for sale, and neither did they have giant inflatable snakes.
If truth be told, very few of these American adverts had any relevance to our lives in a grey Midlands mining village. They showed us television programmes we could not watch. We had never seen “Land of the Giants”, still less his snake, and “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”, “Star Trek”, “Lost in Space”, all of these were still in a distant future. Well, four years or so in the future:
Furthermore, nobody I knew had the money for a film projector, still less the facilities to accommodate a “Killer Gorilla”:
Mind you, I would have been pretty happy to have received an astronaut space suit, even if no size is mentioned at any point. Just look at the blurb:
“Elastic air compression chambers run the entire length of both arms and legs and along the sides of the body. These chambers are easily inflated with any hand pump or gas station air pump through the three air hoses and air lock valves.”
Wow! Elastic air compression chambers !! And three air hoses !!!
And only a limited number available. How many’s “a limited number”? Four million?
Some of the things advertised you absolutely could not live without, of course. Just take a look at this radio. And what does that mean?……..“It does not connect to any source of power”.
Beyond the usual claims, of course, the radio may even be useful during a nuclear war:
“In the event of a power failure the GERMANIUM RADIO will allow you to hear the news & civil defense broadcasts”.
Wow !!No Dirty Commie’s ever going to creep up on you.
Finally, my favourites. The first is the official make up kit, as used by Olivia de Havilland in “Gone with the Wind”:
If you follow soccer, you’ll recognise the man in the mirror as Arturo Vidal who used to play in midfield for Juventus, Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona and has now moved on to Inter Milan.
My second favourite is a handy inflatable ten foot plastic snake:
And most of all, back to the days of the Raj with your very own pith helmet. It’s never too late to revive the British Empire:
Mind you, if you do want to revive gin and tonics on the verandah, you may want to buy one of these. A snip at the price at $19.95.
Just look at the address you have to write to, if you want a live monkey. It’s Grand Central Station, New York. I bet if you paid a little bit extra for a clever one, he’d catch the train, get off in your town and then walk round to your house.