Little ads - Britain, 1947. Various mongers.

So, if you wanted a Bubo clockwork owl in 1947, you had to visit the Sackville-Bagginses in their ironmongery shop. I would have headed straight to the owlmonger's shop. That would have wasted my entire morning, heading all the way across the Bywater into the Westfarthing. Boy would my face have been red.

Back then, you didn't replace a "tyre", you had it retreaded. Of course, in England at the time, you couldn't go faster than twenty miles per hour on their cobbled paths anyway. Still, I wouldn't trust "tyres" this bald to get me as far as Grumbleton or Valdermortsfordshire, let alone Wembley!

Protects your fireplace's brightwork from the pesky eye-rays of your nosiest neighbors.

It's kind of hard to tell what they're selling in this ad. But, right at the end, it mentions shoe shops. Good thing. I was about to head out to my local childmonger's for a Little Toddler.


DuPont Orlon - Game of bro's.

Fashion news now, from 1957! It's summer wardrobe time, citizens, and that means warm, breathable polyester/wool blends from DuPont. And paneling! ...also probably from DuPont, come to think of it.

This ad tells the story of a person and two men playing a little... uuh... snooker? ...bumper pool? I can't think of a billiards game that uses two white balls. Anyway, in the foreground is Man 1, who could be planning his next shot based on where the balls lie after Man 2 has had his turn.

Or, he could be secretly poisoning his cue with a lethal curare. Note how his back is turned to his opponent and he looks so sneaky.

Or he may not be looking at the table at all, but at the other gentleman's junk, imagining what he's going to do to him once he gets him alone and the lady has gone upstairs.

The lady should be careful. Perspective is unclear here, but Man 2 could be about to jab her in the ute' on his backswing. This would open the door to a wonderfully grand spit-take for her, as long as she gets that tea in her mouth in a second or two. That's why this picture is great. The narrative could go in any direction.

But one thing's for sure. It won't go in the direction of the lady joining in the game. Since this is 1957, and this ad appeared in Esquire magazine, "The Magazine for smarmy douchebags Men", the woman is just a bystander. She's scenery. She's there to observe the big strong men and thrill to their billiardic exploits, becoming as wet as spring.

That was 1957. Since then, society has corrected this overt sexism in advertising. Now, every man appearing in a commercial with a woman is, by necessity, a lovable buffoon who doesn't know how to use a computer, change a diaper, scramble eggs, or metabolize carbohydrates without the tolerant assistance of the female character to straighten him out.

If this ad were to appear next week in a major publication, the woman would be operating the cue, and the man would have a pancake stuck to the side of his face, be on fire, and would have lost a finger, because, you know, that afternoon he tried to make a salad. The other man would simply be dead, lying  next to a pile of his own viscera, having attempted to use TurboTax without the supervision of his wife. What an adorable bunch of lunkheads we are.

Click for big, lunkhead.


Gronk you Answer - Gronk answer you! Carpet and furnace friends.

dipu islam say:

Our furnace is finally hooked up and running! It is very cold today so it was great to have the entire house
heated. We can actually be in the basement without freezing.

Dear di-pu,

Gronk glad to hear about basement happiness. Gronk like keep house warm too (see Gronk picture at start of post). If di-pu need tips how to make fire, don't be scared to reach out. That what friend for. Fire sometimes friend. Sometimes enemy. Mostly friend. In picture above, Gronk not sure how fire start. Crazy day. You had be there.

Please write more time, di-pu, but next time try and make actual question. Hard to answer question that not question.

Carpet Cleaning in Toronto say:

Carpets have become part of a great history of art. Today, many establishments and some homes use carpet mainly for comfort. There are a lot of kinds of carpets and their designs really vary. To make it last longer, it is advisable to have good cleaning treatments to maintain the durability.

Dear Carpet Cleaning:

Gronk think you not sure what "question" mean. You call that question? Gronk wonder if when you talk about "carpet", mean carpet. Carpet Cleaning seem a lot concerned with carpet. Maybe carpet mean something else really? Gronk not like mess with head.

You in Toronto. Hoo-man around here say that in same place as Van-Coo-Ver. You know friend there called Carpet Cleaning Vancouver? Gronk think you have similar interest. Always worry about carpet. Maybe have "love connection"? Gonk think him have funny talk. Barely speak hoo-man language. Gronk have "love connection" once, but then fire happen. Crazy night. You had be there.

Gronk is not a board certified therapist. Gronk is a celebrity advisor and life coach, and is a staff member of several support group outreach centers. His replies are intended for entertainment purposes only, and should be followed up by consultation with a qualified counselor or experienced therapist, probably a human.


Milliron's Department Store, 1949 - Mod-ular.

This picture was left on my desk this morning by the Images and Scanning Them team. Good work, people. This department store is a frikkin' masterpiece. Just look at those curves.

This picture was found in a 1949 issue of Fortune Magazine, and the caption reads as follows...

New way to shop in Los Angeles. Customers of Milliron's new store park cars on roof, ride escalator to sales floor. Building cost: $14 per square foot (vs. $25 for conventional design). Sales: two and a half times expectations.

So this building was not only a modernist work of art, but it was clever, efficient, successful AND about half the cost of conventional buildings of the era? Well, if it were still there, I'd be interested to see if the structure had stood up to years of use... what's that? It may still be there? RESEARCH AND GOOGLING TEAM, ASSEMBLE! Pksshoww!

Milliron's grand opening, 1949.

Corner shot, featuring the windows of the Garden rooftop restaurant. In Street View, you can see that these doors
are now cleverly bricked in.

Milliron's central escalator, leading to the restaurant and rooftop parking area.

Built in 1949 by Milliron's, the building is located at 8379 South Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles, just north of LAX. It remained a Milliron's for few years, until being bought out by Broadway stores, and the Broadway-Westchester operated at this location for decades. At some point it became a Mervyn's department store, until closing in 2008, at which point it was put into use as a Kohl's store. So, there's some testament to the solidity of the cheapo construction. But was it still sturdy enough to park cars on the roof? Probably not. The Google Street View images show the rooftop ramp archway as being artfully blocked in by a wall, whose design only makes the feeblest attempt to blend in with the rest of the building. The trail of smeary rust color implies that this might be where the garbage exits the building! Exciting!

View Larger Map

The building was built to impress with cleverness, luxury and comfort. Now it's clearly intended to maximize profits. Mission accomplished. What a bummer. I'm going to scroll up and imagine the lead  picture being used for a jazz album cover.

Click for big.


Urgent Business Call, 1949.

Joke #1 - "Guess what, Stan! You're fired! And your mother says dinner is still at six.."

Joke #2 - "Well, I just spoke to our Social Media Director, and apparently there isn't social media yet."

Joke #3 - "Guess what, Stan! I just spoke to our Social media Director, and apparently there's a short film down at the Roxy that 'simply everyone must see'. Something about a kitten spinning around on a gramophone record or something... and something about 'can I has Gershwin'. You're young - does that make any sense to you?"

Joke #4  - Well, I just spoke to our Social Media Director, and the prostitute he's with has definitely heard of our company."

Comatoast emerged from a catatonic state long enough to utter joke #5. Thanks Coma, you can rest now.  "Mr. Howard, I think you're swell, and sometimes I watch you sleep through your bedroom window!"
"That's great Stan. Excuse me for a minute while I call security to have you escorted from the building."

[Commenter jokes will be added to the post.   -Mgmt.]


Studebaker Lark - Anything but.

I don't know what's happening to me. I don't want to like old cars. Guys who like old cars wear cargo shorts and aloha shirts and say things like "The trouble with cars today...". Oh, I know what's happening to me. It's called "getting old". Nice Studebaker, by the way.

The Lark was what passed for a "compact" in 1961, so that's kind of funny. I like this car. It kind of looks like the cars they drove around in Japanese monster movies when characters pulled over to the curb (with dubbed in tire screech) in order to leap out of the car and gasp "Godzilla!" at something off camera, presumably Godzilla.

Previously on Phil Are GO!, Knowledgeable  Reader Steve Miller contributed a little information about where the Lark fit into Studebaker's lineup at the end of it's life. The Lark was anything but, it was a temporary shot in the arm for the dying company. We hereby reproduce his words for your informationalization: Thanks again, Steve!

Studebaker, after its 1957-58 success* with the no-frills Scotsman series (single sun visor, no door arm rests, choice of three homely paint colors, painted trim instead of chrome), whacked off the front and back of their standard-sized sedans to produce... the Lark!

Upshot of the surgery? Studebaker's sales of 44,759 units in 1958 was almost trebled for 1959. The Lark enabled Studebaker to hang on to breath long enough to produce the astounding Avanti. But the moving finger had written -- the board diversified corporate holdings, and Studebaker stumbled to the curb -- in Hamilton, Ontario -- by 1966, ending 114 years in transportation and 64 in the auto industry.

Lastly, the photo in this ad is downright artsy, which is not always the case with car ads. The grid of windows and the sunset form a graphical background behind the Lark.

If you simply must have one, you can have this, uuh, "example" of a Lark for a going price of 2,000 rusty dollars. Bleah. That's not encouraging. What a bummer. I'm gonna scroll up and look at the ad some more.

Click for big.


Master Mind! - Or not.

Just four days after The Waterboarding of Chicago, a critically moistened city returns to work, and somehow finds the courage to make fun of old magazines again, because if we stop making snarky jokes about defenseless old pictures, the water terrorists have truly won. You are heroes, dear readers. Show that stagnant pool of bacterially lethal and possibly electrified filth in your basement that your spirit remains unbroken. Laugh with us in the face of overly simplistic advertising and push your squishy, mildewy fear to the curb of your mind, for the Special Item Pickup Service (also of your mind) to carry away.

Speaking of your mind, let's speak about your mind. The picture in this ad is more like one I would use to portray a man who is baffled by numbers, rather than a math whiz. he looks like his head is spinning. "Don't ask me! I hate math! I'm only an artist!" If he were really good at math, the numbers would all be in clear, straight lines. But what do I know about selling books?

The book is bound in cloth, which now seems a little shortsighted. It seems to me that any book worth keeping should be printed on rubber pages and bound in a CO2-canister-inflatable raft. A book like this may help you calculate in your head your total losses you need to report to your insurance company, assuming you have flood insurance, which most people don't.

He'll make you forget all your math worries.
Please enjoy this delightful clip art version of the mathy gent from today's ad. You can pretend he's really good at math, or that he's a math-tard. Or heck, you can even pretend that those glyphs floating around his head mean he's a prince of hell, as lavishly illustrated by visionary painter and freaky weirdo Wayne Barlowe. The choice is yours.

Click for big.

Click for big.


The Boy Scientist(s) - A lot of cupping, these days.

Joke #1 - One pound Uranium's radioactivity Equal to 2,600,000,000,000,000,000 pounds of coal.

Joke #2 - An Introduction to Wonderful Worlds for Young American Replicants!

Joke #3 - * Please try to limit Uranium exposure to cupping in hand. If Uranium is accidentally ingested, please try to excrete all particles. Do not excrete cubed Uranium! Cubed Uranium should be jettisoned through standard Abdominal Rejection Panel. Try not to breathe Uranium. Especially try not to breathe excreted Uranium. Each sold separately.

Joke #4 - the Boy Scientist, calculating the ickyness of girls to six decimal places by 1958.

Joke #5 - A Space Platform May Look Something Like This. Also available in black anthracite, brushed aluminum, or chromed finish. Spinners are not recommended for installation on Space Platform.

Joke #6 - Excreting one ingested pound of Uranium equal to excreting 2,600,000 pounds of ingested coal!

Joke #7 - the Boy Scientist, and his 1/1 scale, identical ventriloquist dummy scientist... probably powered by Uranium.

Joke #8 - If it's really the "Finest Gift for Boys", why is there a money back coupon?

Joke #9 - the Virgin Boy Scientist, by John Lewellen

Joke #10 - With uranium, you can lovingly cup in your hand the energy in 2,600,000 pounds of lovingly cupped coal!

Joke #11 - the Boy Scientist, soon developing the Standardized Abdominal Rejection Panel, for a safe clean future of cubed uranium ingestion.

Joke #12 comes to us from the fancy-balled one himself. Thanks to Misterfancyhotballs_2! - Joke #12 - Introduction to Wonderful Worlds for Young Conjoined Americans who enjoy being hand-fed Uranium!

[Commenter jokes will be added to the post.  Mgmt.]


Diesel Training - Give us a big hand.

Diesel and heavy Equipment are expanding industry. If you have mechanical aptitude, or are several hundred feet tall, write for free information. Please use giant tweezers to fill in form with tiny, normal-sized pen. Allow two normal-sized weeks for delivery.

If you have mechanical aptitude, also write for free information "Giant Tweezer Manufacturing Training Service", which is a coincidentally expanding industry.

If you have attractive hands, also see ad on pg 64 "Scale Model Cupping and Caressing Training Service".

If you are normal sized and have tiny mechanical aptitude, write for free information "Inexplicably Small Machine Repair", which is an expanding industry, though you'd never guess because they're so inexplicably small.

Click for big.


Sergeant's Worm-Away - He's gotta have it!

Aaah, simpler times. Time was, you could run a picture like this without people getting the wrong idea.

Hurry up with the powder! Puppy needs his din-din, and don't skimp on the Worm-Away. He hasn't had any in hours, man, and he's gonna go nuts if you can't get him some shit, like immediately! Maybe just a little taste, you know, to get him through to supper? Just a taste? Just a little taste? Come onnnn, maaaan! I mean, yeah, he's got worms, but he'd swear he's got bugs crawling all over him, mannnn! They're coming out of his pores, and one little taste of that sweet sweet candy will make it all go away.

Just a little bit of that stuff and he'll be chasing his tail, and catching his tail, and eating his tail, and puking up his tail, and eating his tail again, and jumping around and barking and barking and barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark THUD.

*Sergeant's Worm-Away. Use only as directed...  in a Porsche 944.... probably with a prostitute... who probably needs a dose of Worm-Away herself.

Click for big.


Sears, Roebuck and Co. - Acme Anvils

Citizens, it is with great pride of merchandise that we are able to bring to you, our customers, this, the greatest of the anvil-maker's art. The Acme anvil, which is truly the finest we have seen in all of the world.

No longer is it a daily necessity that you somehow live under the tyranny of the knowledge that you must use an anvil made by The Hated British, merely because you desire the finest anvilling in the whole of the world. Now, anvils of the Finest Quality are made here in the United States by the good Acme Company, and we defy any Charlatan to call them inferior in any way!

There is a steel face for greater hammering, which is welded to the glorious wrought-iron body. "How is it welded to the body? By the work of Demons?" you say? No, dear customer. The extra-heavy steel face is welded to the wrought-iron body by an Electrical process that harnesses the very heavenly forces of lightning in the mighty hand of man! Never the twain shall part, under the vigor of your hardest smithying. We dare say this is tantamount to owning a solid steel anvil, which, we will remind you, can only be afforded by the richest Princes of the Distant East.

The face is tempered by a Secret Process, carried out in a veiled ritual of the Anvil Maker's art. The quality of the tempering all but assures the Anvil Customer total absence of being-too-hard-ness or being-too-soft-ness. These problems are rampant in lesser-quality anvils, and the secrets of the Acme Company have eradicated them in their process.

The face is trued by a special machine of a certain construxion whose accuracy and firmness are irreproachable in their quality of make. This machine for truing of the Acme anvils is so very special that there is none other like it in all the land. There are no hollows protuberances or concavities in the totality of the anvil face, which will magnify the greatness of the smithy that owns it.

Sears, Roebuck, and Co. now delivers to the Great Deserts of the American South-West, making available these finely-made anvils to all who dwell there. In such places Acme anvils are utilitous for the purposes of smithying, and also for counter-weighting traps and snares of all kinds, owing to the ready availability of mesas, and the great heights these afford the clever trap-maker.

Click the mouse-button for largeness.


Nabisco Shredded Wheat - An honest day's work.

"Not 'fancy' food is what kids need!" Let's heard it for baffling sentence is what is here!

This whole ad seems like a preliminary design. It would be good to see some art director's notes on it. "Nice copy, but doesn't make sense". Use better picture. Maybe one where the boy's not grimacing". Blame the photographer. "Cram this bail of hay in your mouth. Open wide. Wider. Wider. I said 'wider', Stan! Good. Now try to smile. Now hoooooolld it....

Good thing the arrows are there to show us where the food is. It could easily be a carpet sample or a toupee' in the bowl, and It doesn't get any easier to tell once you put it in your mouth. "Nope. Could be hair, or grath clippingf. Definitely noffing fancy. That'f for fure. Can I thake it out now?... I thaid 'CAN I FAKE IT OUT OF MY MOUF NOW??? Jeeth."'

Click for big.


Triumphant Marketing Triumphs - A rose by any other name.

Troutman's Cough Syrup - This name may seem like an error in judgment, due to customers' aversion to drink anything that may have been made from fish. However, the name "Troutman's" was settled on, only after rejecting several other names:

-Dr. Pukebath's Extra-Tolerable Cough Syrup
-Crotchworth's Secret Formula Throat Remedy
-Durian's Non-Fragrant Sick Juice

Adolph's Sugar Substitute - Previous to it's renaming, Adolph's Sugar Substitute  failed to fly off shelves under the names:

-Hitler's Secret Sprinkles
-Schweet Und Shprinkly
-The Third Reich of Sweeteners

Romilar-CF may seem an intimidating name for a cough remedy, but sales noticeably picked up after a few experimental name changes:

-Romilar Afri-Koff
-Professor Romil's Uber-Yummy Throatkreig


Westinghouse - Tribune Tower

From the publication of Rich Uncle Pennybags, the Monopoly guy, comes this ad for Westinghouse, which was apparently still pretty cranked in 1936 about their air conditioning system for the Tribune Tower, completed ten years before. Must have been quite a job if it was still at the top of their resume after ten years.

Yep. Westinghouse still had their chest puffed out all big about their HVAC kung fu on display at the Tribune. They even call the air "pasteurized", but they had the good sense to put the term in quotes to deny any literal implication.

This painting looks to be a watercolor by Somebody Hughes. I'm afraid that's not enough for the Research and Googling team to do an artist search. Sorry. However, we do have a match for the font used in the headline. If you want to duplicate this exact text, you'll be looking for Stymie Black. If you're not, then don't. Suit yourself.

So what's there now?

Hey! Tribune Tower! All right! I have a feeling that the building will be there long after the actual newspaper has met it's end. Either that, or the Trib will have to think of a way to make money without actually selling newspapers, poor thing, because more and more people are getting their news for free on the web. Think fast, guys!

It wasn't easy to match the angle this closely. I think the painting in the ad was "shot" from the stairs leading down to the water, and Google Street View doesn't let you drop the little yellow man down there. You can see what I mean more clearly in this night shot from Wikipedia:

I wonder if the designers of the building (John Mead Howells and Ray Hood) would approve of us bedazzling their Neo-Gothic masterpiece with disco lights.

Click for big.