Reynolds Aluminum - Shilling for the can.

Okay, in 1957, aluminum wasn't wasted on mundane things like cans just yet. Shut up. You try writing a pun with Christmas and aluminum. (Please post you depressingly superior aluminim Christmas puns in the comments, jerks.)

Reynols Aluminum wrote a nice shiny check to Disney, apparently. So, we get the Disney gang urging us to consider whether everything on our Christmas list could be a little more aluminum. And why isn't everything on your list aluminum? Why do you hate Mickey, you cretin? Your grandma knitted you a sweater? it better be an aluminum sweater or Disney won't approve, based on their promotional tie-ins. Don't you feel ashamed, grandma? Bitch.

This Disney serving suggestion suggests you should choose to buy the aluminum fridge, aluminum stove, aluminum TV, aluminum roller skates, aluminum suitcase.. okay, I do think those exist, at least.

Reynolds makes a point of mentioning that aluminum can be made in "a rainbow of 'in-the-metal' colors". They're talking about anodizing, but a word like that is too big and scary for the readers of LIFE magazine, it seems. We wrote a little thingy skimming the high points of anodizing back in 2011. Here. Read that if you're bored...

Hah. "Alumi-nummy". That's a pretty good one. Too bad it's not Christmassy, or I'd recycle it here. Aluminum puns are extra-recyclable, of course. Random thought: Imagine how extra pointy your Pointy Tree Day tree could be if it were made of aluminum, like that gongy one in the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

Bonus random thought: The English prefer to pronounce the word as "a-lu-min-i-um". This sounds as insane as intentionally eating a smoked fish leather and calling it a "kipper". But remember that the English invented English, so in the court of grammar, their opinion should carry more weight than the country tat invented "git r done". The clever blokes at Mental Floss did the homework for us...
Greeks and Romans used alum salts and in 1761, Guyton de Morveau suggested calling the mineral base alumine—he did identify the metal, and initially decided to call it aluminum.

Fast forward a few years to 1812, when scientific colleagues of Davy’s started using aluminium, saying that it had a more classical vibe (reports suggest that Davy signed off on the shift).
Hm! So the American pronunciation "aluminum" came first? Weird! I'd have thought it was just us yanks getting bored halfway through reading the word and skipping letters. But, the article also points out that their spelling is consistent with the other elements in the periodic table, like titanium, helium, and stuff. Do you fill your balloons with "helum"? Didn't think so.

So, I could probably get used to the British pronunciation of Aluminium, because they're right. But there's no way I could get used to eating fish jerky in place of actual food... not without also getting used to a plate full of barf, anyway.

Click for big.


Schick Shavers - Good to know...?

Shick wants you to make it a smooth, hairless Christmas, and who better to hear it from than your own family?

Yep! Everybody in the family, go and shave. Weird, huh? To help drive the point home, the P.A.G! Graphic Blandishment and Photoshoppery Brigade put a slightly finer point on it. We had to exercise from editorial restraint to reject the original replacement text "Christmas surprise... Dad prefers you shaven!" It was a little too "Duggar-y".Thanks a lot, guys! Now everybody needs a Silkwood shower. Hairy Christmas!

Click for big.

Click for big.


The Grocery Checkout.

 Joke #1 - "Merry Christmas, and thank you for shopping at Honkymart!"

Joke #2 - "It's always a pleasure to be of service to you, Mrs. Brown... and always a delight to see your charming boygirl, Buster. Ooo! I see he-she wants to carry the bourbon all by him-herself!"

Joke #3 - "I apologize, Mrs. Brown. I promise we'll have that hole in the floor fixed this week."

Jim D. quickly sent us joke #3. He couldn't stop thinking about the Redi-Wip lady if he wanted to! Thanks, Jim! "Of course we have Reddi Wip! We keep it right here under the counter. Now if I could just have a quick look at your I.D., and what size candy cane would you like to go with that?"

A nice Ash reference comes to us from Cyclotronboy. Thanks, CTB! Joke #4 "Well, Mrs. Brown... This... is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart."

You can't go far wrong with a sausage joke, and LRF knows this. Thanks, LRF! Joke #5 - "That will be $11.50. Do you want me to bag that kielbasa you have around your neck or are you going to wear it home?"

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

Click it to big it.


Reddi-wip - Yes, Virginia, this is a real ad.

"'Hurrah for Reddi-wip!' Say Millions of Holiday Hostesses". Mmmmm... Yeah, baby.

Who can resist the allure of aerosol sugar spray? Who can say no to such a hostess? Such enthusiasm. So creamy and sweet. Such a grip. She's obviously used Reddi-wip before. This isn't her first party. Reddi-wip, baby. I think I'm gonna get some.

Clicking it only makes it bigger.


Christmas Stamps 1975 - For your completely normal family.

Hey, citizens! Who likes stamps for Christmas? Correct! I didn't think so! Let's check in with our favorite decade with a collection of restraining orders to see what's hot for Christmas. You're on, The Seventies!

Stamps capture your imagination like nothing else! Yes, they capture it and lock it in a cold, tiny cell where you can't find it. Give stamps this Christmas to your completely normal family.

Such family members as...

Charlie Bucket's disembodied head, perched in an open space helmet, exposed to the hard vacuum of space!
Paul Lynde offering a pot to his elderly children, possibly to lessen the symptoms of their progeria disease.

And of course, your daughter, who, in the flower of her womanhood, is completely safe in the custody of clowns. You'd better get her something special this year. She likes music, right?

Click it to big it.


Neolite Soles - The greatest gift of all.

This wholesome couple bought their boy some shoes last Christmas. What did he do to deserve that?

"Last Christmas we got practical and included a pair of shoes in Jimmy's stocking." Okay, "included" tells us that it wasn't all he got for Christmas, so they aren't total monsters. But shoes - along with food and shelter - are things a parent is expected to provide for their kids anyway, regardless of holiday gifting. Trying to pass off basic necessities as an exciting Christmas present is some lame parenting, right there. If your kid needs shoes, sticking a pair in their stocking is like giving them a loaf of bread on Christmas morning. "Merry Christmas, Jimmy! Eat up!"

But apparently, Jimmy was over the moon about those Christmas shoes, running up and down the hall in them all the live-long day. Now you know we're in the bullshit world of advertising land. Kids do get clothes for Christmas, but to be honest, when you were nine years old, do you recall being excited to rip open a box only to find a sweater inside? Never. Only the highest-functioning child has enough theory of mind to feign happiness when finding a garment masquerading as a proper present under the tree.

Most kids, being the narcissistic near-sociopaths that they are, it's all they can do to keep from punching you after opening a box of socks. Recall A Christmas Story, when Ralphie and Randy open up some socks on Christmas morning, pausing only to exchange a baffled glance before tossing them over their shoulders and moving on to something interesting, like maybe a clockwork zeppelin.

But "most" is not "all". There are a statistically insignificant number of preadolescents who could, uncoached, conjure a plausible smile and a simulation of polite gratitude in response to a sock gift. In decades to come, it is diplomatic outliers like this that will surely be forging alliances between fiercely hostile nations. Heroes, one and all.

But enough about them. Look at mom and dad. Jayne Mansfield and Ricky Ricardo are apparently married, and never leave the house without a hat. Plus they have their gifts wrapped at the store. So fancy! Also plus, they never let themselves be overlapped by other graphical elements in the ad, making it child's play to cut them out and use them wherever we like. So considerate! Phil Are GO! Graphic Blandishment and Photoshoppery Brigade... assemble! Pkshow!

Deploy pen tool! - Complete!
Create selection! - Complete!
Feather selection - Complete!
Ctrl/J (or command/J on a Mac, isolating a selection of an image onto a new layer) - Complete!
File / save! - Complete!

Good work, PAGGBPB! Hit the showers, and watch the towel snapping. Someone could lose an eye.

Jayne and Ricky now have a totally transparent alpha channel background, and they're all dressed up to make the scene on your filthy, fragmented hard drive. Get your rude finger ready to right click their brains out in three, two, one, RIGHTCLICKNOW! You're welcome!

Click for big.

Click for big.


Drummond Sweaters - The perfect gift for your asshole.

Who wants to start their day being annoyed? Right! We all do. Let's be annoyed with Drummond sweaters, courtesy of this ad from the December 1959 issue of Esquire magazine.

These two snappy fellows have just beamed down to an M-class planet to do some light exploring and casual assholing. The man on the left is wearing a fairly conventional sweater, but the guy on the right looks Starfleet fresh! Let's hope his sweater is red. At the moment, they're just being assholes to the lady they brought with them, but the real assholes are the advertising industry of 1959, in which this kind of thing was hunky-dorey.

Please forgive the funky scan. This as ran deep into the groin of the magazine, making scanning difficult. In keeping with our catch-and-release, do-no-harm policy toward vintage materials, we chose not to simply slice the page out of the magazine. So, we let the image suffer so that the magazine itself may be preserved... though, in this case, you may well question that decision. See, since we left the magazine intact, in the distant future, when the apes excavate our civilization, they can find this magazine and understand that truly the beasts were us. You're welcome, future-apes.

Click for big.


Old Bigot Whiskey

Click for big.


The space-suit.

Joke #1 - "You look great! Yes, my son designed it in preschool. It was so good, the teacher put it up in the hall. Launch is in eight minutes."

Joke #2 - Air Force Chief of Staff General Thomas D. White examines a suit the Air Force says will enable man to go anywhere in space, so long as space has at least one atmosphere of pressure, isn't too chilly, and looks mostly like the planets on Lost in Space.

Joke #3 - After his final prep and briefing, Captain Clev Rhintfarb was now ready to eat at Chipotle.

Joke #4 - Air Force Chief of Staff General Thomas D. White examines glamorous new suit of the shimmeriest silver lamé with contrasting gloves and booties, gloriously set off with anodized hose fittings, which will enable man to go to the most fabulous reaches of space with confidence and sass.

Joke #5 - A tired worker, seen just before decontamination, after putting in a twelve hour shift in the tinsel mines of northern Lapland.

Joke #6 - Air Force Chief of Staff General Thomas D. White examines a suit the Air Force says will enable astronauts to go anywhere in space while the pounds simply melt away.

Cyclotronboy sent us this Joke #7, with an atomic weight of hilarious! Thanks, CTB! - Sure, sure, space and astronauts! Whatever you say, Lieutenant. As long as that thing out there on the tower can launch nuclear bombs like those eggheads promised, I don't care what nonsense you're up to!

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

Click for big.


Coca-Cola - Another Sundblom Santa.

People will try to tell you that Coke created the modern image of Santa Claus, but that's a myth. Our concept of what Santa looked like had been evolving for a long time, and had pretty much been in place long before Coke decided to use him for marketing their soda during the otherwise-dreary-for-the-soda-market holiday season.

That said, we found this terrific full page ad in the Dec 11th, 1950 issue of LIFE. Even though it's uncredited, it's definitely painted by Haddon Sundblom, which we've spotted before in his natural habitat of a Coke ad.

This ad shows two happy kids stocking their fridge in preparation to have a stranger break into their house and eat all their food. Surely, a dream come true. Psst! Kids! He's right behind your refrigerator and he's thirty feet tall.

Sundblom was on the Coke payroll from the 1930s on into the 1960s, so that's why we can be sur ethis is one of his. Also, his style is often imitated, but never well.

Here's a fun bit of trivia. Ever wonder who's doing all the Coke Santa paintings now? Nobody. Sundblom's Santa paintings are still used for Coke's advertising. I would have thought they'd have hired a new artist to copy his style when he died in 1976, but they're just using the same art. The huge billboard of Santa you drive past on your commute? Still Haddon Sunblom. Cool, huh? I'd be interested to see the facility where they store all of Sundblom's original paintings. That would be a hell of a tour.

Paintings like this were routinely heavily referenced. That means the artist would organize a photo shoot with a model, and use the resulting picture(s) to do the painting. Sorry to shatter any illusions, but paintings like this aren't just conjured out of the artists imagination... especially when there's a deadline.

So, wondering what Sundblom looked like, the P.A.G! Research and Googling Squad found a picture of him. There's our boy! Hey, wait a second...

 If I had to guess, I'd say that's Sundblom's face on Santa. White hair with strangely dark eyebrows? Check. Prominent, slightly shiny lower lip? Check. Smile lines at the corners of the eyes? Check. Shape of the nose.?Check. Sure, he fattened himself up a bit, but that's Haddon himself!

But back to the idea of Coke having "created" our image of Santa. Here's a bit from Snopes on the subject.

...the beloved persona of Santa Claus is somewhat distinctive in that his appearance is neither one that has been solidified through centuries of religious tradition nor one that sprang fully-formed from the imagination of a modern-day writer or artist. Santa Claus is instead a hybrid, a character descended from a religious figure (St. Nicholas) whose physical appearance and backstory were created and shaped by many different hands over the course of years until he finally coalesced into the now familiar (secular) character... 
...However, illustrations of lavishly bearded Santas (and his predecessors), showing figures clothed in red suits and red hats with white fur trimming, held together with broad black belts, were common long before Coca-Cola's first Sundblom-drawn Santa Claus advertisement appeared in 1931. 
There was a period of overlap during which the modern Santa Claus character coexisted with other Christmas figures and other versions of himself, as his now-standard appearance and persona jelled and his character grew in popularity to become the dominant (secular) Christmas figure in the western world. However, that period had ended before Coca-Cola began utilizing Santa for their holiday season advertisements. As noted in a New York Times article published in 1927, four years before the appearance of Sundblom's first Santa-based Coca-Cola ad. 
Coca-Cola's magazine advertisements, billboards, and point-of-sale store displays were for many Americans their primary exposure to the modern Santa Claus image. But at best what Coca-Cola popularized was an image they borrowed, not one they created.

So there's that. Coke didn't invent Santa Claus, but it looks like Sundblom's portrayal of Santa represents the final evolution that's remained basically unchanged for about sixty years now - and an image that's many people's favorite. Why fix what's not broken?

Click for big.


Paperback Book Cover - When the Green Star Calls.

Today, we feature another great paperback book cover. It's a 1973 novel by Lin Carter called When the Green Star Calls. The cover art is by Luis Dominguez, and I have to say I like Dominguez' paintings more than his drawings. Nuff Said.

This is the book two in Carter's Green Star series. I don't know the series myself, but I know how to search Wikipedia. Here's a link to that article, if you're interested.

Based on my total lack of research on what the story is about, I can tell you that it involves a lucky young man being whisked away on a romantic date with a guy with a teapot on his head, in a golden hoverswan, soaring over the triceratops-infested swaps surrounding an alien dildopolis. Oh, such a time they'll have!

What's that? You say you'd like a special crop of this image with the text removed. Here, let the P.A.G! Graphic Blandishment and Photoshoppery Brigade get that for you. The original version is included too, at maximum-blogger-allowable 1600px height. You're welcome!


Little Ads, 1974 - Christmas shopping so simple, an idiot could do it.

How long has it been since we've heard from our favorite mouth-breathing friend, The Seventies? Way too long! Let's check in with the decade that always needs to borrow-some-cash-to-pay-back-this-one-dude-come-on-bro-I'm-totally-good-for-it. We found these golden gems of gold in the back of Better Homes and Gardens from 1974. Let's see what people who watched Maude were buying! Also, we're converting the prices to modern FutureBucks, adjusting for inflation.

Get any clever phrase printed on one of two kinds of shirt in one of two colors, in your choice of one font (probably). T-shirt $23.88. Sweatshirt $33.53. How much for a sweatshirt that just says "we print anything"? Priceless.

Serving suggestion only. May or may not be compatible with teenage mustache on middle aged man.
Ecology pendant containing rice, macaroni, peppercorns, and dried peas lets everyone know you have a pendant full of rice, macaroni, peppercorns, and dried peas. Only $28.70, adjusted for inflation.

Wooden "etc." wall thing tells all your visitors that you have nothing to say, and feel very strongly about it. Fun to see how many people look right at it and still find a way to still mispronounce "ex-cetera".

New! Lady calculator blows the lid off the boutique calculator racket. Designed specifically for milady. Identical version is also available, designed specifically for men. Comes with matching pouch made from kids. $67.30.

Fireplace log roller easily rolls newspapers into logs for those without hands. Is hand operated. $72.12.
Pet's coat of arms displays your pet's Noble lineage and victories in battle, such as The Great Shitted Blanket Event, and The Battle of Lécher les Fesses. $23.88.