My dad (who always has a bead on some old bound magazine collections on eBay) recently snagged a bound collection of 1950 House Beautiful magazines. Oh, it is so much fun to go through these — not only to see all the style elements that I love about the architecture and design from this time period — but it is also fun to see some old products and ads that just don’t exist anymore. Some of the products are funny because they were considered rather taboo and the carefully-worded text is designed not to offend the most delicate sensibilities. Some of the ads are just downright inappropriate because it’s not even trying to hide the racism behind them.
Case in point:
There’s just no way that you can call something “Sonny Boy” and make a “bank” like this without it being totally racist. I do, however, wonder how scary the clown bank looked. Hello, nightmares!
What the …. ? What IS this? How is it a good luck charm? How will I be able to sleep without those scary jeweled eyes invading my dreams? Egads!
Over time copywriters have learned that there are just certain words and terms that you don’t put into a headline together unless you want people to look twice. Back in 1950, however, this made perfect sense:
When they weren’t coaxing readers to find “gay pick-up gifts for men,” the 1957 Sears catalog was then anxious to make women feel shameful about their natural body functions. Be dainty! Get one of these!
Sears catalogs are quite a hoot, mainly for the vast array of things that they offered via their catalog that you just don’t see anymore.
More to come as I continue to peruse these catalogs and magazines. Summer’s almost over and I’m working on getting all my traveling in so that I can pretend that school isn’t starting back up again.
(It’s not working very well.)