Sgt Pepper Summer

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band  was released on June 1, 1967, so this is a little late for a happy-41st birthday post. But then I was late getting to it in the first place. I spent the summer of 1969, when I was 6 going on 7, listening to it all day every day – and I mean that pretty literally. That was what I did that summer. Got to know the album pretty well (so did my mother, who wasn’t quite so enthralled). Someone gave my parents a copy of Sgt Pepper and they didn’t want it, so it got passed on to me (or appropriated by me, really).

Before the Beatles the most exciting record I had heard was Oscar Brant singing risqué folksongs (I still remember a lot of the lyrics). This was way better. Plus I got to write all over the cover, labelling the Beatles incorrectly and then crossing things out and writing more. The inside cover with the yellow background didn’t have a yellow background for long, let’s just put it that way.

got it!

I spent the entire summer of 1969 – and I do mean everyday – listening to it. I was six going on seven and that was what I just HAD to do. Iy was the most amazing thing i had ever heard. We had other records of course but they were either classical or a boxed collection of world music from the UN (which was pretty good) or Oscar Brant singing risqué folksongs (which I memorized as best I could, in fact I still remember a lot of the lyrics today).Sgt Pepper really was the best though. I loved looking at the cover too. I wrote all over it as well, trying to label each Beatle. Got them wrong and had to cross everything out.

After this, I discovered the Beatles cartoon on Saturday mornings, which was about the only time you got to see cartoons back then. The best part of these was the Beatles song that got played. I remember hearing “And Your Bird Can Sing” on the show and thinking, this group is absolutely the best. Not that it was all that hard to top Miss Louise on “Romper Room” singing the Do-Bee song and exhorting children to walk around with the red Romper Room plastic-basket thing on their heads to promote good posture. But still!

I wish I still had the Sgt Pepper record. Now we just have CDs, and they’re convenient and sound good but really, no fun at all. And there’s not enough doodling space on them, either. Just in case you need to label who’s John and who’s not John!

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Bad Trip, 1965

1965 True mag Mercury ad

Bob and Betty couldn’t understand why the OK Motor Lodge seemed to be located at the top of a ski hill, albeit one strangely lacking in snow.

But Betty had been looking at the map upsidedown. And Bob had a thing about not asking for directions.

Mercury might indeed be a great road car, but it is not so great an off the road car. And now they are stuck halfway up the bunny hill at a strange Polynesian-themed ski resort which requires its patrons to carry tiki torches on the trails.

What Do Windows Want?

1953 Woman's Day ads Window Shades

I didn’t know they cared about fashion. My windows don’t talk about it that much. Well, actually they don’t talk at all. But perhaps they yearn to look up-to-date and smart, like all the other windows.

And what they want are cloth shades from Joanna Western. We know this because Mrs. Agatha Schoenbrun knows what windows really want. She is like the Freud of windows! She listens and hears their innermost thoughts and desires. There she is, just standing over by the sofa. And we thought she was trying to figure out why we had a big basket of romaine lettuce on the side table. But she is listening to the window tell her how it longs to be the most fashionable window on the block. How the picture window across the street is showing off with new brocade drapes. And the feelings – well, of hostility that this stirs up.

Agatha has put a therapeutic Joanna Western shade on the window to shut the damn thing up.

Well, if I was a fashion-wise window, I think I’d see this cloth shade as pretty basic – the white T shirt of my wardrobe. I really, really don’t think it makes as much of a “dramatic” statement as Agatha and Joanna want us to think, do you?

I tried to find out about Mrs. Schoenbrun the “famous decorating stylist,” to no avail. Did they make her up? Maybe they meant to say, famous decorating therapist. She looks more like a 1950s neo Freudian to me. And I know just what she has covering her office windows.

Keen Mr. Mustard

RD 1967 ads

Presenting the condiment that solves all your problems: Keen’s Hot Ready Prepared English Mustard – full of goodness and adjectives! It is also kind of redundant: if it’s ready, it must be prepared. And if it is prepared, therefore it is ready. Should be Kant’s Hot Ready Prepared Et Cetera, really.

Also, it is Keen and hot, which is not quite so redundant, since Keen is the maker’s name. But still. Keen AND hot. This mustard is so exciting I’m surprised they can confine it to a jar.

Ms. Lambert, the Canadian Reader’s Digest household pundit, is bowled over by this stuff (or so she says). It has actually changed her whole life! “At last I can sit down at the table in peace” – no previous mustard was “nippy enough” and this was a huge, huge problem. But now that jar of Keen’s is hot-glued to the table, permanently coming between the salt and pepper…That doesn’t sound good for the salt and pepper though, having a nippy, zippy, huge yellow intruder sitting there like Big Bird in a bad mood.

So I really don’t know if this is going to solve ALL the problems at the dinner table.

Some Ads Live In A Yellow Hubmarine

I have started writing Hubs over at HubPages (well, OK, I have written ONE! But I will be writing more and then I can use the plural)…I think I’ll probably use the Hubs to write about the teeniest of teeny ads, I have a lot of those and this seemed like a good place to put them. We’ll see how it goes, anyway!

Here is the first one, if you have nothing else to do and want to have a look…I’ll set up a link on the side here shortly. I mean, I’m not going to make a huge fussy fuss every time I manage to crank out a lil Hub, OK? I promise!

If you have any ideas of anything you’d like me to write about – Hubwise or otherwise, do let me know!

Thanks to Wikipedia for the picture. No thanks to my addled brain for the horrendous pun of a title!

Zen and the Art of Loveliness Maintenance

Woman's Weekly 1940 UK Ban-O-Dor

More fun with one of those weird tiny magazine ads, now up close and all too personal thanks to the wonders of digital editing (well, mine anyway, such as it is). I think I like the tiny ads best of all. They tend to veer into truly inspired levels of strangeness. They seem less self-conscious, no one is really looking too closely at the original. (Oh great, now she is anthropomorphizing the ads. Could it be time for a holiday?)

So here we have yet another ad for deodorant. Can’t miss the idea behind this, it is even called Ban-O-Dor. I get it. And she gets the creepy matinee-idol-wannabe who stands in his own personal Dark Shadows. This would not persuade me to use the stuff. Not if the end result was attracting this sort of guy.

The other things I like about this ad is the found-art aspect of the bottom right corner. You see, I found this magazine in a rather sad state, in the basement of my favorite secondhand bookstore (a wonderful, old-fashioned, rather messy bookstore basement) and it was all crunched up. As you see, another ad (for Onixol)has intruded and turned this into a retro Mad Lib - “Your foot can be famous/ In ask at any Dr. foot expert.”

All this can happen after I apply Ban-O-Dor cream. But I must apply it as if it was a lipstick (more puzzlement there). What does it all mean? Perhaps it is just a rumpled-retro Zen koan: “If you apply lipstick under your arms, will your feet be famous for following fresh and lovely romance?”

And if a tree falls in the forest, will someone make the paper for more weird ads out of it?

And finally - is the guy in the ad the “Dr. foot expert”? He does seem to be looking down at the ground, you know…

Old Dutch Treat

LHJ 1936 Old Dutch

Old Dutch is probably the cleaning woman. It’s her nickname. She insists on wearing the white cap thing with the curved-up sides. And the wooden shoes, even though they are hell when she’s running up and down the stairs with the cleaning buckets.

That’s why Helen’s friend there in the fancy hat has time to go shopping. She’s enjoying hanging around watching her friend huff and puff over the sink. Look at the grin on her, it’s positively evil.

Helen on the other hand feels like the work takes her longer and longer. You know, it probably does. It’s like there’s a spell on her! Well, maybe there is. These ads all read like fairy tales or B movies. All that drama packed into one kitchen sink.

Wait till Helen gets a load of the Seismotite in that Old Dutch Cleanser! She’ll buy a tin of the stuff, bring it home, thinking her troubles are all over. But do you really know what’s inside that little tin, Helen?

They never say just what Seismotite is, you know. Just that it’s really really good. Must be dynamite!

A Fugitive From Medusa’s Kitchen

RD 1967 Marble Cake

The marble cake has feelings, too, you know. You have to be careful what you say around it. It doesn’t like to think that it is left over. But why? Would it not be pleased that it wasn’t all eaten up? Didn’t it read the fairy tale about the runaway gingerbread man?

Run, little marble cake, run! Be glad that they didn’t eat you all up at the bridge party yesterday afternoon. Shake off that Saran Wrap and book.

But it has been turned to stone. To real actual marble! Oh no! A spell has been cast upon the little marble cake. Or maybe it was Medusa who was doing the baking. That queen from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe helped – Jadis. She had all those stone dwarfs and lions, remember? I’ll bet she could make a cake of marble all right.

Jadis and Medusa’s Bakery, where the cakes never get stale. No expiration date!

They must be fun bridge partners, too. They always, always win. I think they freeze the other players so they can cheat, though.

Here’s a recipe for marble cake that is nice and soft, just in case you want people to eat it all up. This is, like the ad, from the late 1960s, from the ladies’ club cookbook Can You Bake Please? [...And That's An Order!]


2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup boiling water

Blend together 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa. Add 1/4 cup boiling water, a little at a time, making a smooth paste. Let stand. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup sugar. Make a well. Add yolks, water, oil and vanilla. Beat egg whites, add 1/2 cup sugar gradually and beat until of a meringue consistency.

Mix egg mixture well. Fold carefully into egg whites and mix. Take off about 1 1/2 cups of this mixture. Put in a bowl and add cocoa paste. Mix well. Alternate white and chocolate mixture in a 10″ ungreased tube pan starting with whites and ending with same. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes, 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Invert for 1 hour.

Just make sure this cake doesn’t start talking to any revolutionary gingerbread cookies.

Your Figure’s Best Friend

Cosmo ads 1966 Trim-Ez

Well, they do say that there are results “PROVEN by famous athletes and beauty queens.” Of course, results could mean anything from “the famous athletes got heatstroke wearing this rubber wetsuit thing” to “the beauty queens complained that they couldn’t wear their swimsuits over it.”

Doesn’t mean that a Trim-Ez Exercise Suit helps you “firm up” as you exercise. I mean for one thing you do still have to exercise. Only you have to wear “soft, rubberized Krene” – not just ordinary Krene.  Krene sounds like a gritty cleansing powder. I’m not sure how they can possibly rubberize it.

The Trim-Ez has “elastic wrists and waist that traps heat in.” Oh, I see. It is like your own personal sauna. That does sound appealing. The lady in the top photo is enjoying herself, wearing that thing. Looks like a sweatshirt and sweatpants though. But then, that is just what Trim-Ez is. So why not buy a cotton sweatsuit and do your Canadian Air Force exercises in that? (Remember those? We had the booklet in the 1970s, used to do them, but we always got bored after a week or two).

But a regular sweatsuit wouldn’t be made of rubberized Krene, would it? And you wouldn’t end up looking glam like the lady in the after photo.

That isn’t supposed to be the same lady, is it? Because if it is she did more than trap body heat in rubberized Krene, she got a full head and body transplant.

Advertisement from Cosmopolitan, 1966.

The Sociable Choice

Pepsi ad Winnipeg Tribune 1959

Yeah, serving Pepsi is very fancy. And also light! Even though it has quite a bit of sugar in it. The bubbles even things out though. They lighten the sugar and caffeine components.

“Doesn’t it figure that light, refreshing Pepsi is bound to be first choice of the trim and smart and debonair?”

Well, doesn’t it? Ladies in evening dresses writing out invitation cards are swigging Pepsi! This makes them not only trim, smart and debonair, but “sociable and young at heart.” For heaven’s sake, what are you all waiting for? Get swigging! (But use a glass, don’t glug from the bottle, that is not smart and debonair).

The invitations seem to be decorated with the engraving of a false eyelash. Very “up-to-date.” Just like her dinner for twelve is going to be. I wonder what they will be eating. Pepsi goes with meat and 7-Up with fish, probably.

Advertisement from the Winnipeg Tribune in 1959.