The Secret of Happy Ingewanden

LHJ Jan 1934 Yeast Unmentionable ad

Well, where shall we start? I suppose with the wonderfully-named Dr. Ploos Van Amstel (of Amsterdam – no relation to the beer, presumably), who will be very displeased if we do not begin with him. Like Ben Blue, he is a disembodied head. So I don’t see how he can be an expert on constipation but – anyway, he is an “intestinal specialist” – and I really don’t feel like arguing with a steely-eyed medical head.

Anyway, he says that yeast works a treat on constipation, made his patient’s intestines practically sing with happiness. I don’t like the way he is shouting about how she’d been suffering since childhood, up there at the top. Is there no patient confidentiality in these 1930s ads?

You are required to “eat three cakes a day” – no no, not marble chiffon cakes, yeast cakes. Plain or in water. Oh, yummy. And you can get it at a soda fountain, too. What fun it will be to go out to the soda shoppe with the gang and order Fleischmann’s Yeast with a side of seltzer. You will be the life of the party all right.

But this splendid ad does not end with Dr. Ploos (who resembles a sinister Mr. Dressup, does he not, Canadian readers? For the rest of you, Mr. Dressup was a children’s TV presenter for many years who mostly hung out with puppets and occasionally made crafts or cookies. He also dressed up sometimes, hence the name. When I was in Quebec City in the late 1980s the one and only English TV channel seemed to play nothing but Mr. Dressup reruns. It was rather surreal.)

Anyway, there’s more to see here – check out this photo/cartoon picture story – another female patient, another male doctor – and another triumph for Fleischmann’s. Meet Miss Alice Spinning, a graduate nurse from Washington, D.C. She is very happy now. Before – not so much. Indigestion, headaches – major blockage.

LHJ 1934 Yeast comic ad detail

Enter Dr. Rudolph Valentino with his “we’ve got to break that stubborn constipation before you can really get your strength back!” A hero with a glassful of yeast and soda. Even with all that screen-idol magic, it takes Alice ten more days to spring out of bed all – refreshed, and another two weeks to get back into the social scene. Cue the triumphant orchestral music, and fade out.

Please, please fade out already! But not before you take a look at the little picture of your digestive system, complete with Dutch and English labels. This truly is the ad that has it all!

LHJ 1934 Yeast comic ad detail 2

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9 thoughts on “The Secret of Happy Ingewanden

  1. Yes, the Dutch doctor does look like an evil Mr. Dressup. Well, let’s go over to the Tickle Trunk and put on our doctor’s coats. Casey and Finnegan are busy in the treehouse munching on yeast cakes. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s show on Mr. Dressup, where Casey and Finnegan explode from eating too many yeast cakes and drinking too much seltzer. At least they won’t be constipated!

  2. My stars! I wonder if this ad actually sold any of the product? This surely won the National Advertisers’ Eye Averter award. Or the Page Turner.

    And I don’t trust that Dr. Ploos one little bit.

  3. So, basically, there’s no need to find out WHY she’s been having intestinal blockages since childhood–like maybe there’s a tumor or some physical abnormality of the intestinal tract–we’ll just dose her symptoms with a block of yeast and ignore the cause. Way to go, doc, how many patients did you lose?

  4. Pingback: Recent Links Tagged With "cakes" - JabberTags

  5. One surprising thing about this advertisement (well, I find it surprising) is that the doctor depicted here actually existed! And that photo is really him!

    But, also quite surprising, is that he is not using his full name: his full last name is ‘De Bruïne Ploos van Amstel’: he left away the ‘De Bruïne’ here, something he was known to do more often. The reason for that is that the Ploos van Amstel family is Dutch blue blood, and the De Bruïne Ploos van Amstel is not.

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