A Breath Of Stale Air

There’s trouble in Mudville, as my grandmother used to say. Or perhaps in this case, trouble in Moose Jaw.

This is another family we have probably met before. I’m thinking that this is the wife of the Colgate Cream guy -several years later. The sequel to the first ad, if you will.

That is quite an arresting photo in the middle there. This is one scary lady! Jim’s mother is pretty brave. But even she realizes that she’s gone too far. Her daughter in law is a tiger! You don’t tell any kind of tiger that they have bad breath. It’s just not a good idea.

But look up at the beginning of the ad – everyone’s starting off wrong here! The daughter in law is complaining about her husband to his mother! Like that’s going to help. And mother dear starts right up, too, doesn’t she? “It’s not Jim’s fault. Maybe if you’d take care of your breath…”

LHJ 1939 Listerine 2

Subtle, isn’t she? She’s had that little bombshell bottled up for weeks. Couldn’t wait to say it.

Don’t you get the sense that these two will never get along – even if Tiger Girl had breath like Shalimar perfume?

Next, Tiger Girl brings in the next generation – she’ll prove the old bag wrong! And here’s poor Joan – the baby from the Colgate ad, six years later. It hasn’t been an easy six years. Check the body language – the kid’s about to bolt right out of the cartoon panel.

Still, she has inherited Grandma’s bluntness. Yes, Mummy, your breath has been terrible – “loads and loads of times.” I’ll bet that went over well with Mummy! Run like the wind for Grandma’s, Joan! You can hide there – and also get a few lungfuls of clean air.

Cue the insane gargling of Listerine “morning and night” – probably all day. That’s all this lady does! She’s buying cases of the stuff. Stands in front of the mirror all day. In between gargles, she cackles to herself¬† “nobody can criticize my breath again” – yeah, lady, that’s because they’ve all passed out from the stench.

In the last scene the fmaily is reunited – sort of. They are at the beach, and Jim and wife are supposedly “spooning” – though if you look closely, Jim is staying pretty far back from his wife. Well out of spooning range. And Joan is really far away, with the dog. She doesn’t want to be anywhere near these two losers.

The nosy beach neighbor ends by saying “They’re so devoted!” You can just hear the sarcasm in her voice.¬† Devoted as long as there’s a two foor buffer zone between them, ha ha.

[Sorry for the lousy scan - the library printer-scanner was having a bad ink day]

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9 thoughts on “A Breath Of Stale Air

  1. Jim’s mother better watch her back. Looks like Mrs. Jim could really be Joan Crawford with a bad breath problem. And of course she can’t stand the criticism, so she will gargle day and night. Doesn’t help though – Mr. Jim and little Joan still don’t want anything to do with her!

  2. I guess I’ve just never understood Listerine. How could something that tastes so wretched improve your breath? Maybe it’s a sort of homeopathic agent, like fighting fire with firewater.

    That last scene is very sweet. Much like the beach scene at the end of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” I expect Bette Davis to drag her dead sister past the family’s sun umbrella in the final, unseen frame.

    !!! WordPress just told me that I’m posting comments too quickly – SLOW DOWNHow dare they!

  3. Poor woman. Her world crumbling down about her.
    Her mother in law, her husband, and finally her own child repulsed by her and her repulsive stench. Now she knows why the cat ran away and the dog hides in it’s kennel whining pitifully whenever she feeds it.

  4. “Spooning” used to be used in the way of “courting” . I am guessing that is what the ad refers too: to be fully attentive on one’s partner as to convey to others devotion. Today, “spooning” would mean something more about being curled up around a person.

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