The Best Fun Maker Ever!

So you’ve got yourself a nifty car horn that wolf-whistles and hoots at female pedestrians, and upsets the other drivers. Good! That’s a fine start.

This is the next level of automobile fun. It is REAL FUN, not just tapping on a silly old horn. You see, first you get them mad with the horn. Then when they get out of their cars, or off the front porch, to come and confront you – oh boy! They will get a “HARMLESS, but VERY EFFECTIVE shock.”

And when they come back that night to key your car, or put rotten tomatoes all over it – they’ll get a follow-up surprise! Another shock! They will get such a good laugh out of it, too. Why, I can only imagine how popular you are going to be. This is well worth ten dollars (the equivalent of a week’s worth of groceries back then, I believe).

And when you touch bumpers with your “buddie’s” car, he won’t be able to get in his car either. Very soon, he will be your “ex-buddie.” He will be buddies with all your neighbors instead. And then that’s when you had better start thinking about moving away and going to a new town where they “can take a joke.” Wherever that is. Just don’t go to New York and try this, that’s all I’m saying.

In yesterday’s comments, Da Old Man and Me-Me King mentioned that they had (respectively) owned or knew of an owner of the Wolf-Whistle Horn (you were probably kidding, Da Old Man, right? Right?). Likewise, if anyone really knew someone who owned the Auto-Shocko, we all want to know!

A thousand thanks to Heather, who sent me this ad. She just wrote a fabulous post on vintage ads, so so funny – I recommend that you go visit her right about now and read it.

The Double-Quick-Plus Disaster

For the man who has totally run out of good ideas, here is the Woo-Wee Auto Horn.

Not only will you alienate women with this thing*, but you can goad “road hogs” into full-blown rage as you emit screeches, barks, whistles and siren noises. That’ll work out well.

And who hasn’t thought to themselves: I wish I could buy me a bright yellow Cadillac. It would sure impress the girls. And everyone would get out of my way on the highway, too. But those Cadillacs sure are pricey….Hey, I know! I’ll buy a loud obnoxious horn instead. It’s practically the same thing!

You thought inventing the automobile was a clever trick? Forget about it, that was nothing. This is the epitome of wit and charm. Too bad if you want to reel in the babes in Ohio, though – you’ll have to pay extra.

Insurance and legal fees not included.

*Although it seems to amuse elves in curlers, if that’s your sort of thing.

From Popular Mechanics, March 1948. (Just how popular were those mechanics, anyway?)

Frazzle Dazzle

This girl looks far too put-together to illustrate what it means to be worn to the proverbial frazzle. Her hair is brushed, for one thing. And she’s wearing makeup and the mascara is not raccooned all around her eyes.

Leaning on one hand and pouting a little is all very well, but it is not what I think of when I hear the word frazzled. You know how they play music to get models in a perky mood for photo shoots? Well, this is what needs to happen before this photo shoot:

1. Start cooking a five course meal which involves lots of chopping, measuring, stirring and general fussing. At least three of the courses need to be cooked at the same time, both on the stove and in the oven.

2. The phone will ring at least once every ten minutes. It is not a cordless phone because this is 1966.

3. A few small children will be hired to come into the kitchen at regular intervals. They will complain of hunger, thirst, boredom, and that someone is being mean to them. And that someone has spilled grape soda on the couch.

4. The TV in the next room will be on and audible. A series of obnoxious cartoons and tiresome variety shows will be on, with irritating, metallic laugh tracks. Get one of the children to keep turning the volume up.

5. A few cats will rush around the house very fast and knock over their water dish a few times. Then they will manage to get onto the kitchen table and start eating the main course.

6. Oh, and also there will be at least one key ingredient that she needs but is not in the house.

7. And finally, some unexpected company will start ringing the doorbell and calling out things along the lines of “Yoo hoo! It’s us!” (Perhaps they are in search of some Jell-O).

8. Smoke begins to curl out of the stove and a pot boils over. The phone rings. The doorbell rings. Children begin to fight over the last of the grape soda. Loudly. And Soupy Sales, on TV, is instructing the children about how to send him Mommy’s grocery money.

And now?

Now you can take the picture. And give that woman a dose of Chase’s Nerve Food: it’s what’s for dinner!

Eternal Sunshine of the Memindex

Well, I want to know exactly what it is that he was supposed to remember. And what does he mean, “It cost me money to forget!” It could mean:

(a) He lost money because he blew some business deal, because he forgot to go to a meeting or something. I think that’s what they mean here. But it can also mean:

(b) He paid someone or something to prevent him from remembering. He really had to pay some money, in order to forget! Perhaps Lacuna, Inc? In which case, we may have a prequel to write.

And what a thrilling invention we have in the Memindex. It’s a card file! It’s revolutionary! Also fairly expensive for 1948, but worth a thousand times more than the $5.75 you will pay. Those little 3×5 cards must be embossed with gold. Or they are magically enchanted and can speak to you: “Hey, you loser! Don’t forget that meeting with Johnson this morning!”

Thank you to Lisanne! at Flickr for the image, from Popular Mechanics (1948).

Bouquet De Milwaukee

“She appears in a halo of exquisite fragrance.”

That’s why they can’t see those fangs on her, or the look in her eyes. She blinded them with olfactory science, that’s what.

Also, she is also packing some “glowing vibrant lipstick,” which helps to knock out her victims with “irresistible lip lure.” It emits invisible rays, no doubt.

There’s something quite terrifying behind her – either a hat veil or her dark wolf-like doppelgänger. Whatever it is, it looks like it’s ready for a little snack. And when its blood sugar starts dropping, it isn’t going to be in a good mood (and don’t we all know what that’s like!).

Later on, she will put all her new admirers in the dungeon, which is cleverly concealed behind the fake wall in her boudoir. Seriously, does this not look just like a horror movie poster?

Now if you can’t locate this exquisite stuff at the drugstore, you might like to make your own. And I have just the retro business opportunity for you:

Popular Mechanics Mar 1948 Profitable Occupations Eau de Milwaukee

Well, we can see that perfume is profitable! I just want to know how Mr. Schneider thinks we are going to make an exotic “Bouquet de Orient” with “no equipment.” Also, he is not even in the Orient. Last I heard, Milwaukee is not in Asia. So this really is going to take some devious trickery. I have a feeling that Vampirella will know just how to do it.

Advertisement (1936) from Duke University’s Ad Access. Classified ad from Popular Mechanics, March 1948.

Can’t Buy A Thrill

“Luster-Foam creates a dainty, stimulating bubble bath which cleans teeth thrilling new ways…Don’t be a back number. Wake up your mouth…”

Listen, if you get so excited brushing your teeth that you get it all over your face – you really need to get out a little more. Maybe take up a new hobby. Dare I say, get a life?

Oh, I do. I do dare.

Because Luster-Foam Lady? You are scaring me a little…

From that wild and crazy magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal (1939).

The Jelly Beans Must Be Art Nouveau

Cheer up, Wranglers! There are groovy gifts and date ideas in store for you today.

Welcome to the Meme-Inspired Randomness, Part 2 – otherwise known as more fabulous advice from that 1960s Movie-Review Pundit, Rex Reed. He would like you to take note of how to be Hip when you give a guy a present. This is the sort of thing that Hip Guys like, apparently:

Hip Gifts To Give A Man

1. Art Nouveau jelly beans (“$5 a pound at Henri Bendel”) [I think they are just multi-colored. Do they taste like Tiffany stained glass? Maybe they make you want to draw fancy motifs on everything.]

2. Fig leaf bathing suit [If only I could find an ad for this...Oh wait, here's one from 1998! Note the stunned, confused look on the "genius" who supposedly invented these things - but we know better, don't we?]

3. Old-world globe [Sort of a palate-cleansing sorbet of boredom, after the excitement of the jelly beans and the bathing suit]

4. Gold blazer buttons [And the boring continues! Having said that, though, the Wrangler guy in the white blazer does seem to be in need of some...]

5. Electric wastebasket [This is what we now call a paper shredder. Can also double as a good name for a 60s rock band, in case you have one of those sitting around the house]

6. Have his Army boots bronzed [Actually, this might be ideal for the Wrangler guys at the left - they all look sort of bronzed, don't they? In both senses of the word.]

Unfortunately, Rex does not list what he thinks the men should be ponying up in the gift department, for the women. After that Bronzed Army Boots idea, though, perhaps it’s just as well.

Now, along with the gift-giving comes the dating. So here are some Hip ideas for dates. Oh boy, looks like I actually go on these kinds of dates, who knew things were so groovy for me? Rex’s suggestion is, of course, first; and my exciting version is in brackets:

1. Supermarket dates [Go to grocery store and push wobbly cart around; enjoy witty conversation about next week's meals; fall into Muzak-induced fugue state, stagger around store sticking who-knows-what into cart. Then discover it is not actually your cart...]

2. Going to same restaurant four nights in a row [A little restaurant also known as The Kitchen...we go there all the time! Shame about the menu, they really need a new chef...]

3. Standing room at the opera [Watch TV while cleaning living room. Then listen to radio while folding laundry. I have season tickets!]

4. Discussion of trivia on first date [This is amazing - how did Rex know? We discuss trivia 24/7! My whole life is a psychedelic phantasmagoria of hipness!]

Thank you very much, Rex, we get the idea. You can go back to your 1966 Cosmo now, and stay there. And thank you to Janet of Found In Mom’s Basement for the truly groovy 1968 Wrangler ad.


Many thanks to Heather for the Seal of Awesomeness and the Lemonade award!

Swinging Fashion Tips From Barbie and Rex

It’s a good thing Barbie over there has many swinging things to say, because I have some swinging memes to do!

Cen of Cen’s Loft and Tricia at papercages (sadly, no more, so I can’t link – miss you, Tricia!) passed along the seven-random-things meme at the end of last year, and now my dear pal Kris of Lily’s Licorice has given me the six-random-things meme, too. That makes a total of twenty random things, I think. They are supposed to be things about me, but I like to make up my own randomness. SO….the next couple of days will be a festival of odds and ends (cue the punchline: so what else is new around here?)

Also, I might have more than 20 things, because I have in front of me a guide to all things Hip from 1966. There’s a lot of ground to cover, all right. All of it so funny that there’ll be plenty of leftovers for tomorrow. Just like the best kinds of dinner, in my opinion!

For our first episode, the lovely New Talking Barbie over there is going to talk to us about Looking Hip. Her source is film critic Rex Reed‘s splendid Hip (?) Girl’s Directory (the little question mark is Rex’s, not mine – and I have no idea where his doubts lay, either). It appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine in April 1966, which was around the time of Barbie’s bendiferous heyday (that was 1965-67, to be exact).

Barbie always wants to talk about hair and clothes, after all, so here you go, this is what’s IN:

1. White stockings
2. Rings on toes
3. Bell-bottom trousers
4. Party pajamas
5. Dynel hair switches
6. Shoulder makeup
7. Lacquered triangle bobby pins
8. Vinyl raincoats
9. White eye-liner
10. Positive lipstick colors

In other words, Barbie’s 1966 clothing line from that famous couturier, Coco Mattel. And as a bonus, here are five hip expressions to use while you are wearing all that plasticky stuff:

1. Blow your cool
2. Crackers
3. Snarky
4. Mousing
5. Mippy

Warning: DO NOT say things like Raunchy, Swinging, Too Much, Groovy, Pussycat, Fab, Super or Get Serious! Rex says they are not hip. And perhaps that is where the question mark comes into it. For he has no control over what Barbie, or you, are saying. Why would he? Get serious, pussycat!

And so much for yesterday’s post title, I guess. But I won’t blow my cool over it or go crackers or anything. Peace out, man – and more to come tomorrow.

And a thousand thanks to my hip and cool friend Heather for the Barbie ad!

P.S. What in the world does Mippy mean? Anyone? Urban Dictionary says it now means “Modern Hippie” but I don’t think that’s what Rex Reed had in mind. It sounds like what you might name a little cat – perhaps that’s where the Mousing comes into it.

Gear Fab!

Sing it, sister!

Wait – OK, just wait a minute here. Stop. Please stop singing!

I’m going to have to stop you right there. Because that rhyme – you can’t just rhyme easy with – easy. Just because Fab makes your washing less difficult does not mean you can start slacking off on everything else.

Also, maybe your washing wasn’t white to begin with. What if you popped a bunch of blue towels in the wash? Having them come out white is not a plus.

And I am not sure about using Fab to wash the dishes. That’s a little strange. Clearly this lady is getting way, way too excited about the product. So let’s slow down a minute…

Above all, we need to rewrite this pop masterpiece. Apparently this must be sung to that popular tune “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Which doesn’t give us a huge amount of creative scope, but we’ll do our best. Even though the word Fab always reminds me of A Hard Day’s Night and the Beatles saying “gear, fab!” all the time (which meant, of course, that they were well and truly pleased – just like this pop-eyed laundry lady).

I really hate to do the wash
So dull and soul-destroying!

But when I use a jigger of Fab

It’s not that annoying.

Well, maybe. Let’s try again:

Don’t stick blue towels into your machine
And then put lots of Fab in,

‘Cause then you’ll get a lousy surprise,

And you’ll be crabbin’.

Um, ma’am? You can stop singing now…Thank you. And don’t call us, we’ll call you.

The Emperor’s New Den

There was clearly a market, back in 1960, for rooms designed especially for small dictatorial men. Just in case they wanted to decorate their dens. In case they wanted to? Oh, but of course they wanted to! They demanded it. Actually, some flunky (retro Josephine, perhaps) did all the work. He just stood around with his hand in his jacket, wearing a funny tricorn hat.

The Practical Encyclopedia of Good Decorating and Home Improvement says we can learn a lot from this room:

Yes, we do “know at a glance” that this person is obsessed with the “Little Corsican.” But the lessons we are going to learn are not about grouping objects effectively or using a solid color to offset all those gilded tschotchkes. No, no, no. This room shouts not: I know how to decorate but rather: I only answer to Your Highness! Now go invade Russia, and don’t come back unless you’re packing some premium caviar for my afternoon snack!

The velvet armchair is perfect for lounging and for ordering people around. And all the little medals and helmets and doodads are the ideal visual cues for friends – they’ll know better than to ask difficult questions like: Got any good snacks? Can I play with the fringe on those epaulets on the wall? or, Hey, how ’bout that Battle of Waterloo?