Bad Dreamland

What strange amusement park
Straight out of a bad dream
Or possibly out of the pages
Of a Merck Manual
Can this ride be from?

On Laxative Merry-Go-Round?
Not merry. No thanks.

But later on, still more to endure:

The Rollercoaster of Bad Moods,
The Tunnel of Enough,
The Tilt-A-Hurl,
The Haunted Subconscious House.

Then it will be time for a snack:
Cotton cavity candy,
Imitation popcorn with imitation fake butter ,
And soda that belches in the cup
then jumps out and spills on your pants.

Tomorrow all right?
Sparkling bright?

It will be when I wake up
To eye-searing sunlight striping venetian blinds,
My tickets gone.

Or else I could just close the magazine on this ad,

Either one.

Weird Beautiful Gold Acid Test Ring

Buy this lucky ring and you too can be kissing someone inside a little heart, near a tiny bag of money. Also, a grizzled cowboy type will gesture at you in a threatening manner in the rays of the setting desert sun.

Sounds too good to resist, right?

This ring features a mysterious, “marvelously hued” Sun Stone. It is not made of a bit of the sun, but it symbolizes the sun’s magic power over wealth, health and happiness. I didn’t know it did all that. I guess more than the rain does, anyway. The rain just has the power to make people cranky, and their things wet and soggy. Actually, it might be fun to have a ring that captures that. You could wear one on each hand.

Anyway, this little stone symbolizes the sun. Not only that, but a pebble from my back yard symbolizes the Rocky Mountains and their mysterious power to draw celebrities in large unattractive sunglasses to pose in Aspen.

The ringmeister, Magnus (who Works in New York, apparently) knows a lot of “strange tales of lucky strikes, sudden good fortune in love, in games, and various undertakings.” I want to know exactly what sort of undertakings we’re talking about, Magnus. You wouldn’t happen to be Albertus Magnus, would you?

No, couldn’t be. I don’t think Albertus Magnus made cheap jewelry – though he did supposedly discover the philosopher’s stone. He also was supposed to have witnessed gold being made by transmutation. So maybe – just maybe – he had a hand in this. Somehow. Maybe. OK, probably not. He lived a thousand years or so before this ad came out, which is a problem. But you know that if there had been comic books and cheap magazines in the Middle Ages that this would have been totally up his alley.

And speaking of anachronisms…I also need to know what a “weird beautiful gold acid test ring” might be – and so do the Merry Pranksters and their friend Tom Wolfe. Perhaps that grizzled cowboy in the ad is really Neal Cassady. That would explain a few things.

Finally, let’s not forget that we need to be instructed on “how to know and wear” the Lucky Gems. Really, Magnus thinks we need a lesson in how to put on a ring? Can anyone be that unlucky? If so, I don’t think this is actually going to help all that much.

This is one of the many terrific ads scanned into Wikimedia by Infrogmation, from Art and Beauty Magazine (1926) – thank you, Infrogmation!

A Spot of Bovril

Once upon a time there was a carrot and an onion who were best friends. They lived together in the lefthand bin in my refrigerator (I think I recognize these guys, actually).

The carrot was old enough to know a thing or two but not so old that he had to go in the compost bin. And the onion looked up to the carrot, not just because the carrot was taller. The carrot had seen a thing or two and even claimed to know what was in the Tupperware at the back of the lowest fridge shelf (Note to carrot: please let me in on this).

One day they were sitting on the kitchen table while the fridge was being cleaned out. And while they were waiting around, they met a funny jar of black weird stuff.

“Who are you?” said the onion.

“Me? Good heavens, don’t you know? I am a jar of Bovril, my dears. A delicious meat-essence spread much beloved by the English. You may dilute me with water and I become a lovely drink. Or I may be spread upon toast. Among other things.”

“You don’t say,” said the onion, who felt a little green around the gills at the thought of this.

“Oh, ugh,” said the carrot, in a cross voice. He was cranky, because he had caught a glimpse of himself in the Bovril jar’s glass surface. And just like someone seeing themselves unexpectedly in a mirror, the carrot suddenly felt – well, defensive and insecure. He looked frowsty and hairy – not good for a carrot. Or anyone.

“I make carrots and onions very happy,” the Bovril said. “Take a look in my glass side, just there. See? That is how happy you two would be, if you were covered in Bovril.”

“Oh – no thanks,” said the onion. “I’ll just be rolling off the table now, goodbye.” For the thought (and smell) of the black tarry spread inside the jar made him afraid. Who would use such a thing? the onion wondered.

It was all quite worrying. He was going to ask the carrot, but the carrot noticed how much better he looked, the longer he stared at the Bovril. The carrot was no longer listening to the onion. The carrot had been hypnotized by the wily jar!

And when it was time to go back into the fridge – the carrot was nowhere to be seen. The onion was afraid, and hid in the corner of the lefthand bin until he was incorporated into some minestrone the following week.

P.S. The carrot was cleaned up and made into delicious muffins, actually. And the Bovril? He went back into his cupboard until the next English person came around looking for things to spread on Rye Crisps or turn into brothy beverages. And it lived happily ever after!

Many many thanks to Heather for the colorful and, may I say, delightfully zippy, ad! I’m feeling much better now.

A Little Je Ne Sais Quoi

She’s been lifting weights in secret for months, getting ready for this little shopping trip! Either that, or she’s an interior decorator for Stuart Little.

But she seems to have forgotten a few things. Like the sink. And the bathtub.

And I guess she really, really hates cleaning toilets even more than the Gillett’s Lye lady, because she left that out, too.

She does like artsy towels. But one gets the feeling that she really hasn’t though this through. Stuart’s going to have something to say about this, definitely.

Editorial Endnote: I just have to say it! This ad is funny in a mild way but visually – it is driving me crazy! It is so…oh, not boring but…All right! It’s boring. Yeah, I said it! It’s Friday and I need color and fun and – if it’s black and white it had better be punchy and zippy!

So anyway, I might come back later today and post again. Ahem. I’m OK now. Thank you, that is all.

Kelp Yourself

So let’s understand this. You will get a box of something that is better than, oh, say, imported Belgian chocolates, for example – plus you will lose a pound a day guaranteed. And you don’t need to “cut down on food.”

That really is an “amazing discovery of science”! Those scientists worked hard on this one, all right, ordering in dozens of pizzas and celebrating the birthdays of every scientist in history with daily cakes. And then everyone had a kelp chaser or two. What a lot of experimental chomping they must have done, just so we could have this Delicious Kelpidine Candy Plan!

Now, kelp does actually have some health benefits. It is high in iodine, and is used to treat goiter. And it stimulates the thyroid, which is why it is still used in some weight-loss supplements. I guess that was the idea here.

Still, I don’t know how you would make the culinary equivalent of a champagne truffle out of it. But apparently if Kelpidine is not more yummy than your most favorite candy – they will return your money.

That being the case, I am surprised that they got to keep any money, really. Because somehow the words “delicious” and “Kelpidine” just don’t go together. And I don’t think what is happening to the lady waiting there on the scale is going to happen to anyone who isn’t a line drawing. They always lose weight really fast, you know.

Kelpidine may be an early incarnation – or rival, depending on the date (which I don’t know, I’m guessing late 60s to mid 70s) – of Ayds diet candy (from the 70s to the early 80s, chockful of benzocaine), because this racket calls itself the American Healthaids Company (Candy Division). I love that, don’t you? They make health products and they have a Candy Division!

Oh, and by the way – you can buy Chinese kelp candy over here. Just in case you were curious. It doesn’t claim to make you lose any weight, though.

Thank you so much to tmat1075 at Flickr for the ad.

Magical Mystery Egg

Roll up! Roll up for the Mystery Egg!

Hi there yourself, Puff! Can you stop being so busy for a minute and maybe just sit quietly? And put that Mystery Egg down, too, while you’re at it.

I have a whole lot of questions, so maybe you could stop running, climbing, crawling and eating out of hands (not my hands, thank you very much) and answer them:

1. What exactly are you supposed to be? Clearly you are not a dragon. Are you a tadpole or perhaps a sardine with delusions of grandeur?

2. How are you supposed to run around when you have a fish tail and no legs?

3. Why do you feel the need to assure people that you are “harmless”? Denying something merely puts the idea in people’s heads, you know. Same goes for “clean” and “easily trained.” Am uneasy about all three of these things. Please advise.

4. What sort of food supply are we talking about? What happens when this runs out? Can you eat a sandwich or some cookies then?

5. The plasticity of the egg implies that you did not hatch from it, but have chosen it as a vehicle or home. Why is that? Why would anyone want to live and travel in a plastic egg? Is this the Magic Dragon equivalent of the Silver Lark trailer?

6. How do you plan on amusing my friends and family? Do you have a standup routine? Can I see a preview of your act? Or are you just planning on running around the house aimlessly? If so, believe me, we already have someone here who can do that:

Watch me RUN! to check things on the stove and answer the phone and then back to my desk!

And CLIMB! the stairs again and again with laundry and things that wandered downstairs but in actual fact belong UPstairs!

And CRAWL! under the kitchen table wiping up spills!

What I’m saying, Puff, is that I really can’t make a commitment to your incredible offer right now. I cannot rush you money for one Mystery Egg and occupant, never mind a pair of them (ugh). Although I am glad that there are “no cods”* involved: they don’t tend to travel well, and I really doubt that they could run around the house playing and having fun all day.

Now, if you do laundry or know how to get things out from under the couch without having to move all the furniture – then we’ll talk.

Comic book advertisement from 1971 (from my very own collection, which stands at a grand total of one!)

* I know, they mean Cash On Delivery. They should have capitalized it if they didn’t want me to make a lame joke.

A New and Annoying Hobby

Take a gander at this lamp, honey!

It’s lovely, darling. I…what exactly am I supposed to be noticing?

Well, gosh, honey, I just fixed this lamp with Kester Cored, that’s all. Thought you’d be a little more excited. Supportive.

What’s Kester Cord, darling? Is it string?

Kester Cored, with an ‘e.’ It’s…like glue. I think. Fixing this here lamp makes feel like a new man! Don’t you think this is amazing?

Yes, darling. It’s lovely. Now please – put it down. I don’t want it right up in my face.You’re scaring me with that thing.

Aw, come on, take it! Look at the wiring. And the lampshade. It’s the one I was wearing last New Year’s Eve, remember?

Well, it’s just that I need a little space, darling. I’m wearing high heels and I’m a few seconds away from falling on my keister.

Why, ha ha, that’s exactly what happened to the lamp! Lucky for you we have Kester Cored, dear.

[Here comes the punchline, everybody duck!]

Or should I say, Keister Cored!

Rage Before Beauty

Mirror, mirror, on the wall
Who’s the flakiest one of all?

It’s Monday morning, so it is time once again to “take a look in your morning mirror” and see if you have dry skin. Is your face an alluring magnet or is it the face of a lumberjack with a complexion flakier than a French pastry?

You’d just better hope not, because dry skin is what “makes 3 out of 4 women unhappy.” Well? Are you dehydrated and unhappy? If you are, you may expect your husband to phone you later and say “I won’t be home tonight!”

But you will know what to do, if such is the case. As soon as you get the Dreaded Phone Call, simply put on your finest cocktail attire complete with big hat. And don’t forget to grab that axe on the way out the door. Then head for the nearest telephone pole and start chopping!

Oh, and then go home and wash your face with Beauty in the Morning.

You know, maybe he won’t be home tonight because he’s afraid of her – smiling like that and holding a large axe. I don’t think soap is really the issue here, do you? And now that I think of it, let’s make sure we hide the Bee Hive Syrup from this lady, OK?

Thank you Ad Access for this strange gem from 1948 .

Hey Mindy!

Hey, Mindy you’re so fine
Heading that receiving line
Hey Mindy!
You’ve got zits but we don’t mind,
Hey Mindy!

This is a little story about – well, Mindy, who looks like Veronica’s slightly retro-goth cousin. She is having a Tea Dance for her eighteenth birthday. Her dad explains that this has to happen so that people know Mindy “is eligible for invitations.”

Um, OK. What sort of invitations are we talking about? You can see that Mindy looks a little skeptical. Still, it’s fine with her. She even suggests that they advertise.

That’s a fine way for a fancy debutante to behave. Pimples are the least of this family’s problems.

Speaking of which – isn’t it a little strange that Mindy does not complain of pimples, nor does she ever seem to have any. Furthermore, she doesn’t advocate the use of, or be aware in the slightest degree, of Poslam Ointment (which contains “all 9 ingredients,” whatever that means) or Poslam Soap (you’re supposed to buy their soap, too).

Also puzzling: Who is shouting out the title of the ad? Her boyfriend from the wrong side of the tracks? Archie Andrews? The jealous mean girls from school? A tube of Poslam Ointment?

Meanwhile, Mindy is standing around at the Tea Dance “in typical debutante fashion shaking hands with friends and acknowledging introductions to strangers.” Whoa there! Just how many strangers did her parents invite? Or maybe they are party crashers! In which case why is she acknowledging them? She ought to be checking their jacket pockets and counting the sterling silver teaspoons.

Why would every single person give her a bouquet? That’s going to get old pretty quickly. She ought to have asked for a few other things. Maybe a transistor radio or some candy. Or some more silver teaspoons.

And if I was Mindy I wouldn’t like people all making a “complimentary remark pertaining to [my] gown.” Talk to the face, not the dress! Gee, maybe she really does have pimples after all. Mindy ought to check in that mountain of bouquets and see if anyone stuck a gift-wrapped tube of Poslam in any of them.

A thousand thanks to Comic Book Ads for this dramatic little story.

Your Dog Knows Best

Actually, I think they should ask the dog. He is really cute and he looks like he knows a thing or two.

That little girl is asking his advice for sure. And it looks like the dog is telling her, too:

“Frankly, I would advise against nose drops, they look icky. But howsabout a nice chew toy, or a bone! That makes me feel really good!”

And as far as dosing your cold goes – mother dear is going right ahead, doctor’s advice or not. She looks very mellow too, does she not?

Also: if she is checking the little girl for a cold in the first picture, why is she the one taking the Vicks?

I think the dog really needs to step in here and sort things out.

From Wikimedia Commons.