Party Dos and Donuts

“There’s party fun for everyone when Jane Parker Donuts join the festivities!”

When they join the festivities?

What are the donuts going to be doing? I really want to know. Are they sparkling conversationalists? Do they do magic tricks? Dance on tables?

Does Jane Parker also come along for the fun? If so, I hope she brings along Betty Crocker, that saucy wench.

Party donuts are not your ordinary dull, morning-coffee donuts, you see. That cup of coffee is just there to try and keep things a little bit quiet. It’s like the donuts’ chaperone – overheated, breakable, and yet all it can really do is – just sit there.

Those crazy donuts will just ignore the coffee. They’ll be swinging from the chandeliers! Telling dirty jokes! Leaving powdered sugar all over the guests’ fancy clothes (it’s hell on velvet, you know).

The drummer is there because…OK, why IS the drummer there? An escapee from the toy box. He’s going to lay down a groove. Well, if he can. I’m not sure if he can really loosen up. He is made of wood, duh.

Not exactly a Ringo Starr or a Keith Moon, is he.

Still, there are those damn donuts – in a drum. I get it. They’re the ones drumming up the fun. As soon as they get out of the drum, that is. Jane? Betty? Could you just tip them out onto the table? They’ll be fine once they get on a flat surface. Wait till you see them do the Twist!

And the coffee sits there thinking; if only I can get someone to start dunking.

Not A Simpleton

Oh, well, thanks for the vote of confidence, Tampax! For one thing, though, that’s not my daughter there in the picture. I really don’t know who she is but she looks pretty mature – thirty, at least. Mind you back then teenagers did look rather old, what with the pancake makeup and the dark lipstick. (Hey, just like the Lohan girls! They’re actually retro, who’d have thunk it?)

Also I wasn’t even born in the early 1950s so I just could not be the mother of that elderly-looking girl.

Anyway, I’m sure she is not a simpleton. Save for agreeing to pose for your ad. That was a bit – simple. Though as these ads go, this is fairly tame really.

Although I wish you wouldn’t go on and on and ON about Tampax. Lets agree that it is – fine. It’s an OK product. Now would you please stop writing Ph.D length dissertations about the how and why of it being so great. A wonder product, no less. As in I wonder why we have to keep reading about it in such excruciating detail.

There is a little interesting psychological stuff going on, though. That is the part I always like about these ads – the family drama. The ad says that:

(a) Not only is your daughter not a simpleton, she probably knows about lots of stuff you don’t…

So does that mean the Tampax people think that you (that’s you, there, mother dear!) are the simpleton by implication?

(b) Whoever buys this product, the other one ought to thank them. Thank you, brilliant female relative, for introducing me to this wonder of wonders!

Oh, and one more thing. At the end of the ad they state that you can carry a month’s supply in a purse.

Oh, really?

Is my not-daughter there carrying Samsonite luggage around every day? A suitcase full of Tampax.

What a simpleton.

For Better Or Worse Breath

Windsor Daily Star 1952 Colgate Dental Cream

There are so many strange things going on here – just in one little Colgate ad. Bizarre marital strife, an editorializing baby, a threatening dentist. This is the ad that has it all – in cartoon form, too.

Let’s see what’s going on here.

1. Here is a couple who obviously do not get along. He looks defensive, she’s pretty mad. And their mouths are open so it must be noisy in there. Which is why the very large baby is saying “They can’t pin this on me!” Oh, ha ha ha, as in diaper pins. (There’s two people, incidentally, that if I was that baby, I would not be letting near the diaper pins).

The implication is that they have a history of attributing disputes to the kid. Ugh, that’s no good. Cut that out right now, you two!

2. The guy wants his wife to “come out in the open” so he can “defend himself” – are they going to mix it up outside? Well, she comes out with the bad breath thing all right. And the baby says “Atta girl!” Did either of them hear that? The kid’s been knocked out by the miasma around daddy too, I guess. Still, the atta girl comment does seem kind of rude. I mean, babies produce a few odors themselves, so look who’s talking.

3. Now I’m starting to feel sorry for the guy, the dentist is yelling at him with a sharp pointy dental implement pointing right at him. I’m not sure he’s taking it in, the guy looks kind of blank. You do feel a bit done in after the dentist, it’s true. It’s exhausting to sit in the chair tilting back and trying to grunt answers to complex chitchat questions with a mouthful of this-that-and-the-other.

4. Speaking of which: now the guy is using  Colgate and is so thrilled about its “grand wake-up taste” and polishing properties, that he is talking (a) to the mirror, (b) through a mouthful of toothbrush and “Dental Cream” (yuck) and (c) while listing to one side like a leaky ship. That’s some toothpaste, all right.

5. You guessed it: domestic Nirvana. That baby dispenses some qualified praise: life is “far more pleasant” when people actually brush their teeth (ain’t it the truth!). Now that that’s straightened out, we can get back to other pleasant things. Like changing diapers.

Ad from the Windsor Daily Star (Windsor, Ontario), June 1952.

The Golden (Brownie) Ratio

It has been awhile, I know, since we had any recipes or – well – kitchen-related retro, around this joint. I know, I know! It gives the blog title an ironic twist, which can be fun but it only goes so far. Whatever that means. Anyway, there will be kitchen kitsch and kitchen retro, sometimes. And look what we have here on Vintage Thingies Thursday (for that is what Thursday means around here, thanks to the Apron Queen, who reigns supreme over this weekly Retro-palooza) – why, I do declare! It’s an old advertisement AND a recipe!

Cocoanut Brownies ad 1953

Oh, and also we have a cutesy play on words. Golden-brown and golden-brownies. I get it. That’s mildly amusing!

The recipe is notable for its use of melted coconut candy bars which “are rich in natural shortening” (that would be the coconut – pardon me, cocoanut – but I think they might put in extra lard or Crisco or something in the bars, too).

The actual bar looks more fun than the brownies, which pale quite literally in contrast to the dark chocolate bar. I prefer dark chocolate myself. I can imagine setting out to make this and then just saying the hell with it and serving the Welch’s Cocoanut Bars as they are.

This is a “kitchen-tested recipe” – why are they so proud of this? I guess we should be glad they didn’t try to make the golden-brownies over a campfire or in a hotpot or something. I once tried to make Kraft Dinner in a hotpot (I was living in a dorm, don’t ask). It didn’t work out, let’s just leave it at that. The hotpot was never the same again. (And this is why this is not a straight cooking blog, folks!)

Finally, we also get a Happy Hint. Who doesn’t love a Happy Hint! The Hint being that the Welch’s people would be really Happy if you bought a lot of their candy bars and forced them on your friends and relations pretty much ’round the clock.

No, you know what, I want to see an All Right Hint: “This product is – well, it’s all right. There’s probably better candy bars out there, but ours are OK and they’re pretty cheap, really.  Just buy a couple of bars. Please. If you feel like it.”

Revolutionary Rice

Hunt's and rice ad 1950s

As depressing and 1950s-suburban as a Richard Yates novel – it’s what’s for dinner on Revolutionary Road. In only 18 minutes (otherwise known as “pronto”) you too can have this tomato-laden mess on the table.

Soggy precooked rice, canned tomato sauce and a little ingenuity is all it takes. Well…maybe not so much ingenuity. You could probably skip that.

I do have a technical question though. A rhetorical question, because it is not like I want to actually make this stuff. However: if it is Minute Rice, how come it takes 18 minutes? According to my calculations it does not take 17 minutes to open a can.

Well, not unless you’ve been having the sort of cocktail hour that they have in Revolutionary Road, that is.

(P.S. I recommend this novel! It is an amazing book. But very depressing, of course. It is being made into a movie with, I think, Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the main roles, and I am looking forward to seeing it.)

Trick Or Fruit

kids' nightwear ad 1950s

If we can pull off Christmas in July, why not have a little bit of Halloween in August? After all, they’re starting to put the Halloween candy out just about now, aren’t they?

I get that Junior there on the left is supposed to be a watermelon. Not sure about his little brother. A strawberry, perhaps. This is how they kit up to go to bed at night? No mention of Halloween in the ad, and anyway if it was Halloween they would be poring over loads of cheap candy. Complaining about how many of those molasses taffy kisses in the orange wax paper they got. I hated those.

Also, pencils are no good. I got pencils a lot. I used to trick or treat in our apartment building. Ding dong! Whatcha got? My favorites were the mini packs of M&Ms, but chocolate in general was good. Also candy corn. I don’t really know why I liked it but I did.

What was your favorite Halloween candy? Any different now?

The funniest thing I saw someone get was a can of soda. Seriously, someone was handing out cans of soda in our neighborhood a few years ago. You have to carry that separately, it crushes the little Mars bars and things if you just chuck it in the same bag. Helps to have a parent along to carry the soda (ahem).

But oh yeah…the ad! The ad for sleepers. I still don’t really know what’s going on here.

As the incomparable Junie B. Jones says in Boo! And I Mean It, “I didn’t say trick or fruit.” Mind you, nobody ever says “trick or pencil” either, but fruit sounds better (off-rhyme with treat, and all that).

The Red Shoes

amazing pump 1950s

After a childhood of scaring myself with Hans Christian Andersen stories (and let’s not even get started with the perfectly-named Grimm Brothers, and their wicked stepfather Bruno Bettelheim), I am a little wary of this ad.

Red shoes that walk softly. Red shoes that walk around, seemingly, by themselves. They are the softest shoes that ever walked! They will walk right out of your closet, when you leave the house (perhaps you are too frightened to wear the gleaming scarlet shoes!) They go through your stuff and then they sneak away – very softly – no one notices that they are gone. Gone off to – I want to say “wreak havoc” but unfortunately I used this phrase yesterday. Gone off to menace the fashion world, perhaps. They will stomp on people’s feet, quite hard, in crowds. They will kick at subway passengers and start fights. They will tap dance at 3 am in hotel corridors when everyone is trying to get some sleep (I think they may have been at one of the places we stayed at last summer).

And if they are Hans Christian Andersen shoes they will mostly be dancing – always there is the dancing! They just can’t stop. Good thing you didn’t wear them after all! The girl in the story did, because she was vain, and things did not come to a nice, happy ending! Hans Christian did not like a happily-ever-after Disney ending, did he. The poor girl had to have her feet cut off and then she repented of her vanity, all right. (I’d just be sorry I went to the wrong kind of shoe store! I see a lawsuit in there, somewhere, in the 21st century version of the story).

After all that, the red shoes just kept on going, as if powered by Eveready batteries.

It is a terrible story, really! It was one of the ones I read a lot, couldn’t help reading, but it was tough to sleep after that. Not that I was wearing evil-minded red shoes, ever. I wore brown suede Hush Puppies and they did nothing except wear down at the heel after too much hopscotch.

But that is another matter….The ad. Back to the ad.

This ad shouts about how amazing, amazing, amazing these shoes are in every way. Tell me about it! I wouldn’t be crunching them in the toe, that’s for sure. You have to be polite to the Red Shoes. They are probably going to ask you some tricky questions. And possibly send you out to get them golden innersoles that are only available at a department store in Valhalla.

This ad is from the early 1950s, by the way.

Now With Activiated Seismotite

IMG_0010 Old Dutch Cleanser 1950s

My goodness, what precisely is the Old Dutch going to do to the bathtub, blow it up?

And is the little Dutch girl planning on going in there and exploding all the greasy grime? Also, who says we have any greasy grime in there? That is a little bit insulting.

But of course maybe they are talking about the kitchen sink. Even so! This ad really does imply that one has let things go, doesn’t it?

Moth Snuffocator:Yes…Dust Bag:No

IMG_0005 Lewyt vacuum cleaner 1950s

Tell me this does NOT come with a baby that does all the vacuuming. Because that is just too weird. Although when you look at the breathless copy extolling the virtues of the Lewyt it is hard to tell just what is being referred to. Let’s have a look:

1. No muss- no fuss [OK, that's probably the vacuum cleaner]
2. No whining roar [Hmmm...ditto, I think]
3. Powerful over-size motor [Could be the baby, if he's a hard worker - he'd need an oversize motor to work that huge thing]
4. Carpet nozzle, filter system [Yeah, OK, OK, that's the Lewyt! Maybe this joke isn't going to work as well as I thought]
5. Cleans in 32-foor radius [Whew, that's probably the baby...]
6. Does every cleaning job! [What an amazing child, no wonder the woman in the ad looks so happy]
7. Backed by written guarantee, comes with all attachments [Could be either. Probably both! ]
8. Greatest dollar-value! [Because he's happy to get paid in Krispy Kritters - that was a cereal snacky thing I was aparently quite fond of when I was a toddler in the mid-1960s]

You will have a “revolutionary advantage” when you clean with a Lewyt. You are rebelling against dust and dirt, doesn’t that sound cool? Also you can save up all your dirt in the extra-big “Speed Sak” which apparently only needs changing a few times a year. Have they not considered just how much dirt I might be able to get into that Speed Sak? Considering things like the children helping bring in the dust and dirt and so on. Which is why the baby looks so delighted – perhaps he is really about to empty the Speed Sak back over the floor.

But wait, there’s more! When you are done you can put the nozzle on your hand. It’s powerful! Yeah, a good time will be had by all.

Just don’t forget to pay out those Krispy Kritters. And if your little helper drops them on the floor, I’m afraid you’re going to have to stop using the nozzle to try and get off your old nail polish. And stop listening to the canister unit like it’s a hi-fi. That baby just quit, you know – ’cause using the Lewyt isn’t really that much fun. Even if there’s a Moth Snuffocator attachment involved.

The Saucier’s Apprentice

IMG Saucy Walker ad early 1950s

Yeah, but can she bake? They say she does everything. Everything does include baking, you know.

And since she is a Saucy Walker, perhaps she can make some sauces, too. Chocolate sauce is nice, but it does get all over clothes and things. So maybe she could also throw in a load of laundry, after she and Betsy get done with the baking.

Mother’s been co-opted, I believe! Still, it means more time at the country club, playing tennis with that dishy pro. And sitting by the pool with one of those drinks with a little paper umbrella in it.

That sounds really good, actually. Too bad I don’t have any Saucy Bakers or Betsy McCookies around here. Or, for that matter, a country club.

Not even a little paper umbrella, alas! Still, it’s really for the best. Because while Mother’s off improving her serve, who knows what else those clever over-achieving dolls might get up to?