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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blast from the Cover Art Past #1 (1947)

Now that Halloween is here, I felt this New Yorker cover from 1947 really captures this ritual. After having rot spots show up in 2 of our pumpkins I had to make a journey to replace them. Ever try to look for an Xmas tree on December 24th? This first in a series of great cover art was created by Perry Barlow.
I picked it because of the subject matter, but I would also like to add a bio for Mr Barlow, if I could find some. He created numerous covers for the magazine, I need to dig deeper.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Liquor labels you will never see again.

(Editor's note: This is a continuation of a story I wrote for Patch. Read the lead in here.)

Julius Wile and Sons, Inc. was well known importer of liquor, which was established in 1877. It remained in family hands until 1972 when it was sold to RJR Nabisco.
That’s almost 100 years of importing summed up in 2 sentences; let’s see if I can expand on that just a bit.

I believe that the little black spiral wire notebook that I found at a sale over the summer held these labels actually belong to Julius Wile's grandson, also Julius Wile, though not the “Third.”

The original founder (older Julius) came from the Alsace region in 1840 at the age of 14. He established the importing business at the age of 51 and he and his 5 sons ran the business.

The grandson, or the younger Julius, didn’t initially go into the family business, but instead studied aeronautical engineering and graduated in 1936. The depression era held little opportunity for an engineer and so he went into the family business.

If you can imagine a career where you travel the world looking for wine and liquor to import and distribute by visiting anxious and enthusiastic wineries, then I say you’d imagined a dam good life. My favorite saying is: “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Apparently there were no family members to continue the tradition or a family run business could likely not compete with large corporation, which led to the buy-out in 1972. Julius lived most of his senior life in Scarsdale, New York and shifted his career to the promotion of Bordeaux wines in America. He also taught at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in Ithaca, NY for 30 years. Julius died in 2006 at the age of 91.

 While it was a fact that slaves were imported to Jamaica to work in the sugar cane fields and in the distilling of rum, I don't know if this image was the best choice for the label.

 In looking up some of the labels I found an interesting site where people document the abandon sites of business and manufacturing they have discovered. The Fountain Grove Winery has a very interesting story you can read more about here

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"We're Talkin' Base-ball" 50 or more years ago...

To say I am a fair-weather-fan is kind of an understatement. I have been a fan of numerous teams, not only in baseball, but in other team sports as well.  I don't really follow the star players, or the underdog, truthfully, I just like to watch a good game.

But I do like the hoopla and the marketing of icons of the game
I'm not sure what he's calling here, could be "OUUUT!" He also may have just been hit by a foul tip. As a part of the Burroughs collection, some of these are straight out of the file listed "baseball." He could have made it easier for me, but not much.
This was one of the earliest Sports Illustrated editions. #31 before the magazine was a year old. Before this the stars of the game were wooed by advertisers for likely and unlikely products. Like Joe Dimaggio:

This was a clipping from a cigarette ad, I think he was know as "The Yankee Clipper" or "Joltin' Joe" but it seems to me that "Smokin' Joe" would have fit, too.
This 1928 ad featuring Babe Ruth is one of my favorites:
I wonder if he wrote that letter or the advertiser did it for him. I especially like that it was written in his "voice," maybe he did write it:
 Last but not least, I will leave your with this cover from Elks Magazine also from 1928. I picture that except for the style of clothing, fans pretty much still look this way.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The fastest route to find treasure...

...is sometimes the route you weren't planning. 

The hardest thing about my weekend search for a good "dig" is the inability to know exactly where the next one is. I can look in the listings and hope I will see one, but often the sales are not what they claim to be. Estate sales that aren't estate sales inside homes that claim to be from another century yet have nothing from that century except a plaque on the door.

All you can do is just head out the door, pick a direction and hope for the best. That's what I did yesterday and it actually worked out for the best. (This is a continuation of a story I began writing on Patch you can read here.)

You can tell just from the small pile of papers I found that this home was going to be a good dig:

 I decided to roll some video while on location to give readers a better idea of what this dig was like.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

...And Now For Something Completely Different - Parody Lyrics

Every now and then I get a tune, or some lyrics, or just the title of a song in my head while I am doing some daily task. In this case it was packing lunch for my daughter.  She asked me, and as the time of bus departure drew near she asked, "Where is my lunch?"  I responded, pointing, "There is lunch."

and that was all it took. I thought of the popular wedding song 'There is Love" and considered holy matrimony and the marriage of Peanut-butter and Jelly.  Here are the lyrics, with my apologies to musicians everywhere that might read these and say," That doesn't go with that! The meter, tempo and arrangement are all wrong! I can't sing this!" Well, if you can, let me know because I would love to hear it.

"There is Lunch- the Marriage of PB and J” (to the tune of “There is Love”)

It is now, the time upon you at the pang'ing of your gut
Rest assured this Prep cook can crush a berry with a nut
The union of these flavors, here, has caused you to remain
For when these two are gathered with some over processed grain

There is Lunch. There is Lunch.

When a grape shall leave her vine-age, and a nut leave his shell
They shall come together in an ever-tasty gel
As it was with every brand, if smooth or super chunk
Jelly spreads so easily and the other just gets stuck.

On the knife... On the knife

Well, then what's to be the name for these toppings mixed with knife?
Is it Lunch that brings them here and Lunch that gave them life?
Or if sandwich is the answer, then what're you waiting for?
Or is it that your mouth is filled with peanuts by the score?

Is there is Milk? Oh, is there milk?

Oh the meeting of these flavors has caused you to remain
For when you have cleaned your plate, it is SECONDS! You exclaim

That was Lunch? Ah, Is there (more) Lunch?

Words by Greg Van Antwerp

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Toke 'n Lies #1 "Don't Smoke 'em. Eat 'em!"

I never tire of old ads, especially this one from 1938. It promises one of the best ridiculous aids to living  a better life with their product.
I wish I could draw a quick cartoon with either of these 2 eating a salad garnished with Camels. But wait, there's more.
Eat hearty, Lee, and it won't fizzle my nerves.
For digestion's sake, no, not for "goodness" sake.
This ad comes courtesy of the B. Burroughs collection, which is explained here.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The people who made MAD MEN look good - Part 1

Look around this blog and you will see I am a huge fan of print advertising. My main focus has been ads that pre-date1965, and certainly the older the better. 

I spend a lot of time examining these ads and trying to reverse engineer the time in which they were being read. How were people living? What did these ads do to influence that? I have also spent a lot of time poking fun at them; the times have changed which makes the product or the views of the people depicted in them obsolete.

I will pick up individual magazines from the 30’s, 40’s or 50’s in the hopes of finding something to post; however, last week I hit the mother lode of advertising content.
Bernard Burroughs
Bernard Burroughs in the 1950's poses for a "Selfie"

At a Westport CT estate sale I purchased well over 200 files containing ads, images, proofs and some correspondence of commercial illustrator Bernard Burroughs. These files encompass what a commercial illustrator would need to do his job…before the Internet.

By collecting samples of people, professions, locations and backgrounds from a multitude of angles, sketches can be developed and layout for an ad can begin. Also in with the clippings are a few photgraphs. The image below shows how photos were used to establish drawings for layout of an ad.

So few ads have original drawings in them these days. Most are photographs and/or computer designed images and the need for someone who is good with a pencil is rare.

Bernard Burroughs sketch for Wanamaker 1946Bernard Burroughs sketch

Bernard Burroughs who passed away in 1993 probably never planned to have some random digger step into his home and take all these clippings and consider them “gold.” However, he has provided me with a wealth of information on how he did his job and his contemporaries and predecessors as well by compiling collections of their work.

I have already posted one full ad I found in the pile here. Look for upcoming posts featuring the collection of B Burroughs and his peers.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Other People's Espionage

I was gifted with a box of correspondence between a husband working for westinghouse and his wife in the post WWII era. The letters don't reveal any secrets about the work he was doing but I'll bet it was government contract work building motors for Navy vessels.  The secret he did reveal was the boredom in having to work overnight shifts waiting for an assembly process to finish, or just trying to finish under deadline. How do I know he was bored? Take a look:
You can see through the thin sheet, the form he used for his creation. I can promise you that if this was discovered in his possession, he would have been in a world of ------- trouble.

Friday, October 11, 2013

1943 -Oh yes, they called it the Streak

It's great when an ad shows the progression of its product line as GM as done here. There was likely a world of difference to car buyers in 1943, but to me the changes during the period from 1935 to 1943 is not that drastic.
I would take any one of these, in new condition.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Another Escape from Alcatraz?

Who wouldn't want to receive a postcard like this? 

 This postcard caught my attention when the I saw that the note on the back told of an escape.

I knew of only one escape that was so famous around that time, so I did a little research.  The are numerous good sites that cover the history of Alcatraz and go into great detail about the 1962 escape by Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers on June 11, 1962. When I saw the post mark on the card as April 8th, 1962, I decided to dig deeper.
Interestingly, Alcatraz was actually preferred by some inmates, and saw requests for transfer to the island. The reason for this was that one of the wardens believed poor conditions caused riots. Under his rule the food was good and plentiful, there was a 15,000-volume library with numerous magazines subscriptions, and the cells were all one to an inmate. Surprisingly, this made Alcatraz comparatively better then most other maximum-security prisons. 

Despite the “wonderful” conditions, I guess there still is no place like home, and numerous escapes were planned and attempted. Few succeeded because the water was cold and land was out of reach for the untrained swimmer, however, this one escape still has the federal government scratching its head. 

Well, I am scratching my head because there is no documented escape in April of '62. How odd is it that the writer refers to an escape so close to the BIG one? Maybe he was just entertaining his readers and talk of escapes from "the rock" were frequently on peoples mind?

This isn't the first time I have come across a prison escape mystery to solve. Take a look at these found photos. It seems everyone was into arts and crafts and paper-mache in prison

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Woman's Place is in the Cave (a tale in 6 stereotypes)

I read it in a 1944 Life magazine, so it has to be true, right? I will never tire of old ads. They present a reality that may have been purposeful for selling a product then, but now they are just humorous.

I take you back now to the stone age.

Where stooped women with un-plucked eyebrows and one-piece bear shifts cooked with stoves made of wood. Still new to the fire and fuel theory, cave woman begged cave man to invent something that wouldn't burn the forest down. Nope.
   "Kapuahi" was the sound this stove would make when gobs of pork fat hit the flame. Many grass skirt fires followed, which caused the invention of the first "stop, drop and roll" campaign called "Hula."  Hawaiian chief was begged for new stove made of volcanic rock, but no.
Just when Women's Lib could have taken off, Cleopatra decided that women who cook should be refereed to as "Slave Maidens." This term is still used today by men with a death wish.  Still no decent stove or utensils.
In the 10th century women were hoping for their own Arab spring, instead they were forced to cook for men next to earthen commodes. The convenience was obvious and now on football Sunday numerous man caves are constructed to combine toilet, consumption of mass quantities, and kitchen in the same chair. 
During revolutionary times there was a brief campaign by Betsy Ross to get women out of the kitchen. Ben Franklin's idea was to do that by building a stove big enough for a women to get into. This only separated the sexes further and nothing much happens for the next 170 years because, well, men were busy building pubs and women? Rolling pins. Finally, thanks to Tappan, the problem was solved.

It only took a million years and 20 war bonds, but we finally got women out of that Bear Shift and into a kitchen with a stove that has a divided top. Problem solved!