Monday, May 24, 2010

A Toast (and a fond look back) to the Immoral, Illegal and Fattening


I'm not a big collector. No press kits, autographs or movie posters add to the clutter of my admittedly book-laden home. Yet, there was a time when I enjoyed the odd comic book or two, with everything from Archie to Sgt. Rock and His Howling Commandos to Classic Comic Books littering that blank page that was my mind then. (I especially liked the Classic Comic Book version of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, which actually got me to read his books later).

Of course, comic books, baseball cards, et al were all subject to the Wrath of Mom, who regarded them as "insults to our intelligence" and therefore destined for the dust bin as soon as she uncovered them under the mattress or on the back porch. So today I don't own any of these items, which might have provided some needed shekels on Ebay. Ah well, nothing ever fades, including nostalgia for Mother's laser-like concern for the alleged minds of her ungrateful brood.

Since the Mom-inator is not around any more to censor my tastes, sometimes I am tempted to collect some things, though the price tag and seeing them online has kept any potential hoarding tendencies well in check...so far. These days I am brought up short when I come across an old magazine, though it's the advertisements as much as anything that catch my eye. "What do you mean, you could buy a brand new Mustang for $2000 in '67??" is the kind of outburst I'm prone to when looking over ephemera for sale featuring long-gone, old magazines such as the glossy Look Magazine or literate The Saturday Review. Yes, I know that incomes then averaged $7k (according to a MSNBC report on the Summer of Love). Yet it's the old ads that really intrigue me, many of which were a part of a consumer's life before I was born, especially when they feature big time favorite movie actors, whether fondly remembered or barely a pop culture memory.

Here are a few of my favorite ads collected on the web over time, which I still find myself most amused by. My faves are those that appeal to the things in life that are "immoral, illegal or fattening"--you know, those delightful everyday vices! I find the most interesting ones to be those ads that show the most unlikely people hawking something I'd never have expected.

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