Thursday, June 16, 2011

16 June 1957 “The Little Ads with the Big Promise: Advertising in the Backs of Vintage Magazines”

I don’t know what it is about these tiny advertisements in the back of my various vintage magazines, but I love pouring over them. Perhaps it is some of that same excitement of my own late 70’s early 80’s youth when such ads in my various comic books intrigued me. There was always some wonderful toy, invention, or promise you could get by saving up money and sending it through the mail. Then, the eventual wait for that package. Perhaps that is why the internet is such a successful place for shopping; we all have that child-like anticipation of finding the hidden treasure and ‘sending away’ for it. Of course, today it is so much easier, no going to the post until the package arrives and so much easier to shop with a click. It’s as if our money (now digital) is just this magic thing out there somewhere with a bottomless pit for us to dig into.

I digress and on to the fun. These are just a few of the various ads from the literal multitudes peopling the backs of my publications. Enjoy!

manapronad What proud Barbequing Dad wouldn’t want this handy sturdy apron? I think it a fun design even for we gals, don’t you?

flamingoadThe eponymous ‘pink flamingo’ that the modern world always associates with the 1950s. We all wore poodle skirts, had D.A’s, drove ‘57 Chevy’s, listened to Elvis, Voted for Ike, and had pink flamingos on our modern ranch home postage stamp lawns, right? Well, we know that is not true, yet what is intriguing about this ad (from a 1953 publication) is the birds are actually cast aluminum, not the cheap plastic of today. I also bet they were much more decorative and a lot less kitsch. I wonder if anyone has these originals kicking about in the back of a potting shed?

 pansypotad As a former flower shop owner, I can appreciate a good floral container. Many people today do not even know what a floral frog is (it is either metal with spikes or glass with holes and is placed in the bottom of any container to hold up the stems of flowers in an arrangement. I often see them at antique stores, often mislabeled I might ad.) This darling little pansy pot is quaint and you don’t see many people using cut pansy’s today. I am not sure why, as they are very popular in Spring as the first flowers to go into window boxes and outdoor pots here in New England.

I once had an elderly gentleman come to my shop and ask for a nosegay of violets for his wife for their anniversary. It was the first bunch of flowers he had ever given her (most like in the 1930’s) Though I knew what he was talking about, I was unable to assist as one could not get cut pansy (A violet is actually a pansy-often called ‘johnny jump ups’ as they are notorious re-seeders and will pop up everywhere the Spring after their first planting.) Not sure why they went out of fashion.

wroughtironlegad These legs are readily avialable today and many people use them to recreate or repair their mid century modern furniture. I was not aware they came in colors, as I have always seen them used in black. Now, for any 50’s home decorating purist, get that spray paint can out and have a go at the boring black available today and know you are in keeping with the decade.

screendoorad The decorative aluminum screen door is also very 1950’s suburbia. I would love to get my hands on a catalog from this company to see their various designs. The one pictured with the southern bell in her hoops accompanied by the flourishes is amazing. There was quite a bit of bravery, style, and some ‘tongue-in-cheek’ in the mid-century designs. I bet any of these doors that were left alone are still just as sturdy and reliable as when they were so proudly first installed.

tvloungettesad I love that these little foot stools are advertised as TV loungettes. I often see old pictures of kids or teens on these in front of the TV while Mum and Dad are on the sofa.  50stvwatching1Here, little sis enjoys the comfort of a rather flouncy loungette.50stvwatching2 Here we see little brother have a go.50stvwatching3 And, why not two to a loungette?

I can’t imagine a modern child or anyone today using these, as the hours required for video games or ‘marathons’ on the various cable channels require larger, softer, and sturdier seating.

metalcupad I often see these glass sets, some glass some aluminum, available. I wonder how many were bought through these ‘back of the magazine’ ads?

cargarmenthangeradIt is pretty standard today to have those little hooks in one’s car to hang hangers on. Here on the Cape we often, this time of year, see the cars with the Florida plates and various amounts of clothing thus hung in back seats as the ‘Snow Birds’, as they are called, return to nest here in their summer homes. I rather like this one, it looks like it would hold quite a bit and would save on any ironing after one unpacks (ironing not being one of my favorite 1950’s skills I acquired).

compactad Some things are very vintage, such as this visor organizer with slots for cigarettes and maps, two things vastly out of style. I am sure many cars now are equipped with GPS (though we do not have one and no thank you). I rather like the sunglasses pictured.

cakedecoratingad Some advertising isn’t for a product but a service. Here the homemaker can branch out her cooking and decorating skills to become an at home cake decorator. Such extra pin money earning opportunities existed for the homemaker. One had either the local talent of the local bakery to go to for such occasions. Today we have the supermarket chain or any big chain where they pump out the bland cakes with far too much icing for low low prices. I once worked in this field and I can tell you, you do not want to know how old your grocery store cake is. They come in prebaked, frozen and sit in boxes awaiting their thawing and icing. The icing is loaded with preservatives and literally sits in 5 gallon buckets unrefrigerated (no need with all the chemicals). Make your own cake, go to a local bakery, or ask a talented friend, you will never eat grocery store cake again!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little foray into the back of the magazine, where so many little gems are hidden. If you like these types of ads, I will gladly do more posts about them, there are so many varied types of products!

Happy Homemaking.

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