It’s that time of year again… cold, dark nights; clocks are turned back (this coming Sunday!); blustery days… Halloween and Bonfire Night are just around the corner. This year we’re having a Halloween party and have asked people to dress up. Aidan and I have got some pretty snazzy costumes to wear – although, as I’m typing this, mine isn’t exactly finished… or started… To get some ideas for the food and drinks, I decided to look up vintage Halloween adverts. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I wasn’t disappointed. Here are some of my favourites, gathered together in one place. Thanks to anyone I’ve nabbed them off!
I’m not sure I’d want to answer the door to that last kid… My favourite advert out of these is the Pepsi one. Perhaps next year, I’ll be able to copy that costume rather than being restricted to ones of a rotund nature!
Our impending arrival means that I’ve seriously got babies on the brain. As well as the official ‘baby brain’… Scouring through my Woman’s Own magazines to look at the adverts builds up a picture of how womanhood was viewed in the 1950s; at least by mainstream society. Babies, cooking, cleaning and grooming appear to be the main aims of a 1950s housewife. I think I can safely say it will be yes to the first two; maybe to the third and probably not to the fourth idea for me come November…
When you examine many of these adverts en masse – not only the baby related ones – the general feeling seems to be that if there is a product, new ingredient, new thing that can be used, given, delivered, rubbed in and so on, then do it!
Everything seems to be the most unique, the ideal, the kindest, safest, most natural thing you can have or use. I know that’s the nature of advertising, but I do wonder how much more susceptible people were to it fifty or sixty years ago. Nowadays, I think (most) people are more cynical and will question advertising spiel more; perhaps I’m being naive in assuming people of the older generation didn’t do that as much.
This Heinz advert has one of my favourite lines in it: “‘So firm, isn’t she! no flabby fat on her. And she can almost stand.” Pitched just right to play on the fears of a mother and the natural competitiveness of rearing a child and wanting it to be the best it can be
and secretly better than everyone else’s child.
This is something I can forsee that we might have issues with: that we will be bringing our child up on a vegetarian diet. Actually, we won’t have issues with it. We both know that anyone can maintain a very healthy lifestyle without eating meat; equally, an unhealthy one can be apparent in meat-eaters. It’s down to personal choice. I would rather our child is brought up vegetarian and has the choice to eat meat when he or she is older and understands more about where meat comes from. Having said this, I anticipated questions and qualms from people for having a (mostly) vegetarian pregnancy and have had virtually nothing. That every examination, appointment, blood test, urine test, whatever test you can think of that pregnant women undergo has come back spot on every time, I like to think this is proof that vegetarianism in pregnancy is perfectly normal and good for your baby. As for all of those cheese sandwiches I ate during months three and four, what with being the only thing I could stomach at the time; well, they’ve clearly done me or the baby no harm. It’ll probably come out smelling like mayonnaise though…
Just read the different in the copy between the adverts. The first states that for ‘Mothers who cannot breastfeed [they] can put their trust in Ostermilk.’ So far, so responsible. Yet look at the text for the second advert: “Lots of prams never seem to get very far without being stopped. They are, of course, the ones that contain particularly engaging looking babies. So often they are babies fed on Ostermilk. This pure milk food builds the kind of babies that people simply have to stop and talk to.” As I said, designed perfectly to play on fears and competitiveness. The breastfeeding vs. formula feeding debate still rages on endlessly nowadays, and there is an absolute wealth of information out there for mums and dads to be read about. It really is down to personal choice and circumstances, in my opinion, and I don’t think any parent should be made to feel guilty about that choice.
The next few adverts are mainly to coo over funny looking pictures of babies in quaint pictures:
I love the expressions on the faces of the babies in the Vaseline adverts and the RP accent of the text. Jolly good! The idea of my baby thinking in a posh accent tickles me somewhat. In reality, it’s likely to be a strange hybrid of Yorkshire, Mancunian and the Midlands. Perhaps I can teach him or her to say, “I say!” at least.
This final advert is my favourite, purely for the possessed look on the child’s face:
That’s what all that Ostermilk, Spinach and Beef, and Vaseline does to you… this baby is not possessed at all, just feeling smugly superior:
“I say, you fellows, look what a glow to my eyes that Magnesia has brought about. How spiffing!”
Just two of these to share today which made me smile for different reasons:
It’s not difficult to see why Quaker’s Quick Macaroni isn’t still a staple in our diets… Savoury and satisfying, apparently. My first thought upon seeing that wasn’t, “Mmmm, delicious!” but: “Worms!” I’m not sure I trust Jane Beaton (cookery expert of Woman’s Own) and her judgement of food any more after her recommendation of that…
What I like about this advert is the mid century styling of the furniture. That room divider is amazing! Also, ‘Nut Crunch’ icecream? Completely all over that…
Which advert do you prefer? Worms macaroni or Mid-century icecream?
As we appear to be experiencing what is now becoming the customary January cold snap, why not dream of warmer climates by admiring these adverts from 1958? Featuring the cruise collection by Best & Co, these adverts show off some of the best of New York fashion from 1958; on a background of stylish, mid-century building and airplanes. “You’ll have fun Island-Hopping Intercontinental style” the slogan proclaims: just the daydream we all need in the Wintery North of England.
The Hotel Embajador Intercontinental in Ciudad Trujillo appears to be still there. Deja Vu Collectors has got a postcard from the era of the hotel:
The Hotel Jaragua Intercontinental doesn’t appear to have any modern mentions. However, I did find these old graphics for the hotel on a website called delcampe.net:
Vintage luggage labels for the Hotel Curacao Intercontinental in the Netherlands Antilles are availabe for sale on Ebay here:
Best & Co. was originally a baby and children’s retailer, founded in 1879 in New York City by Albert Best. Originally known as the Lilliputian Bazaar, it later changed its name and expanded to women’s clothing and accessories. According to Wikipedia:
“The flagship was located originally in the “Ladies’ Mile” near Sixth Avenue and 23rd Street. In 1908, Best & Co. purchased for $500,000 the former Engineer’s Club at 372 Fifth Avenue at 35th Street for a new store, joining an elite group of merchants to locate in that section of Fifth Avenue in the early 1900s, including B. Altman, Gorham, and Tiffany’s. This limestone building later became the Bond Clothing Stores flagship when Best moved farther up the avenue, and was later converted to apartments. Its final 12-story flagship store was located at Fifth Avenue and 51st Street, next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. (It can be seen in the movie The Godfather…it’s where Michael and Kay have shopped just before seeing the Don has been shot). It was acquired by the company in 1944, from the Union Club. After it closed in late-1970, the beautiful white marble building was torn down and the Olympic Tower was built in its place.”
All of these adverts come from a 1958 January edition of the American ‘Glamour’ magazine – not to be confused with the modern-day, British version. What I love about these adverts is just how redolent they are of a previous era: the illustrations, the fashion, the designs of the hotel, the descriptions of the clothes… all create the perfect ‘mid-century’ image that many people nowadays strive for.
There are some beautiful covers and images from the 1950s contained within the pages of my vintage Woman’s Own magazines:
There are so many gorgeous images in these Christmas specials that I just can’t show them all. I took nearly a hundred pictures! So, I will choose my favourites to wish you all Merry Christmas with. Huge thanks and best wishes to everyone who has followed my blog over the last few years. I hope these pictures help get you into the festive mood for tomorrow.
The advertisers of the 1950s seemed to promote a ‘fake realism’ quite strongly. By that I mean, that each image seems intended to portray a realistic lifestyle want or need but quite often in a fake-looking way. Christmas seems to give them an excuse to release some imaginative advertisements; yet for some of them, I can’t help but feel it’s an excuse to ‘bung’ on a few Christmas graphics and see how it sells:
This next advert was a very pleasant surprise when I was searching the magazines this morning. As a child, Enid Blyton was my absolute favourite author. I have very many happy memories of sitting reading The Famous Five, The Naughtiest Girl, The Enchanted Tree, Malory Towers, The Magic Wishing Chair and many, many more of her books.
My favourite advert is probably this one:
I just love how it’s one of the least Christmas-related products ever, yet Kia-Ora did a grand job of popping some Christmas graphics next to their bottle of squash and suddenly, even I want to buy a bottle of it for tomorrow!
A drizzly Sunday calls for some home cooking. A big Sunday dinner and a delicious pudding, covered in custard is just the ticket for warming you up on a damp, miserable day like today. The 1950s must have been the boom time for custard and other sweet dessert treats, after years of rationing and frugal dinner planning. Many of my magazines have full page, colour adverts for Bird’s Custard on the back:
What I like about these adverts are the recipe suggestions they include. I did actually make one once. It was for Hot Spot pudding, or something like that and it involved mixing breadcrumbs in with the custard, lots and lots of ground almonds and splodging chocolate buttons on the top. I liked it’s stodginess, but it was too much for Aidan. It did weigh rather heavily on your stomach! I like the look of the ‘King-Of-The-Castle Custards’ above. They strike me as the kind of thing that would NEVER work for me, ending up in a wibbly wobbly mess on the plate.
That advert’s well out of season, but I still like the look of those sauces. Almond or Chocolate nut sauce anyone? They’d go just as well on top of a sponge cake or apple crumble as they would on top of fruit or jelly.
Bird’s also made blancmange puddings:
So many 1950s adverts seem to involve the words ‘Now _____ than ever!’ Whether it’s better, creamier, larger, smaller, more delicious; every item claims to be better than before. The marketing is much more direct and obvious than nowadays. No obscure symbolism for those ad men!
All of this has got my mouth watering for my own Sunday dinner… I think I’ve got some Angel Delight somewhere, that might just have to do!
Rowntree’s Jelly adverts seem to be perfectly designed to make your mouth water.
Feeling slightly sorry for myself as I’ve come down with a horrible cold. I’m really annoyed. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend all week, and now I’m probably going to spend it in bed – what a waste!
Anyway, to cheer myself up and possibly make me better, I’ve found these adverts from the 1950s; all full of tonics and vitamins to combat the cold.
We must make sure that we’re fit and healthy so that those dishes can carry on getting washed and the children looked after. God forbid your husband should do it.
Remember: ‘you must avoid constipation’. That is an order.
That’s exactly how I’ve been using my handkerchief…
This appears to be how they used handkerchiefs and tissues in the 1950s: ram them up your nose and leave it there to hang. Perhaps it is to soak up the snott before it has a chance to leave your schnozzle?
Clearly Cephos lost the fight over infections against Beechams and Veno’s. Maybe it was because they were expecting their poorly customers to be able to say their slogan with a cold: “Gephos Gonquers Golds…” Or perhaps it was because it worked so well that any woman that took them ‘was able to get up the next day and carry on with the chores.’ I’d stay ill a bit longer if that was what was waiting for me once I was better.
I’m not entirely sure what a ‘nerve pain’ is, but judging by her expression, I don’t want it. I’ll keep my cold, thanks.
To be perfectly honest, there are too many unnecessary jokes that pop into my mind when I look at that picture. Let’s just say I wouldn’t go anywhere near the man drinking Lucozade if he looked like that! I never got the thing about Lucozade being an energy replacement drink; I was too much of an ’80s child when it had been remarketed as a sports drink. But if we ever got ill as children, this would be my dad’s contribution to making us better – a bottle of Lucozade.
Once when my sister Kirsty was particularly poorly, Dad was working away. All day she mithered about him coming home and bringing her some Lucozade, which he eventually did. It must have made an impression on her because as she was asleep that night, in her sleep I heard her first cry, then giggle and then say,
I still giggle myself now remembering it.
Just in case you missed it, Andrews Liver Salt is for ‘inner cleanliness’. I love that this advert still retains some of the Victorian viewpoint on ‘disorders of the blood’ that need corrective action. They’re always very vague-sounding illnesses: humours and that sort of thing. Get some Liver Salt down you and you’ll no longer suffer from ‘Spring-time disorders’ and ‘biliousness’…
In our household, the notion of man-flu does not exist. I’ve got the man-flu for both of us; Aidan is one of those valiant types who refuses to get ill, whereas the first tickle of a sore throat and I’m convinced I’ve got the plague. However, man-flu appears to have been a common concept, even in the 1950s:
Unlike the Cephos tablets, there would be no malingering illness with me if I thought someone was going to feed me ‘A partially pre-digested food’. How vile sounding!
Looking at these has really cheered me up. Perhaps I should go and invest in a few horrendous sounding remedies to shift my own cold.
What a difference a week or two makes… not long ago, it felt like Summer was here again. It’s well and truly gone: as I look out onto an extremely grey, drizzly Glossop I can safely say that Autumn is here and Winter fast approaching. First thing we need to cope with it is some outerwear:
If you have a small child, you’ll need something for him or her when you’re trotting around, all Yummy Mummy-like, in the rain…
But perhaps don’t ask the Umbrella Man to look after them:
No matter how much it was raining, I’d be petrified if I’d woken up to find him on the end of my bed as a child! He’s got no shoes on for heaven’s sake…
On a cold, drizzly day, you also need some warm food to make you toastie in the morning and in the evening:
This one isn’t essential for a rainy day, but it made me smile how they shoehorned it into the advert, just to make it rhyme! That 1950s advert staple: the ‘rhyme’… how it created some truly terrible advertising slogans.
It’s good to know that, for men, there’s a toothpaste to see them through every possibility of life.
Hope your rainy day has been brightened up slightly by these fantastic 1950s adverts. Woman’s Own magazines are a veritable treasure trove of fashion tips, advertising and images. I’ll leave you with a close-up of that slightly odd Weetabix character:
I think this comes from the School of How to Scare Small Children and Red-Headed Women, just like the Umbrella Man…