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‘There’s no medicine for regret’: Incredibly misogynist venereal disease posters from WWII
08:39 am


venereal disease

Oh, 1940s anti-VD posters, the only place where a girl’s cooch might be worse than Hitler!

During World War II, propaganda was deployed to spark the purchase of war bonds, to get you to STFU, and to spur the collection of scrap metal. Naturally, the sex lives of “our boys” weren’t exempt from such crusades. The U.S. government enlisted the help of artists, designers, and advertising professionals to create what amounts to the first mass campaign about sex; in so doing they created these eye-popping and surprisingly frank posters.

A researcher named Ryan Mungia has published an excellent collection of VD posters entitled Protect Yourself. Mungia came across the posters entirely by accident while researching a book on wartime Hawaii:

My objective was to find photographs, but I came across this file folder peeking out of an open cabinet that said “VD Posters” on it. Inside, I found a stash of 35mm slides of these posters, most of which ended up in the book. I guess you could say the subject chose me, since I didn’t set out to make a book on venereal disease, but became interested in the topic because of the graphic nature of the posters.

The images come from the National Archives and the National Library of Medicine. As Mungia points out, the images evoke memories of other beloved graphics: “The designs were really reminiscent of film noir or B-movie posters from the ’40s, those pulpy-style poster designs, and they also reminded me of the Works Progress Administration artwork, which I love.” Mungia also said of the posters: “Women are often portrayed in a negative light,” being associated with Hitler or Hirohito in one attention-getting poster.

Those slogans…. “Worst of the Three,” “A Bag of Trouble” ... methinks they protest too much!



More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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MAD magazine’s most vicious advertising parodies, circa 1960
07:55 am

Pop Culture

Mad Magazine

From 1957 to 2001, Mad magazine ran no outside ads—a highly noteworthy feat. Ideally, advertising income should finance 100% of a magazine’s operating costs, materials, payroll, profit, everything, leaving actual newsstand and subscription revenues as mere icing on the cake (that’s how alt weeklies can pull off free-of-charge distribution—well, that and criminally underpaying their art directors BUT I’M NOT BITTER). Mad‘s model was such a drastic inversion of the usual magazine industry business template that, off the top of my head, I can think of few other long-running rags to pull that off—Cooks Illustrated and Consumer Reports, both of which, if I recall correctly, survive on at least some institutional support, and the horrifying Reader’s Digest, which finally began taking ads in the ‘70s, probably realizing via the success of the era’s televangelists what a goldmine of suckers their elderly right-wing audience could be.

Mad‘s late founding publisher and giant among beautiful freaks William Gaines refused ads for so long because he felt it would compromise the publication’s satirical bent. In this amusing TV segment, Gaines spelled out his rejection of advertising bluntly and succinctly:

We don’t believe in merchandising. We make FUN of people who suck every last dime out of a product, and so we won’t do it.

It made sense—if for example Marlboro was paying the bills, writers might feel abashed to target Marlboro, and as it happens, Mad absolutely savaged the cigarette industry, even going so far, as you’ll see below, as to compare its death toll to Hitler’s. But so if all the revenue came from the readers alone, it was the readers alone who’d be served by the publication, and the writers and artists could freely satirize any entity they wanted to. And so they did—their advertising parodies are legendary, and a Flickr user by the handle of Jasperdo has amassed an excellent collection of them. Most of them are from the late ‘50s to mid-‘60s, coinciding with the advertising industry’s so-called “creative revolution,” so naturally they all appropriate the distinctive feel of that era.



More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Mysterious, Incredible, Bizarre’: 80s Florida buttrockers in best/worst local hair salon ad ever!
07:44 am


Heavy Metal

“It’s mysterious…”

“It’s incredible…”

“It’s bizarre…”

So opens this brain-melting local Brandon, FL hair salon ad.

Thrash-metal pioneers, Nasty Savage, file out, clown-car style, from a vehicle that is not-quite-a-limo. A slack-jawed hesher in white tie and gloves holds the door for them as the Savages make their grand entrance. Group leader and sometimes semi-professional wrestler, “Nasty” Ronnie Galetti, invites us to “let’s just go find out” what “all of the excitement is about” while making the most awkward one-handed air-guitar maneuver imaginable.

Well folks, the excitement is that all of the Nasty Savages are having their hair done at “Flair Family Hair Care inside the Brandon Mall on Highway 60,” and what follows is a truly astounding montage of shots showcasing the vanguard styles of 1984 Florida.  We then hard-cut to the Nasty ones gathered around the barber-chair-seated Ronnie who commands the audience to “get your hair done at Flair.” This endorsement/directive is punctuated with a hypnotic flourish of the hand indicating that the will of the Nasty Ronnie must be obeyed.
Nasty Ronnie Commands
One might speculate that a band member was a blood relative of a Flair stylist or that perhaps someone owed someone a favor. It’s difficult to say because it’s unclear whether the salon or the band is benefiting here. It would appear, neither. Nasty Savage, who recorded for heavyweight Metal label Metal Blade Records in the mid 80s, were known for their over-the-top stage shows. “Nasty” Ronnie frequently smashed television sets over his head as a gimmick. Such tactics were undoubtedly damaging to his various hairstyles, and one can assume that frequent repair visits to Flair Family Hair Care were in order. Perhaps lending his professional endorsement to this commercial was a way of taking the treatments out “in trade”?

This is one of those videos that must be viewed more than once to take in the full measure of every stupid thing happening in it. Of particular interest is anything the overly-animated “‘It’s incredible’ Guy,” David Austin, does. If you’re looking for the prototypical “Florida Man,” look no further. Be sure, also, to take in the confusion on the face of the “limo driver” as the members of Nasty Savage emerge. Finally, try not to miss the kid on the right side of the screen in the salon wide-shot getting his hair teased. It doesn’t get much more incredible, mysterious, or bizarre. The excitement at the Brandon Mall is palpable.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Discussion
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Have a Cigar: Cringe at the insanely misogynist radio ads of the Women’s Lib era
06:50 pm



Last Saturday was a typical Saturday for me, crate digging in the local thrift shops. One of my hard-and-fast rules of vinyl thrifting is always buy any never-before-seen oddball platter if it’s a dollar or less. You simply never know when you’re going to stumble across that undiscovered “break” that some hotshot DJ will fork over major-league cash for, or in this case, something so truly bizarre and wrongheaded that it warrants sharing with the rest of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the album unearthed this past Saturday: a sealed copy of 20 of the World’s Best Advertisements.

Procured for a mere 50 cents, this record was released in 1967 by the Chuck Blore Creative Services ad agency. Ostensibly the album is a promotional tool for the agency, collecting the “world’s best” ads from the time of Mad Men; but as I learned from needle dropping the first three tracks, the men who produced these ads were really (really) mad.

These radio spots produced for DWG Cigar Corporation for their RG Dun line of cigars are a clear reaction to the Women’s Liberation Movement of the time, and they are absolutely jaw-dropping in their over-the-top misogyny. They certainly don’t make ‘em like this anymore, folks!

Not merely sexist, these ads essentially advocate violence against any henpecking harpy who would dare to ask her husband to extinguish his malodorous cheroot. Tune in and experience the acrid, sooty stench of a very different American cultural milieu.

In the first of the three ads, a man who has “had it up to here with all of this female equality bunk” throws his wife into a closet which is made into a “national shrine” by browbeaten men the world over. Truly a hero for the Men’s Rights Activists of his day, he is advised by a macho voice-over to “kick over her vanity table on the way out the door.”

In the second spot, a man at a restaurant nonchalantly asks the maitre d’ to throw his nagging wife out the window when she objects to his cigar. His request is followed by the sound of female screams and breaking glass, apparently she has been physically hurled through the front window of the establishment.The man, now a national hero, advises his followers to “keep a cigar in your face and a woman in her place!”

In the third commercial, the “Take a Cigar Stand” movement is sweeping the country and one brave activist declares “The American male is finally standing up for his rights. Today, if a woman objects to a man smoking his cigar, he doesn’t put it out… he puts her out.” A tacky Bob Dylan clone sings that “a woman has no sense of humidor” and an all-male Broadway cast sings “Don’t wait for my return, dear. I’m smoking while you burn, dear.”

These ads are a window into a time when men were truly threatened by female equality and certainly put into perspective the 1968 debut of Virginia Slims cigarettes and their famous ad campaign marketed toward women: “You’ve come a long way, baby.”


Posted by Christopher Bickel | Discussion
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Empire of Drugs: Vintage ads for when cocaine and heroin were legal

Pope Leo XIII’s longevity as Pontiff of the Catholic Church (the third longest in church history) may have been down to his favourite tipple Vin Mariani. Pope Leo was so enamoured by this French tonic wine it is claimed he kept a hip flask hidden under his cassock, so he could enjoy the occasional snifter to perk up his spirits—which it undoubtedly did, as Vin Mariani was a heady mix of Bordeaux wine and coca leaves. The original drink had 6mg of cocaine per fluid ounce, which went up to 7.2mg per fluid ounce for the export market—mainly to compete with similar coke-filled tonics—such as Coca-Cola—sold in the USA.

It was claimed that Mariani wine could quickly restore “health, strength, energy and vitality,” and hastened convalescence (“especially after influenza”). In one of their ads, His Holiness the Spokesmodel decreed:

...that he has fully appreciated the benefit of this Tonic Wine, and has forwarded to Mr. Mariani as a token of his gratitude a gold medal bearing his august effigy.

Talk about a celebrity endorsement, eh? If God’s representative on Earth approved of the coca-infused tipple, that would have been quite a boon in marketing terms.
Cocaine enhanced drinks were common in the late 1800s, and there is an academic paper to be written on the influence of cocaine and the rise of the British Empire—how else to explain the sound of grinding teeth among all those overworked lower classes whose labor put the Great into Britain?

But it wasn’t just adults who benefited from the restorative powers of cocaine, it was added to pastilles for teething children, throat lozenges for flu and colds, and as a cure for hay fever.
After the jump, heroin for kids and more…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Even C-3PO and R2-D2 think Jenny McCarthy is an idiot

Because so much ink and so many pixels have been committed to the ongoing and breathtakingly stupid culture war over childhood immunizations, I’ll keep my comments brief: anti-vaxers? You are destructive fucking morons and if you die of something easily preventable I will laugh about it.

But though the numbers of anti-vax jackasses have grown dangerously out of control in the recent years since the likes of Jack Wolfson, Jenny McCarthy, and Andrew Wakefield started spewing the criminally irresponsible shit they should all be in goddamn jail for, there have always been people ignorant of the necessity for childhood vaccinations. In the late ‘70s, when Star Wars mania was at its height, the CDC obtained permission to use C-3PO and R2-D2 for an immunization education campaign. From the Nov/Dec 1979 issue of Public Health Reports:

In a continuing effort to focus public awareness on childhood immunization, the Center for Disease control has distributed to State and local health departments copies of a poster featuring the “droids” R2D2 and C3PO from the movie “Star Wars.” Special permission to print the posters was granted to CDC by Twentieth Century Fox as a public service.

The poster has proved to be so popular that it has entered its second printing. The posters have been used as a reward to individual children who complete the basic immunization series, as reminders to parents in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and pharmacies, and as attention grabbers in announcing mass immunization clinics at schools and shopping centers. The poster is also drawing increased attention to child health in conjunction with projects sponsored as part of the International Year of the Child celebration.


This television commercial from the campaign has an unusual role reversal—R2 is freaking out over bullshit and 3PO serves as the voice of reason. It seems to actually be voiced by actor Anthony Daniels, who played the droid in all six Star Wars movies, and indeed, the typically reliable Wookieepedia claims that both Daniels and R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker did in fact appear in this PSA.

UPDATE, Thu Feb 5, 2015, 8:17 A.M. EST: This post as originally published contained a significant error, which I deeply regret and have corrected in the text. I misspelled ‘Wookieepedia.’ My sincerest apologies to anyone who was misled by my negligent inaccuracy. See how that’s done, science-deniers? It’s not so difficult.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Fast Food Fit for a Foodie: New BUTTERY JACK Burger
07:39 am



Brought to you by Jack in the Box

Expect the unexpected with the new BUTTERY JACK Burger from Jack in the Box. This delicious addition to the Jack in the Box menu features a mouthwatering garlic herb butter brushed on a juicy new patty on a gourmet signature bun.

Check out this video for a tasty tease of what’s to come. Your taste buds #ButterBelieveIt, and if they don’t, head to to see for yourself what deliciousness lies ahead.

Posted by Sponsored Post | Discussion
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Dirty Teletext pages from Germany
12:25 pm



This lady has an “Apfelpo”—that is, a butt like an apple
These images require some clarification. Roughly a decade before the rise of the World Wide Web in 1995, citizens of Germany and Austria (I’m not sure where else) could access through their TV sets a digital mode of information dissemination known as Teletext, a system that had been developed in the U.K. during the 1970s. If you had the right kind of TV with the right kind of remote control—and they weren’t uncommon at all, loads of German speakers know about this—you could switch your TV into an interactive mode where you could dial up certain basic, updated information such as headlines, weather information, sports scores, traffic updates, and even flight departures and arrivals at airports.

Many channels (ZDF, 3sat, etc.) have their own Teletext systems, and by punching in “100” you could get the homepage; other 3-digit numbers would be displayed on the screen for other forms of information, and if you typed in one of those numbers, you would get a page dedicated to this or that story or perhaps a list of cities and temperatures or the like. What was charming about it was that it was pretty resolutely low-bit—the screens would often use a crude form of ASCII art for logos. Furthermore, the system scarcely seemed to change over time—during an era in which incredible resources were being thrown into improving and maximizing browser technologies, poky old Teletext just stayed the same year after year. You could look at a Teletext display from today, and it would look about the same as an equivalent display from 1990. The fact that Europe was so far ahead of the U.S. on such matters was not lost on me, I would sometimes tell Americans, prone to gushing about U.S. tech superiority, about it.

I’ve spent a lot of my life in Austria, particularly in the pre-WWW years of 1992 to 1995, when I lived in Vienna full-time (although I didn’t own a TV set), so all of my associations with Teletext are uniformly from that country. Here’s a “normal” Teletext screen from ORF, the Austrian news organization, with headlines (Schlagzeilen) about military helicopters (101), terror arrests in France (127), Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann (115), a demonstration in Leipzig (133), something about the Swiss Franc (117), and Argentina (134).

Every one of those numbers will lead to a “story” that is parceled out in screens of no more than 12 or 15 lines at a time, and maybe 35 characters across. It’s a little like trying to read a newspaper on a clam phone—it’ll do in a pinch, but not really satisfying. Useful as Teletext may be—and it is useful—it’s also unremittingly boring. Once you find out about the immediate news you were seeking, there’s almost no way to spend more than about 10 minutes fiddling with Teletext on the TV.

I didn’t know until today that there exist XXX pages on Teletext, when some of them popped up on a blog I sometimes look at, text-mode, which is dedicated to ASCII art and anything that has a remote resemblance to pixelated art (certain kinds of weaved tapestries, for instance).

I found these Teletext pages funny, and I thought you might as well. If it’s not entirely obvious, these are ads for phone sex workers

I suspect that the numerical string “80085” does not require translation, but for those of you without a calculator, it’s “boobs.”

“AV-Spass” = “AV fun,” where “AV” means “Analverkehr” or nevermind…

“Dauergeile” means “constantly horny,” “stute” means “mare,” so it’s like you’re boning horny mares. Eesh.
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘They tried to make us look like the Clash!’ Van Halen’s rejected first album cover
03:08 pm


The Clash
Van Halen

Here’s a wonderful story reported by Greg Renoff over at Ultimate Classic Rock. Today we think of Van Halen and the Clash as occupying very distinct places in the hard rock firmament. Influenced by Jamaican reggae, the Clash is all about anger, political resistance, and liberation, while super-noodly arena-rock heroes Van Halen boogies to a decidedly sexier party backbeat. But that wasn’t so clear to the executives trying to figure out how to position Eddie, David Lee and the gang. At the time of Van Halen’s self-titled first album in February 1978, one of the most visible bands in the world was the Clash, whose own self-titled first album had been shaking things up for almost a year. 

It wasn’t like Van Halen was unfamiliar with punk and its cousin, new wave—on the contrary. Punk had long since hit the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, and Van Halen had been in lineups at the Whisky à Go Go nightclub with bands like the Mumps, the Dogs, and the Motels. In a meeting with Warner Bros., the first stab at the album cover was presented—and it was a disaster. Not only had the designers misunderstood the band’s name to be Vanhalen, but the downbeat photo—Michael Anthony looks like he’s just eaten a bad Quaalude or something—placed Alex Van Halen in the foreground while natural ham David Lee Roth is practically snoozing in the background.

It didn’t take long for manager Marshall Berle and the band to reject the cover. As Eddie would later tell Guitar World, “They tried to make us look like the Clash. We said, ‘Fuck this shit!’”

After absorbing Van Halen’s criticisms of the preliminary cover art, Warner Bros. hired photographer Elliot Gilbert to shoot the band onstage at the Whisky, which made for a completely different impression. Eddie is waving his famous Frankenstrat around like he’s Nigel Tufnel or somebody. Add Dave Bhang’s silver, winged VH logo and you had a glitzy, balls-out look that was perfect for the new cocks on the walk. Eddie later said that after the band saw the logo, they “made [Warner Bros.] put it on the album so that it would be clear that we had nothing to do with the punk movement. It was our way of saying ‘Hey we’re just a fucking rock and roll band, don’t try and slot us with the Sex Pistols thing just because it’s becoming popular.’”

Here’s Van Halen on the Clash’s turf, London, at the Hammersmith Odeon on June 1, 1978, playing one of the best tracks off the debut, “Little Dreamer”:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Elvis Costello’s TV commercial for ‘Get Happy!’
08:24 am


Elvis Costello

This is one of those “just press play” posts. This is a funny, slapdash TV commercial from 1980 in which Elvis Costello hawks his record Get Happy! in the style of a K-Tel shill. What more do you need to hear? Enjoy.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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