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CSBG Archive

I Saw It Advertised One Day #23

We continue a MONTH of I Saw It Advertised One Day! Each day this January you’ll get a piece looking at advertisements in comic books over the decades that amused me for whatever reason. In each installment, we’ll take a look at three ads!

Here is an archive of all installments of this feature.

Enjoy!

A couple of Smith cough drop ads.

First, a 1945 ad that acts like it is mystery what makes cough drops work.

(and yes, as commenter Alice points out, it is odd that they didn’t mention that there is more than one island)

But moreover, I love this 1947 Smith cough drop ad to see how early “hep” terms were being used…


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Can you imagine a kid actually playing this game?

Did any of you folks ever play this game when you were a kid (those that were kids during the early 1980s, that is)?
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I love the idea that Lee jeans make a kid look older…


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That’s all for this installment! If you can think of some goofy comic book ads you’d like to see me feature here, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Do not make suggestions in the comment section, so that they can still be a surprise for future readers! In fact, I think I’ll just delete comments that contain future suggestions.

21 Comments

Lee jeans, better than fake ID!

‘Grown-up pants’? For, like, incontinence?

I didn’t play the game by the rules posted in that Life Savers ad. But I do remember following all the lines to see which ones matched up where.

Full-sized radio-controlled auto racing? Is that a real thing? I tend to think “Hell, no,” because even the Mythbusters end up running their radio-controlled cars into fences pretty often.

the life saver one never played the games ate the candy though. the lee jeans one . always wondered if the makers were trying to make wears believe the things would make one older then the age they were when they put on a pair plus remote control car racing has had to be made just for the ad.

I appreciate they didn’t have the Internet in 1945, but surely someone at Smith Bros could have fact-checked the assertion that Galapagos Turtles are “big as battleships”? Not to mention there’s more than one island…

That 1946 ad for Smith Bros. cough drops is really cool. That was three years before Jack Kerouac had his first novel published, THE TOWN AND THE CITY, and a year before he began working on ON THE ROAD, so there wasn’t yet a great deal of media exposure to these terms that were otherwise associated with the bebop jazz musicians of the time. It really would have only been the hep cats in Greenwich Village and the patrons of the Harlem jazz clubs that would have hep to these terms.

I am guessing it says a lot about the advertising agent who came up with the campaign–he was from New York and he liked to listen to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

The other Smith’s ad doesn’t actually act like it”s a mystery why cough drops work. It says that “Everybody knows” that Smith Bros. cough drops work.

I do like the idea, though, that they were doing a number of these ads to educate kids on things like the giant turtles. I wonder if they had others–such as the stone heads on Easter Island, Stonehenge, et cetera.

Good catch about the island mix-up, Alice!

I think the “battleships” thing was an intentional piece of hyperbole, though. Like saying that a big person is “as big as Godzilla!”

1946 was a typo, Thom. It was 1947. Which is still really early, of course (which is why it is interesting), but less so!

And yeah, you’re probably right about the 1945 ad – but why have the “History’s Mysteries” banner go over BOTH panels if it only applies to the first?

Now I have a craving for Smith Bros. cough drops.

Brian Said: 1946 was a typo, Thom. It was 1947. Which is still really early, of course (which is why it is interesting), but less so!

Even 1947 is pretty amazing. While Parker and Gillespie were playing bebop during World War II, there was a government ban on making records due to the materials being used in the war effort. So the rest of the country didn’t have access to the music or the slang terms that went with it until 1946 when record companies could start recording again. Even then, it wasn’t like bebop was the most popular musical form. The big bands with crooners and swing music for dancing was the most popular form–though, come to think of it, a lot of the bebop musicians were still working in big bands as their “day jobs,” so they probably were spreading the slang around the country.

Still, it’s very odd to see it in a comic book for kids–even in 1947. I would have guessed we wouldn’t have started seeing those terms in comics until the mid to late 1950s.

Brian Said: And yeah, you’re probably right about the 1945 ad – but why have the “History’s Mysteries” banner go over BOTH panels if it only applies to the first?

Yeah, it was a poorly designed ad in that regard unless there were an entire series of these ads that always had a “mystery” on the left and the “Everybody knows how great Smith Bros. cough drops are” on the right.

I saw a great Daisy BB Gun ad the other day from the early 1970s. It’s for a rifle that is modeled after a big game African safari rifle, with the father holding the big game rifle and the son holding the BB gun.

“Let’s see you drop that charging bull elephant with your Daisy rifle, son.”

I like the “Coughing Is Offensive” at the end of the Smith Brother’s ad, like a surgeon generals warning after the more light-hearted ad.

I’m a drool in school.

I didn’t play the game by the rules posted in that Life Savers ad. But I do remember following all the lines to see which ones matched up where.

Me too.

I played the ‘game’! Course it only worked once because as soon as you knew which colours scored the best/worst the ‘game’ part was redundant. From memory I lost the ‘game’. I keep putting ‘game’ like that because it is hardly a ‘game’ – more like a pathetic diversion…

The perspective in that turtle ad is really off – or is it to make the turtles seem really big?

And the Lee jeans ad seems to have a lot of gratituous shots of young men’s rears…

Picking random shooters, you have a 17/35, or 48.6%, chance of winning the Lifesavers game. The house always has an edge, kids!

I played it. By the rules. I also found the words in the lifesavers word search, and filled out the Chips Ahoy crossword. My old comics aren’t worth much.

The Lee ad is funny enough on its own (I think you featured one already with Lee Rider on the set of a cowboy movie that was funny to). My favorite part is “I’ve never driven a car before but I know some tricks from model car racing!” But the thing that really jumps out at me about the ad is all the close-up ass shots of the kid. What’s up with that? Creepy…

Yeah, I was going to note that it was pretty weird to tell “who was older” by checking out their respective asses.

Actually, “Up in Arms” (1944 – most famous for being Danny Kaye’s first full length movie, and as the main lead, at that!) used a lot of the slang terms in it. One would assume other WWII-era musicals also had a good chance of featuring them as well (as the musicals of that period probably had more women and 4F men from the NY Theater and Vaudeville scenes, in them than years outside 1942-1945).

As these movies were the primary form of entertainment for many of those on the home front, there might have actually been greater exposure to the masses of the NY music culture during the war, than afterward.

And, If you ever get a chance to see that movie, it’s a trip – it has more of a 50s or 60s vibe to it, in parts (some of the special effects even reminded me of the Batman TV series).

Lee “Leens”? WTF?

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