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Friday, January 31, 2003

50 Years of Ads- 1900-1950


“Now look! That damn cowboy is President of the United States!”

(O. Mark Hanna (Republican of Ohio 1901)


The hefty “AMERICAN CHRONICLE”-Year by Year Through The Twentieth Century” encompasses the furnishings of an entire age of recent American history.
The book, compiled by Lois and Alan Gordon, jointly assisted by a large group of librarians, curators and commentators, was produced and filtered from a staggering breadth of resources, as exemplified in the authors’ comment:

“It would be unwieldy to detail the specific resources for the many areas surveyed in this book. The broad rubric for music, for example, involved collecting data on first performances of significant works throughout the country, performers’ debuts, important events (of major conductors, symphony orchestras, and virtuosos), the dating of major compositions, the openings of major concert facilities; operatic debuts and performances of major works and stars in companies throughout the country; ballet history of the major classic and modern dance companies; and popular music ranging from top songs, records, and albums (from swing to country to soul) to jazz developments and the formation of big bands, along with major awards within each category.”

-American Chronicle- utilizes 16 categories to represent each individual year. The harvest of facts, figures and phenomena is split up into one main category “In the News”, using a tickertape crescendo, summarizing the most important news facts of that year. The upper left of each spread features “Facts and Figures”; like GNP, Dow-Jones Index, population records, wages, executions etc.; next to consumer goods prize indices.
The year’s main obituaries feature on the lower left of the page. Whilst the right page is dedicated to the year's most memorable quotes. For example: “You are all a lost generation” –Gertrude Stein as quoted in Ernest Hemingway’s –“The Sun Also Rises”. The page concludes with an overview of some of the most poignant Ads. The remainder of each chapter is dedicated to Radio, Movies, Popular Music, Theater, Classical Music, Art and Books, Science & Technology, Sports and Fashion.

The final page for each individual year; “Kaleidoscope” highlights sociological trends and events as well as the exploits of individuals and public personalities. First Appearances (Passport Photo Requirement – 1914), and fads (Singing Telegram –1933), echo the unique imprint of each year.

The book entices to engage in tempting forays of curiosity, as Roger Rosenblatt remarks in his compact, and engaging introduction:

“When I opened -American Chronicle- and turned to the year of my birth, 1940, for instance. I thought of my entrance to the world as an event like any other, and I unconsciously created a different sort of game (anyone can play) in which I saw my life predetermined or in some way affected by the other events of that year. The definition of any year is an invention, of course but is fun- not unlike astrology- to believe that one was destined to be born in a certain time, surrounded by other events that cooperate in one’s destiny. This is an exercise in vanity, to be sure, but if one keeps it to oneself, it’s fairly harmless.
So I looked at 1940 as an array of occurrences that had something to do with me. The year in which I came into the world, F. Scott Fitzgerald left it- no causality there, I hope- but Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby in particular have always gone deep with me, deeper than the objective fact that Gatsby is a provable great novel.
Simply reading that Fitzgerald had died in the year of my birth, simply reading his name, brought me back into his novel, which is never far from my consciousness, and at once I became what I believed myself to be after first reading Gatsby- both Nick Carraway and Gatsby, the aware observer and the tormented dreamer who was in danger and dangerous, one who is a criminal and better than the lot of them.”

-American Chronicle- is an engrossing publication, to be paged again and again, not in the least -since American mass culture became such a pervasive contemporary global presence. This book captures the energy, drive, and boundless zest of the American spirit, as it attempts to colonize the world.

“God has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world. (-) This is the divine mission of America…..We are trustees of the world’s progress, guardians of its righteous peace.”

-Albert J. Beveridge (Republican of Indiana- 1900)

I compiled a list of 50 ads selected from the book, overseeing the first half of the century, supplemented with a tag line of my own:


1900 –“To Serve and Protect”

A sense of security pervades the home which shelters a Smith and Wesson revolver

(Smith and Wesson)


1901 –“Kaiser Mustache Trainer!”

It overcomes every objectionable feature of a mustache

(Bohner manufacturing Company)


1902 –“Hold them High”

Sent on approval H.H.H. Bust Forms

Take any desired shape and size and produce perfectly the full bust and slender waist…Eagerly welcomed by society women

(Henderson & Henderson, Buffalo)


1903 –“Anti-Body!”

A heroine of the Home, Mrs Henry Fuller put Antidipso in her husband’s tea and coffee when he wasn’t looking and completely cured him of drunkenness



1904 –“Teddy Roosevelt”

“TR is a spanking monster/ TR is chasing a bear/ TR is busting an awful Trust/ And dragging it from its lair/ They’re calling TR a lot of things/ The men in the private car-/ But the day-coach likes exciting folks/ And the day-coach likes TR/”



1905 –“Coke it”

A delightful-Palatable-Healthful Beverage for men and ladies, Business, professional Students, Wheelmen and Athletes
Relieves mental and physical exhaustion and is the favorite drink for ladies when thirsty, weary, despondent



1906 –“Lost Grace”

A Great Wrong! Our national Disgrace. See how one year of factory life ages little girls

(National Child Labor Committee)


1907 –“A Dip in the Fold”

Folding bathtub. Weight 16 Lbs. Costs little. Requires little water

(Russell L.Irwin)

1907 –“Hot as Lava- Cold as Ice”

The bottle keeps contents Ice Cold or Red Hot

(Thermos Bottles)


1908 –“Call Me T”

T Ford- Stronger Than a Horse- And Easier to Maintain

(Model T Ford, the new “flivver,” $850,50)


1909 –“Nu-Man!”

From Office Boy to president! Nulife compels deep breathing. Nulife has benefitted more then 6,000,000 wearers who have become deep breathers and it will benefit you.Good health and a clear; active brain are the necessary attributes of a successful career in art or business. Nulife holds the shoulders back and the body upright.

(Antikamnia and Codeine Tablets)


1910 –“Civil Unrest”

Woman is the great civilizer. If it were not for her, man would revert to whiskers and carry a club.



1911 –“Don’t Flesh It”

Fat is not good FLESH! We have the remedy.

(Loving & Co., Ltd. Reducing Tablets)


1912 –“Breakfast of Titans”

Sports desks and spacious promenades, commodious sate rooms and apartments en suite; cabins deluxe with bath; squash-raquet courts; Turkish and electric bath establishments; glass-enclosed swimming pools; veranda and palm-courts; Louis XVI restaurants: electric elevators

(The Titanic, White Star Line)


1913 –“Hit the Fan”

Down Where Nature Cannot Send Her Cooling Breeze
….in the caverns of steel and stone where armies of office workers are meeting the strenuous problems of a business day… science sends the Electric Fan.

(GE Electric Fan)


1914 –“Skin Deep”

The ancient Orientals have taught a mighty lesson for the skin. How palm and olive oils have made Palmolive unlike any other soap.

(Palmolive Soap)


1915 –“Pull-Man”

Bad roads have no terrors for the motorist with a PULL-U-OUT in his tool box… if the auto turns over and someone is hurt, he doesn’t have to spend precious time going for help… In ten minutes one man and a PULL-U-OUT can pull a big machine out of mud or a ditch, or right an over-turned car.

(PULL-U-OUT, St. Louis, Mo.)


1916 –“Men in Garters!”

How Men Gain Summer Comfort
-Cool knee-length underwear- with sensible, comfortable Shir-Gar- the one really comfortable garter.

(Shir garter Co.)


1917 –“All That Jazz”

Spell it Jass, Jas, Jaz, or Jazz.

(Victor Records)


1918 –“Beat the Hun!”

“Did I bayonet my first Hun? Sure! How did it feel? It doesn’t feel! There he is. There you are. One of you has got to go. I preferred to stay.”

(White Owl Cigars, 6c, square end)


1919 –“Mad Dogs and Gentlemen”

The Disease Germ is More Dangerous Than the Mad Dog
-A cuspidor that is not kept sterile not only can, but will, spread tuberculosis, grippe, influenza, and other grave diseases.

(Lysol desinfectant)


1920 –“Off To Mecca”

Where was Moses when the light went out?
-Groping for a pack of Meccas.

(Mecca Cigarettes)


1921 –“Freeze!”

Yes, Frigidaire, the electrical home refrigerator, actually freezes your own favorite drinking water into cubes for table use.



1922 –“Well Heeled”

From the Sahara to the Ritz In The Tent of a Bedouin on the Sands of the Sahara, or over the counter of the Ritz in London, as fare on a junk in Hong Kong, or on an American Pullman…

(American Express Travelers Cheques)


1923 –“March of the Suffragettes”

“No woman is justified in being supported in idleness by any man. The most womanly woman today is the woman who works.”

-Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, suffragist

At thirty every woman reaches a crossroads. Will she develop- or merely age?

(Boncilla beautifier, the Clasmic Clay)


1924 –“Cracked”

Why Men Crack
An authority of international standing recently wrote: “You have overeaten and plugged your organs with immoderate stimulants, the worst of which are not only alcohol and tobacco, but caffeine and sugar. He was talking to men who crack physically, in the race for success.”

(Postum Cereal Co)


1925 –“Oh Dear!”

Their first conversation
Betrayed the fact that
She was not fastidious.

(Listerine Toothpaste)


1926 –“Tough Gals”

The Hardy Sex
The modern woman’s entire apparel could be blown away by the gust of a summer breeze…ad delicately abbreviated gown which faintly disguises two wisplike garments of unseen georgette…
Scorning the elements, she has rapidly become more attractively male. She is fearless in her exposition, cultured in her symmetry and grace, and strangely enough, ethereally clad as she is, she catches more men than colds.

(Pope and Brally Tailors)


1927 –“Dish the Dirt”

Why drown your soul in a greasy dishpan? The greatest gift of electricity to the modern housewife is the CONOVER ELECTRIC DISHWASHER.



1928 –“Up Close and Personal”

Il Duce tells his own life story as no one else has-or could recount it. This amazing biography is filled with thrilling incident and vibrant with the personality of its author.

(Scribner’s, for My Biography, by (Benito Mussolini)


1929 –“For Whom the Bell Tolls”

Upstairs, downstairs, all about the House… The New Telephone Convenience.

(Bell System)


1930 –“On a Roll”

Today the discriminating family finds it absolutely necessary to won two or more motor cars.



1931 –“Death of Achilles”

I sem to be Achilles…but, my dear, it happens to be your h e e l that is my vulnerable spot. Such slenderness! Such grace! One look and I am slain.

(Peacock Shoes)


1932 –“Buy a Hoover”

4 Out of 5 Democrats
Contain harmful Acids
-Insist on Hoover
Accept no Substitute.

(Political ad)


1933 –“Save Our Children”

These are Children who never knew want before
It’s pretty hard to keep your chin up- as a man of 12 should- when your shoes are full of holes that keep getting bigger. And when you always, even right after breakfast, feel kind of funny and faint inside.- There are more than 200.000 small citizens trying to smile under just such conditions in New York.

(Emergency Unemployment relief Committee)


1934 –“Liar, Liar”

“I feel like a Guiness.”
“I wish you were.”

(Guiness Beer)


1935 –“Can Do”

Watch for your beer in this new container. You ought to have it soon. We’re trying hard to catch up with the tremendous demand.

(Continental Can Co.)


1936 –“Faux Glitz”

All that glitters is not Pabst

(Pabst Beer)


1937 –“Little Boy Blue”

If you ask me doctor, the only thing that will build him up is a Hart Schaffner and Marx suit!

(Hart Schaffner & Marx)


1938 –“Fascist!”

“Just what does the word “Fascist” mean, Henry?”

(Webster’s new International Dictionary)


1939 –“Beam me up Scotty”

When she travels abroad again, she’ll take a supply---

(Scott Toilet Tissue)


1940 –“Double Fun”

1940 –Which (caricature) is Adolf? –There’s a rumor that Hitler has a number of “doubles” all exactly like him- and all equally nasty! But it’s a fact that FLAG margarine is exactly like butter- equally NICE and equally NOURISHING.

(Flag Margarine)


1941 –“Comes in Three Colors”

Parker red, white, and blue- the pencil for all Americans. Show your colors with this pencil.

(Parker Pens)


1942 –“Holy Smoke”

An American Privilege- Dutch Master Cigars.

(Dutch master Cigars)


1943 –“Bartender”

Even in wartime, free America still enjoys many “better things” which are not available to less fortunate peoples.

(P.Ballantine & Sons)


1944 –“Running on Empty”

When they (the enemy) find the Pepsi-Cola bottles are empty, their morale will go down another 10 points.



1945 – “Axis of Evil”

Something the Axis tanks don’t have.

(Quaker State Motor Oil)


1946 –“Be Moderate”

Beer belongs- enjoy it. In this home-loving land of ours, the kind of beverage Americans like…
America’s beverage of moderation.

(U.S. Brewer’s Foundation)


1947 –“League of Dead Doctors”

Experience is the best teacher… in choosing a cigarette.
Your T-zone will tell you why. More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.

(Camel Cigarettes)


1948 –“Oh Baby”

You can’t baby a baby too much- whether she’s 1, 21, or simply not telling.
-Give her Yolande Handmades

(Yolande Lingerie)


1949 –“Oops!”

I dreamed I went shopping in my Maidenform bra.

(Maidenform Bras)


1950 –“Gimme Shelter!”

Small farms- Out Beyond Atom Bombs

(Ad for property outside Washington D.C.)


© From: AMERICAN CHRONICLE – Year by Year through the Twentieth Century- by Lois Gordon & Alan Gordon – Yale University Press 1999


posted by Walter at 1/31/2003

Wednesday, January 29, 2003


If indeed the world is headed for – Desert Storm II– the sequel: why not pick amongst your finest of men and women, that rare specimen; able to provide a note of good cheer during, or after combat?

Since both George and Tony are imbued with their own special brand of humor: commanding vast armies of men able to destroy massive collateral, or military careers- How are they faring?

Judging from a note in Arena magazine, the Brits are apt to provide from their noblest of ranks; that elusive troupe of comedians reselient enough to see the job through with flying honors.

From –Something Else- “The section with a life of its own”- Arena magazine, a selection from actual excerpts from Royal Navy and Marines Officer fitness reports:

-“His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of curiosity”

-“I would not breed from this officer”

-“He has carried out every one of his duties to his own satisfaction”

-“This young lady has delusions of adequacy”

-“This medical officer has used my ship to carry his genitals from port to port, and my officers to carry him from bar to bar”

-“He has reached rock bottom and has started to dig”

-“She sets low personal standards and consistently fails to achieve them”

-“He has the wisdom of youth, and the energy of old age”

-“Works well when cornered like a rat in a trap”

-“This man is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot”


Arena magazine June 1998


posted by Walter at 1/29/2003

Monday, January 27, 2003



Clock and lock, T I M E
Dance and smile, C H I M E
Whistle and walk, R H Y M E
Jump and climb, S H I N E

My current state: a courtier and confidant;
Agile and savvy resident of an enormous room

Your current state: infrequency is your foe,
You abhor reason where emotion should prevail

T I M E : a trial for outsiders
C H I M E : a treat for the faithful
R H Y M E : a turnkey for change
S H I N E : your secret smile.

© Walter van Lotringen 2002


posted by Walter at 1/27/2003

Sunday, January 26, 2003

J A Z Z – S E E N

An observation of the picture on page 57

-48th Street, New York City, 1960- In a street scene framed by towering buildings, on a smoggy, humid New York afternoon stands a slim, black young woman, clad in a simple, black cocktail dress. Her body is girlish, cheeky, much like a dancer’s. She is standing straight, with her upper body leaning slightly forward, head tilted towards the camera, eyes looking past the photographer. She is focusing towards her left, checking the oncoming traffic, which consists of mainly big, bulging taxi-cabs, driving bumper to bumper, eager for a pick-up.

The young woman’s hair is tied in a bun; she’s carrying a vinyl handbag on her right arm, and is wearing dark shoes with stiletto heels; festooned with patterned ornaments. Her left foot is pointing towards the camera, while the other is directed towards the street. Her feet and legs are lithe and sensual; her whole composure radiates smartness. The woman’s torso is compact, with a perfectly shaped bust, chiseled collarbones, a long neck and a delicate, smiling face.

The composition of the picture is near perfect. The woman is positioned just off the center of the image, superimposed onto the free space of the skyline’s falling perspective. She’s standing on the street’s tarmac, about 3 feet off the pavement, poised to hail a cab. A building’s entrance canopy bearing the number 118 edges directly behind her. The section of the pavement visible to the camera is occupied by a group of three people, one male and two females; moving away from the photographer’s viewpoint, conversating with one another.
Another white male approaches the camera, dressed in slacks and a striped sleeveless shirt, momentarily framed by the stands of the canopy, carrying a shopping bag under his arm. He is discreetly aware of the woman standing in the street.

A clue to the picture’s narrative is given by a sign hanging from the façade a bit further down the pavement. It reads:

C H A S . P O N T E

The woman, apparently, has just left the shop: holding her husband’s trumpet, dangling elegantly from her left hand. The woman is Mrs Donald Byrd – wife of the jazz trumpet giant.

Does the Donald Byrd discography for 1960 give a clue to her surname?

The only album recorded in 1960 was: -Byrd In Flight [Limited Edition] (1960)- which featured 9 tracks:

1.Ghana, 7:18
2.Little Boy Blue, 7:26
3.Gate City, 5:03
4.Lex, 7:36
5.Bo, 6:32
6.My Girl Shirl, 5:47
7.Child's Play, 6:55
8.Carol, 5:40
9.Soulful Kiddy, 5:37

No clues are given though. However, Mrs Byrd’s surname “Yourna” does occur in a 1958 recording of Donald Byrd and the Pepper Adams Quintet.

“Yourna” by Donald Byrd Pepper Adams Quintet, 4/15/58
LP – Young Byrd on Milestone (Originally on Riverside)

The captivating woman photographed in 1960, standing in front of 118 48th Street NYC, is still Donald Byrd’s wife. Nowadays Mrs Yourna Byrd is a scholar and artist in residence, at Delaware State University.


The picture described above is one of many wonderful images in William Claxton’s engaging anthology of black & white photographs of the American jazz Scene. His pictures cover the mid fifties until the late 90s, eventually introducing recent jazz stars, like singer/pianist Diana Krall, and pianist Brad Mehldau.

William Claxton developed an early infatuation with Jazz from his early teens onward. During his study at the University of California, Los Angeles (U.C.L.A), where he studied psychology and art, he went on a trip to New York with a girlfriend of his, a model, and was introduced to photographer Richard Avedon.
Claxton made an impression on Avedon, who spontaneously gave him a Rolleiflex camera, a present that helped accelerate Claxton’s interest in photography and Jazz, and would soon launch his career as a prominent Jazz Scene visual diarist.

In 1952 Claxton worked with producer Richard Bock to form Pacific Jazz Records, where he would become art director and photographer, shooting almost all record covers for Pacific. Apart from his work for Pacific, his pictures were also used by other companies like, Capitol, Columbia, Fantasy, Decca, RCA Victor and others

William Claxton deplores the current production methods in the jazz world: in the book he states:


“Photographing record covers in a 12 inch by 12 inch format, which, of course, was the old vinyl album format,” says Claxton, “was a complete joy, completely different from shooting in the CD, 5 by 5 inch format. Back in the old days, in the 50s, when the LP was the hot thing, shooting a cover was a relatively simple and delightful experience. The only real concern was the title or the theme of the album. You discussed the jazz player’s wardrobe, and then you met him and shot the session- either in the warm California sun or the studio.”

“But it’s a lot different now from the way it was when I was shooting covers for Pacific Jazz,” he continues. “When you shoot a big star now, you have endless discussions and meetings with creative directors, art directors, artist and management attorneys, and record company executives. Then you have wardrobe fittings, make-up people, stylists and groomers. Finally after all that, you might finally get to sit down with the guy and shoot everything in a few hours. Its is an overly complicated way of doing things, when it used to be so simple.”


The photographs in the book, connect the openness of the 50s, with the business methodology of the 21st century. Claxton though, remains the empathic and probing lensman always in close contact with his subjects and themes, reporting firsthand his own personal account of jazz professionals, their stories, their ambitions, and their locales

Some of William Claxton’s anecdotes and impromptus of jazz people are spirited observations of the legendary characters that have shaped the jazz scene, some of which are featured in his book:


D U K E E L L I N G T O N – b a c k s t a g e

‘The first time that I saw the Duke Ellington Orchestra on stage was in downtown Los Angeles at the Orpheum Theater. I was 16 years old. The band sounded awesome, what with Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Lawrence Brown, Sonny Greer and Al Hibbler just a few feet away from my front row seat. When the curtain came down and the movie was about to begin, I grasped the opportunity to go backstage to meet the Great Duke. I had no trouble getting in to meet him. I was ushered into his dressing room where he was changing out of his lavender-beige colored suit, pink silk shirt and purple necktie into an enormous golden robe. He was gracious to me and very generous with his time. What a treat!
As the years went by, I would always go backstage after the show to see Duke no matter what city we happened to be in. And I would frequently take a girlfriend with me. Duke would always remember me and greeted us warmly. Then he would turn and bow to the young lady with me and deliver one of his famous complimentary phrases: “ You’re so pretty, you ought to be arrested!”, or, “You are absolutely kissy pink!”, or, “Th Gods outdid themselves when they created you, my dear.”


“I had heard that “Bird” (Charlie Parker) was going to be in town. If I had a jazz idol, he would certainly be the one. So, I had to meet him and photograph him. One Saturday’s night, I borrowed my father’s car, packed up my borrowed 4x5” Speed Graphic camera, and took off for the Tiffany Club down on Eighth Street near downtown Los Angeles.. On the bandstand with Bird was Harry Babasin on bass; Lawrence Marable, drums; Don Trenner, piano; and a very pale, yet handsome Chet Baker who looked to me like a angelic-faced boxer. Bird, of course, played brilliantly, and Chet sounded totally new and fresh. I shot pictures and got to know the musicians.
After the club closed, Chet took off with a pretty blond girl, and Bird asked me if we could have some breakfast. All of the restaurants in that area were closed at 3:30 in the morning. In my youthful enthusiasm to make Bird happy, I suggested that we (including a few other fans) go to my family’s house in a suburb of Pasadena. After all, I reasoned, my folks were out of town for the weekend. We cooked breakfast for Bird. Then he sat in big lounge chair looking like Buddha with all of us, his young fans, at his feet. He regaled us with stories about his experiences and gossip about ther performers. At one point I asked him why he happened to choose a young unknown player like Chet Baker to play with him when he could pick and choose from the many great musicians in Los Angeles at the time. Bird replied, “pure and simple, man, he plays pure and simple. A little like Bix. He blows sweet and honest. Know what I mean?’ After hearing Bird making that evaluation of Chet Baker, we all listened more carefully to this new, young player with the pretty prize-fighter’s face.
My famous house guest stayed the rest of the weekend swimming and eating. He had an enormous appetite. During one hilarious moment, I photographed Bird standing at the end of the diving board above the swimming pool. He was stark naked covered only by his alto saxophone on which he was playing a very funny rendition of Moon over Miami. Unfortunately, that negative was lost in the flooding of my studio a few years later. On Monday afternoon my parents returned home. I greeted my mother excitedly and told her that the greatest jazz musician in the world had been my house guest that weekend. My mother smiled and replied, “That’s nice, dear. Did you give him something to eat?”


“If I were asked, “What jazz musician would you most like to be stranded on a desert island?’: Without hesitating, I would most likely say, “Bird,’ the jazz genius of our era. But then after thinking it over briefly, what with Charlie Parker’s drug problems and complications, I would have to say, Paul Desmond.
Paul was one of the wittiest, funniest, warmest musicians I have ever met. He was an outrageous punster and “wordsmith”, brilliant at word games, and an inventive and charming satirist. While sitting on a desert island, in between the hilarious moments, paul could play his beautifully lyrical and subtly swinging alto saxophone.
One hot, rainy night in Washington D.C., Paul and I snuck out of a jazz festival to go see a strip show in the seediest section of Baltimore. We left Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, and Thelonious Monk on this guest. To our utter amazement, the last stripper on the bill undressed down to her G-string, appeared with a clarinet and played Artie Shaw’s signature tune Nightmare, all the while bumping and grinding away in front of us and four other men in raincoats.”

“I guess there is no escaping jazz.”


From: “J A Z Z - S E E N “ by William Claxton - Foreword by Don Heckman – TASCHEN VERLAG 1999


posted by Walter at 1/26/2003