Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sex in a can (or, the Secret of Married Love)

After yesterday's extremely depressing fiction, which I only left up because I am sure nobody will want to read it, let's once again return to the land of Ha, Ha, Ha.

Every once in a while I dig one of these up: magazine ads that, while they seemed unremarkable then, now strike us as either ludicrous or downright dangerous.  Many of them originally appeared in vintage comic books - OK, vintage NOW, but then they were brand new, and pretty hot stuff, let me tell you.

As a kid, I wanted to send away for "100 Dolls for $1", "Grog Grows Own Tail", onion gum ("tastes like. . . like. . . onions! It's too funny!"), and the little monkey who sat in a teacup and plaintively asked, "Will you give me a home?" I never had enough saved up to send away for anything, I didn't have American money, plus for some reason I thought my parents wouldn't like me doing it (in particular the monkey).

But these ads still hold power and sway over me. Some of these go much farther back than the early '60s versions I saw when we stayed at the cottage in the summer and my brother and I read the Jimmy Olsen Annual.

Jimmy Olsen was nearly as potent as the sand, the lapping lake, the bullfrogs, and all the magic of being let off the leash for a couple of weeks every year. We consumed him eagerly, along with burnt marshmallows and enormous porterhouse steaks eaten with practically no vegetables.

I remember going to the back of the comic book first. Strange child, I was. "Look at this. Onion gum. I'm going to get it."

There are so many of these ads, hundreds, thousands, that I finally had to pick a general category: Health and Wellbeing. These include some very ancient remedies that would probably send you to the morgue if you actually tried them.

What startles me is that nobody saw anything wrong with this.

Why does he have a giant shrimp behind his head (or is that the cure)?


Three guesses who this steroid-inflated hunk is. (Hint: he had an illegitimate child with his maid, and his initials are M. U. D.)

I'm happy for them. (But what's the Lard Information Council?)

 #1 Cure for obesity:  cigarettes!

There's a disgusting story - sorry, I just have to tell you this - claiming that opera superstar Maria Callas discovered this painless reducing method and lost a ton of weight, but one day when she was sitting in the bathtub, something green and slimy began to "emerge". That's all I want to tell you.


Ball cozy. Purpose unknown.


Note they call it "periodic pain", which must have something to do with the Periodic Table of Elements. There's a version of this ad still on TV: the "poor Sue!" one, where she's out gleefully shopping her period away. The product is now called Midex or Midexatron or something, but it's probably the same stuff.

That bulge??

Oh, THAT bulge.


And here it is, that mysterious secret of marital happiness. It appears to come in a spray can and only costs 98 cents. A lot cheaper than a divorce.

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