You know I love these things. Love them for their fascinating portrayal of womanhood in the 1950s and 1960s (and beyond - some of these are from the '70s). This fascinating little gem is an ad for speed - you know, as in "speed kills", one of the better-known slogans of the '60s. "The selective cerebral action of Norodin is useful in dispelling the shadows of mild mental depression. . . Norodin can be used to advantage in achieving the sense of wellbeing essential to effective patient management in functional and organic disturbances. In obesity, Norodin is useful in reducing the desire for food and counteracting the low spirits associated with the rigors of an enforced diet." And oh boy, can she vacuum! It's all she does, when she's not walking rapidly back and forth on the ceiling. This peculiarly sedative-sounding drug, described as a "psychomotor stimulant and anti-depressant", is nothing but methamphetamine hydrochloride. Cooked up in a lab somewhere, no doubt. They don't tell you that if you come back in ten years, she will have lost all her teeth.
"She's anxious, tense, irritable. She's felt this way for months.
Beset by the seemingly insurmountable problems of raising a young family, and confined to the home most of the time, her symptoms reflect a sense of inadequacy and isolation. Your reassurance and guidance may have helped some, but not enough.
Serax (oxazepam) cannot change her environment, of course. But it can help relieve anxiety, tension, agitation and irritability, thus strengthening her ability cope with day-to-day problems." Just swallow this, dear, and while all your responsibilities and worries and your isolation and loneliness will still be there, guess what? YOU WON'T GIVE A FUCK because you'll be stoned out of your little mind!
"When 'change of life' seems the end of life. . . " Marplan. Not marzipan, not Martian, not maple, or Marple. . . No, this is something to chemically/hormonally jack you out of that deathpit, that slagheap of rotting femininity, menopause. "With the advancing years, woman's vulnerability to depression often becomes intense. The future looms insecure; menopausal dysfunctions spark somatic concerns. And as she faces losing a symbol of femininity, even suicidal panic may supervene.
"Menopausal depression has been lifted by Marplan - even when withdrawal and loss of affect were severe." There is also a brag that Marplan doesn't seem to cause hepatitis, or at least they don't think so. And maybe now that her hormones are juiced-up again and her husband once more wants to fuck her, she won't be holding on to that TV antenna to keep herself from jumping off the roof.
Blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah. blah. This is what doctors hear when some middle-aged fat lady comes in and tells them they can't lose weight. "Oh, dear, this diet is getting me down!"
"If she thinks it's getting her down what's it doing to physicians who have to listen to such explanations every day? This is especially true for the doctor who hasn't prescribed Efroxine Hydrochloride. . . It is more likely to produce cerebral stimulation with relatively few side effects." Cerebral stimulation. WTF??? This is a diet pill! What are the implications here? With your metabolism revved up to an unnatural level, the weight will drop off, but eventually, so will your sanity. But then, it's time for. . .
A woman just about my age loses a beloved relative to cancer, then starts having alarming abdominal symptoms. Doctor hands her Thorazine and tells her to go home and be quiet. It takes care of her cancerphobia, all right - so well that she doesn't go to the doctor and dies three months later from a tumor on her ovary. Case closed! Another success story from Thorazine, the wizard of antipsychotics.
Are YOU suffering from:
Take this stuff, then. We don't know what's in it, and you shouldn't know either, or at least you shouldn't want to know. Don't you trust your doctor? Now get out of my office.
Oh but this one is good. Yet another ad for speed, which seems to be a cure-all that can obliterate menopausal dysphoria, snap a woman out of her deathward mood and make her thin while she's at it.
"Many women in the climacteric period develop a true reactive depression characterized by apathy, psychomotor retardation and despondency." Oh! What to do? Take bennies, just like the truck drivers do! Aaaahhhhh. . . (headlights bearing down. . . crrrasshhh!) No, but listen to this. "Benzedrine Sulfate helps to reawaken mental alertness and optimism, and to restore the savor and zest of life - especially when administered in conjunction with such fundamental measures as ELECTRIC SHOCK (emphasis mine) and estrogenic therapy."
So if a woman comes into the doctor's office with "menopausal" depression, she's likely to get juiced up with a few thousand volts - but not before being stuffed full of bennies. Just what you need to restore the savor and zest of life.
Now this woman really looks psycho. If I saw that looking back at me in the mirror, I think I'd shoot myself. But it might be better than what happens to this lady: her menopausal symptoms, viewed and treated as a disease no less deadly than cancer, are "managed" by the miracle of Thorazine. That sense of "well-being" and "a sense of belonging" are miraculously restored - wha - ? Sense of belonging. Let's analyze this. She's menopausal, so believes she has become obsolete and her carcass has been thrown to the crows. Take a little Thorazine, lady, and you'll "belong" once again. We won't say where. The truth is, you'll be so oblivious to everything and everyone that you won't care if you belong or not.
Now here's a good one! Nembutal for little girls who are terrified of invasive medical procedures. Yes. That's right. These guys don't even wait until you're a grown woman. If you're female, you're a potential victim. The little girl with the zombie-looking doll is about to be zonked out, but good. "When little patients balk at scary, disquieting examinations (before you've begun). . . When they're frightened and tense (and growing more fearful by the minute). . . When they need prompt sedation (and the oral route isn't feasible). . . try
NEMBUTAL Sodium Suppositories
With short-acting Nembutal, the dosage required is small and the margin of safety is wide. And - since the drug is quickly and completely destroyed in the body - there is little tendency toward morning-after hangover. Keep a supply of all four sizes of NEMBUTAL suppositories on hand. Be ready for the frightened ones before their fears begin."
I am reminded of women who have only the haziest memories of being sexually abused by doctors when they were children. "I don't know why my memory isn't clearer, it was so awful. It seems to just fade in and out. And I'm sure he was sticking something into me, some sort of drug. . . "
But I've saved the best 'til last. This is a truly incredible Valium ad from the 1970s. It's so good I've split it into two and blown it up so you can see it better (and I won't have to transcribe the bloody thing - arrrrggghh!)
At this point in time, Valium was a cure-all given to women mainly to get them out of the doctor's office FAST, and it worked. I never took it, but I heard it was better than alcohol for getting pleasantly, fuzzily stoned. Trouble was, it was about the most addictive drug that has ever been prescribed for anything. The use of Valium for romantic despondency and an inability to wear a vinyl mini-skirt convincingly was actually a misuse, or at very least an off-label use for Valium, which was originally a muscle relaxant. Think of it. It relaxes more than your muscles, I think. Most especially, it relaxes that muscle between your ears, the pesky one that keeps telling you you're alone, all washed up and will never relate meaningfully to another human being again for as long as you live.
But that's not the good part. This little photo album tells us the sad story of Jan's decline, from a young(ish) and attractive(ish), viable sexual object to a dried-up little old lady of 31.
Doctor, please. . .
The photo album which charts Jan's sad decline. Let's see, we have:
Jan and Dad on the tennis court, 1955
Tom, Jan, Ruth and Steve at the hop, 1957 (like something out of an Archie comic)
Joey (?), 1959 - her first lover, perhaps
Jan and Ted (can't make out the background, almost looks like a bunch of Mickey Mouse ears), 1961
Jan and Dad (again), 1962
Jan and Charlie, 1964 (my, isn't Jan getting tawdry with all these boy friends, and
not married yet!)
Jan and BUNNY (emphasis mine - looks like a drunken middle-aged Shriner), 1966
Jan and Dad (a-gain), 1969 (old-maidenhood being marked by an abnormal attachment to one's father), and then. . . oh my God.
Jan. Alone. On a cruise. In 1970. In a tan car coat and a dated hairdo! Why doesn't she just jump overboard?
POST-SCRIPT. I just figured out something. This ad must have been made on the cheap. Joey and Charlie are the same person. Even his shirt is the same. In the beach shot it isn't tucked in and he has donned a pair of sunglasses, but other than that they're the same. Maybe this is Jan's pathetic way of making it look as if she has had more than one boy friend. And that Ted fellow? I don't know. I think maybe Jan is his beard. He seems a little too skinny, a little too pallid to be a Real Man. Like Max Bialystock in The Producers, he's wearing a cardboard belt. I don't know if the shot of her looking miserable as the leering Shriner gets his hooks into her is meant to be humorous or not, but her story isn't. It's sad. The ad is sad. The mentality behind it is disgusting, and created untold misery for thousands of people who became addicted to this stuff.
Do you ever get tempted to feel that the women's movement hasn't really made any difference, that we shouldn't have bothered? Just look at these.
Good grief, I nearly forgot the most important drug of all: Mornidine! As the copy says, "this is a new drug with specific effectiveness in nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Mornadine eliminates the ordeal of morning sickness. With its selective action on the vomiting center, or the medullary chemoreceptor 'trigger zone', Mornidine possesses the advantages of the phenothiazine drugs without unwanted tranquilizing activity." Oh yes. That means she can race around and cook breakfast and get the house clean nearly as lightning-fast as when she was on benzedrine, even though she's 9 months pregnant and should probably be lying down.
One thing they forgot to tell you, though. . .
Visit Margaret's Amazon Author Page!