Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Just listen!

There is something perfectly intoxicating about these early Maxwell House coffee ads. Whoever came up with that coconut-clopping or block-striking or whatever-it-was-that-made-that-perc-ing-sound was a genius, for it's forever associated with coffee that TASTES AS GOOD AS IT SMELLS. Which is funny, because as I recall, "perked" coffee smelled terrible, gaseous and burnt, like the stuff that collects under the burners of an old stove. What it tasted like, I'll never know, because I wasn't drinking coffee then. I wasn't even drinking amniotic fluid then, folks, because I wasn't conceived yet.

What a concept.

This was one of the more magical illusions of my youth. Really, it still is pretty impressive. I made a YouTube video out of this, and millennials gasped over it because they'd never seen it before. How did they do that?? It was nearly as magical as the Hertz Rent-a-Car ad which showed a couple being lowered down into a moving convertible. ("Let Hertz put YOU in the driver's seat. . . TODAY!")

It does seem ironic to me that, though I remember coffee smelling gaseous and burnt, Maxwell House was sold mainly on "aroma", with consumers whiffing it up as if it was some sort of intoxicant. People even smelled the steaming beans, as if they'd ever have the opportunity to whiff massive mounds of coffee beans. Back in my youth, there was a fad of eating the roasted beans (and you can still get them, chocolate-covered for sissies). Though you'd think they would send you into orbit, it seems to me that the brewing process was what brought out the caffeine. But it was a quick pick-me-up if you didn't have time to brew it.

I have no idea of the provenance of this eagle emblem. At first I had an awful feeling it might be Nazi, but I don't think so. Are those stars and stripes on the emblem? It looks a bit like a cheese grater, or one of those old Afro combs. Are those arrows in its talons? Who knows. Handsome cup, but I am not sure what it means.

Special Bonus Gif! Looking at this old ad again, I'm impressed by how good it looks. Apparently they  reversed a shot of the couple being pulled out of the car - but how exactly did they do that? How to attain the precise angle needed, how to keep the background steady while the car moved? There's a magic here, magic that has been lost in this era of CGI and computerized, photoshopped trickery. 

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