Friday, January 29, 2010

Fake But Funny Vintage Ads

Gotta love the wonders of Photoshop. A graphic design contest a few years ago called for retro inspired ads of modern products. There were some stupendous entries. I found these on Worth 1000...couldn't locate the winning entry, however.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Neil Diamond and The Fonz Share a Moment

How would The Fonz sing "Song Sung Blue"? Well, surprisingly better than Henry Winkler can sing it.

Just a great clip...worth watching for the mid-70s fashions of the audience and Neil's tight pants and ginormous sequen belt. Helen Reddy makes an appearance as well. And is just me, or do the couple around 2:30 resemble Olivia Newton John and Liam Neeson?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beefcake! Sexy Advertising Studs of the 70s

Ladies, I'm sure for a while now you've been wondering, "Gosh, when is Go Retro going to show a collection of 70s advertising hunks?" Well, I have good news for you - today is your lucky day! For the past few weeks I've been saving these sexy specimens here and there just so I could post them all at once for your viewing pleasure. Be prepared to see more chest hair, mustaches, and tight clothing than you can possibly handle - come and get it, girls!

First up is this fine specimen of a man. According to the ad, this gentleman's name is Douglas Bell and just when you think things couldn't get better than that 'stache, the copy tells us that he's a movie stunt man. When I first saw this ad, I immediately thought of Michael Imperioli's character Ray Carling and his awesome facial hair on the now-defunct TV series "Life on Mars":

The blonde with Douglas sure seems to be having a great time at his expense, isn't she? Seems to me she isn't laughing with Douglas, but rather at him. Guess it would be hard to keep a straight face during that photo shoot!

Douglas Bell also has the prestige distinction of being chosen as the cover model for a book that came out a few years ago highlighting 70s advertising models, "Hello Girls!" (which I swear I did not learn about until after I came up with the idea for this post.)

This guy wants to be Douglas Bell, but alas, I think the beard is getting in the way. The copy says he's a "walking turn-on." Easy piece indeed!

For those women who can't get enough of the John Travolta/Saturday Night Fever look...'cause too much is never enough:

This one's just for the ladies who likes her man flexible. Note the strategically planed hands...I mean, he had to protect us from getting too hot and bothered!

I'm too sexy for my I just went without it:

No kidding, GEE. This headline is damn straight!

One, two, three, HEY! Look at Mr. Lean! Good gravy, could this guy be any skinnier? Or maybe the psychedelic printed briefs are playing tricks with my eyes.

Either Tony Orlando did some modeling, or the drug lord look was in fashion that year:

Nights in...peach satin. Never reaching the end. The morning can't come fast enough when your man comes to bed wearing this ensemble:

Mmmmmm....mama loves me some mesh underpants.

Get down and dirty on the Love Rug with...William Katt of The Greatest American Hero (well, that's who he reminds me of.)

Are you ready for your cold shower now?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fantastic Plastic: The Rise and Fall of Brownie Wise

Chances are you don't know who the lady in the picture is, which is a shame - she was the first woman to ever appear on the cover of Business Week, a self-made marketing and sales genius, and enjoyed a prolific career during a time when women didn't hold prestigious titles in the corporate world. Her name is Brownie Wise, and she was responsible for making Tupperware the company it is today. But you won't find Brownie's name anywhere on the Tupperware site. (UPDATE: the last time I visited the Tupperware site, the history did include quite a bit of info on Wise.) Any mention of her was removed from company material in the late 50s, when she was fired by the company's owner, Earl Tupper. Her story is, at least to me, one of the biggest business travesties of justice. I admire her more than Martha Stewart or any other famous modern businesswoman. Seriously, a movie should be made about Brownie's life and Tupperware's callousness exposed. Hollywood, are you listening?

Wise was a southern gal and a divorced mother who could use her charm and personality to persuade anyone to do anything that she wanted - a quality of a good salesperson. She initially held several jobs including writing and secretarial work, but she excelled at direct selling for Stanley Home Products, a company that made brushes and home cleaning items. She quickly became one of Stanley's top salespersons.

Tupperware had just hit the market after World War II, but sales were lukewarm. One day Wise was in a store and checking out a Tupperware container and decided that they, too, should be sold out of homes so that the "burping" lid could be demonstrated in person.

Wise and her son moved to Florida where she started a company called Tupperware Patio Parties. When Earl Tupper, Tupperware's owner and CEO found out about her success, he called her in to learn more about her selling tactics. It wasn't long before Wise became Tupperware's VP, and the products were sold exclusively through home parties.

The Tupperware home party - which became a huge trend in the 1950s - was very popular with housewives who wanted to earn a little extra income and have some sort of a life outside of marriage and tending to the home. Brownie played on the 1950s fantasies by marketing Tupperware as a way to make food preparation cleaner and faster. Tupperware also mapped out for new dealers how many parties one would have to hold to obtain a new television set or carpet.

Brownie also knew the importance of rewarding and motivating her salesforce. She was responsible for creating the "Jubilee", an annual four day meeting for all salespeople held in Florida. The Jubilee was one big party, with fashion shows and prizes such as cars and trips being handed out anonymously by a "Jubilee Fairy" to unsuspecting employees. Video clips from Jubilees can be seen here.

As the American Experience (who showed a documentary on Brownie in 2002) states, "Wise knew how to inspire her managers and dealers to work harder -- and to believe in themselves. She was a good -- if sentimental -- writer, and an excellent speaker. She offered women the opportunity to earn extra money, to travel, and to be part of an organization that pulled out the stops and did everything first class. She recognized women who got very little recognition elsewhere in their lives, bestowing upon them trophies, luxury goods and applause. And she taught others in the company how to do the same."

Here's a clip from a Tupperware documentary showing footage of Wise:

Wise soon became extremely popular with the media - while the grumpy Earl Tupper hated the attention, the charismatic Wise lapped it up. She appeared on talk shows and in magazines. When the press implied that Wise was solely responsible for Tupperware's success, Earl Tupper grew jealous and infuriated. He and Wise began to disagree on business matters. Despite the fact that Tupperware by this point was selling so many products their manufacturing plant in New England couldn't keep up, he fired Wise. She held no company stock and was given a one-year salary as severance. Every reference to her in company literature was removed.

Wise tried to start a makeup company with little success. She died in Florida at the age of 79.

Such an unfit and unfair ending for a woman who made Tupperware a recognizable and household name. The next time you see or use a Tupperware product, take a few seconds to think of Brownie Wise.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Help! I Hate Google

I must interrupt the retro posts with this important message because I need my fellow bloggers' help. Google AdSense seems to have stripped me of my earnings since I started running ads back in August, and they've also stopped tracking my blog on Analytics a few days ago. I've received no notification from them indicating why (they have not, however, stopped running ads on my site.) When I sent them an email (which I had to find by doing a search, since there's no contact info on the Google AdSense site) I received an automatically generated message back with troubleshooting tips. So apparently there's no way to contact Google about advertising and they don't have a customer support line. Lovely. The biggest company on the planet has no customer service department.

Just wondering if any other bloggers out there have had this problem, or any luck contacting Google. Seems like my best and only option is to just pull their code off GoRetro and see if there's an ad network out there that caters to just bloggers. Or if anyone else can recommend a good advertising program for my blog, please let me know. BlogHer was supposed to have a network but right now they just have a waiting list.

I'm pissed. I had only made $53 from advertising since I started running their ads last year and they owe me that money.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Beatle

First of all, Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! I hope everyone in the States has the day off to observe MLK's legacy.

I was thumbing through some old Beatles books last night when I came across these funny pictures of the Beatles meeting Cassius Clay in February 1964 (shortly before Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali.) The Beatles were in Miami making their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which was doing a special broadcast from Florida.

It was a huge photo opportunity for both - Clay was preparing to fight Sonny Liston, and the Beatles had just made a big splash in their States with their debut Ed Sullivan appearance a few weeks earlier - and an unusual pairing. The Beatles originally wanted to meet Liston, who had no interest in reciprocating the pleasure ("I don't want to see those bums," he reportedly told the Beatles photographer, Harry Benson) but Clay happily obliged.

One newspaper report from 1964 says that the Beatles were happy to meet with Clay and vice versa, and that when the Beatles entered the boxing rink chanting "yeah yeah yeah" that Clay pretended to be scared and said, "no no no" in response. But that isn't how Benson, who took several of these photographs, described it. In his book "The Beatles: In the Beginning" Benson said that the Beatles were acting quite cocky and confident now that Beatlemania had swept the States, and believed that they were going to be meeting some dumb boxer. But Clay ordered the Beatles around the ring, telling Paul, "You may be the pretty one, but you're not as pretty as me." He poked fun by positioning them into photo poses that made it look as if he were beating them up.

You can practically hear their heads knocking against each other in this photo.

Ringo looks like he's crying in this one:

Poor Beatles. They were not amused. Benson said that they refused to speak to him for a few days, and that Lennon later remarked "That man made a fool out of us." Lennon may have written a song called "I'm the Greatest", but on that day in 1964 it was The Greatest who upstaged the Fab Four.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bell Bottom Blues: You Make Me Cry

(Yes, you really are pronouncing their name that way.)

A very good friend of mine who passed away several years ago entered his 20s in the late 60s, but admitted to never caving in to men's popular fashion at the time. Of bell bottoms, he said he "foresaw no ocean voyages in the near future" and that was the perfect excuse not to wear them.

(Illustration of mid 19th century sailors, from Wikipedia.)

That was definitely a smart move on his part because I've determined that unless you were a. female or b. a famous pop star like Tom Jones, bell bottom pants for the average Joe just weren't a good idea. The proof is in these funny ads spread throughout the web, the best ones coming from the site Something Awful.

How do you make something bad something even worse? You put them in hideous prints, like the ones here.

Poor dude on the right is trying to look cool - but there's just no way to in these duds:

I'm trying to figure out what a swordfish is doing in the photo. Doesn't help distract from the awful plaid.

This one is particularly cringe-worthy, because it's a pants pattern not for girls, but for *boys*. I pity the boy who had to wear the flower print number to school, and hope he his fists were strong enough to endure the recess bullying:

Rappers man? I don't know of any rappers who would be caught dead wearing these:

The following images come from the 1970 JC Penney catalog and of course, the matching clothing craze that I posted about a few weeks ago did not exclude flared pants. There's something sinisterly sexist about having the woman sitting beneath the man with his hand on her head. Reminds me of the Rolling Stones' hit "Under My Thumb."

Robin Hood and Peter Pan live on through the couple on the left. I will admit the floppy hats on the other pair are kind of cute.

Did I say that pop stars looked good in flares? Not always - ABBA was the worst culprit. But I must admit, the girls look much better here than the guys:

The bell bottom fashion craze of the 70s died along with disco, since bells had become associated with that musical genre. A good thing for men everywhere!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ballroom Blitz Party

If you live in London or will be there at the end of this month, I so envy you, because you have a chance to attend the next 40s themed Blitz Party! On Saturday, January 30th, the Village Underground will transform itself into a WW2 style air bunker shelter complete with classic cocktails, the swinging sounds of big band music, and hearty food. For more info and to purchase tickets, click here. Check out the images of swell dolls and Daddy-Os who attended the last one:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Polish People of Pop Culture

If you're Polish like me, no doubt you cringed every time Archie Bunker called his son-in-law Michael Stivic a "dumb polack" (when he wasn't calling him "meathead") on All in the Family. No ethnic group was spared Archie's fiery big mouth, but because he was related to one through marriage, Poles seemed to have it the worst. I cheered at the episode where Archie used the ethnic slur in front of a Polish American police officer, thus landing him another night in the pokey (which he was just released from.) I also seem to remember him reminding Michael that there were no famous Polish people who actually accomplished anything.

It's high time to give a thumb in the eye of Archie Bunker. There are so many notable Polish and Polish American people in pop culture history. Let's face it, they don't always get the credit that they deserve. We could all name several famous Italian and Irish people, but how many Poles could we name? (Other than Pope John Paul II and Mike Waleska.) So, here's a brief education of some famous folks who proudly fly the red and white Polish flag (please note that I am not including people of Jewish decent - even though many were born in or have parents that immigrated from Poland.)

*Major league baseball player Carl Yastrzemski

*Mike Ditka, former football player and coach of the Chicago Bears

*Pola Negri, silent film femme fatale star of the early 20th century

*Stefanie Powers, who starred alongside Robert Wagner on Hart to Hart, is Polish American

*Jerry Orbach, the late star of Law & Order, Dirty Dancing. Orbach also had a lucrative early career starring in Broadway productions.

*TV personality Jenny Jones eats pierogi and kielbasa

*Ted Knight, who was born Tadeus Wladyslaw Konopka and went on to star in The Mary Tyler Moore Show

*Loretta Swit, aka Hot Lips from the TV show M*A*S*H*

*Rocker Pat Benetar, whose birth name is Patricia Mae Andrzejewski, scored many hits in the 80s

*Singer Peter Cetera, lead singer for the group Chicago for many years, is half Polish American

*So is Huey Lewis - his mother was a Polish refugee and had a romance with a famous Polish poet before immigrating to the United States

*The flamboyant Liberace was Polish

*So is singer Bobby Vinton, who was nicknamed "The Polish Prince." He topped the charts with "Blue Velvet", "Roses Are Red, My Love" and "Mr. Lonely" in the 1960s. However, one of his biggest hits was the 1970s "My Melody of Love", which is partially sung in Polish:

"Moja droga" means "my love", by the way.

*Guitarist Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi has a Polish father and an Italian/Polish mother.

*Roman Polanski these days is more well known these days for being a child rapist, but he rose to fame in the 1960s as a director and husband of actress Sharon Tate.

*Barbara Mikulski, US Democratic Senator for the state of Maryland

*International recording star Basia, who is going to get her own post one of these days. She scored several hits overseas in the 1980s.

Of course, there are many other Polish Americans who gained notoriety in history, politics, sports, and entertainment.

So there you have it. And up your dupa*, Archie Bunkie!

*Dupa = ass

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gay Bob

I found this advertisement on At first I thought it was a cleverly done Photoshop joke - but considering this site it's on I don't think so. There's no year specified, other than being under the 70s category. Anyone have any thoughts? Gay Bob reminds me of James Brolin, Barbara Streisand's husband.

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