Image: Scan of one of my latest vintage mag acquisitions. Cover illustration by C. William Randall.
Sometimes the cover of vintage magazine catches my eye more than others and I end up digging around to learn more about it. This was one of those times, especially since this particular Vogue magazine from April 1, 1950, wasn’t listed in the lot I won on eBay and received a few weeks ago. I’m not complaining, as another copy of this issue recently sold on eBay for $249.
The cover photo of “Queen of Fashion Inc.” Jean Patchett is by Irving Penn and was the first black and white Vogue cover since they started using color in 1909. The black lipstick Patchett wore was MacGyver’d from mascara to maximize the contrast. Penn was rather prolific and prodigious for Vogue, shooting 165 covers between 1943 and 2009.
Additional trivia: A 17”x15” signed print of this Irving Penn photograph sold for $481,000 at a 2008 Christie’s auction.
Damn, I have good and expensive taste!
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It starts off innocently enough. Vague, nice-sounding, feel-good advice on how to live better and longer. And then… BANANAS! EAT BANANAS! DID WE MENTION BANANAS?
It’s a double-truck ad from United Fruit Company, one of the companies quite literally responsible for bringing the term “Banana Republic” from fiction to the real world.
(Her yellow gloves were a very nice touch.)
So eat lots of bananas, kiddos, or Miss Chiquita will cut ya.
Banana Fun Facts: There is no such thing as a banana tree. Bananas come from a herbaceous flowering plant with a pseudostem often mistaken for a tree trunk.
The tiers of a banana cluster are called hands, and each banana is also known as a finger.
If you hate those gross stringy things you find on a banana after peeling it, then you hate phloem bundles.
Lastly, bananas are naturally radioactive. Yay! Continue reading
That clown is totally doing the Creepy Stalk & Stare on the bunny, which changes the narrative’s dynamic a tad.
I’m impressed they allowed a one-eyed pirate with depth perception problems to pour the beer and navigate a crowded party.
America needs a matador these days, to kill the bull.
After panel three, does the bear and bunny hump with the costumes on or off? I’m thinking on.
In 1902, the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company was the biggest brewer in America.
Along with the tagline used in this ad, Schlitz later had “”When you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of beer.” Oh no! I’m out of Schlitz! Continue reading
Popular answers: “Do not enter.” “Dead end.” “Stop.”
Sadly rare answer: “Slow children playing.”Continue reading
Earlier this year, an antique shop owner in town was retiring and winding down her store. I picked up a pretty good batch of vintage magazines at a nice price on the last weekend, and went back after work on Monday, the final day, just to see if I had missed anything.
Well, turns out I was recognized and she had an impressive stock of vintage magazines in back that never made it out on the floor. She made me a great offer and I took it. And on top of that, she had a collection of various things she had cut out of other old magazines — random photos and illustrations from ads, stories and features — that she had started on for an unspecified “girly project” but decided after a while that it was too much work. She had this particular collection stored in the cover/lid from a case of office copier paper and it was filled to overflowing. She offered it to me for five more bucks and I said yep.
I still haven’t made it to the bottom of her cutouts, but so far have found a plethora of full, intact vintage ads, and also many partial ads where she was only interested in the primary photo or illustration and saw no need to cut out or keep the rest (headline, body copy, logo, etc.). The image below is one such example.Continue reading
The origin of 3M’s Post-it Notes is the stuff of legend, and if you went to business school, you probably had to read the case study even though anything like it probably won’t ever happen again.
Now imagine being the ad agency creative team tasked with not only getting the public wanting the product, but also having to explain what it was and how it worked because nothing quite like it had ever existed before. Or don’t imagine it, because here’s one of the early ads.Continue reading
Not even gonna rip on this ad, because those are awesome shoes. Somebody please make these shoes again!Continue reading
♬ Standin’ on your mama’s porch,
You told me that you’d wait forever.
Oh, and when you held my hand,
My constipation worries are over!
Those were the best days of my life.
Back in the summer of ’59, oh.
— If Bryan Adams has written about a decade earlier