Old Magazines: Bonus Features

Hi there! It’s me, your lying liar librarian on fire who’s terrible at keeping promises! I promised you all College Humor last week but in the interest of time, work productivity, and my post-vacation mental recovery, I’m going to have to promise that for next week instead. This week I’m featuring some stuff that never made it into my previous old magazine threads for whatever reason, mostly because I already had ample material, and some rando stuff I have saved because it amused me at the time. I may not remember where all of these are from.

Murray mints and Farley’s Rusks are products that are still made today. I like to think of the ad on the left as the “before” and the right as “after”. Great illustrations.

Dad jokes! “Floating head” commercial photography really had its day in this decade. At least this family gets to keep their necks. The Beatles were rarely so lucky. Woman’s Own, March 1956

A look at Hirohito in a weirdly-toned written article originally published in Fortune. Joke’s on you, media, Hirohito would remain emperor for another 45 years after this. It’s weird to think that both Queen Elizabeth and the current Emperor of Japan were both kids when this was written, and are still ruling their respective countries in their 80s and 90s today. Life, July 1945

Welcome to the world, sweet little baby boy. None of us know this now, but you’re probably going to die in Vietnam, lose your mind in Vietnam, or burn your draft card to get away from Vietnam. Isn’t that line “In the days of peace to come” heartbreaking, knowing what we know now about the world that this baby will grow up in? Sometimes advertising is a real punch in the face. Life, July 1945

“Kibbling is romantic hocus-pocus by an experienced peculator”. Oh well then, thanks for clearing that up. May the floating disembodied heads of Don Ameche and Dick Foran haunt you like they’re haunting Claudette Colbert in her sassy striped pajamas. Life, July 1945

Uh oh, look at these women with newfound agency! A panic-button article about the skyrocketing divorce rate and the uncertainty of marriages surviving the war. Also worthy of note: this is the most ethnically diverse page of Americans I’ve ever seen in these old magazines. White people! Black people! Latinas! They did exist! Life, 1945

The crazy sex-starved eyes of the war bride compel you to not buy new bed sheets! Life, 1945

I don’t remember which magazine this came from, but man is it uncomfortable to look at. I quote the movie’s Wikipedia article for a summary of this mess: “The subplot regarding the affectionate gorilla originally presented a female simian pursuing Costello. However, the Breen Office censors that enforced the Production Code in Hollywood demanded that the gorilla’s gender be changed because they felt a female gorilla’s pursuit of a man would be on par with bestiality”. There you go. You can watch the whole movie via that Wiki link if you can stomach it. Oh, and to add insult to injury, it looks like the guy in the “affectionate gorilla” costume got a prominent screen credit while the black people who played the cannibals did not.


Cute. I can picture a well-meaning Scottish granny saying it to her grandkids at bedtime and scaring the crap out of them. Harper’s, 1960s

“Man-sized” wardrobe entirely in brown, the manliest and the most exciting of colors. This was from one of the mid-sixties girlie magazines. Because nothing revvs up the nymphette more than a fatherly-looking man in brown!

Rest assured that you will never look this cool. Somehow, “midget helicopters” never became a thing. Wonder why. Popular Mechanics, early 60s

I’m not the only one who reads this in a sinister but icily polite British villain voice, right? It’s so passive aggressive that it crosses over into “cheerfully threatening”. Even the weird scarecrow-pumpkin face that hovers over the telephone is like “Get off the phone or I’ll break your legs…Ma’am.”

Pardon my pointer finger. I just want everyone to see what I see here, because this entire ad is bonkers. Saturday Evening Post, late 1960s.

“Did you see the proofs for the new color Mixette ads? What? What do you mean there’s a problem with them? I’ll tell you what the problem is! The PROBLEM is how much The Saturday Evening Post wants to charge for full-page color ads! I know that we’re selling the new line of mixers in trendy colors – why don’t you list ’em off for me – pink, yellow, turquoise, white, and chrome! Chrome, Gene! The ad’s not in black and white, Gene – it’s in CHROME!” — transcript of Hamilton Beach Executive yelling on the phone, 1960s

They really do, don’t they.

How are you, Francine? Well, Marjorie, I’m just Spam-dandy! Are you still bringing the Spam salad to the church potluck? You know, I think I’m going to make the Spam calico bean-bake instead! Ooh I heard from Mrs. Glenn just this morning that she’s going to bring a Spam calico bean-bake! Well I best make the Spam ‘N noodles Romanoff instead then! No matter how you slice it, only Spam tastes like Spam! GET OFF MY DICK, MARJORIE.

I may feature this issue in the future, since the names on the cover are just too tantalizing to pass up. I think I captured this because I wanted to illustrate that Playboy, like Esquire and a lot of magazines around this time, actually had a weird toy-like mascot that graced many of its covers for a significant period of time and has now been banished to obscurity. I think I’ll take this perma-sloshed rabbit over the creepy bulging eyes of Eskie.

I believe this is from the late 50s. That model has some spectacular eyebrows. And I guess she can just eat spoonfuls of pure sugar or something when she’s feeling snacky, from what this ad is telling me.

And finally, something completely different but very cool: as far as I can tell, it’s a Russian-language magazine on the German theater scene from 1922. It has nothing at all to do with William Saroyan, and I think it ended up in our collection by accident. It is very fragile and falling apart. If anyone here can read Russian, feel free to translate for us.

Thank you for reading another week of old magazine reviews! Next week will be the College Humor that I promised last week.

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