Let’s Read Parade, May 1957!

Parade is a newspaper magazine that has been distributed with Sunday edition newspapers nationwide since 1941. Originally created as a supplement to the Chicago Sun, Parade was an instant smash hit and was purchased by the New York Herald Tribune in 1958, which continued to expand its reach. It has gone through a few owners and publishers since then, and is currently owned by Gannett Company (in print; web assets are owned by a separate company), who published their rival newspaper magazine USA Weekend. Gannett purchased Parade in 2016 after discontinuing USA Weekend in 2014, and now distributes Parade in the same newspapers as a replacement. Juicy. With a circulation of 32 million, Parade is the widest read magazine in America.

This particular issue comes from the Oakland Tribune, and was graciously gifted to me by a co-worker from his own collection of vintage periodicals. Everyone say “thank you, co-worker!”

Featuring Groucho Marx and his cute daughter and a painting that is probably totally absolutely not haunted and/or cursed.

I’m not entirely solid on this, but I’m pretty sure that’s Ronald Reagan doing some promotion for his movie Hellcats of the Navy, which came out in May 1957.

Weird that they didn’t bother to go with the usual SEE HELLCATS OF THE NAVY FROM COLUMBIA PICTURES on the ad (normally in terse, afterthought-like block font at the bottom of the page). Also of note, this is the only movie where Ronnie and Nancy acted together. On a set, at least.

There’s something weirdly nudge-nudge about this ad, like we know you like to “mix your colors”, you saucy little minx!

Laura Fermi, writer and wife of Nobel Prize winning atomic scientist Enrico Fermi. She seems rather badass.

Glam as hell. Someone on ebay has a listing for the same one in the ad. It’s faded over time but is still quite cute.

Why is this boy looking upset? Doesn’t he know that PENNSYLVANIA STEEL made the machinery that made this big healthy dish of ice cream? Doesn’t he know that WISCONSIN DAIRY provided the milk, and FLORIDA SUGARCANE brought in the sugar for his wholesome dinner? What’s wrong with this boy? IS HE A COMMUNIST?

Hooo man. Even if you aren’t up on your Jimmy Hoffa history, this article is written so bonkers that you can’t miss it. In which: Kennedys are boyish! Cheese sandwiches are dramatically consumed! Someone actually says out loud “This is a job for the FBI!” Hoffa has a red-headed secretary who by implication is a red-hot tomato! Ethel Kennedy comes to the police station for Hoffa’s arraignment for some reason! Freeze-frame ending where everyone laughs around the commissioner’s desk!

They were so excited to break this story. What they did not know was that the case would get dropped due to hung jury, and in four months of this article Hoffa would be elected president of the Teamsters.

Friskies apparently used that can design up until the late 70s. It’s so cute, I wish they still used it. I’m also a fan of the cartoon mouse enthusiastically handing the cat a spoon, like “Please eat this and not me! Hooray!”

Our local story is on a new graduating class of nurses (NURSE QUEST). Thank goodness, because it’s the only way that you can be reminded that people who aren’t white also existed in 1957.

Two things: one, that bed in the ad looks like a pair of delicious ice cream sandwiches, and two, what the hell is being taught with a doll? The nursing students are just looking at her like what the actual hell are you talking about?

Aaah don’t let the doll near me again, she sits on my bed at night and stares at me and tells me things when no one’s around — Mrs. Ethel Byrne

Match it to your LUX bath soap!

From what I can gather, Melinda Marx, being the youngest of Groucho’s kids by far, seems to have been a victim of “I was a horrible absentee parent with my other children so I’m bringing my final kid to the set with me and we’ll put her in a scene or two to keep her from having a meltdown from boredom”. It happens a lot to the children of famous people. Sometimes they discover this way that they actually like acting and are good at it and go on to win Oscars, and some of them retire from show business the second that they become legal adults and can finally tell their parents to piss off, like Melinda here seemed to do.

Tell me I’m not the only one incredibly unsettled by this pink nightmare.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if Groucho Marx was your dad, the answer is that it sounds exhausting. Also, what it would be like if your nephew was only two years younger than you. Sounds like Hollywood!

This probably goes a long way to explain why my mom puts Quaker Oats in her meatloaf. They don’t give a recipe for whatever that monstrosity of a pie is, but I strongly dislike that I now associate that color with soap and telephones and not something nice like strawberries.

While we’re here, check out the intro to Sergeant Preston of the Yukon:

Wonder dog Yukon King!

On the “Parade of Progress” side, I also like the suggestion that you should get your father a vibrating massage chair for Mother’s Day, presumably if you have no mother around. I genuinely like the classy backseat snack table for Sunday countryside cruising in the Cadillac with the top down.

What kind of Pepe Le Pew ripoff Bambi weirdness is this? Why would you use a cartoon skunk to sell deodorant? The subtext here is clear: smell as fresh as a stanky French weasel in a meadow of flowers with Hush by Toni!

Speaking of ever-blatant ripoffs, they straight-up stole Betty Rubble’s face for this one.

That mixer looks like a beast. Dormeyer is still around today, but now they make special parts for commercial-grade appliances.

Extra extra read all about it! Being a shitty person is bad for your dog!

Also: consider monkeys, who get stressed out when seeing other monkeys get tortured – imagine that. And as for cats, well, they don’t have souls according to this article so clearly they’re better off. Or something.

Want to read better? Beat the shit out of something first!

All of these names would make for excellent Instagram filters.

OOOH they had me until the Corn Flakes. These are totally just basic sugar cookies with zero coconut, which soundly disqualifies them from being macaroons. Still, pineapple and walnuts sound, uh…intriguing, but not overtly nauseating. 4/10 on the 50s recipe nightmare scale.

At this point my brain started shorting out from absorbing so much sexism, so here have a good old all caps summary:


I’m not sure exactly what facial contortion expresses “my hair is bliss”, but it’s certainly not the face she’s making.

After mother and daughter spent the morning looking fabulous in their coordinating sundresses, they went to the kitchen together and did the dishes with Vel soap, the soap that won’t melt the flesh off your hands.

Oh god, do you know how many brands of pantyhose I went through before I finally found one that was cheerful and loving and didn’t cause me any worry? I wish I could say the same for my husband and kids and social support system, AM I RIGHT GIRLS?

The little that I could find on Peter Wyma indicates (LINK NOT WORK SAFE) that he became a solid name in the underground sex comics biz in the 60s. His comics here seem pretty boilerplate, but at least they make sense and have a logical connection between the image and the punchline, which is more than I can say for a lot of old newspaper comics.

I read something recently about how the Church of Latter Day Saints, as a means to keep themselves afloat during the Great Depression, counseled its members to keep enough food in their pantry to keep their family fed for three months at a time – and I wonder if this post-Depression thinking influenced America in general to fantasize about refrigerators absolutely crammed to the gills with food. A simple google search for modern refrigerator advertising shows that we still respond well to advertisements featuring well-stocked fridges, but nowadays we like our model fridges packed with almost exclusively fruit and beverages. No one refrigerates their meat anymore, apparently, and maybe we should all be concerned about that.



And that’s it for this week! Thank you as always for being awesome and reading. Next time we’re looking at something that’s only somewhat (ok – completely) over my head but I still find it fascinating and I bet you will too – Deadline, Summer 1994!