Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fruit Cake!

This 1937 advertisement is full of laughing quality.

It is funny how the wording of marketing works. The best fruit cake is called, "Superfine." Next best is, "Fine." And the meager fruit cake is billed as, "Mellow" but still wrapped in, "Gleaming Cellophane." HA!

Perhaps the greatest laugh of all is in the description of the, "Delicious Chocolates" which boasts coming in a, "gay Christmas box." My how our gay times have changed:

"Why, it's as much a part of Christmas as
the big green Christmas tree itself!"

I don't know about you, but I am going to spring for the Superfine... "Superfine" strikes me as 40 years ahead of its time! "Fine" is cool too, but I'd rather have the, "Mellow." In the 70's these where the happening terms!

The price-breakdown of today:
Superfine: $44.76
Fine: $29.74
Mellow: $15.02
Delicious Chocolates: $13.37

Legend has it, my great-great Grandmother bought one of those fruit cakes and it is still in the family.

Page 104 from the 1937 Sears Christmas Catalog
(Catalog Source: wishbookweb)

Stretch Lounger and Sauna Pants!

Christmas catalogs had been the best way to find toys for adults until the big stores and internet came along. Some may not consider these toys, yet on Christmas morning 1972 your child was having a ball with their toy and you found yourself blowing into your Sauna Pants, having laughs until New Years Day, and never-fun-again you felt like a sucker as they were laid to rest in the closet.

From the 1972 Spiegel Christmas Catalog, we first have featured on page 96 the, "Stretch Lounger." For the housewife looking to keep well-balanced during her workout, the Stretch Lounger is a good idea, but don't get up too quickly to answer the phone. Second, we have the totally awesome Sauna Pants:

The Stretch Lounger is a balancing act to work, and even though it is at least almost practical, it isn't much more than an modified beach or pool chair. It was one of those items where one would say to themselves, "If I buy it, I'll have to exercise" especially with the adjusted price of inflation at $96.71. Once you busted your ass, it too was put in the pile of fail.

Sigh... Sauna pants are still in existence, though they are not quite as lame as those pictured above. You used to blow into a tube to inflate, creating a warm pocket of air. The latest and greatest in sauna pants not only heat themselves, they also vibrate.

For those wondering, the basic design of both the old and new sauna pants is intended to, "help you shed excess water weight."

And thus, the static between fitness and disposable income will continue.
Page 96 from the 1972 Spiegel Christmas Catalog
(Catalog Source: wishbookweb)

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Boyville and Boyville Jr. Helmet

Yes, in 1945 for just $1.39 (about $17 in 2012) you too could scar spoil your boy for life with the Boyville and Boyville Jr. helmet:

"Practical suggestions for the boy who
needs something to wear"

What that really means is:

"Your boy will find it practical when he is being beat up 
because he is wearing one of our fine deluxe helmets."

Okay okay, it was a different time during WWII and boys wanted to be pilots. These helmets were rather popular and it was pretty cool to have one. While the helmets may be seen as impractical today, the ties further down the page seem ahead of style.

Page 116 from the 1945 Sears Christmas Catalog
(Catalog Source: wishbookweb)

Where Santa Buys His Suits

In 1988, Santa had to pay $330 for his ensemble. That is, if he bought it from the Sears Christmas Wishbook that year. While that seems a bit much, the adjusted inflation price 24 years later comes to over $600 in 2012!

"Children of all ages will believe you're Santa when
you don this 10 piece professional Santa set."

What a troubling revelation for little Jimmy that Christmas.

• - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • - • -

Some parents tear out ads like the Santa suit before allowing their kids to drool over the toys. If your parents removed the page from the 1988 Wishbook, this is what was on the other side:

You didn't miss much as it turns out, except for the creepy craftsman.
He looks too much like the figurines.

Page 503 & 504 from the 1988 Sears Christmas Wishbook
(Catalog Source: wishbookweb)