5 Strange Holiday Ads from the Fabulous 50’s

Retro Dee is a regular contributor to The Grooveyard’s website, writing about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s.  Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every Wednesday.

Hello everyone and Welcome to a special edition of Life in the 50’s! Today we’ll be looking at five “strange” (for lack of a better word) advertisements from the 1950’s.

One might argue that all ads from the distant past might seem a little strange to us. After all, this was 60-70 years ago we’re talking about… It was a totally different dimension!

Everything back then was different: what people wore, what people ate, how people thought, how people lived… Life itself was just plain different… but even so, people are people. The Holidays are the Holidays. And the Holidays mean the perfect time to sell goods to the public and make money. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed! So lets have a look at these strange yet amusing ads from Christmas time in The Best Era Ever.

Jell-O Reindeer

All things Jello took center stage on the American Dessert Table in the 1950’s. That in itself is not so odd, but do note that Jello wasn’t just for dessert. During the 50’s, Jello was also made into salads and nauseating molds with horrible things in them like fish and onions and Lord knows what else. There was even tomato flavored Jello! Yes, to folks in the 1950’s, Jello could do no wrong. But fortunately, Jello’s prevalence also left us with some cute ads, such as this featuring a festive reindeer who wears 6 delicious flavors on his antlers.

This 1954 ad for Jello features a jolly reindeer.

Give Telephones

Looking for a great gift for someone? Give telephones this Christmas. While “I want a new i-phone” sounds normal to us, I just can’t imagine getting excited over an old-fashioned rotary dial, every-day 1950’s-middle-America telephone. No. Not even a red one. But apparently, this ad states otherwise. An additional phone in another room in the house! What a concept!

Ca. 1950’s ad for Bell Telephone

Tareyton Cigarettes

Nothing says “class” like a Christmas tree with a truckload of cigarette cartons under it. And don’t forget the socialite in the red dress: “Mrs. Charles Armory of New York and Palm Beach society is discriminating in her choice of Christmas gifts. Mrs. Armory says: ‘Everyone welcomes cartons of Herbert Tareytons in their special Christmas wrapping.’” Well. There ya go! Smoke Herbert Tareytons, and you’re automatically High Society. That is, if you can afford the clothing and cars too. So forget Lucky Strikes and smoke Herbert Tareytons, a must-have Christmas treat for rich snobs.

Ca. 1950’s ad for Herbert Tareyton Cigarettes

Hoover Vacuum Cleaners

If you’re not a member of High Society like Mrs. Charles Armory is, you might just be a regular housewife. And if you’re a regular housewife, what do you want for Christmas? Why, a vacuum cleaner of course! But not just any vacuum cleaner. This ad, that would make any feminist cringe, claims that on Christmas morning “She’ll be happier with a Hoover”. Hell, I’m not even a feminist and it makes me cringe. Still, there’s something cute about it. If I could have that dress and look like the pretty gal in this ad, I’d be happy to do the vacuuming… as long as it’s a Hoover, of course.

Ca. 1950’s ad for Hoover features a happy housewife

The Burping Pen Strikes Again

Well, folks, I’ve saved the best for last. The Eversharp Ventura, otherwise known as “The Burping Pen”. In an era that pretended that nobody ever has gas, I’m quite frankly shocked that they’d make this the featured selling point of a writing instrument. That’s not to say that it isn’t delightfully amusing! Just look at those cute little babies dressed as Santa! The pen itself is pretty nifty looking for only $5, I must say. And by golly, it would make a nice gift, especially for a student. Yes, the Eversharp Ventura is an enigma, perhaps one of the strangest gimmicks in history, at least it is when you consider the time period it was from.

1953 ad for The New Eversharp Ventura aka “The Burping Pen”

Well, that’ll be it for this post. I hope you enjoyed it and have a Happy Holidays, no matter what kinds of gifts you give or receive. And remember, the greatest gift of all is always that which appreciates in value that which you can’t buy. 🎁

You can follow Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era ever here on WordPress. You can also follow Retro Dee on on Twitter @RealRetroDee and Instagram @mariepascal82


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