Searchin’ For the 50’s: Dickman’s Horsefat Spread


Retro Dee writes about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s on this site.  Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every week.

Hello, folks. I’m Retro Dee and Welcome to “Searchin’ For The 50’s!”

I was inspired to do this segment when I was reviewing some of the things people were searching for that sent them to my blog. While some of the search terms sent them to a post with the exact information they were seeking, I realized that not every search term gave a direct answer to what people were looking for.

So for this section, I’ll be answering questions that were asked via search string.

Today’s string is “Is Dickmans Horsefat spread real?”

Answer: The short answer is… maybe.

If you’d like, stay with me for the long answer…

Perhaps needless to say, by today’s standards, this product is not only disgusting, but unethical as well. It’s difficult to fathom its mere existence in history.

I first featured this ad in the post Life in the 50’s: 5 Disgusting Things from the 1950’s on October 7, 2019. And folks, I can honestly say that not one solid week has gone by since I published that post that someone hasn’t read it. Sometimes it gets hit 2 or 3 times a week! Most of the time, it’s accompanied by a search term specifically seeking Dickman’s Horsefat Spread. Other times, it just shows up as being read on my Word Press Stats page. Either way, y’all have a serious obsession with this ad!

Not that I blame you. This ad for “Dickman’s Horsefat Spread” is nothing if not strange. Upon first having seen it, I readily believed it to be authentic. The 1950’s were very different times, after all! But after having reviewed it again, I began to strongly question its authenticity. So let’s have a look at both sides of the argument, shall we.

Why It Might Be Real:

The little girl: This child certainly appears to be legitimately straight out of the 1950’s. There’s absolutely no way that photo is a reproduction. Her hair, her clothes and simply her face is that of a child in that time period. However! This photo could have been used from another advertisement for just regular butter.

The wording in the ad: As someone who writes fiction in my spare time, it’s not easy to replicate the wording used almost 70 years ago. This even uses the single quotation marks as often seen during that era.

The type: Why go through so much trouble to use authentic looking type for a hoax? The font type as well as its usage (alternating between types) is a hallmark of the 1950’s era when they relied on simple type rather than splashy graphics.

The address at the bottom: If it’s a hoax, kudos to the person who put the address on the bottom of the ad, it’s consistent with the era down to the 2-number zip code.

Since 1905: Specializing in animal fats and oils since 1905. I have to admit, that sounds legitimate to me, then again, what do I really know about specializing in animal fats and oils?

The Photo of The Product: The photo of the product in the bottom right hand corner looks very convincing. It even has the happy looking pony printed on each side of the box, a finely tuned detail for something that was meant to be a joke.

Why It Might Be A Hoax:

Scarce? None of my older relatives who were living in the 1950’s recall ever having seen Dickman’s Horsefat Spread.

The girl’s name. “Nennifer”. Another nerdy hobby of mine is studying the etymology of names. Nennifer is basically Jennifer with an N, yes, but I’ve never seen it in any of the name lists I’ve studied. Even if it’s a real (unusual) name, why wouldn’t they have chosen something more common?

Too Honest: “Many of the colts and foals we purchase were inspired by thoroughbreds and while they don’t meet racing standards, they sure MEAT ours”. Wow, seriously? That’s really getting to the point kind of a little too harshly!

Ponies were Popular: Ponies sure were popular in the 1950’s- but not for consumption! Starting in the 1940’s, every lucky little boy or girl would want their photo taken riding a pony. The even luckier ones might actually get a pony as a pet. So why would they want to eat their pets?

YOU BE THE JUDGE!

I wish I could give you a solid answer regarding Dickman’s Horsefat Spread, but all I have is this rather disturbing advertisement, be it real or fiction. If you have any information, feel free to contact me, I will be very grateful for your contribution!


Well, that’s it for this edition of “Searchin’ For The 50’s!”

If you like this post, be sure and join me next time by following Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era ever here on WordPress.

You can also follow Retro Dee on Twitter @RealRetroDee and on Instagram @mariepascal82

Listen to “The Grooveyard” following “Rick’s Redneck Ranch” each Saturday night at 7 PM on 88.1 FM on Long Island or by clicking the 88.1 FM link on wcwp.org, via the TuneIn app. or the  WCWP app on your iPhone or Android device.  You can also follow us on Twitter.

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