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.
They say “give ’em what they want” and after seeing how many of my readers have read my posts on the Dickman’s Horsefat Spread advertisement, it appears that’s what folks want to know about!
My two posts that mention the Dickman’s ad have gotten more reads than any other posts on this blog (followed closely by “How To Identify 50s Costume Jewelry” and “Women’s Sweaters of the 1950s”)
So, you want to know about Dickman’s Horsefat Spread. Namely, was Dickman’s Horsefat Spread real?
I first featured Dickman’s Horsefat Spread in my October 2019 post Life in the 50s: 5 Disgusting things from the 1950′s. It was listed as one of the 5 disgusting things to come out of The Best Era Ever… But when it was brought to my attention that this ad was probably a joke, I debated that theory in the post Searchin’ For The 50’s: Dickmans Horsefat Spread.
Since then, I’ve received several emails from helpful readers (Please note: I appreciate the emails and the information very much!) My savvy readers have helped me come to the conclusion that Dickman’s Horsefat Spread is, indeed, just a joke.
The ad was created by a man named Cris Shapan. A genius in the world of Parodies, the Dickman’s ad is far from the only thing Shapan has created. To read an interview with him and see his other work, please read Everything On The Internet is A Lie (Except For This) at Dangerous Minds. This article was brought to my attention by a few of my readers. In it, you can finally find information on the man behind the Dickman’s Horsefat hoax.
But who would believe such a hoax? ME. I DID.
Well, now, let’s not dwell on that. In my defense, I began to suspect it was a hoax early on, however not quite soon enough to refrain from adding it to my “5 Disgusting Things from the 1950’s” list. Speaking of that list, guess what else is a hoax? Potato Fudge!
No, not Potato Fudge! That has to be real! You’re ruining my concept of the perfect world!
Okay, I fully admit that I fell for the Potato Fudge ad even harder than I fell for the Dickman’s hoax. I was convinced that Potato Fudge was real, and it never, ever occurred to me that it was a joke until I read the interview with Shapan by Richard Metzgar on Dangerous Minds. Does that make me a dumb brunette? Or does that make Cris Shapan a mastermind at concocting fake advertisements? My guess is it’s a little of both.
The reason I never questioned the authenticity of Potato Fudge is, that although the idea of such a product is not only disgusting, but strange… I figured it like this: it was the 1950’s. Probably the first decade that children were treated like children, in other words, parents began to spoil their kids. So in order to entice them to eat dinner, a good idea would be to pour fudge over a baked potato and voila! Instant appeal for the youngsters. Plus, in the 1950’s, people didn’t realize that the amount of sugar and carbs in a fudge-covered baked potato is an assault on your system and could possibly jeopardize Junior’s health. After all, this is the era that named butter as one of the Basic Food Groups. So Potato Fudge seemed perfectly plausible to me.
But Kraft did not make Potato Fudge. Cris Shapan did. But only in his mind. And in my mind. And in the minds of anyone gullible enough to believe that Potato Fudge was part of The American Dream in the 1950’s. Gee whiz, now I wonder what other ads from the Nifty Fifties are fake?
Another question that remains is, why is the 1950’s era such a popular target for parodies? What makes the 1950’s so easy to poke fun at? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned, because I have post for that coming up too!
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