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Looking Back - Were They REALLY The "Good Old Days?"
Those Days From Long Ago ~ When there was no such thing as "Politically Correct"
I received an email from a friend that featured some of these old ads, and it made me think, when we talk about the "good old days"... we certainly cannot mean some of this stuff, can we?
The funny thing is, I can remember as a child shopping for back to school clothes and the one thing that any young girl DREADED hearing back in the 1960's was "you know, if you keep eating like that, we'll have to start shopping in the CHUBBY department"! Looking back at it now, I wonder if they even knew about an illness called anorexia back then? Or did people just say whatever popped into their head at the moment? I'm starting to think it was the latter!
When you look at how much things HAVE changed over the years, you can see that some of the changes were definitely for the better. We have so much more information now on the risks of cigarette smoking and the dangers of second hand smoke.
I can remember when I first moved to Las Vegas, hearing a radio commercial done by a man who had his voice box removed due to cancer, caused by second hand smoke. It was a pretty shocking commercial, hearing the almost "robotic" voice that he had to use to speak. And to think that years ago, cigarettes were advertised as a GOOD thing! Advertising saying that men should blow the smoke into a lady's face so she will "follow you anywhere"? WHAT in the world were advertisers thinking back then!
Now the ads for keeping up with your house while you keep down your weight, and the chef one are just harmless and humorous, shows you how much things really HAVE changed! I can remember the TV show "Leave It To Beaver"... June Cleaver vacuuming her house wearing a dress, heels and pearls... these days she might be wearing a pair of sweats with "LOVE PINK" on the seat of them, and stopping from time to time to threaten... I mean "correct" the little darlings! "Don't MAKE me come over there! You throw that at your brother ONE more time...!"
When it comes to an ad like the one for Blatz beer... how did they even think back then that a baby breast feeding after Mommy was slamming 'em down could be a GOOD thing? Malt and hops are GOOD for babies?? It is so amazing how much scientific advances and more access to accurate information today has changed things, for the better.
I'm starting to think that people really may have believed the one about television being good for kids, though- how many kids do we see these days who still have a flickering box for a babysitter because Mommy has "other things to do?" Now I know that there is no way that a Mother can constantly be paying undivided attention to a child, and to expect that is very unrealistic... but I believe that limiting the time children spend sitting in front of a television set is a GOOD thing.
Playing with other children, playing outside (with Mom's supervision) are much better options. Even artistic pursuits, starting them young with crayons and learning to color and draw is better than having animated ninja's teaching them how to kick others. And starting them in classes that interest them, such as gymnastics, sports, dance, or music classes can be good too, in moderation. Over-scheduling a child's life is probably just as bad as no schedule - especially if no schedule involves leaving them sitting in front of a television set for hours at a time.
I am very glad that there aren't ads today like the cola one. When our boys were little, it was considered bad for them to go to bed with a bottle of MILK because of tooth decay. I can't even imagine if you start them with cola drinks at a young age - the adverse affects on their health would far outweigh ANY kind of benefits they could have gotten from drinking cola out of a sippy cup. And "Cocaine tooth drops?" Really?? Must have been legal or they wouldn't have been advertising it. These sure were some strange ads!
When I look at this tape worm ad, my first thought is to be repulsed... but then I started thinking about how many products that are available today, and how many "snake oil" sales pitches do we see today for weight loss products? So, I guess even "back then" people were concerned with watching their weight. I bet today, they'd be shocked at how many products there are, including pills, on the market that claim to "magically" make the weight disappear, just "melt" the weight off... put a thing around your waist that vibrates to take it off... and just think of all the self help books there are out there that claim to help people lose weight. And suddenly, this ad doesn't seem that far-fetched after all!
I realize that all the "Political Correctness" we have these days can go way too far at times, to the point of being ridiculous. But looking back at these old ads, is "Political Correctness" really that much more ridiculous than these ads seem to be today? It's something to ponder. So, when people say that "times sure have changed"... they are right, and in some ways they have changed for the better, and some ways for much worse.
It's fun to look back on nostalgia and try to remember these things in the context of "the times" back then. I'm sure one day fifty years from now, people will look at our current advertising as a symbol of our times, and think "what WERE they THINKING back then" - the same way react when we look back at these old ads today.