Remember "Burma Shave" Signs? There Were Places That Had Few Or None!
Oh, the indignity....
I remember fondly as I was growing up, going on that family vacation, driving along on that long drive to our Grandmother's house in Illinois. Between the bouts of "he's LOOKING at me!" and fighting with ... of course I mean bonding with a pesky little brother...what did we see to help to keep us entertained? "Burma Shave" signs! They were sets of red signs with white lettering that had witty sayings on them. Of course, their main purpose was to sell a product (Burma Shave)... but they were so much more than that.
They were a part of "Americana"... "Nostalgia".. the history of this country! I guess most of the states did have them, but there were places scattered about that didn't have any, especially if there wasn't enough traffic in an area. I read that New Mexico didn't have them because of low traffic. I guess there were some Burma Shave signs scattered in Utah and Nevada. That's a good thing because there are roads here that are lightly traveled, and you would have enjoyed seeing these signs along the way. They helped to pass the time.
Just think of all you would have missed if you'd grown up where there were no signs! Now, growing up in Wisconsin, we did have the signs, and I remember them well. They were in existence from 1925 until 1963.. and in some places, it took a while before they were taken down.
When the signs were taken down, it was due to faster moving traffic, and the building of "superhighways" and the interstate system. They were replaced by billboards. You know those HUGE obnoxious things. Oh but to go back to the day of the little Burma Shave signs... or maybe not!
Some of them were pretty "corny"... but it was all clean humor, maybe something that America could use a little bit more of these days! When you go to see a comedian today, you have to be careful to try to find one that doesn't rely solely on profanity and "shock value" of what they are saying to get a laugh.
In 1925, a man named Allan Odell tried to pitch his idea to his father, the owner of the "Burma Shave" company... his idea was to put up humorous roadside signs. His Dad wasn't too crazy about the idea, but nevertheless, decided to let his son try it out. Both of his sons ended up going out and putting up these signs. Lo and behold, their sales took off like they had never seen before!
At the height of the popularity of these signs, there were approximately 7,000 of them stretched out across the country, they were found in some places more than others. The signs were put in groups of either four, five, or six at a time, and always the second to the last sign held the "punch line" of the joke, and the last sign simply said "Burma Shave."
Part of the role of these signs was to help cheer up a country that had just gone through a depression and then World War II. It almost seems like we could use a little bit of this cheering up today the way things are going!
Hmmm... maybe I could find someone who wants to advertise their business here in Las Vegas.. I do see a lot of "bail bond" places, do people really get into that much trouble in Vegas? Evidently they DO! Something like this maybe?
REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENS
IN VEGAS STAYS
ON THE FRONT PAGE
SHIFTY'S BAIL BONDS
There are a lot of wedding chapels here, too, maybe one of them would like to advertise!
IS A BIG GAMBLE
SO ROLL THAT DICE
AND ORDER SOME FRIES
DRIVE-THRU WEDDIN" CHAPEL
Hmmmm.... maybe I better stick to my "day job!" Sometimes things that used to be "in the past" are best left there. We can be as nostalgic as we want to be, but we can never bring those days back. The best we can do is remember fondly, and pass stories about them on to the next generation.
Now I know why I used to LOVE to sit for hours and listen to my Grandpa talk about "the good ole days."