Hail to You, Dads With Full Heads of Hair; Including My Dad
this piece in any way, endorses the commercial titles of said hair tonic(s) spoke of in this text. The hair tonic titles are used strictly for editorial purposes. I do not encourage you or anyone here to go out and buy any of these products. In fact, I do not own or even use the said hair oils seen here or CDs or VHS tapes with the gang form "MISSION Impossible spoke of in this hub. (Kenneth).
Priceless Memories. ..
Vintage hair cream TV ad starring legendary Green Bay Pakcers’ quarterback, the late Bart Starr (No. 15.)
There Was a Time When
men, real men, hard-working men, would not dare to allow one drop of any oil, but motor oil, into their hair. I grew up with a man who was blessed with a beautiful headful of hair. He had plenty of hair tuntil he met Jesus in 2006. He also knew how to give men a stylish haircut.
Honest to God, the man in my lead was my dad. Aside from his many talents, he always wore his headful of hair combed with a part on the right with a wave that he took lots of pride in combing. He was careful about his appearance and you may not know it, but although he was a farmer (in my early days) he still believed in making a good appearance no matter where he went or worked.
Now the "meat" of this piece: hair oil or hair tonic, to be from "Uptown America." When I was 12, my dad began to use Vitalis hair tonic and each morning before he went to work, I loved to watch him comb his hair ever so carefully. It was like the New York Symphony except he used a comb, not a conductor's baton.
Don't Be Fooled
and I do hate to sound like a carnival barker, but not all hair oils, tonics, or creams worked like a charm. No, sir. When I was 11, again with a tragic-but-true story, when I was just beginning to notice females, I wanted to look good and my hair was no exception. I begged my parents for a tube of Code 10 Hair Cream. This product was advertised on TV in circa 1968 and was during those “007” spy games ads. It worked. The film, not the hair cream.
One more in particular will always stand out (no pun here) in my mind. I was hurrying to get ready for school and I put a small amount of this “code stuff” and swiped it through my hair and combed . ..and combed, but parts of my hair would not lay down. So I squeezed the tube again and more combing . . .and more combing, but the “cow licks” would not go down.
More squeezing, combing and growing irritated. Finally! The “code” stuff finally got my hair looking good. But as soon as I boarded the school bus and sat down, people behind me started laughing at me, pointing at me, and making fun of me for having, as one smart aleck kid said, “Why are you wearing (a) tube of hair cream today?” Was my face red with embarrassment.
The moment that my feet hit the ground departing my bus, I hit the boys’ rest room and grabbed a handful of water and began to wash my hair (literally) from the hair cream. I wasn’t tardy, but a girl siting behind me in my classroom whispered, “you take a last-minute shower this morning?” I just played it cool and smiled that Roger Moore smile.
And From That Day Forward
for once, I was persistent. I would face school with my hair scalded-down with the “007” stuff and then some days I would go into my “Don’t Care” thinking and use only a bit of something in a slender tube named Bryl, Beryl, or something in that genre. Oh, the stuff did smell great, but dried on my hair in mere seconds. That evening after I got home from school, ka-bing, to our garbage can it went.
Should have listened to my dad and live like him and charge ahead with Vitalis hair tonic and look like a man and be a man who respect no matter where I might show-up. There was just something in that title that got my attention: Vitalis air T O N I C. Did you read that? Tonic. Not hair OIL, but tonic. What type of tonic? Spring tonic that made “Granny Clampett” famous. I didn’t get it then and don’t get it now. Tonic. I have always been fearful in writing to the Vitalis Corp., to see if they would give me an honest answer as to “what in the lights of day is TONIC, as seen on the label of your hair tonic?” Huh? I am eager to know. But then again, I may not want to know. I may be encroaching into some Federal Agency, silent, strong, and always knows what I am wearing.
"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good."— — John Steinbeck
Then Came The Day When
one evening when I arrived home from school that I caught the image of a New hair tonic, but it was not tonic. It was Lucky Tiger hair OIL. What? Hair oil? Am I going through that maze of annoying questions again?
Okay. One time won’t hurt. The Lucky Tiger was my dad’s idea. Not because he was trying to look as handsome as he was when he met my mom, because he was not wired like that. Dad and mom were very conventional and old-fashioned. Their marital vows meant just that. “Til’ death do us part.” Friends, they meant it. Both of these special people endured sickness, financial challenges, job lay-off’s, strikes, and other things that most couples would have buckled their knees and bailed. Not my parents.
But I can attest to the fact that dad’s Lucky Tiger did not make him more of a man at all. Even with the Tiger Oil, he was as much of a man than I was (speaking about me today) or ever will be. Dad had his mysterious side. To his last breath, he never shared the secret (with me) about why he jumped from Vitalis hair tonic to Lucky Tiger Hair Oil. Oh, there were days when the thought of asking him what was behind the Lucky Tiger, but something inside me kept whispering, “Shhhh! Not now, idiot.” So I went with my gut.
And I know my mother so well that when dad was living and when he passed, she never mentioned why he, her vowed husband, my dad, ever told her about changing from Vitalis Hair Tonic to Lucky Tiger Hair Oil. Oh, how I wish that the CBS’ hit of 1968, “MISSION: Impossible” cast (Stephen Hill, Peter Graves, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Peter Lupus, and Greg Morris) were around so I could hire the cast to investigate this personal controversy so I can finally get some sleep.
. . .or ask myself if I should wear tonic or oil when they meet me?
April 3, 2020_______________________________________________________
© 2020 Kenneth Avery