10 06 2017

Behind every strong man is a woman helping him get dressed in the morning…or so Lion of Troy’s advertising department decided. This ad is probably from 1945 – the Vivien-Leigh-as-Cleopatra movie had just been released, and this illustrated vixen bears a striking resemblance to that movie star. The text states “Of course no shirt can wear as long as the Pyramids, but it is a scientific fact that many Egyptian excavations have disclosed fine, strong fabrics, woven of Egyptian cotton in the days of the Pharaohs, still in good condition.” Thus, modern shirts made from imported Egyptian cloth. Which, additionally and most importantly, are “Sanforized against shrinkage.”

Lion of Troy-detail

Lion of Troy-small

Best Foot Forward

21 01 2017

This advertisment was published in Vogue in 1963. Featuring Marquise shoes, the design emphasizes the shoes (offered in combinations of matte and shiny black fabrics) by using understated line art to establish the Egytpianizing theme – Cleopatra the seductress. Although, I’m pretty sure she only had sandals to wear…


In a Pickle

16 12 2015

Heinz created this colorful, full-page newspaper ad to convince women that pickles would make them pretty and keep them skinny. References to famous women of history, including Cleopatra, who reputedly benefitted from their qualities, are included as proof that this really works. The jury is still out; but in the meantime, a chip or spear or two certainly can’t hurt…


Cleo Baby

15 09 2015

In 1962, Al Caiola and His Nile River Boys released a swinging album of musical tributes to Cleopatra. The (then) recent Elizabeth Taylor movie served as inspiration, according to the text on the reverse side. All of the songs but one are covers of works by other artists – but “Cleo Baby” is Mr. Caiola’s original contribution.

Al Caiola album-small

Here, Kitty Kitty

10 08 2015

Forgive the flimsy paper of this recent 2015 issue of TV Guide, which allows the print on the reverse to bleed through when scanned. Usually the Franklin Mint is the object of my curled upper lip and raised eyebrow, but it appears that the Hamilton Collection is walking away with the prize this time for Tackiest Tchotchke. And I do mean that with the greatest affection. The smarmy, LOL, tongue-n-cheek commentary is the chip to the salsa of this ad, which I reproduce here (with some snark of my own): “Brilliant “golden” accents” (air quotes – classic); “Limited to only 95 days of production” (95 days too many); “Cleo-CAT-tra was the queen of them all, ruling over her subjects with an iron…paw.” (apparently they don’t think you’re clever enough to pick up on the puns without adding capitalization and italics…and they may be correct if you’re printing this out so you can mail in the order form…)


2000+ Candles

14 07 2014

133_smallHere is a fabulous birthday card (exterior and interior views) from the 1960s (post Liz Taylor’s depiction of Cleopatra) – I assume sent from brother to sister, as opposed to boyfriend-with-the-unfortunate-nickname-of-Bud to his gal pal.  Appropriately, late.  But at least he remembered to get a card.



The Happy Housewife

3 07 2014

Blu White-smallYou really have to love how manipulative advertising can be.  Exhibit A: this 1940s ad for laundry bluing.  Laundry what, you query?  Nevermind – it was a special extra ingredient that pre-dates Ultra Tide.  Back to the ad – the ‘wow’ factor is bit overused, and one can imagine the harried housewife flipping through her magazine on a long-overdue coffee (or bourbon) break, and perking up in stages as she reads through the extensive laundry list (pun most heartily intended) of promises and perks that this ad claims.  “Makes clothes dazzling, sparkling, with no extra bluing rinse.”  WOW!  “Safe for finest lingerie, even precious nylons” – (remember, there was a war going on and nylon was used solely for war materials – and even after the war, production of consumer goods took about a year to satisfy demand).”  But if superior product performance wasn’t enough of a carrot, the bit of bling you could buy for 25¢ and a box top was sure to do the trick.  “For your very own! A replica of the stunning jewel-piece Vivien Leigh wears in “Caesar and Cleopatra”…replica of actual jewelry given Cleopatra by Caesar to signify his love and devotion. Your Love Token of hope for married happiness, romance, love.”  “Huge, dramatic – over 2 ¼ inches long – it’s breathtaking in its two-tone antique gold-colored finish.”  YAY!  Just the thing for wearing on the night shift at the munitions factory.

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