Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Funny Vintage Ads (11)

Advertising has always been an interesting way to look at history. But when you see these vintage advertisements, the past seems a lot weirder than you thought.


Dog rides comfortably in sack on running board
"When you take your dog along for a ride, but prefer not having it inside the car, it can ride safely and comfortably in this sack, which is carried on the running board."
The inventor of this device neglected to provide a method of opening the driver-side front door without decapitating the dog.


Alva's Brazilian Specific

Alva's Brazilian Specific Cactus Blood Cure was a blood purifier said to have been discovered by Brazilian Indians. It hit the market in the 1890s and was sold in cactus-shaped bottles.


A real roller coaster in your own backyard

"Shoot-the-chute thrills! Imagine how children will delight in taking "free rides" hour after hour!" That is until an injury results in a thrill ride to the Emergency Room in an ambulance.


Where will you be when your diarrhea comes back

 “Where will you be when your diarrhea comes back?” If you're this guy, you won't be sharing a hot tub with two attractive women. And it looks like they are more interested in each other anyway.


Rit - Don't buy New Corsets -- dye them a beautiful Pink

 So if your corsets are stained, you should dye them pink?


Communism and Twisted Education

"In the eyes of Communism, a child is simply something to be warped into one shape; godless, ignorant of moral responsibility, devoid of intellectual honesty . . . a creature of the State."
Apparently this is what sold airline seats at the time. So much for sexy stewardesses!


Prepare Now at Home for a Big Pay Career in Show Business

"Course recommended by Show Business stars & executives. Prepares you quickly for high-pay career in world's most exciting profession."
The Radio-TV Training School, later called "RTS Electronics," was one of many companies offering correspondence courses in radio and TV. They were located in Los Angeles, and advertised in many hobbyist-oriented electronics magazines in the 40's through the 60's.


American Apparel - Now Open

American Apparel brags about its clothing being "ethically made" yet their advertising is raunchy, degrading, and often uncomfortable to look at.


Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup

Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup was invented in 1845, and sold millions of bottles a year at 25 cents each. The two main ingredients were morphine and alcohol so it’s not surprising that it was so soothing. It caused many infant deaths from accidental overdoses and was finally banned in 1930.


Gas, the magic of instant hot water!

This kid looks like he's hallucinating in a sweat lodge.


Say Mama, I want another glass of Hires Root Beer

Forget it kid, you're drunk.


Why are kids so crazy about Franco-American spaghetti?

This scary-looking kid looks like he's wired on Adderall, which may explain why he is eating hot dogs like they were bread sticks.

The Peel P.50

The Peel P50 is a three-wheeled microcar originally manufactured from 1962 to 1965 by the Peel Engineering Company In Great Britain. It is listed in the Guinness World Records as the smallest production car ever made. The Peel P50 doesn't have a reverse gear, but a handle at the rear allows the 130 lb car to be lifted and repositioned when necessary.


Allcock's Porous Plasters

In 1854, Thomas Allcock invented a porous plaster for the relief of pain, and subsequently formed Allcock Manufacturing. The plasters were recommended for lumbago and various other disorders, such as diabetes, St Vitus’s Dance, epilepsy, dyspepsia, diarrhea, coughs and colds, asthma, pleurisy, whooping cough, consumption, ruptures, sciatica, paralysis, rheumatism, kidney problems, and quinsy (inflammation of the throat, especially an abscess in the region of the tonsils. You had to put a strip of plaster under your chin, stretching from ear to ear).


Hill's Genuine Magnetic Anti-Headache Cap

With the introduction of electricity in the home throughout the latter half of the 19th century, many creative entrepreneurs designed devices touting the healing and medicinal powers of electricity and magnetism.


Cracker Jack Jingle Beanie

 "Get the most popular beanie of all -- the Cracker Jack JINGLE BEANIE. It's a swell, all felt beanie with a tall spring antenna in the top. The attached bell on tip of the antenna rings whenever you move your head. Get lots of attention from everyone."
 Oh, you'll be the center of attention alright!


Let's have a prune party!

"Let's have a prune party!"
"Win their hearts with prune tarts. Just yummy, Mummy!"

Are you shitting me? The girl on the right looks like she's already trying to pinch one off.
In what universe could “prune” and “party” ever go together?


Cancer cured at home
 Dr & Mrs Chamlee were convicted of mail fraud in 1911, after their cure was analyzed and found to contain 99 per cent water and alcohol, with small quantities of iron and strychnine. Those who were duped by the Chamlees soon found out that their guarantee was worthless.


Gigantic Footprint Area Rug

The Jovial giant's footshape rug staggers the imagination! A thick-toe-tickling meadow of plushpile. Heel and sole above anything mortal.


Distaval - This child's life may depend on the safety of Distaval

"This child's life may depend on the safety of Distaval"
That has to be one of the most ironic advertising phrases in the history of advertising.
Distaval was a brand name for Thalidomide; a heavily promoted ‘wonder drug’ in the early 1950s that could treat a range of conditions including headaches, insomnia and depression. It soon became apparent that pregnant women who took the drug during the first trimester were having deformed babies. The drug was withdrawn from the market in 1961 after it was determined that the drug led to the deaths of approximately 2,000 children and serious birth defects in more than 10,000 children.


Mickey Box Camera

 This 1936 ad for a Mickey Box Camera was published six years after the first appearance of Mickey Mouse in "Steamboat Willie." Apparently Walt Disney hadn't yet hired an army of lawyers to protect his most famous trademark.


Virginia Slims - You've come a long way baby!

 Virginia Slims were introduced in 1968, by Philip Morris and marketed as a woman's cigarette using marketing strategies to link smoking to women's freedom, emancipation, and empowerment.


Kotex - It just isn't fair!

Before Kotex sanitary napkins were developed, most women relied on homemade cloth pads. Kimberly-Clark, an American paper products company formed in the 1870s, produced bandages from a material called Cellucotton for World War I, and nurses quickly found another use for it. 


Beer googles?
This ad for Nova Scotia's Oland's Export Ale appeared in The Atlantic Advocate in 1966. 


Sanka - Has his old man been hitting the coffee again?

A bit edgy because you're drinking too much coffee? Beating your kid for no reason? Maybe it's the morning coffee -- or maybe it's the three martini lunch and the two highballs before dinner.
Developed in France and first marketed in the US in 1923, Sanka Instant Coffee was one of the pioneers of decaffeinated coffee.


Kellogg’s Sanitone Wafers

"When ambition deserts you and vitality sags down near zero; when you’re fagged out in brain and body and your nerves lack vim – the Kellogg’s Sanitone Wafers “ginger” you up to concert pitch, put the “punch” in  your muscles, and make you tingle all over with health.”


Light ash tray fits on cigarette holder

Can't afford the time it takes to shake an ash into an ashtray and put the cancer-stick back in your pie hole? This contraption is made for you.


Syphilis - All of these men have it.

  ALL of them? Watch yourselves, ladies! American soldiers are STD-riddled whores! 


Come Out of the Closet With Gay Bob

Come Out of the Closet With Gay Bob
“He sits. He stands He gets into any position… And since he is anatomically correct, he can even play with himself without going blind. Gay Bob is a big 13 inches tall (wow) and made of plastic (or plastique, if you’re very elegant)… He comes dressed in mucho macho plaid shirt, blue jeans that open with a smart snap to reveal his private parts, boots and (naturally) one earring. He lives in a closet and has his own storybook / fashion catalogue. Barbie and Ken move over, GAY BOB IS HERE.”

Kix atomic bomb ring AKA Lone Ranger Atom Bomb Ring

The instructions say, "you'll see brilliant flashes of light in the inky darkness inside the atom chamber. These frenzied vivid flashes are caused by the released energy of atoms. PERFECTLY SAFE - We guarantee you can wear the KIX Atomic "Bomb" Ring with complete safety. The atomic materials inside the ring are harmless."When the red base (the "secret message compartment") was removed you could look through a small plastic lens at sparkles caused by polonium alpha particles striking a zinc sulfide screen.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Jay Curtis and Disasterpiece Theatre

Fans of Mystery Science Theater 3,000 and Rifftrax may think that they invented the genre, but it was Jay Curtis and Bruce Mueller who had the first TV show based on telling jokes about bad movies while viewing them.


In 1980, the two film editors at XETV Channel 6 created a TV show called Disasterpiece Theatre that was broadcast from Tijuana into San Diego.  They "riffed" on really bad movies long before Mystery Science Theater 3000 premiered in 1988.  

Jay Curtis hosting Disasterpiece Theatre as Sal-U-Lloyd
Jay Curtis hosting Disasterpiece Theatre as Sal-U-Lloyd
The show consisted of host segments and sketches with Sal-U-Lloyd (Curtis), The Other Guy (Mueller), and a variety of special guests; including Whoopie Goldberg, Richard Simmons and Michael Medved. Jokes were delivered during the movies by text overlay and by re-dubbing the audio to include sound effects, comic voices, and jokes. Sal wore a black suit and white Capezio dance shoes and drove an Edsel. A variety of oddball characters were portrayed by Mueller

Theme song written by Frank Trani and the Awesome Brothers.

Disasterpiece Theatre premiered on Friday June 13, 1980 with the film, The Thing That Couldn’t Die. During one of the host segments, Sal fake-interviewed the star of the film, Johnny Cabeza played by Bruce Mueller, whose disembodied head appeared sitting on a chair as Sal talked with him about his film career.  

The following week they screened 18 and Anxious starring Jim Backus and Jackie Coogan. Coogan doesn’t always wear his toupee during the movie and that was an easy place to mine jokes. The guest for the host segments was Bruce Mueller as Pelvis Peacock, the world’s worst Elvis impersonator. 

Sal-U-Lloyd -- Jay Curtis
Sal U Lloyd, host of Disasterpiece Theatre
Disasterpiece Theater showed more than just sci-fi and horror films. They also riffed on several westerns, a Kung Fu flick and the musical Panama Sal. During the host segments, Sal U Lloyd recounted the history of the Lloyd family: Sal and brother Freddy were born Siamese twins joined at the back. Later it turned out this was the result of an accident their mother Celia had with some super glue. Sal remarked that he once swallowed a ship full of ex-lax and polluted the Sea of Japan. Sal then attempted a singing career with the song Key to My Condo that was a spoof of the song Beat Of The Bongo from the movie. 

During Halloween, the classic Dracula was shown -- supposedly at gunpoint. Mueller as Freddy, the show’s producer, pointed a shotgun at Sal off camera til the film began. At the end of the movie, Freddy said they would go back to showing bad movies next week because by then Sal was holding the shotgun. 

Once during the Thanksgiving show, Sal put an apple in Producer Freddy’s mouth and chopped vegetables over him. The most popular movie on Disasterpiece Theatre was Shriek Of The Mutilated. -- so popular it was shown three times

"Sal-U-Lloyd" (Jay Curtis) and "The Other Guy" (Bruce Mueller)
"The Other Guy" (Bruce Mueller) and "Sal-U-Lloyd" (Jay Curtis)
In mid-January 1981, the show was moved to Saturday nights in the hope of improving the ratings. Sal had the Edsel loaded up with potted plants and a totem pole so they could move to the next night. But The Other Guy (Mueller) was missing. It turned out he was tied up in a basement, but managed to free himself and get to the studio in time for the show. 

"Disasterpiece Theatre" was a huge local hit and enjoyed a dedicated following, even beating out Saturday Night Live in the area ratings once, and Sal U. Lloyd became a local celebrity.
Jay Curtis, aka Sal-U-Lloyd on the cover of Tuned-in Magazine
Jay Curtis, aka Sal-U-Lloyd on the cover of Tuned-in Magazine
Sal U. Lloyd often portrayed himself as a big loser who hates his job. In one episode, he explains his position: "I'm sick of television... I wanna be a rock and roll star. I wanna make some money." He is often seen suffering some kind of brain damage after showing a movie. Several times, Lloyd has a run-in with the network producer, George Mucas (obviously a parody of George Lucas), who hates the show.  

In June 81, the show celebrated its one year anniversary much to the dismay of Freddy the Producer, played by Mueller, because he had been trying to get the show off the air. Freddy presented a "Relevation of Degradation" to viewers in the hope this would end the show. He showed clips from past movies Big Boy Rides Again, Alien Factor, The Mole People, Spiderwoman Strikes Back, Revenge Of The Creature, and Trog. Skits from previous shows included, Harry Johnson’s Lite Beer, Shock-O-Matic, Racket Squad, French Connection, 3-Popeye Doyle meets Popeye the Sailor and the Eddie Haskell Show. 

Sal U Lloyd

The following week Jay Curtis went on vacation and a rerun of Monster Zero was shown. The movie House of Horrors was previewed for the next week. Several days later Curtis returned from vacation and found out that in his absence the station executives had cancelled the program. It was replaced by a show called Creature Feature that screened horror flicks without a host or commentary.

Disasterpiece Theater always played the song, Goodnight Sweetheart as Sal drove the Edsel out of the studio at the end of the show. And like the Edsel, Disasterpiece Theatre was ahead of its time, pulled from the market too soon and is now considered a classic.

Additional Disasterpiece Theatre Videos:

Sadly, very little video survives from Disasterpiece Theatre because the budget was so low that the producers had to reuse the video tape by taping over previous episodes. And the video that does survive is very poor quality, because in those days the show was taped off the air and onto VHS. By the time the tapes were digitized they were in bad shape. But for fans of the show, these few clips bring back some great memories.

The Worst of Disasterpiece Theatre #1 

The Worst of Disasterpiece Theatre #2 

The Lion Tamer - Disasterpiece Theatre

Gary Cocker Tribute - Disasterpiece Theatre

Sal reads fan mail - Disasterpiece Theatre

Godzilla fights Anguirus - Disasterpiece Theatre 

Mecha Sal U. Lloyd Disasterpiece Theatre 

Richard Simmons on Disasterpiece Theatre 

Disasterpiece Theatre Preview 

Visit the "Sal-U-Lloyd" YouTube channel here 

Needless to say, if anyone has any old tapes of the show you'd be doing fans a solid by uploading them to YouTube.

Disasterpiece Theatre Theme Song

Well, have you seen any good movies lately?
Well, you're not gonna see one tonite.
I hope you're in the mood for something really lousy.
'Cause if you are just hold on tight.
Well, our boy Sal U. Lloyd is gonna take you on down.
to where the silver screen gets covered with slime.
So come on in, you're just in time for a disaster.
This is Disasterpiece Theater.
This is really gonna be a disaster.
This is Disasterpiece Theater.
Say, you probably never saw anything this bad, boy, in your life.
This is Disasterpiece Theater.
I mean this is really, really rotten. Whoa!
This is Disasterpiece Theater.
Who writes this junk anyway?
This is Disasterpiece Theater.
Oh! Pass the popcorn.
This is Disasterpiece Theater.
Oh! Argh!
This is Disasterpiece Theater.
This stuff oughta be against the law!
This is Disasterpiece Theater.

Disasterpiece Theatre Fans 

Disasterpiece Theater poster made by a fan
Disasterpiece Theatre poster made by a fan

To say I was a "fan" would be an understatement. I really loved the show. I bought the T-shirt and even got an autograph from Sal U Lloyd shortly after the show ended.

Me wearing a Disasterpiece Theater T-shirt in the early 80s
Wearing an "official" Disasterpiece Theater T-shirt in the early 80s

Autograph of Jay Curtis as Sal U Lloyd
Autograph of Jay Curtis as Sal U Lloyd

Jay Curtis Bio

Jay Curtis was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, April 03, 1950. He attended Montclair State University in New Jersey, studying English and later New York University where he studied film. In 1976, he relocated to San Diego where he began working at XETV.

Young Jay Curtis
Young Jay Curtis
After his show ended, Curtis became member services manager for BPME (Promax/BPA) and hosted its video magazine program.

Jay Curtis after Disasterpiece Theater
Jay Curtis after Disasterpiece Theatre
In the early '90s, Curtis came to CBS as its in-house on-air brand manager. Working with the late Ron Scalera in marketing, the network rose to become No. 1 in viewership.

Known as "The Creative Lifeguard" for his talent at coaxing creativity out of people, Curtis also did work for NBC, Fox, the NCAA, the NFL and several other major production houses. He also directed stars David Letterman, Bob Newhart, Dick Van Dyke, Dan Rather, George Clooney, Ray Romano, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Cheech Marin.

Jay Curtis was diagnosed with ALS in 2015. While coping with the disease, he produced two books of poetry, In and Out of Dreaming and Flaws in the Road. On January 26th 2018, Curtis' son, J.T. Curtis announced that Jay Curtis, aged 67 years old, had passed away.