More of the Way Things Were
“Keep ’Em Smiling Humorous Letterheads”—this is a set of World War II era stationery, illustrated top and bottom with gags, cliches, and stereotypes. The label says three different designs but I found six in the package I have. The first one says “Give Them ‘Hell-O’ For Us!” and features Hitler being blasted out of Berlin with sidekick Mussolini. In the second, “Keep ’Em Running,” Hitler, Mussolini, and Emporer Hirohito of Japan (presumably) are being chased across Europe and Asia by four GIs in the jeep, and headed “right off the map.”
The Porto-Server folks out of Chicago offered 18 colorful sheets of this paper in 1943 for just ten cents.
Far left is “Do That Job...And Hurry Home.” Around about this time it occurs to me that this stationery may be specifically for sending letters to soldiers. Well, OK. Maybe you knew that all along. Sometimes I’m a little slow...
The fourth example is “Bring Home the Bacon” and shows an American tank towing, with a rope, Hitler, Hirohito, and Mussolini. Furthering the reference to bacon, the bottom shows the war’s three main Axis leaders as pigs along with the caption “Three little hams who gotta be cured.”
The fifth one says “Put the Heat To Hirohito” and features a U.S. Navy plane above the surrendering emporer perched on the edge of a sinking ship (or submarine) with a broken and fallen Japanese flag hitting the water.
And the sixth says “Put Them On a ‘Tin Fish’ Diet” and shows a U.S. submarine about to send Hirohito, Mussolini, and Hitler to “Davy Jones’ Locker,” which, in case your knowledge of English idioms is rusty, means the bottom of the sea, or death, for a sailor.
When I came across this Life Savers counter display at a flea market, it made me smile. It offered only four flavors— the first four original flavors— every one a favorite of mine. Pep-O-Mint, Wint-O-Green, Cl-O-ve, and Lic-O-rice. Clove and licorice may have disappeared from the popular taste but not from mine! Oh man, maybe my critics are right; maybe I am stuck in the past. Nah! This display dates from 1913-1919.
This group of three Hayes “Safety Posters” for school classrooms was published by Hayes School Publishing Co., Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, 1961: “A Bus Is Not a Playground,” “Turn TV Off Early, Get Plenty of Sleep,” and “Exercise and Fresh Air.”
And last, this school “teaching picture” is titled “Come Ride With Me.” David C. Cook Publishing, 1965. It is captioned “To teach that children should never get into a car with someone they do not know. Children should be taught to be polite to everyone. But they should be instructed not to talk to strangers or even to those whom they know outside of their own yard.”
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