Did you know that the first Miss America was 5 foot 1, weighed 108lbs, had a 30 inch bust, 25 inch waist, 32 inch hips and brown hair with blue eyes? In comparison, Evelyn Ay, the 1954 winner, measured: 5'8, 132lbs, 37-24-36. Here is a chart and a picture to demonstrate the perfect female form of the 1950s, as decided by Vincent Trotta, a Miss Universe judge. He claimed that it was proportion, so a woman could be taller or shorter, just proportional.
Ginger Rogers graced the front cover of the October 1935 edition of Popular Songs Magazine. It advertised the lyrics to over 30 popular songs of the mid-1930s!
On the inner cover was a full page illustrated advertisement for diamond engagement rings, wedding rings, watches, and other jewelry for men and women wanting great values by Royal Diamond and Watch of 170 Broadway, NYC. You could could get a diamond engagement and wedding ring set for only $29.75 (approximately $525.12 in 2016 dollars).
The Perfolastic shapewear had a money back guarantee if it did not reduce your waist and hips by 3 inches, and an offer to send a free sample of the perforated elastic material that the girdles were made from. This illustrates the ideal 1930s silhouette of narrow waist and hips, with a small to medium bust.
These next few pages of old pictures are a history of chorus girls and showing skin on stage, from Can Can girls, to to Mae West, to the Zigfield Follies, and the Rockettes.Read More
Here’s an interesting history of pinups in advertising! Showing pictures of billboards from the 1800s-1950s, with a focus on pretty girls in beer advertisements.
The next page shows samples of pretty women used to advertise books and, the latest thing, record album covers. Even classical music “moves off the shelves” faster when an attractive woman is pictured on it!Read More
Here is an interesting history of tobacco advertisements using pretty women and pinups as bait, and to gain broader social acceptance of smoking cigarettes! To explain changes in tobacco advertising, you have to take a historical perspective, which this article explains best. Briefly the history of tobacco ads (according to this 1953 article):Read More
Here is illustrated how two marketing companies used cheesecake pinup, double entendre, and sexual innuendo to sell mens shirts and bed sheets.Read More
Here are shown some lingerie and shapewear ads from the 1800s-1950s. The chemise replaced the corset cover by 1918, although shape wear was still worn in the 1920s to achieve that stylish “boyish” form. The inflatable bra of the 1950s replaced the “Victoria” bosom pad of 1879… such changes in lingerie styles and advertisements!Read More
Hollywood Steps Out is the first old film I’m featuring in this ephemera blog. I found a discussion about 1930s Old Hollywood celebrity caricatures on FaceBook a month ago, and decided to research further.Read More
This set of scans of the 1943 St. Louis Municipal Opera Theater Program includes the seating chart and seat prices in an advertisement for C.L. Finot Inc. Concessionaires. It looks like during WWII, The Muny seated 10,000 people and you could get front section box seats for two dollars, or sit in the back section for 25 cents. This was my favorite page in this set.Read More
Here are more St. Louis beer and brewery advertisements and the synopsis of The Great Waltz from the 1943 St. Louis Municipal Opera Program.
Advertisers in these pages included: Falstaff Brewing Company, Manhattan Coffee, Efficiency Service Co (employment specialists), Griesedieck Brothers Brewing Company, The Circus Snack Bar at the Forest Park Hotel, and the Gaylord Container Corporation.Read More
4 more pages of scans from the St. Louis Municipal Opera 1943 season. These include WWII-era ads for Hyde Park Beer, Coca Cola, Tums, and Kieffer Cleaners. The cleaners advertisement has prices listed, which I think is pretty interesting.Read More
Here are four more pages scanned from the 25th anniversary program of the St. Louis Municipal Opera (now known as The Muny).
The Zodiac Cocktail Lounge and Bar at the Chase Park Hotel advertised Neil Bondshu and his Society Orchestra, Mary Raye and Naldi, Don Tannen (Russian Comedy Song Star), and “Snow White” Sensational Wizard of Tap with Bobby Swain and his “Note-ables”. Entertainment nightly with Joe Karnes and Betty Barr (satirical songs and piano styling). This was probably my favorite advertisement of these pages, because they really gave me a flavor for the type of WWII nightlife and entertainment available here in St. Louis.Read More
Here are 4 more pages out of the 25th Anniversary Program for the 1943 season at the St. Louis Municipal Opera (The Muny). The St. Louis Municipal Opera was started in 1918, and 1943 was the 25th (Silver Anniversary) Season. Included is an advertisement for the musical romance “Rosalie”, an ad for Hunter Meat Food Products (out of East St. Louis Illinois), Philip Morris Cigarettes, Alpen Brau Beer (and KMOX) promotional advertisement, and an ad for Nu Grape Soda (bottled locally by American Soda Water Co.).Read More
Advertising to women, by attractive women! Here are some shapewear and corset ads, with a historical perspective. Gilda Grey and “other famous actresses” endorsing a fat reducing cream in 1923. Gypsy Rose Lee endorsing an electric shaver. Warner Brother’s Coraline Corsets of the 1880s(the corset alone was enough to sell it), versus the more straight fronted corseted shape of 1900 (this advertisement with pretty women) in an ad for Armorside Corsets. Finally, an ad for the “modern” 1950s girdle with stockings and garters which flattened both front and bottom, and could be best illustrated in a photograph.Read More
This expectant mother must have had a heck of a party in the heat of that August of 1962! This was the baby shower for her first child, and I think it was the first grandchild on either side. It’s always extra special to be first (speaking as the eldest child). Here are 9 different vintage baby shower cards from 1962. I love the gentle, cute, illustrations… and, ofcourse, the rhymes inside!Read More