Past paper, pt. 2

This foldout postcard, from the General Cigar Hall of Magic at the 1964-65 World’s Fair, originates from a bit outside our usual time frame here at Cladrite Radio, but we’re suckers for World’s Fairs:

What strikes us as odd about this postcard is how strongly it’s aimed at kids. We mean, sheesh, the tube against the hand trick? Is this hat taller or wider? That’s Weekly Reader or Highlights-level material.

Not that we’re knocking those publications, mind you. But honestly, was that the way to appeal to cigar smokers in the mid-1960s?

Unless it was true in those days, as is so often the case now, that tobacco companies were trying to rope in new smokers at an early age. It’s just hard to imagine a kid who was nine or ten years old in 1964 opting to take his first puff not from a pilfered Marlboro, but off a White Owl stogie.

Cough cough!

The Karen Files, pt. 8

Another in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the life of our mother:

Our parents were never stuffy—not in the least—but still, some of the stories of their early years together are a little hard to imagine.

We mentioned in an earlier installment of The Karen Files that Karen and Lloyd, for two or three years in a row, operated a temporary fireworks stand with our neighbors and friends, the Youngs.

As we said in that previous post, that scenario puts us in a mind of a never-produced I Love Lucy script in which Lucy convinces Ricky and the Mertzes that selling fireworks is the way to quick and easy riches.

But then, truth be told, we always experienced a sort of transference when watching I Love Lucy (in reruns only, mind you—we’re not that old—though those reruns were ubiquitous in our childhood). We felt, in an odd way, as if we were watching the early years of our parents’ marriage when we watched Lucy and Ricky’s misadventures.

Hi-res version

Not that Lloyd is Cuban (he was born and raised in Oklahoma; still lives there today) or musical (take our word for it—or ask him to sing “Wake Up, Little Suzie,” if you don’t believe us). Nor was Karen a dizzy dame ala Lucy. And theirs was a very equal partnership—it was not the patriarchy that the Ricardo household was.

But Lloyd did have dark, curly hair in those days, piled high as was Ricky’s. And though Karen may have been far less dizzy than Lucy, she was no less fun or sassy.

Still, despite our childish tendency toward conflating the Ricardos with the Leveridges, it’s still hard to imagine our folks operating a roadside fireworks stand. It’s equally hard to imagine them smoking (which we can faintly remember them doing just that—Karen gave up her Kools in the early-to-mid-’60s, and Lloyd, who was always more of a cigar guy, though only at the office, gave up his Swisher Sweets in the early ’70s).

And it’s hard. too, to imagine them in a bowling league. Again, our parents were not snobs, and though their financial circumstances rose and fell with the passing years and the tides of fortune, they were not, strictly speaking, blue-collar workers (Karen did work the night shift at the newspaper for a time in their salad days, though for most of our childhood, she was a homemaker, and as the owner of an automobile dealership, Lloyd came home with grease under fingernails after many a 12-hour day).

Still, the Honeymooners, they were not. But for a while, they did both go in for bowling. The late ’50s and early ’60s were, it seems to us—we have no evidence whatsoever to back this up—the heyday of bowling in the U.S., and if that’s so, it’s not surprising two young marrieds like Lloyd and Karen would want to join in the fun.

We have no memory of having seen either of them in action at a bowling alley, but we do recall encountering, stashed in the back of their closets, those small pieces of luggage that held their bowling balls. We recognize and remember quite well the robin’s-egg blue of Mom’s bowling ball, as seen in the above photo.

We’re guessing this picture was taken in 1959 or ’60. It’s clearly Christmas time, and Mom seems pleased as punch as she shows off her new ball. We remember well, too, the homemade Christmas decoration in the background, a Christmas tree made of a round wooden disc for a base, a wooden dowel rod inserted into it, and layer after layer of decorative netting slid down upon the rod, each a bit smaller in circumference than the one below it. Tiny balls are then attached to the netting and a small cardboard angel placed atop the dowel rod to complete the Christmas tree effect.

We like imagining Lloyd and Karen at 66 Bowl, enjoying a burger, an ice-cold Jax beer and even the occasional smoke, while competing for a league championship at the local lanes.

Pitch perfect: cigarettes

As part of our ongoing look at old advertising slogans, culled from a 1949 book called American Slogans, we today feature a collection of slogans that were utilized by companies that manufactured and marketed >coughcough< cigarettes.

We suspect that no list of slogans we might ever share with you will make us cringe as much as this one does. It probably goes without saying (but we’ll say it, anyway) that we offer this particular group of slogans strictly as a look back at the culture of a bygone era, and not to promote smoking in any way, shape, or form. Quite the opposite. Here at Cladrite Radio, we often celebrate the past, but sometimes we’re about examining, with eyes wide open, the downside of life as it was lived in the first half of the 20th century.

Always better, better all ways (Philip Morris).
America’s biggest cigarette buy (Larus & Bro. Co.), Richmond.
America’s finest cigarette (Philip Morris).
Ask Dad, he knows (Sweet Caporal), American Tobacco Co.

Be nonchalant, light a Deity.
Blended right (Winchester).

Camels agree with me.
Camels ARE milder.
Camels suit your T-zone to a T.

Experience is the best teacher (Camels).

Fine tobacco is what counts in a cigarette (Lucky Strike).
Flavor’s all yours, The (Philip Morris).
For digestion’s sake, smoke Camels.
For real smoking pleasure (Chesterfield).

Have a Camel (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.), Winston-Salem, N.C.
Have you tried a Lucky lately?

I’d walk a mile for a Camel.
If every smoker knew what Philip Morris smokers know, they’d all change to Philip Morris.
If you want a treat instead of a treatment, smoke Old Golds.
It’s moisturized (Raleigh cigarettes).
It’s the tobacco that counts (Lucky Strike).
It’s the tobacco that counts (J. Player cigarettes), England.
It’s toasted (Lucky Strike).
Ivory tips protect your lips (Marlborough).

Judge for yourself (S. Anagyros Corp.), Murad.
Just enough Turkish (Fatima).
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