Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hairless Joe, 1957, All Gussied Up

Found recently at a used book seller in Ann Arbor, on the way to Montreal: A copy of the premier issue of Trump magazine, January 1957.

The magazine had and has nothing to do with Donald Trump, but was instead a two-issue-only title by Harvey Kurzman, the founding editor of Mad magazine.

It's fun to look at generally, but I especially liked the fake ad on the back cover:

The copy reads:
Beautiful Hair
B   E   C   K
A name widespread—because mainly is too much spacing between letters

We are planning to change our brand name to BECKFLUTEN so’s we can fill out space up there better. Anyhow—if you want to look like the girl in the Beck ad, make sure you use the right Beck Shampoo on your head, make sure you rinse out thoroughly, and make sure you are a nice looking’, wet-blue eyed blonde, or it’s no use. If for any reason you’re dissatisfied, just go to the store where you made your original purchase, and say—‘Hey! I want my money Beck!’

Your local Drug Store carries Three different Beck Shampoos for Three different types of Hair—Dry—Oily—and No
(All capitalization is shown as in the original text.)

That last bit about the three different shampoos is helpfully illustrated in the bottom left corner:

It's hard to make out in my photo of the 1957 printing, but the contents of each bottle reflects the name. The inside of Dry looks like sand, Oil is running out onto the tabletop, and No Hair is furry.

The ad format, for those under 50 or so, is a reference to the Breck shampoo ads that ran well into the 1960s, featuring pastel drawings of blonde, blue-eyed women with luxurious hair. (Starting in the late ’60s, the ads started featuring models instead of real women, and finally arrived at a brunette some time in the 1970s, around the same time they switched to photography.)

The Trump parody version shows us the character Hairless Joe from the Li'l Abner comic strip. If you try to search his name to see what he looked like, you will find only one image of him, accompanied by another character that is a racist stereotype I don't want to reproduce here. It's odd that there are no other images of Hairless Joe in all of the interweb.

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