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Forgotten Advertising Characters of the Era

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by LizzieMaine, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. Elsie was based on a real cow, selected as the star of the Borden exhibit at the New York World's Fair in 1939. She was displayed on a futuristic automatic milking machine that revolved on a turntable before an awed audience, many of whom had likely never seen an actual cow in the flesh.
    She became very much a media celebrity, guest starring on radio shows and movie shorts, and getting her portrait painted --


    Borden immediately made her their advertising mascot, surrounding her in a long series of ads with a thick-necked bumbling husband named Elmer -- who eventually got his own brand of glue -- and a calf called Beulah, who became spokesbovine for Borden's Hemo, a flavored malted-milk powder product.

    Elsie's real name was "You'll Do, Lobella," she was seven years old when fame called, and she lived on a farm in Plainsboro, New Jersey. She was killed in a car accident just outside Rahway, NJ, on April 16, 1941 while on her way home from a vaudeville engagement.
  2. Clearly, Elmer tired of the life of bovine celebrity before Elsie did.


    Just to be clear, a cow is entreating her husband, also a cow (bull, whatever), to remedy his clear case of jaded fatigue with a dairy product. It gives new meaning to the notion, "I made it myself."

    Oh, what the hell, we already did poison condoms.

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  3. ⇧ We touched on it earlier in this thread, but those cows look creepy to me. If drawn anew today, Elsie and Elmer would look better to "us" today. There's something to the view that each generation has its own style as to what looks "right" or, at least, not creepy in these images.
  4. The thing that always bugged me is that they walked on their hind legs like people, but they still had hooves instead of hands and feet, so they looked like prancing creatures out of Greek mythology or something. If they had been drawn always wearing shoes and white gloves like animated characters, they might have been a little less unsettling. Plus they never did master drawing Elsie's face -- she was much better looking in the flesh, at least for a cow, than the drawings made her look.

    Plus there were certain anatomical issues that forced them to draw the characters in ungraceful poses in order to conceal certain facts of life. If they had drawn them in a more cartoony style they could have avoided these issues, but drawing them with a realistic bovine anatomy forces them to confront the issue of certain prominent features that bovines posess, yet which might sully the family-oriented reputations of America's fine weekly magazines.

    This was the same issue which, thirty years earlier, had confronted the manufacturers of Bull Durham smoking tobacco -- who were forced by public opprobrium to place a "modesty fence" in such a way as to obscure certain aspects of their spokesbull's personality.

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  5. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    So THAT's why George Bailey refers to his small daughter, Zuzu, as "my little gingersnap"!!! In '46, when It's a Wonderful Life was written and filmed, there would have been a lot of adults (including director Frank Capra and the other screenplay writers) who remembered this from their childhoods.
  6. Yep. Zu-Zu Ginger Snaps were hugely popular in the 1910s, the years of "George Bailey's" childhood, and remained on the market under that name until the 1970s, when Nabisco decided to just call them "Ginger Snaps."


    Zu Zu the Clown in all his glory would never have approved being reduced to a mere sketchy abstraction.

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  7. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    In our radio-on-stage productions of IaWL, some years ago, we cast members (you know how actors are!) had a lot of fun with that "my little gingersnap" line. "Zuzu, my little Klondike Bar . . ." "Zuzu, my little roach-coach burrito . . ." "Zuzu, my little hummus-and-lard pita pocket . . ."
  8. Bugguy

    Bugguy One of the Regulars

    Two of my favorites... remember, just a little dab will do you (when I had hair):


    And Big Boy - still in the land of the living.

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  9. Lizzie, being about the same age, do you remember Zu ZU? I don't - they've always just been Ginger Snaps to me. We had Ginger Snaps in our house regularly in the 70s. I'm wondering if I just missed the "Zu Zu" cutoff, or was Zu Zu there, but I simply was too young and don't remember it.
  10. I do remember those little kiddie-size boxes of Zu Zus, but it was fairly early in the 70s when the Zu Zu branding disappeared. When I got older and realized how big a brand Zu Zu had been in its time, I was surprised they'd let go of such a famous trademark. But there seems to have been a plan for uniformity in their packaging for a whole line of kid-type "snaps" in different flavors around that time, including Chocolate Snaps, Chocolate Chip Snaps, and Vanilla Snaps, packaged in a white or two-toned box with a cartoony face superimposed over the cookie and the cookie flavor in that nursery-school lettering.

    They couldn't use Zu Zu as the mascot for this whole line because he was so indelibly identifed with ginger snaps, and just using him on the ginger-snap box disrupted the uniformity of the rest of the boxes, so there you go. "Thanks for your service, old fellow, but we must move with the times. Pick up your check at the cashier's office -- oh, and could you drop this letter in the mailbox on the way down?"

    Nabisco ginger snaps are among the products to survive Kraft's relentless purging of the line, and they're still pretty much the same cookie as they were in Zu Zu's day. But these days the only clowns at Nabisco are the ones in the front office.
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  11. Lizzie's absolutely right that those Ginger Snaps were part of an entire line of Nabisco "Snaps" cookies in those little boxes. And I have photographic evidence: back in 1964, nothing made me happier than a Superman comic book and some Chocolate Chip Snaps!

  12. Cool stuff. We were a big packaged cookie family - very few escaped our notice - but I don't remember any snaps other than Ginger Snaps.

    I do remember a brief period of "Berry Best" (I think that's how it was spelled) which was a line from the Berry company (some bigger company eventually bought them out) of "better quality" versions of their cookies. I hoovered many of their chocolate chip "best." Does anyone else remember them?
  13. Thank you and you are correct on the spelling. Great page.

    First, these are the cookies I consumed huge amounts of as a kid:


    And the page you sent me to had many great forgotten cookies - these were ones I absolutely loved:


    Hard to believe a marshmallow sandwich cookie (brilliant) couldn't sustain a presence in the marketplace.
  14. You can still get Mallomars, sometimes, which are similar but not identical -- they're enrobed in chocolate, but there's still a cookie, chocolate, and marshmallow.

    Nabisco is a company that has let more good concepts go by the side of the road than just about any other I can think of, due largely to it being engulfed by various conglomerates over the past forty years or so. Kraft is the worst, but R J Reynolds had no business making cookies and crackers either.

    And of course, Nabsico has had more than its share of oddball characters in its advertising. The company that couldn't find a place for Zu Zu the Clown had plenty of room for in the 1970s for Cookie Man...


    Secretly "Mort Meek," a nebbishy little fellow with glasses, Cookie Man rushed, in the campiest Adam West Batman style, to the aid of anyone in need of a Chips Ahoy cookie in a long series of TV commercials in the sixties and seventies. Where is he now? Where is his grim and gritty big-screen revival? And why is he wearing baseball stirrups?
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  15. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    I don't know if the Jolly Green Giant still appears on canned vegetables or not but somewhere west of Minneapolis, out New Ulm way, you used to pass a sign that said you were entering the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant. I remember the valley part of the advertising better than the giant: good things from the valley.

    As far as American's fine weekly magazines, I'm certain that many of the photos published in Life and Look magazines would be considered a little too racy, if not downright pornographic, to appear in a family oriented magazine. But in the case of Look especially, I think there was an intentional tilt in that direction for the sake of circulation. On the other hand, many things we used to take for granted down through the 1960s, like taking a shower after gym at school, were never given a second thought and were really quite innocent--I think.
  16. We almost always have a box of Mallomars in the house - and they are a good cookie - but (becomes I'm insane about this stuff) they aren't the same as the marshmallow sandwich cookie. The marshmallow sandwich didn't have chocolate so it captured a more vanilla taste.

    Plus, the cookies in it were fluffier and softer than the Mallomar one. Mallomars are more of a cross between a piece of candy and a cookie; the marshmallow sandwich was a pure cookie and (and to your point about dropping a great concept) really didn't have a direct competitor.
  17. vitanola

    vitanola My Mail is Forwarded Here

    BONZO, the Crosley Pup:


    Buster Brown (and his dog Tighe):


    Leyndecker's Arrow Collar man:


    The Fisk Tire Boy:
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  18. vitanola

    vitanola My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Reddie Wilcolator. (REDDIE WILCOLATOR??)

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  19. 3fingers

    3fingers Practically Family

    I was a Poll Parrot kid.
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