Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The good old days

Earlier this year, Medscape ran some awesome 1940's-1950's era medical ads, and I'd like to share my favorites with you (you can click on the link above to see them all).


This one is just awesome. I mean, how better to face the challenges of everyday life and bad hats than to pop amphetamines?

"How does Ellen Sherman do it all? She’s smart. She takes Speed!"



Next is this pic, by the great Dr. Frank Netter. It's called "Ambulance Call" and shows a cheery scene of an elderly lady being hauled off to the hospital while her neighbors gawk.



What product was this advertising? Actually, none at all. Then why, you're asking, was it in a medical journal? Because the picture ("suitable for framing") was sponsored by Chicago's Armour Laboratories, and - get this - was available for FREE to doctors who wrote in and requested a copy for their waiting room. Because nothing gives you more confidence in the doc you're about to see than thinking his last patient was carried away on a stretcher.



Old ads saying that doctors prefer a certain cigarette brand aren't uncommon. This one, however, got my attention.


"70 years from now we'll be sampling pot at the Seattle meeting."

Why? Because here they are pushing them at medical conventions. Yes, out there on the sales floor, between booths selling pharmaceuticals, EEG machines, locums offers, and other stuff... are tobacco companies peddling their wares as a normal part of a medical practice.



Then there's this gem:

"What the fuck? I have to wait another 40 years for them to invent Diet Coke?"

Yes, apparently when the doctor has had a shitty day of irate patients nothing will perk him up more than a paper cup full of tomato juice. Honestly, if someone offered me anything non-caffeinated and/or alcohol-free in that situation... I'd probably throw it at them.

I also have to wonder exactly what kind of refreshment they're REALLY trying to sell... Which leads us to:


This one, about the eternal scourge of armed forces around the world, VD.


"Phil, have the art department make the ampules look more phallic."


Ads like this were actually pretty common in WWII, showing how drug companies (Merck, in this case) were contributing to the Allied victory by keeping winkies and their owners healthy, so they could go get killed somewhere else.



Then for the home front, was this ad intended for Rosie the Riveter. It features (I SWEAR TO GOD!) the top-secret blueprint for... a tampon.



Gotta love the slogan "don't let morale ebb with the flow." Likely the same ad agency that 60 years later thought up "have a happy period."



And last is this one, reminding us that yesterday's health food is today's heart attack. Next thing you know they'll be claiming that cigarettes cause cancer.


"If butter is good for you, straight lard must be even better."



18 comments:

Anonymous said...

About butter -- actually it's much healthier than we ever thought. It's all the rage in the low carb diet world. Haven't you seen last year's Time magazine cover?

http://healthimpactnews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/06/Time-Saturated-fat-Butter-cover-sm.jpg

Don't be surprised if you see a comeback of these ads.

Heidi said...

It looked to me like that pretty young nurse was going to provide the real refreshment...

Lizard said...

I thought those ampoules were condoms at first.

Have you seen this ad:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEcZmT0fiNM

the Hello Flo First Moon Party. Best. Ad. Ever.

bobbie said...

I love anything vintage from the world of medicine ~ these are great!
Off to look at more...

Whelk Lad! said...

Armour Laboratories isn't related to Armour Hot Dogs (both Chicago-based) by any chance, is it? Because that would put the picture of the old lady being taken away in a whole new light...

Anonymous said...

Maybe "sun-rayed" is a euphemism. Like, "Is your Jack and Coke strong enough, or should I sun-ray it a little more?"

Anonymous said...

Clearly, they anticipated bulletproof coffee. Which is better after it's been sun-rayed.

Anonymous said...

Everything goes better with butter! Besides, your surplus lard was recycled into explosives for the war effort.

Veronica Wald said...

Would love to know the years of these historic treasures. I don't remember having seen any of them specifically but the tone and tenor are familiar to me (being of the age to have signed up for Medicare, for whatever that turns out to be worth).

Anonymous said...

I had no idea there was Vitamin A in butter. I thought that coloring packets containing Vitamin A --type additives (which were yellowish in color) were added to artificial butter i.e. oleomargarine, since the stuff looked like animal lard. So, natural butter which is slightly yellow had Vitamin A added to it so that it could look like oleo which was masquerading to look like butter that was masquerading as oleo? (I'm so confused.)

Anonymous said...

Well, that was an interesting exercise. I did not know butter does naturally contain Vitamin A, and its antioxidant property contributes significantly to daily Vitamin A nutritional requirements. The amount depends on how much grass the cow ate, and the color of butter ranges from almost white to a rich yellow. And, clarified butter, is rich in Vitamin A which is why it's slower to become rancid than unclarified butter. Hooray for Wikiepedia. But, whether the coloring packet for oleo contains yellow Vitamin A (carotenoids) is still unclear to me, though I'm less confused than one minute ago. Who knew?

C said...

why isnthe Sunray nurse wearing a Burger King crown instead of a real hat?

Stacey Gordon said...

@whelk Lad... It is the very same. Armour hot dogs, Armour thyroid... etc.. yep same.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Mr Armour was the name of the wheeler and dealer (businessman) competing with Mr Swift & Co. for establishment of the abattoir at Jersey City providentially located near the Pennsylvania Railroad line. Remember your game of Monopoly? Did Armour win? History tells us what happened, but in the meantime, Mr Armour made money off every pig part, including the desiccated thyroid gland extract. (Pharmacists have been grossed out for generations on opening the brand new stock bottle of quarter to five grain Armour Thyroid.) My question for the organic freaks that prefer Armour Thyroid to synthetic thyroxine is, how do you know how much iodine the pig ingested?)

By the way, where do you think Mr. Lilly got his pancreatic extract?

Anonymous said...

Ew. Separated tomato juice. Ew. What sort of ingredient was added to the tomato juice to keep it from separating?

Anonymous said...

Over a year ago, Lane Medical Library at Stanford had a historic exhibit on smoking. It was called "Not a cough in a carload: Images from the tobacco industry's campaign to hide the hazards of smoking." It featured a lot of doctors endorsing smoking.

RehabRN said...

I loved the ambulance ad. Who carries anyone out prone anymore on a stretcher?

Those amphetamines did cure just about everything...the items in the ad and promoted weight loss.

Scary!

 
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