Boiler’s on. Heat in the house. Wife and child made Pumpkin bread. Halloween decorations up. A few trees stripped bare. Fifties are the new 70; 60s are the new 90s. I think I know where this is going.
So. Here’s the thing I did wrong. The latest thing, anyway. Last week at Target I saw an endcap with Halloween-themed Ziploc bags. the designs are very simple, just silhouettes of the three major Halloween figures - the ghost, the witch, the pumpkin. and I thought: that would be a nice little seasonal touch to daughter’s lunches. Done that before; do it every year. There are probably several dozen bagsin the big orange Seasonal Bin downstairs, which I haven't looked into because decorating the house for Halloween is something my wife does. Not out of any great love for the season, but because, well, it's the practice frame for the upcoming holidays. My Fall decorations consists of putting out a small book called "Now It's Fall," which I bought in Grand Central Station in 2002, and read to her a few times when she was very young.
When the snow comes I put the book back in the drawer. It is the Way of Things. Anyway, the design on the Ziploc bags doesn't change. Every year I buy more.
Put the toast in the bag. Waited a day. Nothing.
The next day:
“So, you like the toast bag?” I know what I'm going to get.
Tight, conflicted smile: “I guess.”
“You’re too old for that.”
“Well it’s not like I’m three.”
That’s where we are: anything that seems like something I would have done three years ago is now relegated to the Age of Three. That horrible difficult period when you don’t know if these things are really appreciated in silence, mocked at the lunch table (that’s the most likely option, believe me; rolled eyes, dad thinks I’m three) or just irrelevant.
Don’t you like the false dichotomy, where I tell myself it can’t be all of them?
As unbearably pretentious as this sounds, I had an ah-hah moment today when Terry Teachout tweeted that the soundtrack to “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” really sounded a lot like Vertigo. Well, it’s not that pretentious; Star Trek is involved. But it really did ping something in my head, because I realized that the connection had been swirling around in my mind for years, without ever coming to the fore.
Which is another way of saying I probably never noticed it until he pointed it out. Well then: "Star Trek: the Motion Picture." The great Jerry Goldsmith.
Yes, I think you can hear the similarities.
As long as we’re on Berrnnard Herrmann: I’ve been poking through the work of a Swedish composer, Stenhammer. Not very well known, and as far as I can tell, not top-shelf - one of those local composers who slipped a little local color into the Romantic tradition, a national treasure, and so on. The start of this piece seems very Herrrmannnesque, and not just because Herrmann inherited the musical vocabulary of the late Romantic style. It really seems to prefigure his wistful, brooding style, especially around the 20 second mark.
Product Tuesday, where half a Bleat is padded out to a length of three miles by portions of ads from mid-1950s magazines.
Lady Borden? Is she distinct from Elsie the Borden cow? Is Lady Borden the owner of Elsie?
It’s not necessarily true that it has to be good if it’s from Borden. There’s no iron law here.
Borden made Meadow Gold ice cream as well, but perhaps people didn’t know that was a Borden thing. It was once the nation’s largest producer of dairy and pasta stuff, but they hit a hard patch in the 90s, got bought by a corporate raider, sold the brands, and died. There was a chain of ice cream stores - all gone, of course, but one fellow owned his outright, and hence:
Don’t know her name. I believe she was replaced by a bird, but that’ll happen. The idea was to make you drink more Florida Orange Juice, something that confused me as a kid because they weren’t pushing a specific brand, but a location. I wasn’t aware these things mattered. The ads just made people think “wait a minute, there’s orange juice from other places? Wonder what it tastes like? It could be better. These Florida people seem awfully insecure.”
That’s a lot of Fluffo.
For some reason I know there’s a Fluffo ad done by Mike Wallace. Because this is the 21st century, it should take me about 4 seconds to find it . . . ah. Unembeddable, alas.
French’s, but not the mustard:
You had two choices back then: French’s seed and Hartz Mountain. Which one you used depended on where you bought the bird, and which manufacturer’s reps had plied the owner with free pamphlets on How To Have Fun With Your Parakeet and nice displays. It was a bitter, nasty war, one of those forgotten conflicts that simmer a half a world away.
A rare glimpse of an in-store display:
Now, what might that refer to? A national ad campaign featuring these guys.
The Bulbsnatchers. The struggle against Bulbsnatching had raged for years, and each manufacturer had its own spin. The problem: people took a bulb from a lamp to replace a dead one. Why? Because they were too damn lazy to go to the cupboard for a fresh bulb, or too cheap to buy one. These ads made an association between bulb-repositioning and minor, harmlessly comic criminality.
Note that the crooks wear masks around the house - sorry, the hide-out - so we know they’re crooks.
Gillette had a parrot . . .
. . . because when you think “blades,” you want to think of something with a sharp beak digging into your flesh. His name was Sharpie, and he had a song:
According to a web search, Chuck Jones worked on some portions of the ds.
Bad Karma means really unfortunate reincarnations:
Who ever thought that realism was what these things required? Pants? Short-sleeved shirts - and no head, but a stump that sprays smelly chemicals.
Gone and forgotten. Can't say it any better than this:
This ad uses a stock idea, predicated on the likelihood of a distracted man mistakenly walking onto an I-Beam, which is promptly lofted up, permitting the fellow to stride the girders of a poorly guarded, completely deserted construction site.
Planters made chocolate candies. Rather underwhelming:
The least bit of heat, and the windows would be full of sticky chocolate smears.
Saltines: the box hasn’t changed much. But is the brand name Saltines, or Premium? The latter, I believe.
Golden Glow? They didn’t explain. It was enough to say they had it,
Simoniz your floors with the gay container:
Another household job no one ever does, as far as I know: waxing the floor. This put on a shine that guarded against scuffs. Leading cause of scuffs: children. So just pour vinyl all over everything.