As you’ll see some day in the 50s section, this was part of a series of ads for Gulf. The setting and poses varied, but the message was clear: you’re not going to get dirty at a Gulf station. You can dress the family in blinding whites, and drive the white car to the pump, and no one will have a smudge.

I have nothing to report for the day, it being rote in all respects. Turned in one column, wrote a small feature, fine-tuned another column, and now I’m about to start another. Did a little work on a project that gives me small frustrations, because I don’t know where to put it. The thing steps all over the below-the-fold offerings, but on the other hand,


I’d save it for a Hiatus interval, but I already have one of those in the bank, and no trips planned. So I’ll roll it out here next week. It’s about murder, and architecture, and murder and architecture.









I have interests that last a week, then fade. One week I will spend marinating in 1927; then it's late 60s TV. I don't spend a lot of time on late-60s early 70s variety shows, even though YouTube abounds with them. It brings back childhood.

But. Now and then you see something that cannot be paused, lest you discover it's not real, a hallucination. You have to keep watching.

There’s so much going on in this video. You could write a book.

So: the Young Folk, as far as I can tell, were a creation confined to the Red Skelton show. They were wholesome and clean-cut, and reassured the audience that the peculiar and annoying pop music of the day could be tamed and sweetened, and served up in a familiar way. The song was two years old, so it hadn't started any revolutions. Since it could be seen as folk instead of rock, it was safe; folk was the last pop-music fad the ’68 Red Skelton demographic probably accepted. Most of them had a Kingston Trio record in the cabinet.

Since it’s 1968, though, the network brass (they're always brass, never any other metal) are worried about alienating the youth demo, or at least alienating critics in the New York papers who would slag the show for plowing old furrows. Get with it, man! So we have the lurid colors and happy flowers to symbolize an understanding and appreciation of the new ideas. The set decorator was thrilled to get this assignment. Oh, finally!

(That flower design, by the way, would end up as an iconic graphic symbol of the late 60s and early 70s.)

The problem, of course, is that the Red Skelton demographic is old, and they hate the hippies. At least the men do. The wives like the Young Folk, because the Wives like to think of themselves as more open-minded and friendly to young ideas. So assume the men took this opportunity to get up from the Barcolounger in search of the head, or get another beer, and it’s just the Wife. What might make this special for her?


The girls take his arm and say he’s going to be a flower child. If the Wife’s old crush could be one, well, so could she, right? Not that she would be interested in any of those . . . things they do, no. She’s going to vote for Humphrey (Bob doesn’t know, won’t ask) but she doesn’t like all those hairy young people angry about things. When she was their age it was the Depression and then the war and it’s just not like that now, at all. But it would be fun to be a flower child with Liberace! They would be better flower children. Wiser.

Then there’s the script in Liberace’s head. On one hand, it’s a bit humiliating to appear with these children, when he’s the draw. But he’d been in negotiations to replace the Skelton show over the summer, and this would be a nice bridge. He got chump change for the gig, but if he said “Liberace’s turning on,” and tinkled some ivories, who knows? Whole new generation of fans!

But. His bass reading of “feeling groovy” at the end makes a joke of it all, in case anyone thought “Turning on” meant he would be taking drugs now. No! It just means he’s beating them at their own game, bringing his trademark sunny cheer to counteract all the “protests” and unrest. This “rock” stuff will pass and people will get back to the good music.

You wonder what Red thought. Well, that was special, I guess. God bless.

It’s typical in its strenuously mannered inauthenticity, and it's one of 2,324,034 reasons I don't look back on this era with indulgence. It's cringetopia.



It’s 1946.

Starch! It’s a noun and a verb. Starch! Say it a lot and it becomes weird quite quickly. Starch!


I can tell the source material is the LoC, because they scanned old movie mags at low res, for some reason. Everything looks oddly faceted and melty.

“What a wand did for Cinderella, Pineapple does for old standby dishes.”

Makes them presentable and less filthy?

Early signs of the baby boom:

Smart for dad, or perhaps for her own self-conception, in order to keep her identity still distinct?


Film-finish blended dazzling warmth:

Be incrementally less caucasian, but not dangerously so.


“Why do you have to bring up our death and incorporeality as a frame of reference for EVERYTHING, Bob?”

Leaf, founding the 40s by Sol Leaf, made lots of popular confections. Paydays, Jolly Ranchers, Whoppers.

In the 1990s, Leaf became one of the world's top-ten confectionery companies; it was especially strong in non-chocolate products such as pastilles and chewing gum. By 1993 Leaf was the fourth largest candy producer in North America.

In 1996, the Hershey Foods Corporation acquired the Leaf North American confectionery operations. Over the next few years, Leaf manufacturing and sales became integrated into existing Hershey manufacturing and sales operations, effectively ending Leaf's existence as a separate operating unit in the US.

Can’t have too many brands, you know. People might think less of Hershey if they didn’t know they made Zero bars.

Note how the new serrated surface is a straight line even though it isn’t, except I suppose it is.

I had no idea they made them in concave and convex style. Interesting how Pepsodent decided to choose one and lord it over the others, instead of going along with the prevailing choices and making all three.

Here’s the one who didn’t marry.

No man could tame her like Gayla Hold-Bobs could tame her locks!

Tommyrot! You’re lonely and hot to trot!

Douse yourself with Talc, with liberal abandon! Never ask yourself what the devil “Talc” is! It’s . . . talcum, right? Powdered talcum. So there. Also possibly a carcinogen, although I’m dubious of the lawsuits. Not that I am a lawyer or doctor. But juries go for these things.




That will do! The conclusion of Fab now, with an unnerving twist.





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