Email Memory Tests

April 25, 2012

I long ago lost count of the “older than dirt” type quizzes that get passed around by people of all ages… I think. I could be wrong on that. Younger folks may be embarrassed by their low scores and simply hit the ‘delete’ button.

In any case, I received another one today and decided to expound on it. (In truth, it has been a while since I’ve added a post to my blog – that brags about something new every day – and this is basically writing itself.)

We begin with Blackjack chewing gum. Do I remember it? Of course. I also remember Bemen’s Pepsin, Clark’s Teaberry, and my father telling me about how he and his friends chewed on tar.

By the way, this “quiz” was a simple one. Do you remember it? Yes or No?

Next on the list was wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water. I don’t know who puts these lists together, but this confection is still available, as is the next item on the list – candy cigarettes.

Now, soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles are from the past, but why stop there? What about the coolers that were filled with icy water and rows of bottles. To purchase a beverage, you reached down and grabbed the bottle by the top and slid it along the metal guides to the point where it could be removed. Inserting the ten cents released the lock so you could pull your choice up and out of the cold water.

Coffee shops or diners with table-side juke boxes? Why is this on any list? They are still in use in various locations. (Of course, with my short-term memory fading fast, I can’t recall where I last saw them, but I know they are still there!)

Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers are easy to remember. My uncle worked for Meadow Gold. They delivered every other day. In between, the Otto milkman made his rounds. If we ever ran short, he was glad to sell us any of his products.

Party lines on the telephone are another thing I remember vividly. To take things a step farther, I wonder how many of my grandchildren have ever seen a telephone with a dial.

I vaguely recall the newsreels before the movie. But I do remember that every movie was preceded by a cartoon and selected short subjects.

My P.F. Flyers were high top. In fact, until I was in middle school I don’t think low cuts had been invented. I could be wrong on that one.

Any one who had a flat top haircut knew Butch wax. Many of us also were very familiar with Wildroot Cream Oil and Bryl-creem.

TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning were there to help us fine tune our set. In addition to the rabbit ears, there were several knobs for vertical and horizontal hold, focus, brightness, and contrast. When we got our first TV, we could watch channel 3 – the Dumont Television Network, or snow.

I don’t know of anyone who ever had a professional model Peashooter. Straws and paper wads served the purpose for us.

Howdy Doody was one of the few TV shows way back then. My favorite show was Captain Video and the Video Ranger. Rocky King was a favorite of my parents.

One should not mention 45 RPM records without talking about one of two associated devices. In order to play those records with the big hole in the middle, you had to either place a plastic disk into each record, or put a large adapter on the spindle of the record player.

S&H green stamps are the tip of that iceberg. We had merchants giving out Plaid Stamps, Blue Stamps, Yellow Stamps, dishes and glasses, dish clothes, and other freebies. Of course, filling up at the gas station meant having a person run out, pump the gas, clean your windshield, check your oil and tire pressure, and offer to walk your dog. (Just kidding about the dog,) All of that service for 18 cents a gallon at the cheap “Fair Price” station. My older brothers always got upset with me for not paying 25 cents a gallon for the ‘good’ stuff. (They fell for the Atlantic Gasoline ads.)

Hi-fi’s were the forerunners to stereos, which were the forerunners of the surround sound, which were… you get the idea. High fidelity sound was a step above opening the louvers on the Victrola.

Metal ice trays with a lever were pretty handy if the freezer in your refrigerator was large enough to handle them. Our freezer could barely hold a half-gallon of ice cream (when it really was a half-gallon).

Mimeograph paper is one item that illustrates the ignorance of teenagers. There never was such a thing. The paper used in a mimeograph machine was plain old typing paper. Calling it a mimeographed copy would be more accurate. And I never knew anyone to get high smelling their test papers.

The blue flashbulb was supposed to reduce the glare caused by the older version of the flash bulb, which was much easier to use than the flash powder of earlier photography. My favorite thing about flashbulbs is that you could peel away the covering after the bulb had been used. It felt like plastic, but I really don’t know what the substance was now why it was used. Perhaps someone who reads this knows and will be kind enough to leave a comment.

How can we think about Packards without mentioning all the other car companies that have gone out of business over the years? Fifty years from now these quizzes will be asking about Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, Plymouths, and who knows which car might be next to go away.

Roller skate keys might still be around. I’ll have to take a closer look in the toy stores.

Cork popguns were one of the many ways mothers thought boys could put their eyes out. We also had guns that fired Ping-Pong balls. Of course, BB guns were on the top of many Christmas wish lists.

Drive-in movies bring back many memories. Many teens went there to watch the submarine races.

Studebakers – refer to Packards above.

Wash tub wringers were a step up from finding a good rock along the river.

And that was the last item on today’s list. That’s good because I didn’t get upset with the mistaken belief that the Ink Spots had a hit recording of “Cab Driver.” For the uninformed, it was the Mills Brothers who made that record.

And now you know that at least one of the answers on those quizzes is most likely wrong. Makes you wonder about others.


Answers to Jingles Quiz

June 2, 2009

Here it is Tuesday and I didn’t need to be reminded! I promised to give the answers to my ‘advertising jingles from the past’ quiz and here they are:

1. What was brewed on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay? National Bohemian Beer. I remember one of their ads where the announcer decided to ask an oyster what he thought of National Beer. The oyster’s answer was, “I’m a clam.”

2. With what product will a little dab do ya? Bryl-creem, a little dab’ll do ya, Bryl-creem, you’ll look so debonair. Bryl-creem, the gals will all pursue ya, They’ll love to RUN their fingers through your hair. This and similar products were eventually given the negative label of ‘greasy kid’s stuff. See number eleven below.

3. What product proclaimed that the wet head is dead? The Dry Look from Gillette. Perhaps the advent of the Remington and Norelco electric razors forced the Gillette Company to produce something other than blue blades and safety razors in order to help men look sharp, feel sharp, and be sharp.

4. What commercial used the phrase, “With a bee and a bi and a bo and a bop”? Sure! That’s Dairy Queen with the curl on top. I remember when the first DQ in our area opened. It stood on the corner of Steuben Street and Foster Avenue and was only open in the summer.

They offered a choice of vanilla soft serve ice cream. You could get a cone, a shake, or a sundae. It would be a few years before they began to dip the ice cream cones into the chocolate sauce. The Dilly bars were unveiled around the same time. The banana splits they offered from their earliest days couldn’t compete with the drug store soda fountains where the three scoops of ice cream were three different flavors. Blizzards and other fancy items were decades in the future.

5. What brand of gasoline kept your car on the go… for business or pleasure… in any kind of weather? Atlantic keeps your car on the go, go, go, so keep on the go with Atlantic. While I was still a young man, the Atlantic stations became ARCO stations.

Another bit of trivia… for years, the Pittsburgh Pirates radio broadcasts had three sponsors: Atlantic gasoline, Iron City beer, and Braun’s Town-talk bread. Their pregame shows were usually sponsored by Harmony Quality-Checked Dairy products. Roberto Clemente did some of their commercials, but he didn’t sing.

6. What star did the man with whom “you could trust your car to” wear? The big, bright Texaco star. Uncle Miltie (Milton) Beryl’s early television show was sponsored by Texaco.

7. What product ‘hits the spot; two full glasses, that’s a lot”? Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, go get Pepsi for the Pepsi bounce. While Coca-Cola was still selling seven ounce bottles in Pittsburgh, Pepsi-Cola was winning over me and my buddies with the twelve ounce bottle. Those nickels were hard to come buy. We tried to get the most for our money. That’s why Lotta-Cola in the sixteen ounce bottles won us over for a while. Brand loyalty meant nothing to us.

8. Besides wanting to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, what did those singers want to buy the world? Surely you guessed this one by now! Coca-Cola. It was a great commercial, but they needed larger bottles to convince most Pittsburghers.

9.What product’s commercials invited you to “Be happy, go Lucky, it’s light-up time’? LS/MFT – Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco. For many years, ‘Your Hit Parade’ was sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes. In my youth, Lucky had another slogan – “Lucky Strike green has gone to war!” The red circle in the center of the pack had been green, but the green die was needed for our military. At least that’s what the marketing department said. For the truth of the matter, check out Wikipedia’s explanation.

10. What car did Dinah Shore want you to drive when she invited you to “See the U.S.A.”? In your Chevrolet, American is asking you to call. Drive your Chevrolet through the U.S.A., America’s the greatest land of all. With GM in so much financial trouble, you might want to hurry out and buy that new Chevy while they’re still being manufactured.

11. What product was Charlie warned about from the standpoint that he’d have a “tough time keeping all the gals away”?  Get Wildroot Cream Oil, Charlie, it keeps your hair in trim. You see it’s non-alcoholic, Charlie, it’s made with soothing lanolin. You’d better get Wildroot Cream Oil, Charlie, start using it today. You’ll find that you will have a tough time, Charlie, keeping all those gals away. This was one more brand of ‘greasy kid’s stuff’.

12. What product’s ads included a beaver singing “Brusha, brusha, brusha”? Ipana tooth paste. According to Wikipedia, you’d have to go to Turkey if you wanted to buy some, although I’m sure you could find a way to order it over the Internet and have it shipped to your home.

13. What product was sold based on, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is”? Speedy Alka-Seltzer. They later had a commercial with a man sitting on the edge of the bed repeatedly saying, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” His wife reminds him that he did, indeed, eat the whole thing and suggests he take some Alka-Seltzer.

14. What was “Dad’s Old Fashioned”? Root Beer. It came in three different sized bottles. The ‘junior’ size, the ‘mama’ size, and the ‘dad’s’ size.

15. Which was the ‘foaming’ cleanser that “washed the dirt right down the drain”? Ajax. As I recall, it competed with Babo, Bon Ami, and Comet. When the University of Pittsburgh built round dormitory buildings in the early 1960’s, the students quickly named them “Ajax” and “Babo” and “Comet”.

As I listed the answers, a flood of memories came rushing in. Perhaps the answers stirred some memories in our older readers. Hopefully they’ll share those thoughts by clicking on the comments below.

I also realize that some of these products are still available. Some may have had a face-lift or even a name change. If you have information, please share it with us.

Thanks again.