I’m not sure who it was – it may have been comedian George Gobel – who used to say, “You can’t hardly find them kind no more.” He was referring to things that had become obsolete or no longer had the prominence they once did.
The airwaves used to be flooded with jingles touting some of these products: “Super Suds, Super Suds, extra suds for whiter duds.” Super Suds was a laundry soap back in the 1940s and ’50s. It was actually a soap product, not a detergent, the latter coming along to make laundry soaps obsolete. Along came “Tide’s in, dirt’s out.” And so was Super Suds.
I know it’s been many a moon since you pulled up to a Tydol gas station to fill up with “Flying A” gasoline or add a quart of Veedol motor oil. Tydol was a shortcut for Tidewater Oil Co., which once held a large share of the market but sold out in stages to Phillips 66 and Getty.
Hair care has changed over the years as well. Colgate Palmolive used to have two of the largest-selling shampoos on the market, Halo and Lustre Crème.
“Halo everybody, Halo” went the jingle, “Halo is the shampoo that glorifies your hair, so Halo everybody, Halo.”
Hollywood’s glamour girls were salespersons for Lustre Crème, whose jingle went, “Dream girl, dream girl, beautiful Lustre Crème girl, you owe your crowning glories to a Lustre Crème shampoo.”
Even Colgate evolved during that period. It was originally known as Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Co., but in 1953 Peet got the heave-ho.
And if the shampoo market was changed, what about the men’s hair tonic market? Vitalis was advertised as an alternative to pomades, those greasy hair preparations that once slicked down men’s hair. Then there was Vaseline Hair Tonic, with a greasy lanolin base. And singers warbling “Get Wildroot Cream Oil, Charlie.”
So what happened to the hair tonic market? The Beatles.
Aerosol shave creams, starting with Rise, revolutionized the shaving cream industry. Before that, Burma Shave, famous for its roadside signs (“If harmony/Is what you crave,/Then get a tuba/ – Burma Shave”), led the market with its brushless shave cream, which you squeezed out of a tube instead of whipping it up with a brush.
In the automotive field, long before the Mini-Cooper and the latest generation of subcompacts, there was the Crosley automobile, assembled in Richmond and Marion. It was discontinued in 1952. And the Nash Metropolitan, made from 1954 to 1962. But gas was cheap in those days and their popularity waned.
When I first moved to Indiana in 1951, local beer favorites were Champagne Velvet, made in Terre Haute; Falls City, made in Louisville; and Burger and Hudepohl, made in Cincinnati. Interestingly, I understand these adult beverages have made a comeback.
Commercial markets change with the times. But nostalgia lasts a lifetime.
Jim Bailey’s reflections on Anderson’s past appear on Sunday. His regular column appears on Thursday. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.