February 15, 2011

Lost Milwaukee #3... Step Right Up!

Let's take a break from death and mayhem for a while... here are a few random adverts from Milwaukee days past.

The Journal was running this contest in 1911. Taken out of context, some of these lines are pretty sinister… “Keep your eye on the Journal… The Journal staff photographer is after you…” I wonder how they asked people to prove they were in a particular photograph. And they even tell you to call in. “Yeah, that’s me, page six, the guy in the hat. Now send me my dollar… and leave me alone!”

OK, first things first… look at this little sketch here. Note the man’s hands. They are already in position to catch his troublesome false teeth, even though they have only fallen a few inches. It would not be possible to react so quickly to suddenly dislodged teeth. Therefore, I can only conclude that this man is not suffering from faulty denture paste. No, he can only be spitting his teeth out on purpose. Probably to scare the grandkids. Anyway… Wernet’s Powder is actually still around, although the boxes don’t seem to mention laughing, singing, coughing, or sneezing.

The Girl Who Did Not Care! The only title card used during this film simply said “Meh…” Hahaha. But really, the original title to this 1916 film was The Sex Lure. It had to be renamed before most cities would allow it to play. The plot involved a rich industrialist who adopts a girl after her father, a worker in the rich man’s factory, is killed on the job. The girl grows up (for some reason) bitter towards the man and gets her revenge by seducing him and busting up his marriage. The message of the film is a clear warning… never, under any circumstance, adopt a girl whose father you’ve killed.

Are you poorly? I like picking up bits of antiquated speech like this. It’s like shopping for retro clothing, only free. The next time I call in sick to work, I’m going to describe my condition as “poorly.” Anyway, this little ad appeared in 1911. Milwaukeeans finally had a cure for clogged bowels and sluggish colons… HOSTETTER’S STOMACH BITTERS. Hostetter’s had been making this little remedy since 1853 and were a well-established national brand by the time this ad ran. Although it is doubtful this potion could actually cure any of the illnesses mentioned in the ad (Malaria… really?!?), it could help out a home bartender in a pinch. The stuff was 94 proof… enough to make you well again, if only for the evening.

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