Saturday, November 28, 2015

Holy WTF!

I spend a lot of time looking for seasonal ads and articles to feature on the blog. Like most anyone who is into blogging finds themselves spending time asking the "what next" question and that question sometimes leads you into strange and disturbing places. Such was the fall of 2015 which led me to the ad below.

It's an ad for a Textron, a company which is still in existence today. They started out with textiles and since have diversified, owning properties such as Bell Helicopter. Back in the 40's when this ad ran in Life Magazine they were happy to pimp synthetic pajamas and underwear. At least I assume that was the intention of  what has become known as the ad.

Let's dive in a little, and I'll let the margins run wild so that you get the full effect. Just let it soak in for a few moments...

Nothing like a little homoerotic log-pulling to sell PJ's. Most of the time I chalk the squiggly feeling that comes from some of these ads to the times. There are plenty of sexist, racist, and elitist ads which are truly cringe worthy, but this is something different. A dreamland log-ride must be a euphemism somewhere.

Meanwhile the centaur-deer women are looking on and giggling. Yes, I said centaur deer women. There they are, clad in nothing but antlers and garland. By the way, for those of you who aren't familiar with deer, it's only the fellows who've got the antlers. The rules may be different for half human magical creatures, one can never really be sure about these things. I'm only guessing that Textron consulted the appropriate magic tomes.

The artist is an Austrian by the name of Fredrick "Fritz" Siebel. Fritz came to the US in 1936, fleeing growing unrest at the urging of his Grandmother. He struggled to save his family from Hitler's Nazi forces, but was unsuccessful and they perished at the hands of the Nazis. He went to work for Paramount Pictures where he worked producing movie posters from a New York theater on Broadway.

In 1938 he entered a poster contest sponsored by the Devoe and Reynolds Painting Company and judged by Eleanor Roosevelt. The aim of the contest was to promote the importance of protecting the country's security in the face of escalating foreign tensions, and his winning entry Someone Talked was displayed in Radio City and used by the Office of War Information (a predecessor of the OSS).

Fritz would return to Europe as a member of the United States Army where he served from 1941 - 1943. Thereafter he went on to be an illustrator creating magazine covers and ads for Jello and Joy Detergent as well as (apparently) Textron. He'd later illustrate children's books, hopefully without log rides or centauresses.

So, there you have it, a trip down the weird turnpike.

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