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A Blast From The Past
Ann: While doing some spring cleaning, I came across a book I’d bought many years ago, The Verse by the Side of the Road, The Story of the Burma-Shave Signs, by Frank Rowsome, Jr.
Some of you will remember this clever advertising campaign, which lasted from 1925 until 1963. The rhyming jingles for a brushless shave cream were displayed on a series of small wooden signs spaced 100 feet apart along roadways across rural America.
The company, Burma Vita Inc., was operated by Clinton Odell and his son, Allan, who suggested using the roadside idea. For the first three years, Allan and his father wrote the jingles, but when their poetic muse ran out, they sponsored a nationwide contest, awarding $100 for each of the 25 best. Some of the annual contests received more than 50,000 entries!
Some were naughty and never made it past the first round of judging. Boy, wouldn’t you like to read those entries! By today’s standards, I’ll bet they weren’t that bad!
Here’s one of the most the popular:
He had the ring
He had the flat
But she felt his chin
And that was that.
Wanna take a stab at writing one? We’re not paying any money, but it might be interesting to see a modern take on the jingle. And we’ll share the one we like the best on our next blog!
Here’s Ann’s offering:
His cheeks were covered
In five o’clock stubble
Canoodling with him
Was too much trouble.
Short, balding, chubby
And missing teeth
But with cheeks like baby.
He couldn’t keep the girls away.
Susan: Talking about seeing these signs reminds me of road trips I’ve taken through the years—no fun when I was growing up. Three girls crammed together in the backseat of a mustang with black interior and no a/c. You either sat behind Daddy and got singed by flying ash (he smoked) or in the middle (with him yelling at you to duck your head because he couldn’t see) or behind Mama. He didn’t play the radio. And we drove for hours without a bathroom break. If I didn’t have a book, I read all the road signs. I knew exactly how far we were from the next Stuckey’s, Dairy Queen, or souvenir shop. (Not that we ever stopped) Things changed when I got married. My husband and I used to drive up in the hill country—nothing more relaxing than traveling down those back roads, listening to music, looking at the scenery.
Don’t forget to try your hand at writing a Burma Shave jingle. Leave it in the comments!
Winner of two eBooks from a previous post is Cindy Bright! BIG congrats, Cindy, and thanks for taking the time to read and comment on our blog.
Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames: https://www.anneverett.com