Step Right Up, Amigos – Have a Coke!

Drinking Coke was synonymous with fighting the enemies of freedom and democracy. Vintage WWII Coca Cola Ad 1945

Drinking Coke was synonymous with fighting the enemies of freedom and democracy. Vintage WWII Coca Cola Ad 1945

The heartbreaking tragedy on the Leyte Island of the Philippines which bore the brunt of the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan has a special relevance today when we honor our veterans. Thoughts go back to another fall day, October 1944 when General Douglas MacArthur landed on that very same island keeping his promise “to return” and liberate the Philippines.

Wherever the American army went so did Coca cola.

Coke went to remarkable lengths to make sure their soft drink was never far from the front lines, wasting no time in running an ad celebrating our shared victory in the Philippines.

“Naturally Filipinos thrilled when their Yankee comrade-in-arms came back to the Philippines,” the copy for this 1945 Coke ad declares.

“Freedom came with them.”

“Fair play took the place of fear. But also they brought back the old sense of friendliness that America stands for.”

Now the Filipinos need us again

Let us not forget that Filipinos bravely helped our American soldiers, let us not forget them now. We shall return…with help.

 

 

 

Siri – The Voice with a Smile?

Welcome home Mac! The first Mac Pro to be Made in America will be unleashed in December. This news got us to thinking about all things Mac and we zoomed in on Siri because the real voice of Siri was recently uncovered.

Siri Speaks!

Exactly two years after Siri made her auspicious debut on October 4, 2011, the mystery woman’s identity can now be revealed. Apple’s voice activated virtual assistant never quite took off in popularity the way Apple envisioned her, but the closely guarded identity of the oft time snarky Siri has been widely speculated.

According to CNN, she is an Atlanta based voice over actress named Susan Bennett.

Though Apple is being cagey and won’t confirm it, the sleuths at CNN found audio forensic experts to back up the actresses claim.

Would You Repeat That Again?

Staying connected with the assistance of a disconnected female voice is nothing new.

Once upon a time, the alert, courteous voice of the telephone operator was known to everyone who used the telephone. Siris’ snippy voice and quirky personality stands in contrast to the golden age of telephone operators who possessed the “voice with a smile.”

The Voice With a Smile

Bell Telephone Ad 1940

Vintage Bell Telephone Ad 1940s The familiar "Voice With a Smile' operator

Telephone operators were known for their courtesy. “It’s nice to pick up the telephone,” ads would point out, “and hear an alert friendly voice come over the wire.”

“The voice with a smile” was the familiar AT&T slogan used from the 1930’s through the 1950’s . The ads visualized the cheerful sound of the company’s female operators painting a pretty face on the happy voice of the phone worker.

The speech of operators was firmly regulated through strict codes of appropriate responses enforced by supervisors listening unannounced on operators line.

“Operator ~ May I Help You?

"The Bell system appreciates your patronage, and tries to deserve it"

From the beginning, the occupation of switchboard operators was almost exclusively female. Women were valued not only because of their gentle voice, and nimble fingers , but as an added bonus, they worked for lower wages.

According to Lana Rakow in “Women and the Telephone.” an article in The American Telephone Journal of 1902 explained why female operators were desirable: “The dulcet tones of the feminine voice seem to exercise a soothing and calming effect upon the masculine mind, subduing irritation and suggesting gentleness of speech and demeanor, thereby avoiding unnecessary friction”

What Number Did You Want?

Vintage Bell Telephone Ads

From the 1930’s through the 1950’s AT&T recruited female employees through popular women’s magazines such as American Girl, Senior Prom and True Story, appearing next to ads for weight loss, feminine itch relief and bust creams.

Ads emphasized how important women were to the telephone industry. “170,000 women are employed by the Bell system,” one ad stated. “More than half of the 315,000 employees of the Bell System are women. They are your friends and neighbors- living in the same section of the country. They average length of service is about ten years.”

Perhaps courtesy and manners have gone the way of the telephone, which itself is beginning to feel rather antiquated.

 

Do Family Farms Still Matter?

Gaining Ground This article first came to our attention from our friends at I Support Farmers Markets, but originally published in Parade. We wanted to share this remarkable journey taken by author/farmer Forrest Pritchard.

As my friends headed off to graduate school, I pointed my dusty pickup toward the farm. My college advisors shook their heads with well-meaning disapproval. “Go ahead,” they admonished. “Get your hands dirty for a few months. But when you’re ready to decide on a career, the real world will be waiting for you.

But this is the real world, I insisted. It’s a world of sunshine and rain. It’s a world of physical work and sweat, and the sweet satisfaction of nurturing life from the earth. A few weeks back on the farm, I was sunburned and filthy and utterly blissful. Most importantly, I was certain that I had made the right decision.

I projected our bills for the coming winter, and knew that we needed ten thousand dollars to carry us into spring. That summer, we planted the farm with corn and soybeans, abandoning our traditional cow pastures for the quicker financial return of grain. The meadows were killed off with herbicide, and the rolling hills cultivated.

In October, trucks whisked away our glittering corn and soy. I was so proud of what we had accomplished: We had saved our family farm. Later that week, I received our paycheck and tore open the envelope.

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A Soaring Economy

america-economy-50-swscan015811

The Soaring American Economy Special issue Life Magazine 1/5/53

The soaring economy of post war America was the gold standard for the American Dream.

The people of Mid-Century America had never been more prosperous, never had Dad, the breadwinner, taken home so much money.

The soaring strength of the roaring bull market was at an all time high symbolizing confidence in the Capitalist system. American industries were the symbol of our strength, and like the biceps of the healthy and strong, spoke of the wisdom of our ways.

In early January of 1953 Life Magazine published a special issue devoted solely to the booming American economy. Entitled “The American and His Economy,” it was an unabashed love letter to this record-breaking economic splendor.

A Land of Good n’ Plenty

economy-capitalist-profits

Mid-Century Businessmen were sitting pretty (L) Illustration from Martin Aircraft 1946 (R)

“During the past dozen years or so,” the magazine begins in an introduction written by social historian Frederick Lewis Allen, “we have been watching in the United States something close to a miracle…The once sick American economy has become the wonder of the modern world.”

The articles then go on to boast: “In two decades the U.S. has by-passed the methods and exceeded the goals which old-fashioned socialism had set up as ideals for an economic society.”

“It has achieved instead something totally new and something infinitely better.”

“More or less unconsciously the nation has pulled off a major social revolution. The means to this end have been historically unique, a process mainly of grading society up from the bottom rather than down from the top.”

american-dream-post-war-abundance

American Abundance for all Vintage ad Wheaties sweepstakes 1958

“Most of the change has been wrought by a simple but bold economic idea: more of everything for everybody.”

“It is an idea of production and consumption rather than conservation and thrift.”

“Some of the results are far-reaching:

  • More Americans now own their homes than rent.
  • Since 1929, the US has moved halfway toward equality of income for all members of the population.
  • The US has reached a state almost unique in history where increase in population means increase in prosperity.

 The 99%

For Mr and Mrs America, the factory workers, engineers, housewives and business managers, the issue never lets us forget that, “the US is still a place to get rich quick and honestly.”

A Confident Future

economy-capitalist-wall-street

Money to Burn in a Booming Economy (L) Vintage illustration Wall Street from “The Romance of Capitalism” 1958 by Donald Cooke (R) Money to burn illustration from vintage American Airlines ad 1953

And finally, to answer for the reader the most important question of all about their economy the article asks: “Where are we going from here and what will happen to me?”

According to the giddy experts, there was no end in sight for this soaring economy.

The bull in our soaring bull market was a symbol that the US could compete and win.

And in this land of good and plenty one thing we were never short of was confidence.

A Bull Market Indeed!

Copyright (©) 20013 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved

 

Deserve A Glance Back?

Born In the 60s

Just finished reading two wonderful posts, America World Peace Keeper, by our very own contributor, Sally Edelstein, and Pushing America’s Reset Button by Maggie Van Ostrand. Both author’s reflect on our country’s “good old days,” when America garnered the respect of the world and was considered the Ambassador of Peace and when “Made in America meant the product might even outlast the buyer.”

There seems to be a lot of action on Facebook lately with postings like the image above, or this one:  “For Anyone who was born in the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s…We are the last generation who played in the streets. We are 1st who played video games. We walked over a mile with no worries on being taken. We learned how to program the VCR before anyone else. We played from Atari to Nintendo. We are the generation of Tom and Jerry, Looney Toons and Captain Kangaroo. We traveled in cars without seat belts or air bags. We were taught to say please and thank you, and to have respect for our elders. We were taught to say ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’ and to lend a helping hand to those in need. We were taught to hold the door for the person behind us, say ‘excuse me’ when it’s needed and to love people for who they are and not for what we can get from them. We were also taught to treat people the way we want to be treated.” We did not have flat screens, surround sounds, facebook, twitter or computers. Nevertheless, we had a great time!”

Is it because we are becoming weary and frightened by the explosion of fast technology and the way the world may be headed, or are we just looking back through rose-colored glasses?  What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Graphic (not including words) by www.spreadshirt.co.uk

Back to the Future

Back to the FutureA better life in the future is, in effect, the promise made by all advertising.

Beginning in the dark days of the Depression and accelerated during the War years, many American businesses adopted the future as an explicit leitmotif in advertising.

Especially during the deprivations and sacrifices of WWII, the glittering promises of a post-war world filled with unheard of conveniences and an abundance of tantalizing technological advances as presented by Madison Avenue, gave hope to a war-weary public.

Tomorrow’s Living Today

In the post-war push button dream world, a man would travel in 300 mph trains, translucent automobiles, four-decker planes, helicopters, buses equipped with cocktail lounges and amphibious jeeps. Television would bring the world to his living room, and he could transact his business by walkie-talkie while bagging a brace of ducks.

It was to be a world in which stockings never ran, fabrics never had to be washed, and intercommunication systems eliminated the need for a babysitter. Pants would never shine or lose their crease even in the rain since a man would ordinarily own several dozen synthetic suits, which after a wearing or two, he would roll up in a ball and fire into the automatic garbage disposer.

To read the entire article pick up the latest issue at Barnes & Noble or Book World Stores.

Envisioning the American Dream