Memories In Black & White (And Some Color,Too)


The little boy with the great rhythym was actually Ernie Ford’s son, Brion.

Salva Laundry Detergent always looked like a big aspirin tablet. And if memory serves, it never completely dissolved.  Putting on a shirt to go out to play and discovering a smeared, white streak of dried soap granuals on clumped on the front was common place.  

Actor, Wally Cox shilled for Salvo in TV commercials in the late 50’s and early 60’s.  I searched for a commercial with that odd looking little man (early TV’s equivalent to Buck Henry), but with no such luck.

Sunday mornings in the Days of Three Network TV was horrendous.  “Lamp Unto My Feet” and other religious programming wasn’t what a six year old would consider to be entertainment, but since we kids usually got dressed first, we had to do soemthing that wouldn’t allow us to get dirty before being wisked off to dogma incarnate…AKA “Mass.  

Watching TV worked just fine.

This was about the only thing to watch and while I don’t remember much of about the show, I never forgot the swingin’ intro.   It came on and we could only watch a few minutes of before having to leave.

This was about the only thing to watch and while I don’t remember much of about the show, I never forgot the swingin’ intro.


In Small Town, South Texas, the Catholics kicked into ecumentical gear around  9:30 Sunday mornings…or was it 10???  Either way, we ALWAYS beat the Protestants at Sunday dinner at the restaurants we knew as Green Diamond or Barth’s in Kenedy

Listen to the voice of Linus.  Is this someone trying their damnedest to sound like Sheldon Leonard????

Well, it sounds like Sheldon Leonard, because it WAS Sheldon Leonard.  Loved the cereal; loved the cartoon with Linus, but never knew that was old Shel.

Back in the early to mid 60’s, the brain trusts employed by Madison Avenue didn’t really care what was happening in terms of civil unrest in those war-torn civil rights starved places like Selma Alabama.  In fact, they didn’t care much about any place where main stream Middle White America wasn’t.   

So, it should come as no surprise that racial stereotypes and uh…honest to Pete “ethnic labelling” could be found on Funny Face powdered drink packets.   Innocent or not, it was there, but someone called foul and the commercial had a broadcast life of only a few days.    But if memory serves, racism never tasted so good and save for the cancer causing Cyclamates thus stuff contained, it was always a great Summer thirst quencher.

God, I haven’t seen this Calgon commecial in decades.  I remember the woman in the backseat pushing a button and the floor of the limo gives way to a tub.  The announcer kept referring to it as a “beauty bath”.

I remember this anti-smoking PSA.   Here’s another example of the groovy jazz flute.

I remember this commercial.  Do you?


Only 49 cents?   A box of Mr. Bubble ONLY cost 49-cents????   Did I hear that correctly??   Whoa.  

And by the way,  did you know that computer keyboards don’t include include the cents symbol any more?   They don’t and probably haven’t for years and few, if any, noticed. 

Go ahead and look down at yours.  

I’ll wait.

And finally, there’s this classic PSA that’s an indellible part of TV watching memories of childhood.

Interesting factoid about the Iron Eyes Cody, the man who potrays “He Who Canoes Through Pollution”.    He wasn’t Native American at all.

Cody was born as Espera Oscar de Corti and in Kaplan, Louisiana.  Yes, he’s a Southern Boy, to boot..   His parents were fresh off the boat from Siciliy, intent on making a new life in the new work.    They owned a grocery store in nearby Gueydan, Louisiana where little Espera Oscar was raised. 

During his childhood in Louisiana many Italian Americans were being lynched by the Anglo-Irish community, due to racial hostility towards Italians. Cody was drawn to the Native American people finding comfort/similarities for himself in their struggle. He later changed his name to Tony Cody, and from then on lived his life as if he were of Native descent.   He became an actor and portrayed Native Americans throughout his TV and film career.   Cody married a woman of Native descent.   Very few knew that he wan’t Native American and in fact,  Italian…and Sicilian, no less.  

He died in 1999.

Lastly, Iron Eyes Cody was the subject of an episode of “The Sopranos” a few years ago.  In the episode titled “Christopher” in 2002,  the character known as Ralph Cifaretto (Joseph Pantoliano) threatens to expose Cody’s apparently still-unknown Sicilian ancestry as leverage against anti-Columbus Day protests by a Native American group in New Jersey. 

When the gambit fails, the Native American group fires back.  They announce that James Caan, who played Sonny Corleone in “The Godfther”, isn’t Italian either.

So there.


One comment

  1. Ahh me, I remember all of those commercials… but you left out Excedrin Headache Number 48… “Mother Please, I’d rather do it myself!”

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