September 22, 2010

"Jean [Harlow] did not like to wear bras and was advised by her mother to ice her breasts to keep them firm."

"Similarly, she did not like to wear underwear because she disliked lines and she also preferred to sleep in the nude. Although these clothing practices were considered racy, especially due to her sex-symbol status, she actually approached them with a child-like freedom from confinement."

That all makes sense to me. Except the part about ice!

I ran across that by accident after searching — unsuccessfully — for the old Clairol ad with the tagline "If I have only one life, let me live it as a blonde." While it made being blonde seem awfully important, I always thought it was bizarre to remind us that we're all going to die. How much compensation for that calamity could we get out of blondeness?

Another commercial from the same era tried to encourage us to use the product (Schlitz) with: "You only go 'round once, and you've gotta grab for all the gusto you can."



Wow. They really rub it in with the sharks that ate the guys in the shipwreck. Must drink beer! I guess it takes a heavier hand to use death as leverage against guys.

Anyway, what's this post about? Freedom, commerce, death as an incentive to live, an icy brew and... for the adventurous: icy breasts!

40 comments:

SteveR said...

Great commercials, lousy beer. Of course it was cold and its the only beer around, it was perfectly ok.

Ron said...

Due to the restrictions about how much cleavage could be shown vis a vis the Production Code, actresses would wear backless evening gowns to imply a lack of a bra. (See Ginger Rogers in the "Night and Day" sequence in Gay Divorcee for example)

So it wasn't just Harlow....

Misty said...

Except for the ice (unless it's to keep the beer in), sounds like excellent advice.

Quaestor said...

Schlitz was already moribund in 1971. Those "gusto" commercials were a bid for relevance in a market beginning to see boomer dominance.

Schlitz in oliver drab cans was the comfort of choice for the members of the greatest generation who took there place on the battle-line. Hippies just never warmed up to Schlitz, so it died.

I don't quite get the Harlowe tie-in, however. Did she promote Clairol?

(BTW - Elvis was a famous Clairol user. His natural color was dirty blond)

The Drill SGT said...

you got any harlow tit photos?

althouse, all talk, no photos

The Drill SGT said...

advised by her mother to ice her breasts to keep them firm.

and the proof is that all these 70 year old braless Eskimo grandmothers have cone shaped titties?

c3 said...

Another great beer ad.

Lousy beer, but if you're going to get sh*t-faced its the one

El Pollo Real said...

Mention of Schlitz brings back fond memories of visiting Milwaukee as a kid, when the brewery was still in operation.

It also reminds me of a German drinking buddy who once said "No real German would ever name his beer Schlitz now." I believe I alluded to the reason once back here.

Gusto for blondes, diving for treasure, it's all so nostalgic for me. :)

Lonetown said...

Schlitz famously flamed out with a commercial likening its customer base to a cougars lunch. If my memory is correct (probably not) a single ad buy of this ad finished them off.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

and the proof is that all these 70 year old braless Eskimo grandmothers have cone shaped titties?

See Palin, Sarah.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

After my Grandmother died at a young age, my Grandfather entered a 2nd marriage that lasted the next 46 years. My step-Grandmother was a young woman in her late 20s at the time. When I was 16, I asked her why she never had children of her own. She told me a horror story that also had to do with ice.

Apparently, her mother would make her sit on a block of ice for several hours whenever she started her period. She believed the ice would clot menstrual blood. I'm not sure I get how this took away her childbearing ability, but according to my Grandmother, after 3 months in a row of ice sitting, she never had another period. She would have reached puberty some time in the early 1900s.

Bob_R said...

Was Harlow in any films worth watching? I've seen clip of some of them, but I don't think I've seen any of them all the way through.

ricpic said...

...she did not like to wear underwear because she disliked lines...

What good luck it is to be a man and not have to consider anything beyond comfort in clothing.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't quite get the Harlowe tie-in, however. Did she promote Clairol?"

If you click on the link, you can read that her hair achieved its trademark platinum blonde color using "a mixture of peroxide, ammonia, Clorox and Lux Flakes -- an extremely painful and harsh process."

So, I don't think there was any Clairol then. There wasn't even any TV.

She died in 1937 at the age of 26 — of kidney failure resulting from the scarlett fever she had as a child.

There was no Clairol then, and there was no dialysis or kidney transplanting.

Poor Baby!

ironrailsironweights said...

Of course, back in Harlow's day adult women actually looked like adult women. Not like pre-pubescent little girls. God damn it.

Peter

ndspinelli said...

So Jean Harlow was like most real men and liked to go commando[that's sans underwear for you metrosexuals and softwear losers w/o necks]. I bet this real woman didn't give a shit about men in shorts...she knew they would take them off for her.

Ann Althouse said...

"Was Harlow in any films worth watching?"

Dinner at 8.

HT said...

Ah, we're feeling nostalgic.

Lite Brite

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soFXG2FaONw

ricpic said...

Going commando gets sticky quicky in summer and chilly willy in winter.

Irene said...

This post is about witches.

Icy + breasts. "Colder than a witch's tit."

E.M. Davis said...

"Another great beer ad.
Lousy beer, but if you're going to get sh*t-faced its the one"

Thanks for reminding me of the Crime Against Humanity that was the 70s.

edutcher said...

You wanna keep 'em firm? Try lifting 300 pound little old ladies in and out of bed for a living. Not to mention what running up and down the hall all night answering code blues does for the tush.

Irene said...

This post is about witches.

Icy + breasts. "Colder than a witch's tit."


I can think of one spell-caster to whom that definitely doesn't apply.

JohnG said...

Score...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6GptMFBGxs

JohnG said...

And a bit on the woman behind the tagline -
http://www.undercoverblonde.com/2007/11/shirley-polykoff-patron-saint-of-blonde.html

http://askville.amazon.com/term-originate-Blondes-fun/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=7081336

Ann Althouse said...

"Score..."

No, "Is it true blondes have more fun?" was a different campaign. I'm looking for "If I have only one life, let me live it as a blonde."

Ann Althouse said...

Another famous Clairol slogan was "Does she or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure."

That was the most famous one. Famous sexual innuedo.

Schlitz had a lot of famous slogans too, and the one I quote isn't even the second most famous.

Alan said...

Hey, have no fear--Schlitz is back!
Schlitz Beer.

They've got even more cheesy commercials at the site. My favorite is the "not Boston" More Than a Feeling

Belkys said...

As my grandmother, a practicing catholic, used to say each time a told her about the new cancer agent( it was a daily news in the 70´s): we all gone a die, at least it can be with pleasure
And the ice, it is a common practice in certain industry popular in California. In All that Jazz was showed in some scene

Titus said...

I like nice firm iced tits.

I deteste when they are spread apart under a dress.

Squish them together and squish em hard.

tits.

JohnG said...

Re my "score" link - really, it's there. It's the _very_ first bit of dialog. Admittedly, the audio is really muddy. Might have been other commercials where it was the primary line, but I couldn't find them.

Titus said...

My mom is 75 and still has firm nice tits.

Is that wrong of me to say.

I tell her and she is very appreciative.

Titus said...

I love looking at women's breasts and catching them noticing them or adjusting them or moving them around.

Moving a bra strap is enjoyable to me.

Arranging them to the left or right in order to have dindin is interesting.

Breasts are comforting. They make me feel secure, safe, that everything will be ok. They are very protective.

MadisonMan said...

The best beer jingle was for Schaefer, which was the one beer to have when you're having more than one.

In other words, if you're gonna drink to oblivion, drink Schaefer's.

jamboree said...

My mom advised me to always follow a shower or a face wash with 30 seconds of water as cold as I could stand it. It closes the pores, it seals the hair cuticle.

That's where the "ice your breasts" came from, I'll bet.

William said...

I like to watch old movies on TCM. I especially like the old stars whose careers arced before I was around. Looking at old Redford, Brando or Pacino movies, there's a subliminal reminder of what a prick time is. With Mary Tyler Moore it's almost heart breaking. Anyway, Harlow is one of those stars whose appeal spans generations. When you look at someone like Norma Shearer or Rosalind Russell, you wonder what made them stars. But you can still see what the big deal is about Harlow. In addition to Dinner at Eight, I would recommend Bombshell, Public Enemy and Red Dust. In Bombshell, she plays a Hollywood star with a passel of mooching relatives. Mooching relatives are never out of date, but the studio star system which the movie details has gone with the wind. Public Enemy is Cagney's film, but Harlow brings the heat. Red Dust is racist. Gable is the overseer of a Vietnamese rubber plantation who works the coolies hard. It inadvertently shows why we lost in Vietnam. But the interplay between Gable and Harlow is very sexy.....Harlow always played the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Interesting to note that like Bogart she came from a wealthy background. Harlow and Bogart tried to be tougher than their backgrounds. Cary Grant tried to be classier. John Wayne tried to be manlier. How much of our personality, how many of our achievements are based on over compensation.

Clyde said...

"Cold as a starlet's tit?" Just keep that ice away from Christine O'Donnell!

EDH said...

I always thought it was bizarre to remind us that we're all going to die.

"I've got this one body, and this one life."

Sally Field, Boniva Commercial

tree hugging sister said...

I read a biography of Jean Harlow in my late teens and her life just struck me as unutterably sad, capped by an excruciating end.

Companioned the entire time by a whack-job mother.

cathy said...

I think a lot of alcohol ads have some symbolism or death stuff in them. The most obvious was absolut vodka where all the bottles were done up to look like tombstones.

Big Mike said...

That all makes sense to me. Except the part about ice!

I thought a woman would know what happens to nipples after ice gets rubbed on them. Of course the effect is temporary.