Sunday, September 22, 2013

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Mikey, together in one post

Happy first day of autumn! Today we have a couple of vintage magazine advertisements that have absolutely nothing to do with autumn.

First up is this Pabst Blue Ribbon1 advertisement featuring Douglas Fairbanks Jr. from the August 1950 issue of The American Legion Magazine.

Fairbanks — who never quite achieved the Hollywood fame of his swashbuckling father but, more importantly, played a key role as a US naval officer in World War II — is enjoying his lager in a glass that looks fairly unsafe for boating. He's also trying to drink while he's strapped into a huge rod-and-reel rig. Given that he needs two hands for his rod, I'm not sure what he's going to do with his beverage after the person with the tray leaves. It doesn't seem as if this was thought through.

Next up is an advertising icon that everyone 30 and older should be familiar with: Mikey. This advertisement from the September 20, 1977, issue of Woman's Day is essentially a pictorial summary of the famous Mikey/Life television commercial that first aired in 1972.

Mikey was portrayed by child actor John Gilchrist and the other two boys in the commercial are his actual brothers — Michael (on the left) and Tommy. It seems that Michael and Tommy had the more difficult thespian responsibilities in the commercial, but are always lost in the shadows of The Mikey Performance.

And, no, Mikey/John Gilchrist did not die from eating Pop Rocks and guzzling soda. He's alive and well.

Now, Pop Rocks and Pabst Blue Ribbon — that might be another question entirely.

1. Here is some interesting information about the modern-day popularity of Pabst Blue Ribbon, courtesy of Wikipedia: "The beer experienced a sales revival in the early 2000s after a two decade-long slump, largely due to its increasing popularity among urban hipsters. ... [T]he company has opted not to fully embrace the countercultural label in its marketing, fearing that doing so could jeopardize the very 'authenticity' that made the brand popular."

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