Saturday, April 2, 2016

"Over fifty million times a day, somebody somewhere has a Coke"

This Coca-Cola advertisement appears on the back page of the 1957 magazine that I'm going to feature on Monday for the opening day of the 2016 Major League Baseball season. It's a pretty nifty vintage ad that deserves its own post.

It features two clean-cut kids sitting in a sunny field, drinking bottles of Coca-Cola. If you look closely, you can see that the bottles have been doctored by an illustrator. I wonder what ever happened to these two young advertising models. Did they appear in other ads? Was this the highlight of their careers? Did they become hippies? Did he end up in Vietnam? How could we go about figuring out who they are?

The advertising text states:
Have fun! Have a Coke!
It's Spring and lots of good times are ahead. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, the fun gets better when you have a Coke. Over fifty million times a day, somebody somewhere has a Coke and agrees with you — there's nothing quite like Coca-Cola.
Today, we have jumped from "over fifty million" servings of Coca-Cola per day to over one billion, worldwide (if you count all the variations of Coca-Cola).

In 1957, Coca-Cola's official slogan, as seen on this advertisement, was "Sign of Good Taste." It was a short-lived slogan; it came on the heels of 1956's "Coca-Cola ... Makes Good Things Taste Better" and was soon to be replaced by 1958's "The Cold, Crisp Taste of Coke."

Here are some other notable Coke slogans over the years, some of which are certainly head-scratchers:

  • 1906 — The Great National Temperance Beverage
  • 1927 — Pure as Sunlight
  • 1939 — Whoever You Are, Whatever You Do, Wherever You May Be, When You Think of Refreshment Think of Ice Cold Coca-Cola
  • 1942 — The Only Thing Like Coca-Cola is Coca-Cola Itself
  • 1949 — Along the Highway to Anywhere
  • 1969 — It's the Real Thing
  • 1979 — Have a Coke and a Smile
  • 1982 — Coke Is It!
  • 1990 — You Can't Beat the Real Thing
  • 2016 — Taste The Feeling

You can check out the whole list here.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Luggage sticker from Brakanes Hotel in Norway

Here's something bright and cheery for the last day of the (traditional) work week, heading into a spring weekend. It's a luggage sticker, about the size of a baseball card1, from Brakanes Hotel in Ulvik, Hardanger District, Norway.2

Ulvik looks like this, so you can imagine that it would be a nice place for a relaxing vacation.

Brakanes Hotel has a history that dates to the middle 19th century and includes a rebuild and rebirth following the devastation of the German invasion of Norway during World War II. Here's the summary from the history portion of the hotel's website:
"It all started in 1860, when Sjur Brakanes built a coaching inn in Ulvik. By 1891, it had become so successful that he needed to expand, so the building was extended to take the number of rooms from five to 50. After 1924, his grandchildren Sara and Marta took over the running of the hotel when their father, Hans Lindebrække, died. They were very successful and soon built up a worldwide reputation for great hospitality. Ulvik was destroyed during the Second World War and, afterwards, the sisters vowed to rebuild the hotel, this time on an even grander scale.

"Together with their brother Gjert, they agreed to create a hotel to a high European standard. On May 9, 1952, the hotel opened with 124 beds, 44 bathrooms, custom-designed furniture and textiles, plus new interior decor. It quickly became regarded as the country’s premier fjordhotel."

Today, the hotel has 143 rooms (many with balconies), reception rooms, and a conference center. As you might imagine, it's a popular spot for weddings. Based on my quick check, it looks like you could get a room during a spring weekend for about $260, which isn't too bad. Of course, you have to get there, which isn't exactly doable by Greyhound.


Related posts

1. Speaking of baseball, it begins again on Monday for most teams. I shall have a post to appropriately mark the occasion.
2. I bought it at the oft-mentioned store in York New Salem.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ha, ha, ha! Let's make jokes about cooking and eating elephants.

This joke recipe for Elephant Stew appears on the final page of the 1972 staplebound pamphlet Flavorite Recipes from the Farmers' Almanac. It follows pages filled with such yummy recipes as Melt-In-Your-Mouth Blueberry Cake, Peach Mello, Potato Candy, Punchka (a kind of doughnut), Stuffed Mushrooms and Yankee Doodle Salad.

The recipe goes like this:

Elephant Stew
  • 1 elephant (medium size)
  • 2 rabbits (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Cut the elephant into small bite-size pieces. This should take about two months. Add enough brown gravy to cover. Cook over kerosene fire for about four weeks at 465 degrees.

This will serve thirty-eight hundred people. If more are expected, two rabbits may be added, but do this only if necessary as some people do not like to find a hare in their stew.

* * *

There are many variations of this joke and the original source is unclear. One website claims it first appeared in a 1968 cookbook, but I'd be surprised if it doesn't go back further than that.

The joke even has its own webpage at The page is filled with international variations on the theme, some of which veer disturbingly toward being actual potential recipes for a stew made from elephants.

So, just to be clear, I have as good of a sense of humor as anyone, but...


Now that I have that out of my system, we can return to the levity and leave you with this silly illustration of anthropomorphic potatoes from Flavorite Recipes from the Farmers' Almanac...

Four found photos, mostly mysteries

Here at Papergreat, the goal is to find "a story in every piece of paper." Sometimes, though, we might have to use our imagination, because it's unlikely we'll ever track down the actual people and true stories from every piece of paper. Found photographs are one category of ephemera for which the mysteries will always outnumber the answers.

Here are four photos with no useful identifications. We'd have to beat Powerball-level odds in order to discover who these people are. But their images are still part of our history, even if we're just left to wonder about the lives and details shown here.

1. Woman and her musical instrument

2. Little girl by the water
(Just waiting for Boris Karloff to wander along, right?)

Here's a closer look at her...

3. Walter and his motorcycle with sidecar
(This is a man about to have some adventures.)

4. Woman leaning against car
(I would love to know her story. And what kind of car is that?)

Here's a closer look at the hood ornament. Is that a ram?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Batman v Superman" was not at all what I was expecting

All that waiting. All that buildup. And we get ... a climactic tennis match?


OK, I'm joking. This is actually (obviously) one of a series of vintage covers from World's Finest Comics. Almost every issue of that DC comic book featured separate stories involving Batman and Superman. But since the superheroes (and Batman's sidekick Robin) didn't actually meet on the page for many years, "DC tasked the cover artists with depicting the three characters together in a whimsical, unrelated scene kids would enjoy (often sports)," Sports Illustrated's Ben Sin wrote in 2014 to introduce a gallery of those covers.

So that's how we got Batman v Superman: The Wimbledon Showdown. (And keep in mind that phrase "kids would enjoy.")

There are, unfortunately, no sports in Batman v Superman, other than a poorly-thought-out javelin moment. The movie is a train wreck, although you could argue that train wrecks make more pleasing noises.

Many have already eloquently (and profanely) put into words what's wrong with BvS, notably Drew McWeeny of HitFix, Rob Bricken of io9 and Devin Faraci of

But, in the Internet age, it's not just the professional writers who make great insights. Smart commentary about the movie has appeared on message boards and in the comments sections of hundreds of different movie and entertainment websites. More likely than not, those Everyday Joe (and Jane) comments will get lost as time marches on. More Lost Corners of the Internet.

Here are a series of reader comments from Ain't It Cool News that I fully agree with. They speak to the tonal problem now inhabiting the center of the DC cinematic universe...

  • Kubrick's Rube: "I miss the good guy Superman with a huge heart who we can all look up to, aspire to be like, and who blows our cynicism away."
  • Captain Panaka: "'Lois, I never lie.' ~ Superman (Christopher Reeve). I'll never forget that scene as a 6 year old kid in the movie theater. The lighting, the acting, the costume, the set, the music, and Christopher Reeve's delivery were all perfect. And most importantly, it set a strong example for me as a kid to aspire to be my own Superman (even though he struggled with duality). ... Now we get snapped necks and blank statements about 'what it is to be a man', and selfish proclamation's like 'You don't owe this world a thing, you never did.' I'm of the strong opinion that MOS and BvS are films no young child should see whatsoever."
  • LaRusso: "[Reeve's] portrayal of Superman was so earnest and morally decent that you could not help but absolutely believe him when he delivered that line. Also, when Lois asked him 'Who are you?' and he responded, 'A friend.' - my God how powerful that moment was."
  • Pelvic Sorcerer: "That's what's missing from Snyder's comic-films. They lack wonder and awe and the desire to be more. Comic-book films should, at the very least, inspire the minds of children...not make them cynical and jaded by giving them reasons to question the benefits of a higher morality...and this should ring ESPECIALLY true for Superman, the gold standard for what a superhero should represent."

And if that's not enough, just take the word of my friend Jason Plotkin, a photojournalist extraordinaire and one of the world's biggest fans of Batman and Superman:
"A few people have asked me about how I liked Batman v Superman. I'm going to give a spoiler-free review so not to ruin it for anyone else. Here goes: Before I left my house last night, I began watching the movie Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, about a boy who strikes up a friendship with a girl who has cancer. I should have stayed home with the happier and more joyful movie. The end."

Mid-century postcard featuring Siboney Hotel in Havana, Cuba

Here's a timely piece of ephemera, as Cuba has been a major topic of recent news conversation. This is another postcard that was sent to George Homiak of Atlas, Pennsylvania. He was discussed last month via a postcard he received in 1932.

This postcard, mailed to Homiak at the same address as the 1932 card, features Hotel Siboney in Havana, Cuba. The description printed on the back of the card states:
Siboney Hotel
Havana, Cuba
Prado 355
Phones M 6233
W 0815
Air Conditioned Optional — Most Reasonable Prices in the City — Central Park Area — All rooms with private bath.

According to Easyvoyage, this building has been known as Hotel NH Parque Central since 1999 and is "popular with Europeans."

There's another passing reference to Hotel Siboney that I came across. In 2013, a Facebook commenter wrote: "The building on the right (Neptuno y Prado) was called the Hotel Siboney (now defunct) About 60 odd years ago it offered sanctuary to 2000 Jews who escaped from Europe during the war." I can't find a second source for that statement, but I'm sure there's an important story to be told there.

Getting back to the postcard, it was distributed by Sunset-Hollywood Enterprise of Miami Beach, Florida. It was printed in the United States.

I'm a bit frustrated, because I cannot determine precisely the date when this card was mailed. No date was written by the sender, and no date is discernible from the postmark. That leaves the stamps as our best clue...

The stamp on the right is a Cuba C205 air-mail stamp (as cataloged by Scott). Most references state that this stamp was produced in 1960. There are, however, a couple of references to this stamp from 1956. I'm no philately expert, so any help would be welcome.

If the postcard was sent in 1960, it might have been mailed just months or weeks before the U.S. embargo against Cuba began in October 1960.

The cursive-writing message on the card doesn't help, because I can't even determine what language it's in. My best guess is Slovak or Czech. Part of the note seems to indicate that the writer is getting (or attempting to get) a box of Cuban cigars.

So there you have it. I think this post offers more questions than answers. But we have to start somewhere, right?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Book cover: "Safe Bind, Safe Find" by Garry Hogg

  • Title: Safe Bind, Safe Find
  • Subtitle: The Story of Locks, Bolts and Bars
  • Author: Garry Hogg
  • Publisher: Criterion Books, New York
  • Year: 1968 ("First U.S.A. Edition')
  • Pages: 158
  • Cover price: $3.50
  • Notes: Author Hogg (1902-1976), pictured at right in his dust-jacket photo from this book, had quite the life and writing career. His other volumes include Orient Express: The Birth, Life, and Death of a Great Train, Portuguese Journey, Norwegian Journey, The Granite Men, The Hovercraft Story, The Shell Book of Exploring Britain, A Guide to English Country Houses, Inns and Villages of England, and — because why not? — Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice. ... As of the blurb on this 1968 dust jacket, he had authored 45 books, and he is described as having "unusual skill in making factual material as exciting as fiction." That's probably a good skill to have when you're writing about the history of locks, bolts and bars. The book documents not just the creators of various locking devices over the centuries, but the lock-pickers and robbers who tried to penetrate them. ... We previously had this book at our antique store vendor space in Dover, priced at $8 (probably $3-4 too high). When we shut down last year and donated many of the books to the Book Nook Bonanza (one of the best used-book sales in Pennsylvania), I couldn't part with this one. Because you just never know when you're going to want to read a history of locks and bolts. ... Finally, this was formerly a library book, and when the Greenfield School Library decided to remove this book from its collection, it used this stamp on the last page:

    "Weeded" is such a harsh word to use with regard to books, wouldn't you agree?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

From the readers: Wax royals, Mars, chickens, potholers, Godzilla & more

It's time for an Easter basket full of comments, memories, answers to mysteries, questions and general wondering-ments from Papergreat's readers...

Weekend postcards: Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II: With specific regard to the postcard at the top of today's post, Sharid57 writes: "Definitely looks very 'wax like' in their positions in general, and their hand positions and facial expressions specifically. They also appear to be all 'spread out' so as to give the viewer of the original tableau the opportunity to view each one all the way 'round. I have never been to Madame Tussauds' establishments, but this looks on par with that quality from the photographs I have seen of their displays. And, yes! Where IS Prince Philip's chair?"

(I concur. I now fully believe those are wax figures in the postcard.)

Coupons from the E.H. Koester Bakery Co.: Anonymous writes: "I remember Koester's bread from the 1950s. The reason that I even found this site is that my husband and I were discussing bread wrappers from our childhood. Unlike today's bread wrappers, they were made from a waxed paper. He said that he used them to shine the sliding 'pon' — he's a Jersey boy — but we just used waxed paper sheets on the sliding BOARD in Maryand. Anyway, Koesters popped into my mind, and I immediately remembered the sticker on the end of the package that had the painting of the beautiful little twins on it."

Doomed goat stars in Victorian trade card for Kerr & Co.: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "That fable is a new one on me. On a related topic, I've been reading an 1880's copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales and man those stories are dark. Very different from the versions I grew up with."

Comics nostalgia: 1978 Slim Jim advertisement with werewolf: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "I recall those ads as well from my childhood. I came across one recently [featuring a vampire] in a comic book I picked up at a garage sale."

Elaborately designed envelope for Bennett Printing Company: R. Armstrong writes: "My father used to work there and my grandfather was president! It was running at least a few years after I was born (1981). So cool to see someone liking what they did!"

Herbert W. Rhodes' early 20th century bookplate: Archivist Oxford writes: "The bookplate belongs to Herbert Rhodes of Ilkley, Yorkshire, UK. He was a potholer, photographer and lantern slide lecturer as well as being a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society!"

Real photo postcard by Penn Park Photograph Gallery in York: Anonymous writes: "I also have two Penn Park Photograph photo postcards. Believed to be circa 1908-1914. They are family ancestors but not sure who."

Activision's Freeway: It was like Frogger, but for chickens: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "I always assumed Freeway was a Frogger ripoff. Interesting. I came into possession of a huge cache of Atari cartridge pamphlets some years back. The artwork was great on them. Always better than the actual game. I've always wanted to do a post on them. This may inspire me. P.S.: Love the chicken seat tie-in."

Ephemera for Lunch #31: Tales with Alice and Peter: Sandi writes: "Peter and the Wolf was my favorite ever. I have long wanted to choreograph it for a children's dance theater performance."

Book cover: "First on Mars" by Rex Gordon: Mike Harris writes: "I had this edition! I picked it up, secondhand, at a yard sale or something as a kid in the 1970s. Although I never finished reading the book, I distinctly remember that Erector Set pentacycle on the cover."

Bingo cards from Rebman's carnival supply house in Lancaster: Michelle Souliere, author of the Strange Maine blog, writes: "I love that they're still open! Fantastic story."

Gravity gone wild, atomic nonsense at Mystery House in St. Augustine: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "This reminds me of a couple brochures I found a while back. One for The Haunted Shack at Knottsberry Farms and the Magnetic House in Cascade, Colorado. Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, has a similar walkthrough attraction called 'Grandfather's Mansion.'"

Happy Sweet 16 to Sarah! Joan writes: "This makes me The Happiest."

Linen postcard: Parachute jump at Steeplechase Park, Coney Island: Joan writes, with regard to the idea of a parachute-jump ride: "NOPE."

Which vintage "Dracula" cover is your favorite?: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "I'd have to vote for the 1901 edition, only because that scene in the book stands out in my memory as the most disturbing when I first read Dracula. I'd also give a nod to the overtly sexual cover on the Photoplay edition and the obvious tribute to Bela Lugosi on that Pocketbooks edition."

Postcard of Harrisburg (with a minor mystery) mailed in 1922: Anonymous writes, with regard to a somewhat indecipherable cursive word: "Probably 'Lynn' as in Lynn, Massachusetts, which is 'home to two beaches, Lynn Beach and King's Beach,' according to Wikipedia."

(I think I agree. Good sleuthing!)

A Tyrannosaurus matchbox label, phillumeny and thoughts on Godzilla: Jane writes: "Honestly, I'm a stickler for deep, human storytelling, but I've also had a soft spot for the classic, silly fun of many Godzilla movies, including my favorite, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah."

Cheerful Card Company can help you earn extra money for the holidays: Patricia writes: "I sold Cheerful house cards to order things for myself with the profit when I was around 9 or 10 years old. Not sure how I did it, as I was extremely shy. I remember ordering two 'surprise boxes' filled with random items, and then doing my Christmas shopping out of the boxes. I was so proud to mail my grandparents a Christmas package one year, as they used to do that for us, but we never sent them anything. I mailed my grandpa a 'Silent Night' music box made of plastic. It was an angel playing an organ. Grandpa played the piano. And I mailed grandma egg & custard cups. They held your boiled egg or turn it upside down and it was a custard cup."

Thanks for sharing that story, Patricia! And thanks to everyone for their comments on Papergreat!

Book review: "The Strange Library" by Haruki Murakami

While I have read a great deal about Haruki Murakami and his works over the years, it has turned out that The Strange Library is his first book that I have actually read.

That seems appropriate.

I loved it. Here is the first official book review (I believe) that I have posted on Papergreat. Here is a slightly modified version of what I posted on Goodreads:

A fairy tale, basically. And a wonderful one, full of mysterious moments, colorful characters and surrealism. I found myself thinking of Baba Yaga and Borges and super-streamlined Stephen King and, either oddly or appropriately, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I'm sure there is Japanese folklore and symbolism soaked into the tale, but I also like the idea of leaving some of the tale mysterious and open to endless interpretation. Highly recommended. Will only take 30-40 minutes to read, with some time to examine the amazing illustrations, too. But perhaps not to be read while sitting in a public library at dusk.

Full disclosure: I *missed* the last page, set in a smaller font and easily missed, like a dry end note, on a my first read-through. I only became aware of it by reading another online review that referenced it. So I scrambled back and checked it out. For me, it doesn't change my five-star rating or my review. It certainly lends the tale a darker feel. ... My take: Maybe some readers are supposed to miss the final page and have the tale end, for them, where it does. Nobody gets to choose who does or doesn't get to the final page, but it's there for readers to do with (or not do with) as they please.
Now I need to figure out where to go from here, with regards to Murakami's other works. I'm not going to jump from this into one of his opus-sized works; I just have too many other books on the to-read list at the moment. So I'm thinking, perhaps, South of the Border, West of the Sun or The Elephant Vanishes (a collection of his early short stories). Any thoughts or suggestions?