Saturday, May 22, 2021

The strangest piece of ephemera ever to appear on Papergreat?

It's times like these when it really hits home that I have no idea what people of the past were thinking. None. Zilch.

How is it that this piece of ephemera exists??

Now, I'm going to set a rule up front. I am not going to repeat the name of this product in the text of this post. Not because I'm a prude. But because the unseemly spam comments on Papergreat are already out of control — be glad I don't share them with you and that I delete them as quickly as possible. And I don't want to give those evil roving spambots any additional SEO fodder.

So, for this post, we're going to refer to the above product as Express Zing Vegetables

And so I ask, how the criminy did Express Zing Vegetables ever become a real thing? What's the deal, Mr. Bill Long of Apopka, Florida? (Apopka, by the way,  comes from Seminole word ahapopka, which apparently means "potato eating place," a phrase that I also considering not allowing in this post.)

I started by putting the term, ahem, "Express Zing" into

Among the top hits were:
  • "Express Zing" to lure Loch Ness monster — The Journal Herald of Dayton, Ohio (September 1970)
  • Express Zing in spray can — Lexington Herald-Leader (December 1967)
That ended my foray into and also forever changed my image of Nessie.

Just typing plain old "Express Zing" into the Google search bar is a very, very, very bad idea. So I tried some more specific variations, such as "Express Zing Vegetables" and "Express Zing" alongside "Bill Long," which is still rather fraught and likely to put me on a watch list. But these are the things I do for ephemera research.

Sadly, the fraught searches were for naught. 

There was one minor reference. The writer for the website notes, correctly: "A more recent label, but a label actually printed to be used. I have to wonder what they were thinking when designing this one. I doubt if the contents live up to the brand name."

I did, however, find some information about the Bill Long that doesn't mention his history with Express Zing. A November 14, 2004, article by Sandra Mathers in the Orlando Sentinel focuses on Apopka farmer Bill Long's induction into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

"The former, longtime agri-business leader who plowed through layers of muck around Lake Apopka and carved out a farming domain that spanned nearly 50 years has managed to turn business negatives into pluses. He has not just changed with the times — he has thrived," Mathers writes.

It's a good story about Long's humble start and hard work growing sweet corn, radishes, carrots and other crops in extremely unwelcoming sandy soil.

"It's been a long, wild ride," Long told Mathers.

If only the reporter had asked him about the Express Zing...

P.S.: I was not kidding about Nessie.

1 comment:

  1. It don't mean a thing
    If it ain't got that Zing!
    Doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah