Monday, August 11, 2008

The Secret Of Happy Ingewanden

LHJ Jan 1934 Yeast Unmentionable ad
Well, where shall we start? I suppose with the wonderfully-named Dr. Ploos Van Amstel (of Amsterdam - no relation to the beer, presumably), who will be very displeased if we do not begin with him. Like Ben Blue, he is a disembodied head. So I don't see how he can be an expert on constipation but - anyway, he is an "intestinal specialist" - and I really don't feel like arguing with a steely-eyed medical head.

Anyway, he says that yeast works a treat on constipation, made his patient's intestines practically sing with happiness. I don't like the way he is shouting about how she'd been suffering since childhood, up there at the top. Is there no patient confidentiality in these 1930s ads?

You are required to "eat three cakes a day" - no no, not marble chiffon cakes, yeast cakes. Plain or in water. Oh, yummy. And you can get it at a soda fountain, too. What fun it will be to go out to the soda shoppe with the gang and order Fleischmann's Yeast with a side of seltzer. You will be the life of the party all right.

But this splendid ad does not end with Dr. Ploos (who resembles a sinister Mr. Dressup, does he not, Canadian readers? For the rest of you, Mr. Dressup was a children's TV presenter for many years who mostly hung out with puppets and occasionally made crafts or cookies. He also dressed up sometimes, hence the name. When I was in Quebec City in the late 1980s the one and only English TV channel seemed to play nothing but Mr. Dressup reruns. It was rather surreal.)

LHJ 1934 Yeast comic ad detail
Anyway, there's more to see here - check out this photo/cartoon picture story - another female patient, another male doctor - and another triumph for Fleischmann's. Meet Miss Alice Spinning, a graduate nurse from Washington, D.C. She is very happy now. Before - not so much. Indigestion, headaches - major blockage.

Enter Dr. Rudolph Valentino with his "we've got to break that stubborn constipation before you can really get your strength back!" A hero with a glassful of yeast and soda. Even with all that screen-idol magic, it takes Alice ten more days to spring out of bed all - refreshed, and another two weeks to get back into the social scene. Cue the triumphant orchestral music, and fade out.

LHJ 1934 Yeast comic ad detail 2Please, please fade out already! But not before you take a look at the little picture of your digestive system, complete with Dutch and English labels. This truly is the ad that has it all!

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