Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Song of the Empty Ketchup Bottle

I wandered lonely as a bottle
That floats along in solitude
When all at once I saw tomatoes
Come bobbing past: "What's happening, dude?"
They called to me; I said at once,
"I think we're in a place called Hunt's."

Continuous as the stars that shine
Tomatoes floating everywhere;
Why did the factory make you swim,
What sort of river brought you there,
Dispatched from your ancestral vine,
Straight onto the production line?

Tomatoes! You are innocent
Of devious harvest plans to fetch up
Enormous quantities of you
The end goal being loads of ketchup;
And after you are minced and throttled,
In boiling vats, you shall be bottled.

O Hunt's! so fussy, as you say
About your wee vine-ripened friends
Tomatoes sailing through your maw
The saucy means to Huntsian ends;
How do I know these things are true?
Recycled bottle. Déjà vu.

[With apologies to William Wordsworth, who was inspired by some lovely daffodils, since he was born too early for Hunt's tomatoes.]

I got the actual scan from Life, December 20 1963 (at Google Books) but I actually found this ad thanks to my friend Thomas MacEntee who kindly pointed me towards Vintage Ads; this ad was there but it looked a little fuzzy, so I scanned it elsewhere. A really big version is here.

Oh, and it is Retro Tuesday! Yes. I forgot again. But it isn't too late, it's still Tuesday - so I'm in! This is hosted by my friend Tracy at The Crazy Suburban Mom. She has some amazing ads today, ranging from the frightening to the fabulous - so please go visit!


Barbara said...

We wash our bottles first! Wow, what a concept! Thank God Hunt's did this - who wants dirty catsup??

How about a "mod" catsup?


FreshHell said...

I just love your poetry! I like tomatoes, too.

DrJulieAnn said...

They float them in? Not from what I've seen....truckload after truckload after truckload of tomatoes gushing their juices all over the highway as they make their way up Interstate 5 to the cannery.

Of course, maybe they were headed for the Del Monte cannery and not Hunts...

Doctor Faustroll said...

Makes me want to write an ode to ketchup's immorality.

Hairball T. Hairball said...

Is it my monitor or do those tomatoes look orange?

wngl said...

Your lyrical gifts have never shone so brilliantly
When in service to tomatoes down the river bobbing so gently

jan said...

Wordsworth cries out to be satirized. Good job.

Eric said...

Oh catsup, how do I love thee? Let me count the 57 ways...

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

Ay-yi yi yi... I'm staring at the picture thinking....Why would that make me want to buy ketchup?

Ads puzzle. Truly puzzle me. But I loved Huntsain Ends... LOL, had me laughing :)


Vonlipi said...

No way I would want to buy ketchup based on that ad! Times change, maybe it was a big concern back then...

Maureen said...

How talented Lidian.

P.S. I see we flip-flopped countries. You moved north and I moved south! Although we grow where we are planted, home will always be home.

Lidian said...

Barbara - Oh, that's Hunt's - they were so innovative! And thanks for the link, I'll go check it out later :)

FreshHell - Thank you. I am pretty ambivalent about tomatoes, actually. According to Ayurvedic thought I should be avoiding them, so who knows.

DrJulieAnn - They certainly make a spectacle of themselves, no matter where they go or where they're going. Of course later on in the 60s, the tomatoes were going off to find themselves, not get turned into ketchup.

Doctor Faustroll - I hope that you do!

Hairball - They have an orange tinge. I do not know why, though (could be the old magazine paper).

wngl - Thank you, they inspired me!

jan - I think I heard Wordsworth crying out, but he didn't sound altogether happy ;)

Eric - I think we could work Nixon into this ode, he liked ketchup on cottage cheese, I seem to recall (see, poli sci was not a complete waste of time for me!)

Tracy - That's what I found so funny too - like, why is this such an entrancing image?

Vonlipi - I can't imagine what they were thinking back then...

Jason said...

You have a great site here. I have a site myself where people come from around the world to debate on popular issues. I'd like to exchange links with you to help spread some traffic around between us. If you would like to, please leave a comment under my "Compadres" page letting me know when you've added my link and I'll return the favor.

Keep up the good work.


C. Dianne Zweig said...

Glad yu stopped by my blog...i added you to my blog roll ...hope you can add me...would love to keep the retro exchange going, Dianne

scottsabode said...

I love how you rhymed "fetch up" with "ketchup"!

JD at I Do Things said...

OK, now you're just showing off!

Seriously, I love it. Almost as much as I love ketchup.

And just imagine the beautiful ode Wordsworth would've written if he HADN'T been too late for ketchup. (Or "catsup," as he might've called it.)

Lidian said...

Jason - Well, my links are generally to retro/vintage or humor blogs, but thank you all the same :)

Dianne - Will do, I need to update my links in the next week or so.

scottsabode - A desperate little rhyme, that!

JD - It is kind of ironic since I don't really even like ketchup. Or catsup!

Janna said...

"Recycled bottle. Déjà vu."

I love it! :)

Marcheline said...

If they want to advertise their big tomatoes, they should use Christina Hendricks as their model!