Friday, January 23, 2015

Sepia Saturday 263 : A Perfect Nose That Slithers Through Your Fingers Whilst You Do The Pooka-Pooka

Our theme for Sepia Saturday 263 features an old advertisement for air cushion pads for horse's hooves. That odd chap who sets these themes suggests that we might like to go for old adverts or strange and unnecessary products.

My first offering is an old advert dating back to May 1944. It tells us that even in the midst of armed conflict - World War II was at its height - "pretty hair (was) still the main attribute of feminine charm". In order to achieve that feminine charm what you needed was a sachet of Evan Williams shampoo. 

I have been unable to discover what was in Evan Williams shampoo. but I did come across this memory of the product from a user on a social history website:

"I remember that we always used Evan Williams shampoo which came in a paper sachet and which we mixed with water in a jam jar. If there was any left over, it set like a lobby jelly which slithered through your fingers"


Another advert from the same magazine illustrates a product which might be considered to be more on the cushioned pads for horses end of the pointless scale - cosmetic surgery. The Hystogen Institute in Old Quebec Street, London was established in 1911 by Charles Henry Willi who had been born in Switzerland in the 1880s. For the next fifty years he ran one of the most successful cosmetic surgery clinics in England and when he eventually retired in 1961 he had accumulated a substantial fortune and moved to live in the fashionable French Riviera. 

What is perhaps remarkable - not to say bone-shakingly terrifying - about Willi is that he appears to have had no medical training at all. The various qualifications he claimed in his literature were either fictitious or purchased from fake degree factories. It has been suggested that he learnt his trade by practicing on pigs' heads; a fact that did not feature prominently in his advertising literature.

Both these adverts are taken from a copy of Picture Post dating back to the 6th May 1944, which I bought for a few pence at a Antique Fair a couple of years ago. In addition to such glorious adverts, the magazine in full of excellent photography and fascinating articles on subjects such as the new dance that was sweeping the nation back then - the pooka-pooka! Like pretty hair and a perfect nose, the pooka-pooka managed to pass me by - but I am going to do a search on Amazon to see if I can find some air cushioned rubber paw pads for Amy.


Sepia Saturday - the finest product that money can't buy. Available free of charge on the Sepia Saturday Blog.


16 comments:

  1. It sounds like the Evan Williams Shampoo included gelatin--maybe to strengthen the hair.

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  2. I had no idea plastic surgeons were operating (no pun intended) as early as 1911. As for the Pooka-Pooka, I've never heard of it either, but it was just a (very) little before my time.

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  3. I'm sure someone dropped the publicity ball on the Pooka Pooka.

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  4. Pooka-Pooka? How can you even THINK of learning a dance by that name?

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  5. The pooka pooka looks like it was influenced by the South Pacific, indeed.

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  6. Fascinating ads. We made our own shampoo. Left over scraps of soap in a jar, pour on boiling water then leave to set in a jelly foir shampoo. Vinegar rinse for dark hair, lemon juice rinse for fair hair !
    https://boundforoz.wordpress.com/

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  7. Our shampoos were rather plain. I used to rinse with water scented with vanilla flavoring. Loved your post title. Pooka Pooka to you too!

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  8. I do remember the Evan Williams shampoo -- that was many long years ago.

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  9. I think we just used velvet soap to wash our hair, followed by a lemon juice rinse. I doubt the Pooka- pooka lasted long or it surely would have featured in American movies of the time.

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  10. "set like a lobby jelly which slithered through your fingers" Yuck!

    Think I would have only used it once!

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  11. I’ve never heard of that dance either, clearly my education suffered. How ghastly to think of a someone untrained chopping away at your nose!

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  12. An entertaining post. As a child I had long dark hair and my mother used to collect rain water for rinsing it, with a final rinse mixed with vinegar. I always wondered much later if the smell lingered with me. The final task was to try and dry my hair in front of the fire as we did not have a hair dryer. It took ages!

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  13. I wonder if the fake plastic surgeon did a good job after the hog's head practicing.

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  14. Great advertisements, and I love your combination blog heading.

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  15. I guess that the "Hokie Pokie" proved more popular than the "Pooka Pooka" since after all, that's what its all about.

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  16. Both are fun items. It is amazing what things were done and portrayed as real. I guess that still goes on today when you see some of the ads on the cheap channels on tv.

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