- Series: Specials
- Paperback: 928 pages
- Publisher: Taschen (December 1, 2001)
- Language: English, German, French
- ISBN-10: 3822811580
- ISBN-13: 978-3822811580
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.9 x 10.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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All-American Ads of the 50s Paperback – December 1, 2001
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Second in a series of books featuring advertising by era, All-American Ads of the 50s offers page after page of products that made up the happy-days decade. The start of the cold war spurred a buying frenzy and a craze for new technology that required ad campaigns to match. The nuclear age left its mark all over the advertisements, with a spotlight on planes, rockets, and even mushroom clouds. Shiny, big, beautiful cars abound, styled to keep up with the space age. Editor Jim Heimann, in his essay "From Poodles to Presley, Americans Enter the Atomic Age," explains: "Car designers came up with exaggerated tail fins for automobiles to express this new accelerated speed." Modernist home interiors look slick and shiny with their molded plastic furniture and linoleum floors. While clothing and furniture styles look strangely contemporary--a testament to our current obsession with vintage--some things have definitely changed. A baby sells Marlboro cigarettes! Also included are chapters on movies, food, and travel. --J.P. Cohen
Leafing through the pair is like walking through a massive design exhibition on the mores of those two decades. -- Los Angeles Times, 3/7/02
These bundles of history are more fun than smoking Chesterfields while driving a De Soto. -- Creativity, March 2002
They provide a record of American everyday life of a bygone era in a way that nothing else can. -- Associated Press, March 2002
Who would ever have imagined that ads could say so much about our recent past? -- Los Angeles Times, 3/7/02
Top customer reviews
The one thing about All American Ads that really bugs me is the big grainy blowups that fill too many spreads here. The full page ads are joys forever. But jumping back and forth between creamy, crisp, photographically reduced perfection of reproduction on one hand, and overextended, grainy enlargements of detail on the other makes for a somewhat disjoint experience.
This one gripe aside, it is a book you absolutely MUST have if you care about old ads and old popular and sociopolitical culture.
The heart of this book is simple--advertisements from the 1950s. The book reproduces many of these, from automobiles (Pontiac and Ford-including an Edsel ad!-and Oldsmobile and Cadillac and Buick and. . . .) to gasoline (Mobilgas [never knew that Mobil was so called!], Texaco [The Texas Company]) to stamps (remember those? Here, we see Top Value stamps).
Other ads? Sheaffer's Snorkel pens, Lady Sunbeam hair dryer, GE stove, Admiral refrigerator, Lionel Trains, movies (e.g., The Seven Little Foys, Vertigo, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Arrow shirts, Jockey underwear, Sealtest Ice Cream.
A lot of fun getting a sense of the products and the advertising and marketing approaches of the 1950s. The one downside? The Introduction really does not provide much context for the ads that follow. It would have been helpful to readers had there been such a treatment.