Many of us awoke this morning to the sad news that legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor died today in Los Angeles. She was best known for her amazing film work (we particularly like her in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and her colorful personal life, but like many other Hollywood stars of the era, she also appeared in a number of advertisements during her early career. We have a couple of her print ads in our Ad*Access digital collection, and are highlighting them here. You can click on the images to see larger versions and learn more about them.
This 1952 magazine ad for Lustre-Creme shampoo showcases Ms. Taylor’s famous beauty. In addition to her two Oscars, we learn here that she was also voted by “Modern Screen” and “a jury of famed hair stylists” as one of the world’s 12 loveliest-haired women. The film that’s also being promoted here, Ivanhoe, was released in 1952 and also starred Robert Taylor (no relation) and Joan Fontaine. It was one of the four top money-making films of the year and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
In this comic strip-style ad, Elizabeth Taylor says “Like satin … that’s my skin with new Woodbury Powder!” and also, apparently, “I love the super-smooth finish Woodbury gives my skin.” Here she’s identified as one of the stars of the 1949 film version of Little Women, in which she played Amy, starring alongside June Allyson as Jo, Peter Lawford as Laurie, Margaret O’Brien as Beth, and Janet Leigh as Meg.
It’s no wonder that an actress with Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary beauty was in demand by companies marketing their beauty products. Many other stars of the day appeared in similar print ads; for example, June Allyson, Rita Hayworth, and Bette Davis all did work for Lustre-Creme. The men of Hollywood did their fair share of advertising, too: here you can see Humphrey Bogart for National Airlines and Bob Hope for Pepsodent. You can find many advertisements featuring celebrities in Ad*Access here.
It’s been an unusually cold and snowtastic winter here in Durham, with what’s felt like a constant threat of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and the dreaded “wintry mix” hanging over our heads for weeks. The local news has been in nonstop Winter Weather Crisis mode, with round-the-clock footage of what we believe is the same group of itinerant (and possibly feral) children, who follow camera crews around with their pieces of cardboard and garbage can lids so we can see IDENTICAL FOOTAGE of them sliding down a snowy hill and squealing ALL THE TIME.
Most winters we have maybe one dusting of snow, or a few sleet pellets mixed in with the rain once or twice, so being threatened with the Icepocalypse every few days is something we’re not accustomed to. Every time we turn around, we are back at the grocery store kicking somebody in the back to get the last loaf of bread or punching somebody in the windpipe to grab the last gallon of milk. This is really more exercise than we are used to getting. And we won’t even talk about how the schools are constantly letting out early or just plain closed, resulting in selfish children wanting to be picked up or fed or whatever kids are into these days.
So to combat the winter doldrums, we here at Duke Digital Collections present some sunny, tropical images from Ad*Access to help you think warm thoughts. Put on your sunscreen, change into your skimpiest and most scandalous swimsuit, crank up “Vacation” by the Go-Go’s, and let’s hit the beach! (You can click on any of the images to see a larger version and more information about it.)
January is the perfect time of year to visit fabulous Runway Beach! Yes, nothing is more relaxing or romantic than lying on the beach sipping a margarita as you are strafed by a jet that fills your eyes and mouth with sand and blows the drink out of your hand. The smell of cocoa butter mixed with jet exhaust will make you contentedly lie back and say, “AaahhhhhAIIIEEEEEARGGGH KOFF KOFF KOFF.”
Continue reading Think Warm Thoughts
Thanksgiving is upon us, and this time of year we all have many things to be thankful for: the sound the cranberry sauce cylinder makes as it blorps out of the can; sitting in a dazed stupor in front of the Detroit Lions as your body struggles to process the food cataclysm you hath just wrought upon it; a pre-dawn fistfight with other shoppers over the last $3 curling iron…. Good times. But since many of us are so abundantly blessed that we have trouble keeping track of everything we should be grateful for, let’s consult Duke Digital Collections for reminders of reasons we should give thanks.
Be thankful … for consumer electronics. Finally, Dad got the hint and got us that Pentron tape recorder we’ve been Tweeting, Facebooking, texting, graffitiing the bathroom walls, and whining around the dinner table about! It’s just what we need to record the sounds of Little Susie stomping on his feet and holding his arms while Big Sister (or Mom or Crazed Neighbor or whoever that is) chokes him from behind. Family togetherness!
Continue reading Reasons To Be Thankful
It’s October, so everyone’s thoughts have turned to football. Or the Great Pumpkin. But because we don’t have any images of the Great Pumpkin in our digital collections, let’s say football. It’s hard to imagine, but in olden days we somehow managed to enjoy football without luxuries like high-def, Doritos commercials, high-def Doritos commercials, and four guys all yelling at the same time on The OT. There were six quarters lasting 90 minutes each, the field was eight yards long, a common trick to confuse the other team was to have the homecoming queen run onto the field to kick the extra point, and the football was a big rock. We are pretty sure all this is true. Let’s look at some of the historic football images in Duke Digital Collections and see what else we can learn about the ol’ pigrock. You can click on any of the images to see a larger version and learn more about the digital object.
In the 1930s, players often wore sesame-seed buns as helmets, as seen on the cover of this Duke/Davidson program from our Duke Football Programs digital collection. We originally thought the Davidson player here was falling down and throwing up, but upon closer examination we realized he has bitten the trousers of the Duke player. We like our original interpretation better. Either way, we love the 3-D Viewmaster-y style of the whole tableau. Continue reading What It Wasn’t, Was Football
Some of us here at Duke Digital Collections have been in “All Olympics, All The Time” mode the past couple of weeks, and are therefore now suffering through serious withdrawal. What did we talk about around the water cooler and on Facebook before snowboard cross? What gave our lives meaning before curling? To keep the spirit of the Games alive even though they’re over, here are some interesting images from our digital collections that relate to the Vancouver Olympics.
First, here’s a British Overseas Airways Corporation advertisement offering travel to the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, the first Games held after WWII (the host city was selected at least partly because Switzerland was neutral during the war). These Olympics were noteworthy for the figure skating gold medal won by Dick Button, now well-known as an “amusingly opinionated” TV commentator. The 1948 Games also introduced a new demonstration sport called “military patrol,” which combined cross-country skiing with shooting at targets and later, of course, was renamed “ice dancing.” (Ha ha, we kid. It became biathlon. But admit it, you would watch ice dancing if there were shooting at stuff involved.)
This ad is interesting for a couple of reasons: BOAC no longer exists, having later merged with British European Airways to create British Airways, but the “Speedbird” name endures to this day as the callsign used by air traffic control to refer to British Airways flights. The $746 round-trip fare is about $6700 in today’s dollars; for comparison, round-trip fares between NYC and Geneva today begin at $448. Of course, in 1948 you probably didn’t have to pay extra for checked baggage, pillows, food, and armrests.
Continue reading Going for the Gold