Thursday, January 31, 2008

Magazine Mental Illness

Most collectors will admit they are more than a little mad... But it takes a special kind of crazy to collect old magazines.

First there's the sadness as you grab box after box of vintage and retro crafting, how-to, and do-it-yourself magazines at an estate sale or auction... All the unfinished work speaks of lives that weren't finished.

And then there's the general craziness of what's inside the pages. Who said these were good ideas? And when it comes to women's magazines there's the perpetual, "Who bought this crap -- bought into this crap?"

One cannot help but mull the sanity & happiness, insanity & unhappines, of the former magazine owners... Today, I do so with 13 examples of mockable magazine scans.

(And yes, whenever I mock the previous owners of these magazines I am reminded of what others will think of all these boxes of magazines that I'll leave behind. I said it's a special kind of crazy.)

1) Via this 1971 Pack-o-Fun, "The Only Scrap-Craft Magazine", I am reminded why I don't recommend putting your children in scouting. Or elderly folks into those crafting classes at the old folks' home. Little's much sadder than instructing people to make dolls out of garbage -- unless it's dangerous dolls made of plastic dry cleaner bags, stuffed with facial tissue, and drawn on with markers.

While they admonish giving these dolls to babies who will put things in their mouths, they also say that "these cuddly little dolls will become favorites of the toddler set." Toxic teethers, poisonous pacifiers; a garbage doll by any other name is just fine as long as your child is mature enough, by 2, to know better. (No mention that suffocation by plastic dolls or marker fumes may cause retardation, rendering your smart toddler as dumb as a baby.)

Foiled again. From the same magazine, this is eggs-actly what you think it is: egg cartons covered with tin foil, used as a lighting fixture.

What? You're waiting for me to add something? The idea should be enough -- plus, you've got the groovy photo.

Home Kinks magazine isn't what you think it is. Or maybe it is; maybe you're not as twisted as I am. Or maybe you are just as twisted, but you just knew this was a Popular Mechanics publication (1947).

The cover boasts of a frying pan shield on page 18. I didn't scan it, but to end your suspense, I'll confirm that it's precisely what it looks like: a cake cover cut-out to allow access to the contents of the frying pan.

On page 9 we all learn how to make a Dutch Boy cutout to hold a kitchen broom. I'm not going to mock this; I long for the good old days when copying corporate logos for home use was de rigeur.

On page 94 we have (further) proof of my mental illness. Something has been cut out -- presumably the order form for the 102 time saving, money saving, money making, helpful, inexpensive easy to use... guides, as selected by the blue X's. But that's not good enough.

This magazine is incomplete; therefore I am incomplete.

The October 1975 issue of Women's Circle Homeworker "shows you the way to home money making." (I have to admit I read the title as 'homewrecker', but maybe that's because I just know a lady making extra 'pin money' isn't the sort of girl dear old dad can stay married to.)

The cover proclaims, "Women Paperhangers Earn $5 Per Hour". I guess that was startling in 1975 -- but not for the reasons you think.

7) As the story continues on page 31, the headline, "Women paperhangers are still around", tells us that in 1975 paperhanging was considered to be on the outs with the modern home working woman. I guess wallpaper hanging was that 'oldest profession' folks refer to.

I'd also like to note that in 1975, the was a shortage of pithy, pun-ny writers or else there should have been a pun about women paperhangers still hanging around.

8) At the end of the article, Edna Shimp, wallpaper professional gal, recommends, "If you are contemplating decorating, think wallpaper." Surprise, Edna shills!

9) Super double bonus points for a women's lib mag calling women 'gals'.

10) And tack on an extra 100 points for the corner call for 'junior achievers', women "below the age of 20". Sheesh.

11) In the January, 1964 issue of The Workbasket, there's an ad for Yum Yum perfume.
When you are asked say Yum Yum!

Our new perfume is so delightful that we just had to name it YUM YUM. The fragrance lasts and is very subtle. Its exquisite tones are remembered fondly.

When you are asked, say "Yum Yum!" OK, so picture it... Your meet a swell feller, and whatever he asks, you reply, "Yum Yum," as directed. Later on the feller asks his buddies, "What was the name of that retarded girl... I am fond of her smell."

12) On the opposite page, we are asked to choose between "this or this" with the choices being to have, or not to have, bunions.

Naturally, all we can reply is, "Yum Yum!"

13) Below that ad, an ad for a job to work at home doing invisible mending.

In many communities invisible menders are scarce: service is expensive -- often unavailable. Can you learn to do this fascinating, profitable work?
"Yum Yum!" is our instinctive reply. (Oh, yes; it sucks to have the ads near the Yum Yum Parfums-Degas ad.)

But then again, perhaps we are just high on the subtle but exquisite smell of our $1 bottle of perfume and so we think maybe, must maybe, we are able to learn such fascinating, profitable work... Or is that the smell of our marker colored suffocation doll? $240 a month buys a lot of $1 per bottle, postpaid, perfume. (We reckon about 180 of 'em.)

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OpenID fullbodytransplant said...

Home Kinks? Sounds like our house on a good night!

I. Adore. Your Lists.

(And I just posted an explanation of our possession of Shelly's coat.)

January 31, 2008 11:03 AM  
Anonymous feefifoto said...

I once saw a daytime TV craft program with a segment on (I couldn't possibly make this up) making clothing out of felted dryer lint.


January 31, 2008 12:00 PM  
Blogger mom huebert said...

Oh I remember the days of making home decorations and furnishings and jewelry out of junk. And I remember when it finally occurred to me that it wasn't cheating to buy a REAL whatever, instead of making it out of coat hangers and pop can tabs!

January 31, 2008 12:34 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I have to say, I'm like totally wanting one of those frying pan covers - NOT. But it is comforting to know that women back then were no more interested in cleaning unnecessary messes than I am. :)

My 13 are here.

January 31, 2008 1:21 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

OMG! How funny! From the plastic bag doll ... the egg crate light fixure ... and Home Kinks ... can't.stop.laughing!! :)

January 31, 2008 1:24 PM  
Blogger Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Yum Yum.

What more need be said?

Except that maybe I need to do an outtake using it. That'd be way fun.

January 31, 2008 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Frogdogz said...

I'm a tad disappointed at the shocking lack of toilet paper roll cover crafts, but, rocking post! Old magazines rock.

Terrierman does snippets of the best 'make money at home' ads from old Popular Mechanics Magazines.

My favorite so far is the one about making money raising mice at home... mice you can MILK.

January 31, 2008 2:42 PM  
Blogger Miranda said...

Omg that eggcarton lamp? we made a lamp like. Except we baked marbles, then threw them in cold water to crackle them. Cut holes in the bottoms of the cups of the cartons, and glued them there, and made a lamp.

Great list. Happy TT!

January 31, 2008 4:19 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Do you still have the other kitschy site up? It was fun.

January 31, 2008 5:11 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

that was fab.u.lous

I must finda copy of home kinks. Must!

Happy TT

January 31, 2008 7:50 PM  
Blogger DoubleDeckerBusGuy said...

I'm confused... WITH bunions... WITHOUT bunions... decisions, decisions...

January 31, 2008 8:09 PM  
Blogger cajunvegan said...

You must keep these "retrolicious" posts going. You are here for my entertainment.

Happy TT!

January 31, 2008 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Nicholas said...

Oh, but how could you mock? That woman looks so happy with her frying pan shield.

February 1, 2008 11:40 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

Great list! I like retro. I found you through West of Mars.

February 8, 2008 2:53 PM  

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