I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
Friday, June 14, 2019
Burma Shave Safety Reminder Jingles
all began as an ad campaign in the 1920s when the brushless shaving cream Burma
Shave decided to take advantage of the open road. Burma Shave was released in
1925 by the Burma-Vita Company in Minnesota. By 1947, more than 7,000 sets of signs could be found along the nation’s roads and byways in
45 states. Burma Shave had become the second-highest selling brushless cream. But sales began to drop in the 1950s, and by 1963 the last Burma
Shave sign had been posted. By 1966, all were gone from the roadways.
signage ad campaign was composed of four or five roadside signs that rhymed
their message with the last sign bearing the name of the company – Burma
Shave. Signs were posted about 100 feet apart for easy readability from cars traveling 35mph. The
signs were always done in capital letters because they were easier to read when
traveling down the road. Drivers and passengers found the signs to be entertaining and interesting - a welcome diversion along America’s byways.
the late 1950s the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System was developed. Roadways were kept in better shape and
vehicle speeds were increased making it more difficult and dangerous for drivers to
try to read the signs.
When Phillip-Morris Company took over the company in
1963, the signs were discontinued upon advice to their attorneys. Television
advertising also dealt a death knell to the signs because it was more
economical to write a thirty second commercial than to write, paint and post
signs around the country.
For the first couple of years, the ads were rather
unimaginative. Here’s a verse from 1926:
THE MODERN WAY
by the 1930’s, the puns and rhymes were everywhere along the roads.
THE ONCOMING CAR
YOUR CLOSE SHAVES
THE HALF POUND JAR
1939, roadside safety messages began to appear all over the country and
continued until the end of the campaign in the early ‘60s. Here are some that reminded drivers in a humorous way that the Grim Reaper was never far away.