CHRISTMAS is coming, the geese are getting fat … so buy yourself a gun and go and shoot one.
That was almost the message in this cheery magazine advertisement from the Colt Firearms company in America in 1939. The gun shown is $79.25 but who's going to quibble about the price if it brings a smile to dad's face on Christmas Day?
“While you're making everybody happy do a good job and include yourself,” says the blurb. “Give yourself a present you've probably wanted for years – a fine Colt handgun.”
Just the incentive to make sure nobody overstays their welcome at the family party.
A reader has sent a whole batch of adverts that show how attitudes have changed. Many start from the assumption that all women want are domestic appliances and ironing boards. “Christmas morning she'll be happier with a Hoover,” says one. Oh no she won't. Or how about the ad for a Kenwood Chef: “The Chef does everything but cook – that's what wives are for.”
Hear that woman? Now you start peeling sprouts while I nip down to the pub.
There is the occasional one for all the family that urges dad to buy his wife, daughter, son and pre-teen little girl shotguns for Christmas. Mind you, this is America.
And among the many for cigarettes is one that hints at a healthy option: “guard against throat scratch” it says, “smoke Pall Mall”. They were apparently smoother. Still kill you, though.
But the one that made me smile was for sweets to help alleviate childhood toothache.
Cocaine Toothache Drops were only 15 cents in 1885 and they promised an “instantaneous cure”.
If nothing else, I bet they put a smile on a few infant faces.