In 2007, before I wrote yesterday's post about Subliminal Seduction, I wrote this post about an ad that seemed much more obvious than subliminal.
This is an ad from a 1946 issue of Life Magazine.
Remember Allen Funt and Candid Camera? In 1970 Funt released a movie, What Do You Say To a Naked Lady?, with hidden camera shots of guys suddenly being confronted by a nude woman. Apparently that's what is happening to this train passenger. Without the hidden camera, of course.
So the ad seems to be about a naked — or near-naked — girl, Psyche, the White Rock Sparkling Water gal, enticing the businessman to have a few drinks. The next morning he’s getting off the train, waving to her, as if they spent the night together. Even after a few drinks he’s feeling “…fit as a gross of fiddles.” A “gross” of fiddles? “Gross” is not how he's feeling.
We can tell the man isn't just in some sort of drunken fantasy because the Pullman porter (referred to as “boy”)* and bartender apparently see her, too. That's dangerous, because in those segregated, Jim Crow days it'd be dangerous to look at a naked white woman. You wouldn't want to invite the KKK to visit.
*Pullman porters were also referred to as “George,“ after George Pullman, who created the Pullman car, natch.