Intl. Notebook Dec 28 2009
DISCERNING JAPANESE
How to get ahead in advertising.

Assorted Japanese advertising and magazine images from the 1950s. You can used to be able to see hundreds more striking scans at the wonderful vintage website thatseurobeat, now sadly defunct.     

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Intl. Notebook Dec 2 2009
JAVA SCRIPT
I heartily endorse this event or product.

In this Japanese ad from the mid-eighties, Arnold Schwarzenegger shills for Go West brand coffee. We’ve been running across quite a few old Japanese ads lately, and you’d be surprised what sort of mundane products big stars were willing pitch in exchange for a wheelbarrow of yen. Of course, Arnold had already starred in unforgettably bad films like Hercules in New York and exposed his Schwarzenugget in that infamous what-the-hell-were-you-thinking nude photo, so selling canned coffee must have seemed like endorsing Fabergé eggs. But just like old nudes, old ads come back, and we’re happy to have found this one. We feel a theme emerging.     

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Intl. Notebook Aug 28 2009
LABIA MAJORA
Major movie stars moonlight as lipstick spokeswomen.

A-list Hollywood celebrities have traditionally made a little extra coin by allowing their faces to be attached to products in Japan. With even a cursory web search you can find images of George Clooney and Cameron Diaz being used as shills for cars, booze, and stereo equipment. That kind of exposure would damage a star’s brand in the U.S., but in Japan no such consequences exist. Still, we didn’t realize just how far back the tradition went until we ran across these vintage ads for Opera lipstick. Unfortunately, our movie star recognition skills are a bit rusty today, which means we can only place Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman. Any ideas on the face in panel two? Shoot us an e-mail with the subject line: How on Earth can you fail to recognize... and tell us who she is.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
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