Wednesday, October 28, 2015


In 1950 the Jergens Co. chose neighbors of my grandparents in Brattleboro, Vt. to be the poster family for one of their magazine advertising series. Unfortunately I don’t have the actual ad (the one I show here is similar) but I do have the script.  It was entitled "Four Youngsters to Feed, Daily Housework & Chores on her Vermont Farm", and depicted the faithful and ever dutiful-wife Bertha, husband Herman and four children.

It’s pretty incredible to think that life was actually like this in the ‘50’s … read on and I think you will agree !

Ad #1. (Bertha gazing dreamily into camera). "My secret for pleasing Herman is always to be cheerful and prettied-up when the day is done. I take a shower, put on an attractive dress, fresh makeup and, of course, Jergens lotion in case we might hold hands across the table."

Ad #2. (Bertha with daughter) "Mary and I love to wax & polish and it doesn't bother my hands at all because Jergens lotion keeps them so smooth & soft. Herman says they look as if I were a lady of leisure".

Ad #3. (Bertha washing dishes) "Those hungry wolves of mine make every meal a production, but I don't mind the dishes. Jergens lotion gives my hands a 'never put them in water' look. I keep a bottle in the kitchen".

Ad #4. (Whole family seated for dinner. Bertha & Herman holding hands across the table and gazing into each other's eyes.) Herman beams at Bertha and gives her Jergens-soft hand an extra squeeze that seems to say, "We're just about the happiest couple in the world, aren't we?"

WHEW … The 1950's....a wondrous time...when a bottle of Jergens' lotion, and lots of hard work and blind devotion on the wife's part, could solve all their problems !     And guess what?   I bought into it...lock, stock & LOTION.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

And do you keep at it? Or for how long did you?

5:40 PM  
Blogger ellen said...

I am having serious flashbacks here, Ginnie. Remember Ivory soap and the Breck Shampoo Girls? Also, "You'll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent". Do they still make and sell Ipana? I'll be singing some of the songs all day long!

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Jergens' Never heard of it here in the UK, which is strange for most US wonder products would usually 'cross the pond'.

BTW ... I should have said 'special' in my last post, not 'normal' !

7:59 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

Well yes. I grew up in those Ozzie and Harriet times....:)

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the fifties seem amazingly different these days.

I like a quote I heard, "Things today are not better or worse, just different."

Another quote from David's dad, "the good old days were not so good."

7:18 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

The 50s were also the years if my childhood, although I don't know what lotion my mother may have used. It is great fun to read some of the advertising copy from thise times.

5:24 AM  
Blogger possum said...

I remember Jergens... I sadly discovered I was allergic to it and Dial soap! Did not realize that was the problem until I changed homes and they were not in my father's house. Rashes went away.

But, I think the point also is how we were programmed not just to buy the product but our behavior in the ads. Who realized it?

6:39 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

The advertisers are still singing the same song, just different lyrics. I can still smell the unique Jergen's smell. My mother used it all the time.

6:49 AM  
Blogger joared said...

I remember Jergens lotion well -- used it for many years 'til switched to product recommended for my young dtr. Still like Jergens soap though it has changed. Recall visiting my Aunt in the '40s and she sure 'drank the housewife kook-aid', so to speak. She insisted I bathe and put on a dress (she and my mother disliked my addiction to wearing jeans to play) for dinner when my Uncle came home from work. It was clear to me he couldn't have cared less, 'cause as soon as we finished eating, he went either to the back room to repair radios (his hobby) or the basement to work with his tools on who knew what.

9:26 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I remember when Jergens was the lotion to use - for everyone. I can still conjure up the smell of it, as I can with Prell shampoo and Ipana toothpaste.

7:07 AM  

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