A plethora of 1950s ads covering just about anything the dollar could buy, from Las Vegas vacations to cigarettes as healthy mood enhancers. More than a record of bygone products and campaigns, these colorful ads provide an evocative record of everyday American life when McCarthyism was rife and capitalism was king.
As McCarthyism swept across the United States and capitalism was king, white America enjoyed a feeling of pride and security that was reflected in advertising. Carelessly flooding society with dangerous misinformation, companies in the 50s promoted everything from vacations in Las Vegas, where guests could watch atomic bombs detonate, to cigarettes as healthy mood-enhancers, promoted by a baby who claims his mother feels better after she smokes a Marlboro.
From “The World’s Finest Automatic Washer” to the Cadillac which “Gives a Man a New Outlook,” you’ll find a colorful plethora of ads for just about anything the dollar could buy. Oh, and “Have you noticed how many of your neighbors are using Herman Miller furniture these days?” If only you could really travel back in time and pick up a few chairs for your collection...
Jim Heimann is the Executive Editor for TASCHEN America. A cultural anthropologist, historian, and an avid collector, he has authored numerous titles on architecture, pop culture, and the history of Los Angeles and Hollywood, including TASCHEN’S Surfing, Los Angeles. Portrait of a City, and the best selling All American Ads series.