If you're old enough to remember the Burma-Shave signs scattered across America's highways, you'll remember both the humor and the absolute need to see all five signs so you could get the entire jingle. There were a total of six signs but the sixth one always said "Burma-Shave."
When I read an article about the signs in the Springfield News-Leader earlier this week, it brought back the memory of many trips both as a child and as an adult. Very occasionally, it's still possible to find a remnant of this extremely successful marketing campaign.
For those of you too young to remember, Burna-Shave manufactured men's shaving cream. In 1925, the company initiated an advertising campaign that rocketed the company to national prominence.
The company placed a series of staggered signs along a stretch of highway. The signs contained a jingle ending with the "Burma-Shave" name. From the mid-1930s until 1963, travelers across America read and loved the jingles. By 1936, the small company from Minneapolis rose to the #2 seller of men's shaving cream.
Take a moment to travel down memory lane with these samples of a bygone era:
She kissed the hairbrush by mistake
She thought it was her husband Jake.
The cannibals took just one view
And said he looks too nice to stew. (1937)
Don't pass cars on curve or hill
If the cops don't get you morticians will. (1940)
Soldier Sailor and Marine
Now get a shave that's quick and clean (1941)
Tested in peace Proven in war
Better now than ever before. (1945)
This will never come to pass
A back-seat driver out of gas. (1960)
Henry the Eighth sure had trouble
Short term wives Long term stubble. (1960)
Don't lose your head to gain a minute
You need your head Your brains are in it. (1963)
Everyday we do our part
To make your face a work of art. (1963)
I couldn't find any statistics about who read the signs. My guess is that most men, women and children read and laughed about them as they traveled along those highways.
For a listing of jingles throughout the years, visit www.burma-shave.org/jingles.