Looking back at a sugary past

| September 28, 2011
1967 advertisement for sugar.

1967 advertisement for sugar.

Since I work in the newspaper industry, I always find it interesting to look back at historic publications to see how times have changed.

So when I ran across some old copies of LIFE magazine at Joe Ley Antiques, I just had to get some. At $3 apiece, they were a steal (even though the original cover price was 35 cents).

As a side note, if you’ve never been to Joe Ley (615 E. Market St.), it is well worth a visit. It is full of rare and interesting finds – it’s more museum than antiques store.

LIFE magazine was a weekly staple in many homes throughout the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. The particular issue that struck my fancy was dated Jan. 27, 1967.

It features an in-depth story on the Vietnam War by veteran war correspondent Robert Sherrod (even in 1967 things were looking grim) and a lighter cover story on swimsuit trends.

But honestly, what interests me most about old publications is the ads, and I just had to share this full-page ad with you. The tagline is: “‘Shorty’ needs a sugarless, energy-less soft drink like a fox needs a dog whistle.” My, how things have changed!

I can imagine Don Draper from “Mad Men” knocking back a glass of scotch and coming up with that advertising gem for Sugar Information Inc.

We hear about childhood obesity 24/7 in today’s culture, and yet in 1967, LIFE readers were being told to feed more sugar to their kids.

In the small text the ad says: “What makes Shorty rebound like a champ every time? Energy – what sugar’s loaded with. It makes a man feel nine feet tall.”

It continues: “Synthetic sweeteners put back nothing. So play safe with your family – make sure they get sugar every day. Kids need what sugar’s got … 18 calories per teaspoon – and it’s all energy.”

LIFE magazine Jan. 27, 1967

LIFE magazine Jan. 27, 1967

I  paged through the magazine hoping to find an ad on the benefits of smoking but was out of luck on that one.

The validity of the sugar ad is laughable, but it made me wonder if that discounts the validity of the stories in the magazine. Will the things we think of as beneficial be considered unhealthy in 2051?

I love the printed word, and as I write this blog post, it kind of pains me that these words will never be set in ink – another sign of how the times they are a-changin’ (couldn’t resist the 1960s reference).

You won’t run across this story in a pile of old newspapers at an antique store 40 years from now, but on the other hand, it won’t ever be next to locked next to an ad for the benefits of sugar for all eternity. And you know what? I might just be OK with that.

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Category: Blogs, News & Notes

About the Author (Author Profile)

Jacob Glassner

Jacob Glassner, News Editor/Plate Spinner

Jacob usually has his eyes glued to a computer screen, editing stories and making sure the paper gets out the door each week. Multi-tasking is his modus operandi – similar to the plate spinners you’d see on the old “Ed Sullivan Show.” Turn ons: freshly-sharpened pencils. Turn offs: exclamation points!!!

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