Shampoos of the Past and Poppins in the Present

Were you ever a “Breck Girl?” Did you subject your scalp to “Herbal Essence“?

Once upon a time, we were carpet bombed with commercials for shampoos and hair coloring on the radio. “Does she or doesn’t she?” became a catch phrase. But 40 years later, the brands behind them aren’t as popular as they once were. The stars who pitched them have faced from memory for many, as have their formerly hot shampoo brands. And look closely at the photo at left. Recognize the Mad Magazine send-up? It made the list of the “Usual Gang of Idiots'” favorite back covers.

In fact, Mad made its name by making fun of the conventional and often skewered advertising. Here are some examples of their most vicious ad parodies.

“Poppins,” is one of my granddaughter’s new favorite words. The skyrocketing popularity of Disney’s Disney Plus streaming service has brought a number of family chestnuts back to the front of our minds. The Sound of Music is one of em. And so is Disney’s most successful film, Mary Poppins.

When Jack Warner passed on Julie Andrews to repeat her award-winning  performance opposite Rex Harrison in the film version of My Fair Lady and gave the plumb role to Audrey Hepburn, Walt Disney was in the wings. He wanted Julie for his star and held up production on Mary Poppins for a year so the newly pregnant Andrews could deliver a baby.

in the parlance of the radio biz, one station owner’s mistake turned out to be another’s gold mine.

Walt’s instincts were dead-on and when Julie accepted her Academy Award for the role, she thanked “the man who made it all possible, Jack Warner.”

Can you name the people in this picture? The easy ones are Julie Andrews on the left and Walt Disney on the right. The two kids should jog memories if you were a fan of the original Mary Poppins. They are Karen Dotrice & Matthew Garber, who played Jane and Michael Banks. The barely smiling lady to Julie’s left is Mary Poppins author, P.L. Travers, who turned out to be less than happy with the finished product as the Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson bio-pic Saving Mr. Banks chronicled in 2013.

Today in History:

In 1933 American engineer Edwin Armstrong patented FM. It would be two more decades before it became ubiquitous on radios everywhere.

In 1963 The British Invasion began when The Beatles released “I Want To Hold Your Hand“(Video)  & “I Saw Her Standing There” (Video) in the US. Still have your 45?

In 1970 George Harrison started a 4 week run at number one with “My Sweet Lord” a tune that sounded a little too much like the Chiffon‘s “He’s So Fine” and landed the quiet Beatle in copyright court.

In 1973, our nightmares got a lot worse as “The Exorcist” (Video Trailer), starring Linda Blair & Max von Sydow premieres. It’s the 1st horror film to be nominated for Best Picture.

Time magazine named “The Computer” Man of the Year on this date in 1982. When did you buy your first one? Got mine in ‘84.

Today’s Birthdays:

Richard Widmark, 1914 (Died 2008); Steve Allen (Tonight Show), 1921 (Died 2000); Phil Spector, 1939; Abdul Fakir (The Four Tops), 1935, Jared Leto, 1971

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a classic commercial for Breck Shampoo from 1965. “Concentrate!”

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Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit