Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Black Bottom of Sieben und Zwanzig

I remember being 13 or 14 and watching television commercials supposedly aimed at my demographic. Some of them managed to reach me, but many were crude attempts by middle-aged men to entice me with the "slang" that I supposedly used.

In the February 5, 1927 issue of The New Yorker, here's a piece of laughably overdone '20s slang for you on behalf of J. Van Buren Brown, Inc. We'll ignore the grotesque "negro caricatures" in the illustration -- since many advertisements of the time displayed those as well -- and just admire the sound of a 45-year-old advertisement executive trying to sound like a flapper.

(Oh, and the "Black Bottom" was the dance that gradually usurped the Charleston; more frantic, more difficult to master, more hip, and more black than ever):
The Black Bottom of Sieben und Zwanzig (in other words 1927)

Madame, Mesdames, Mademoiselles, and all the other Dames and Selles, lend us your ears for two semi-seconds. We have a word or two to impart about your little tootsies and no pinching of ears or feet involved -- we assure you.

Your little lady-dogs are going to hurt in the Black Bottom rodeo, and hurt awful bad, unless you give 'em comfort of the ultra kind.

Arch Preserver Shoes do just that, beaucoup. Nothing else but. They put so much pep and ginger and all the other things in the twinkling and flashing toes that action is sub-conscious. The best proof is in the strutting. Why not come in and strut a strut or two and prove it?

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