Thursday, August 5, 2010

STL Phone Book Ads

If finding a stack of 35 year old telephone books in the attic sounds like a one way trip to your garbage can, think again-- there's gold in them thar pages! Well, I guess it's only considered "gold" if you love vintage character art featured in the business ads as much as I do. Yep, I'm a sucker for these tiny limbed deformities with big heads and round bodies, cutsie-wootsily doing their part in helping sell a sometimes exciting product like pizza, stereos, or Vess Cola, or even boring ones like awnings or insulation *yawnings!* So take a closer look at the dozen characters featured in today's post... some businesses come and go, (local STLers will undoubtably be familiar with the IMO's and Hi-Fi Fo-Fum faces that are still around today) and like the others that are now long gone and totally forgotten, they too are from another era of design and marketing sensibility... though all are just as nicely illustrated and worth remembering.












7 comments:

Mr. Cavin said...

Love the cat's eye glasses lady for Midtown Opticians; but that electrician from Stuart looks like he's up to his old tricks again.

Nice stuff.

Karswell said...

My favorite is the guy peeking around the curtain in the Youngstown ad... I love how he's designed to look like a hotel detective from an old 40's film.

Thanks for the comment Mr. C, I'll probably do anoher phone book ad post sometime in the future... found lots more great ads and characters too.

Todd Franklin said...

Oh yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about. Love old phone book ads. It seems every ad had an ad character back then. Thanks for posting!

Tamfos said...

Back in the 80's, the NYC phone book was fairly festooned with Wally Wood clip art. Not quite the same as ads but still cool, I assure you. He probably did them in the 60's and the NYC yellow pages kept using them. Hell, why not?

prof. grewbeard said...

"Hi-Fi Fo-Fum"?!?...

Karswell said...

Hi-Fi Fo-Fum (not the Marty Gold record by the way Prof) is a STL staple, seems like they've been around forever in this town and selling their stereo goods. The radio ads they used to have were great but it's been years since I heard one, "Hi-Fi! Fo-Fum! Exclamation point!" And the kooky character in their ads is more than just their mascot, he looms larger than life on the roof of their building and protects the neighborhood too! Check it:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/86539854@N00/339341288

Thanks for the comments!

Karswell said...

The Hi-Fi Fo-Fum character's name is HIDETON FINSTER FORBUSH FUM too by the way. Says the FUM site:

"Over 50 years ago, Hi-Fi Fo-Fum was founded by a little guy named HIDETON FINSTER FORBUSH FUM. We were set to paint his name on the windows when we discovered that there just wasn’t enough room to paint “HIDETON FINSTER FORBUSH FUM’S HIGH FIDELITY SHOPPE.”

As you can imagine, everyone was in a snit. Utter panic! Then, like a true leader, Mr. Fum rose to his full height – he’s 1’6” you know – “Let’s shorten it to Hi-Fi Fo-Fum.”

For more info about the FUM store click here:
http://www.fum.com/index.html