The media in the twenties

The 1920s saw the beginning of some of our most cherished traditions, like over-the-counter medicine, radio, and billboard advertising. This is one of the many burlesque songs my mother used to sing to me that typifies the popular attitude to the issues of the day.

the billboard song

As I was walking down the street, a billboard caught my eye.

The ads written there would make you laugh and cry.

The wind and the rain descended that night,

He washed half of that board.

The other half left there would make the billboard read:

smoke a (A well-known soft drink.), ketchup cigarettes,

See Lillian Russell Wrestle with a box of Cascarets.;

Heinz Pork and Beans will meet again in a final fight

And Silent Joe will talk about Sapolio tonight.

Get Bromo for the horses, he’s the best in town.

Castoria kills measles just by paying a five-dollar down payment.

Teeth are extracted without pain, they cost half a penny

And the coats are running out little by little.

By 1926, cigarettes were a popular new vice, even for women, and (a well-known soft drink) actually contained some cocaine. Half of the population viewed tomatoes as a poisonous fruit, even though tomato sauce gained popularity.

Lillian Russell, well endowed, presented an exciting figure as a fighter and especially with a box of laxatives.

Radio played a new role in home entertainment with little music but lots of speeches from politicians, but I doubt they talked about Sapolio Soap. Bromo-seltzer, much publicized, was used primarily as a hangover cure, but not for the horses that still roamed the streets. With no invented antibiotics, Castoria acted as a remedy for most internal ailments. Measles burst onto the scene, killing one in ten victims with no cure in sight.

Five dollars down was considered a bad way to overspend, but the business community loved it. Laughing gas was so popular that dentists could overcharge at will, hence the sarcasm. No one could afford to buy much of anything, not even a coat, and gross exaggerations of supply shortages belied the reality of hard times.

He did not know

We put in the spring, you melted my heart,

The love you sown was strong from the beginning.

We bloomed in summer, you enriched my life,

The days without number, the flame of love lit.

But an angel came in the fall and put you in his care.

The leaves fell when you caught them

Matching gold highlights in your hair.

I cry your name when memories come

As the first autumn leaf falls to the ground.


I didn’t know how much I loved you

Until you left.

I didn’t say “I love you” until that last day.

The music that was you I only noticed when it stopped.

I didn’t take the time to say that I loved you very much.

My love for life went with you, too late to say.

I didn’t know how much I loved you

Until the day you left.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *