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1948: SHINOLA SHOE POLISH.
This once leading brand is now defunct. Its name lives on in the American expression "He can't tell shit from Shinola", apparently a reference to the latter's unfortunate visual resemblance to the former.
In 1948, however, the product was still going strong. This ad uses a straightforward and familiar kind of humour. Son has taken the alarm clock to pieces and can't put it back together. An over-the-knee spanking ensues, in which position he finds himself obliged to contemplate father's dirty shoes at close quarters.
No doubt in the hope of distracting his father from the disagreeable matter in hand, the boy does not hesitate to draw attention to the offending footwear. To judge from the aback-taken look on father's face, the ploy may be working.
Clearly this is "a regular boy" who takes spankings in his stride. Shinola seems to have been a fairly cheap and cheerful product. In contrast to some other ads of the era that were aimed at more upmarket suburbia (such as Ivory Bath Soap), there is no suggestion here that parental corporal punishment is anything other than a normal and acceptable part of family life.
Copyright © C. Farrell 2003
Page created January 2003