Uncle Earl's Soap Blog

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Christmas in Connecticut Movie Review


As their last film review of the year, Uncle Earl’s movie critics, Manny and Annie, chose a holiday classic–Christmas in Connecticut (1945) starring Barbara Stanwyck.

Annie loved the movie. Manny struggled to find anything he liked about it. The result is another rousing review worthy of Ebeneezer Scrooge himself.

All of us at Uncle Earl’s Soap wish you a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year! Enjoy the review!

Manny:  Happy Holidays to everyone! And you too, Annie. I love this time of year, especially because it emphasizes the good things about religion. Fundamentals, like simple pleasures and thankfulness for what we have. Whether you rejoice in miracle births, eternal oil lamps, or the fact that days are getting longer isn’t important. It’s the fundamentals that count.

Which is why my present to you, this year, is a warning.  Stay away from this movie!  It’s a waste of time and space. The movie studio pushed this through quickly, paying absolutely no attention to fundamentals.

Where should I start?  Let’s reflect the joy of the season and be positive. The best acting comes from Casablanca veterans Greenstreet and Sakall, and housekeeper O’Connor.  All of these are supporting roles, but the actors are strong enough to support the rest of the movie.

That’s it. Nothing else about this hastily produced film is even worth complaining about.  Annie, if you insist, I’ll go into details, but won’t know when to stop. Watch “It’s a wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street” for the millionth time instead.  It will be far more rewarding than this.

Annie: Happy holidays to all! Yes, even you, Manny! I too love this time of year for all the reasons you mentioned, but I’ll add another. I love holiday films! From animated classics to sappy love stories, you’d be hard-pressed to find a holiday movie I don’t like. And, surprise, surprise, Christmas in Connecticut is one of my favorites.

As Barbara Stanwyck’s completely non-domestic character channels a future Martha Stewart and becomes tangled in one scheme after another, I can hardly stop laughing!  Yes, her character is devious and might seem to have a questionable moral compass at best, but that’s her appeal.  Sometimes it’s refreshing to come across a leading lady who has an edge and isn’t “cookie cutter” (if you’ll pardon the holiday pun).  My love of this movie isn’t because the script is stellar or the acting phenomenal, although I enjoy watching Barbara Stanwyck in most anything. It’s because it’s just a darn fun, snarky movie!  And when I’m up to my eyeballs in holiday hustle and bustle, sometimes a light-hearted film like Christmas in Connecticut (and a glass or two of eggnog) is all I need to de-stress and recharge. C’mon Manny, don’t channel Ebeneezer Scrooge!

Manny: Bah Humbug, Annie!  You cracked one too many eggs into your nog.  I love a good holiday movie, and this isn’t one of them.  It takes terrible acting to pierce that fourth wall, and Barb’s overacting sticks pins through my eyeballs in every scene.  The worst is when she first meets our “hero.”  If the movie had been made today she would be tearing his clothes off!

Oh, and what kind of “hero” do we have here?  His ship is torpedoed by an American sub for one thing!  He stays alive on a raft with a companion for 18 days and looks like a champ?  He dreams of fancy meals but we know absolutely nothing about his background?  And it turns out he sings and plays piano.  He’s supposed to be a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, a position known for highly technical skills.  In what?

Annie, our minimum standards for a story have to start with a GOOD STORY!  Next we need to have solid characters.  In a movie the story has to be told well, and the actors have to know how to ACT!

This movie has a terrible premise, and the characters are superficial and inconsistent.  Worst of all, Barb and our “hero” weren’t even acting.  They walked through their parts with exaggerated emotions.  Please, watch A Christmas Carol, or A Christmas Story, or even Home Alone instead of this!

Annie: Manny, Manny, Manny (shaking my head). I may have cracked an extra egg in my nog, but I think you added a few extra shots of brandy! I find Stanwyck’s acting delightful and the premise of the story hysterical! Who cares if our hero sings and plays the piano and that we don’t get his resume of technical skills? And it’s Hollywood! He can’t show up in a holiday comedy looking like a shriveled raisin.

How quickly you forget that you gave Abbott and Costello high marks for just being “funny” and producing a lighthearted movie that helps lighten anyone’s stress load. And you DEFENDED their exaggerated emotions in the name of comedy. So you of all people should understand where I’m coming from with Christmas in Connecticut! Lighten up Ebeneezer or you’ll get coal in your stocking!

Manny:  Annie, you are comparing the “A” team to Stanwyck?  As actors, they were consistent, and played their parts perfectly, all the time.  Barb went from fondling a mink stole to oggling her sailor like a high-school actor.  Watch that second scene again and I dare you to say that’s professional acting!

And you want light-hearted comedy?  Then chew on these snippets.  His friend teaches him the “magoo” – seduce women to extract favors and then ditch them?  When the architect and writer kiss in the bedroom he makes a joke about his “double ribbed” pipes?  The sailor first meets the writer, and asks “can I watch you and the baby?” Creepy!  And later he asks, “Is she happy with her husband?”  Double creepy.  What about the “nice firm rump” comment?  Finally, and as a great “Martha Stewart” tour de force, tell me you weren’t insulted when the fat man demands seeing the “charming sight of an attractive woman flipping flap jacks.”

Annie, good comedy can be well written, well acted, and wrapped around a well-crafted story that doesn’t insult our intelligence or gender.  Come on, raise your standards!

Annie: So I had the good fortune to watch Christmas in Connecticut over again, and you know what? I still love it! I’m going to completely ignore that you called Abbott and Costello the “A team of comedy” and assume you’re still adding too much rum to your nog. But at the risk of being slaughtered by feminists, the man demanding to see the “charming sight of an attractive woman flipping flap jacks” didn’t phase me. In fact, I’m pretty impressed by her flap jack flipping. Have you ever tried to flip a flap jack without a spatula? Take my word for it, it isn’t easy. There’s no need for anyone to get their tinsel in a tangle over in 2015 by every compliment given in the context of 1945. And need I remind you that the primary cook in the movie is–wait for it–A MAN!

So what if the sailor wanted to watch her bathe her baby? He’d been away from his very large family for eons and was nostalgic for home. Speaking of which, that scene also kicks your sexist rant out the window. It is–wait for it–A MAN who ultimately knew how to and did bathe and feed the baby!

My bottom line? Christmas in Connecticut is a great movie to get you in the holiday spirit. Sure, some scenes are corny, but that’s part of its charm. It’s heart-warming, nostalgic (if the horse and buggy scene doesn’t make you want to grab a mug of hot cocoa then you must have ice running through your veins!), and worthy of a place on anyone’s must-watch holiday movies list.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

15 Must-See Nostalgic Thanksgiving Ads

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is almost here! It’s the time of year we count our blessings and gorge on roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and pie. Then take a nap, wake up, and do it all again.

These vintage Thanksgiving ads are a snapshot of what the holiday used to be–helping Grandma roast the turkey, gathering with family around the table, beer, knitting, edible candles, liquor, Pepto Bismol, and cigarettes. Wait, what? 

All of us at Uncle Earl’s Soap wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Because everyone knows canned tomato soup makes turkey taste great?

Because everyone knows canned tomato soup makes turkey taste great, right?

Hopefully, this woman goes easy on the Rheingold before she carves the turkey.

Hopefully, this woman goes easy on the Rheingold before she carves the turkey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really cannot make the connection here but those are four great looking turkeys!

We really cannot make the connection here, but those are four great looking turkeys!

Cranberry candles made of mayonnaise and cranberry sauce. Bizarre is the first word that comes to mind...

Cranberry candles made of mayonnaise and cranberry sauce. Bizarre is the first word that comes to mind…

Pour an ice cold Pabst before you carve the bird!

Pour an ice cold Pabst before you carve the bird!

Old Gold tobacco--"a treat you can trust." Really? A treat?

Old Gold tobacco–because if your forefathers smoked it, it must be good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who wants roasted turkey when you can have this jiggly vegetable loaf instead?

Who wants roasted turkey when you can have this jiggly vegetable loaf instead?

This woman seems confused by her TV dinner. Or the words, "ye Indians..."

This woman seems confused by her TV dinner. Or the words, “ye Indians…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pie. Reddi-wip. Enough said.

Pie. Reddi-wip. Enough said.

Pepto-Bismol is as important to Thanksgiving dinner as pumpkin pie!

Pepto-Bismol is as important to Thanksgiving dinner as pumpkin pie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The look on the turkey's face in this ad is priceless. But why is the woman in a wheelbarrow?

The look on the turkey’s face in this ad is priceless. But why is the woman in a wheelbarrow?

Yet another cranberry sauce/mayo concoction. What's the deal? Are we missing something?

Yet another cranberry sauce/mayo concoction. What’s the deal? Are we missing something?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wonder how many real women shoot their Thanksgiving turkey, haul it home on their backs like a knapsack and then smoke a cigarette for good measure.

Because every woman should shoot their Thanksgiving turkey (wearing a cute hat, of course), haul it home on their back like a knapsack, and smoke a cigarette for good measure.

Make a wish over a glass of Schlitz. A romantic way to end Thanksgiving day.

Make a wish over a glass of Schlitz. But don’t say it out loud or it won’t come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, finally! A Thanksgiving ad that makes sense.

Ah, finally! A Thanksgiving ad that makes sense!

 

Vintage Movie Review: Isle of the Dead

To make Halloween spookier, Uncle Earl’s own classic movie reviewers, Annie and Manny, watched Boris Karloff in Isle of the Dead. The movie was released in 1945 and follows a group of people quarantined on an eerie island as they face their worst fears, even death.

Manny felt the movie was scare-worthy; Annie not so much. Can’t these two agree on anything? Watch the trailer, check out the review, and let us know what you think.

Manny: Annie, I know you’re not a fan of horror flicks, and frankly, my dear, I’m not either.  Can’t stand the special effects or scary hockey mask man who jumps out of walls with supernatural powers.  Guess what? This ain’t that kind of movie. This is a horror flick that reaches into your own psyche and snaps your spine from the inside out.

I’m getting ahead of myself. First off, this movie has it all. Great acting from one of the greatest horror actors of all time, Boris Karloff. It’s got the Balkan wars as backdrop, without shoving it in your face.  It’s got respect for our mythical past in the form of Greek gods and the three headed monster-dog that guards the gates of hell.  It’s got real acting, a general, a reporter, even an archaeologist.  It’s written smart, it’s directed smart, moves fast, and has great scenes.  Best of all, it is truly frightening.

It starts off with a bang.  First scene?  The General is berating one of his officers for failing in the field of battle.  He strips off all his insignia.  Then hands him a gun.  Why?  To go outside and shoot himself.  That’s real.  That’s guts.  And that’s the horror of war.

And you know what makes this movie especially scary, Annie?  These are people who are sitting on supernatural superstitions, but their fear is real, and it could be real today.  I don’t want to give away the plot, but they are all dying.  They just don’t know when.  You don’t even know.  And the general thinks it’s an evil spirit in the form of the beautiful girl.  Who knows?  He might be right.This is horror at its most basic – real, unfettered human frailty.  It’s us.  No reliance on skeletons jumping out at you, and no need for lots of blood or guts.  Someone is going to die, and nothing you can do can stop it.

Annie: Manny, I’ll give you the movie starts with a bang, but that’s about it. Speaking of that bang, Karloff says the officer was his friend without an ounce of emotion whatsoever. If that’s how he reacts when a friend is forced to shoot himself, I feel sorry for his enemies.

You’re right. I’m not a fan of horror flicks or scary movies. This wasn’t either. Hocus Pocus was scarier than this movie! Based on the movie poster and description, I expected to be sitting on the edge of my seat and cowering in fear. Instead, I watched a rather boring group of people in quarantine letting their fears run amuck. Yawn.

Things got a bit exciting towards the end when the woman who spends much of her life in a catatonic state escapes from her coffin (and by the way, how predictable was it that she would live out her worst fear and be buried alive?!), but she was a pretty wimpy killer. Having said that, I agree with you that superstition-based fear is real and probably the scariest thing of all in real life. But this movie did nothing to change my thoughts about “horror” films. It made me like them even less.

Manny: Annie, I feel so sorry for you.  Are your feelings totally dead?  I mean, c’mon, these people are really DYING!  Would you rather see them huddled in a Liberian ebola tent?  Or maybe visit an HIV ward in the US?  It’s like playing Russian roulette – you simply don’t know if it’s going to be your time.  And it’s a monster you can’t do anything about.  And the monster is inside of you.

At the very least you should shed a tear.  No General worth anything is going to flinch at sending his friend to his death.  You probably want some kind of new age sensitive type of guy who is in touch with his feminine side.  Sorry.  Back in the day, especially in 1912, soldiers didn’t cry.  Karloff pulled off some brilliant acting, including the sensitive touches when he sees his wife’s desecrated grave.  Or when he has to wrestle with his own rational feelings about the “vorvalaka” or vampire.

Annie, the true value of horror stories is the way they make us face our own fears.  If you want special effects and lots of blood, have fun.  But Poe’s Cask of Amontillado or Telltale Heart will always be classics, for the same reason Isle of the Dead is a classic.  Because it’s not about the characters, it’s about ourselves.  Tell me Annie, what terrible memories have you walled up with bricks in your inner soul?  What person from your past have you buried, alive?  Happy Halloween Annie!

Annie: Manny, I get the premise of the movie (how we react when we face our worst fears, blah blah blah), but it didn’t evoke emotion in me. Not a single tear. I’ll give you there were moments of good acting by Karloff, but I respectfully disagree about generals and emotion. While I certainly wouldn’t have expected them to cry, I don’t think a fleeting moment of regret is out of the realm of possibility.

You mentioned Poe and walled-up bricks. Now you’re talking horror! The Cask of Amontillado kept me awake for days! Isle of the Dead? I didn’t lose a wink.

 

Vintage Halloween Ads that Make You Wish You Were A Kid Again

Halloween conjures memories of carving pumpkins (the best part was scooping out the slimy seeds, right?), and searching for the perfect costume–which probably had a plastic mask with nose-holes so small you could hardly breathe. And candy. CANDY!

We came across vintage ads that “SCREAM” Halloween. They’ll remind you of days gone by and make you wish you were a kid again. And did we mention they feature candy?

vintage-halloween-ad-curtiss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

vintageAd-wowe-e

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

vintage-halloween-ad-leaf-halloween-favorites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

necco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

crackerjack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9bada166b1181e327bb350b31e1bc85a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

milky way smart pumpkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1929 Wrigley's Spearmint Gum Halloween Ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1962TootsieRollAd

 

 

 

 

 

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Other than becoming highly-commercialized, Halloween hasn’t changed much over the years. Do you have a favorite Halloween childhood memory? Share in the comments!

 

 

If You Love Scary Films, You’ll Love These!

People love a good scare. Some love the adrenaline rush; others just need an excuse to hold tightly to their date. Whatever the reason, petrifying people is big business.

Although scary movies can be traced to the the late 1800s during the silent movie era, it was arguably Universal Picture’s Dracula and Frankenstein that put the horror genre on the map in 1931.

Classic horror films are tame compared to today’s scary movies. But there’s something to be said about the thrill of being terrified without watching scene after scene of blood and gore.

With Halloween around the corner, we’ve put together a collection some of the best spine-chilling classic movies. Many feature mad-scientists, unrequited love, and Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff. But don’t watch alone! You never know what’s lurking around the corner…

Released 1931. Based on the book by Bram Stoker; starring Bela Lugosi and Helen Chandler.

Released 1931. Based on the book by Bram Stoker; starring Bela Lugosi and Helen Chandler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released 1931; Based on the novel by Mary Shelley; Starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, and Mae Clark

Released 1931; Based on the novel by Mary Shelley; Starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, and Mae Clark

Released 1941; Starring Claude Rains, Warren Williams, and Lon Chaney Jr.

Released 1941; Starring Claude Rains, Warren Williams, and Lon Chaney Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released 1958; Starring Allison Hayes, William Hudson, and Yvette Vickers

Released 1958; Starring Allison Hayes, William Hudson, and Yvette Vickers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released 1932; Starring Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, and David Manners

Released 1932; Starring Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, and David Manners

 

 

 

Released 1936; Starring Boris Karloff, Ricardo Cortez, and Edmund Gwenn

Released 1936; Starring Boris Karloff, Ricardo Cortez, and Edmund Gwenn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released 1955; Starring Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, and Toni McCoy

Released 1955; Starring Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, and Toni McCoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released 1940; Starring Bela Lugosi, Suzanne Kaaren, and Dave O'Brien

Released 1940; Starring Bela Lugosi, Suzanne Kaaren, and Dave O’Brien

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released 1958; Starring Ed Nelson, Alan Jay Factor, and Cornelius Keefe

Released 1958; Starring Ed Nelson, Alan Jay Factor, and Cornelius Keefe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released 1935; Starring Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, and Colin Clive

Released 1935; Starring Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, and Colin Clive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released 1963; Starring Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, and Suzanne Pleshette

Released 1963; Starring Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, and Suzanne Pleshette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released 1954; Starring Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, and Richard Denning

Released 1954; Starring Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, and Richard Denning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you love horror films? What’s your favorite?

 

Don’t Be Duped by Triclosan

By Bill Branson (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Triclosan is everywhere; hidden in plain sight in products you and your family use daily. The latest research shows you may have been duped by claims that triclosan is a superior germ-killer.

What is Triclosan?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), triclosan was registered as a pesticide in 1969. It’s antimicrobial and used to slow or prevent bacteria, mildew, and fungi growth.

As people became more germ-conscious over the years, production of triclosan soared.

It’s a staple in antibacterial soaps, but it’s also found in antiperspirant, mouthwash, toothpaste, body wash, cosmetics, clothes, kitchen items, sponges, garbage bags, linens, toilet seats, and toys.

Health advocacy groups have expressed concern about the safety of triclosan for some time, but recent studies prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take a closer look. Although the FDA does not regulate cosmetic ingredients, they do regulate triclosan as an over-the-counter drug, thanks to claims that the ingredient is antibacterial.

What the Studies Show

The FDA is careful to state there is no proven danger of triclosan to humans. However, research since their last review indicates it may cause adverse health effects.

  • There is evidence  that triclosan produces the carcinogenic by-products chloroform and dioxin. How this impacts humans and the environment is yet to be discovered.
  • National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides report cites studies that show triclosan may alter hormones and contribute to antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.
  • A study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology found triclosan may disrupt endocrine function and lead to antibiotic resistance. The study also showed a significant decreased swimming ability in fish exposed to triclosan.
  • University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine study determined that triclosan greatly impairs heart and skeletal muscle contractions in mice.
  • Research published in the journal mBio found that triclosan encourages bacteria build-up in the nose, in particular Staphylococcus, thereby increasing the risk of serious infections.

Triclosan and the Environment

The U.S. Geological Survey found that triclosan was one of several top contaminants found in samples taken from 139 streams over 30 states from the years 1999 – 2000.

Given that the EPA estimated over a decade ago that over 1 million pounds of triclosan was produced annually, imagine how much more is being produced today. The impact on aquatic life  and the environment could be staggering.

Researchers agree. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Publish Health concluded that “continuous accumulation of [triclosan] and its by-products in the environment could reach the threshold limit which can affect all levels of the animals in the food chain.”

Does It Work?

Manufacturers claim triclosan prevents illness by reducing dangerous bacteria growth, but research doesn’t back the hype.

A recent study (September, 2015) in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy determined triclosan is no better than your average bar of plain soap at reducing bacteria contamination.

According to the FDA, with the exception of triclosan in Colgate toothpaste reducing the incidence of gingivitis, there is no evidence that adding triclosan to consumer products has any health benefits.

What Can You Do?

Triclosan is proving to be no different than many other chemical ingredients found in personal care products—unnecessary and potentially dangerous.

As evidence mounts against triclosan, consumers are crying foul. As a result, some companies are removing the triclosan from their products.

You can reduce triclosan exposure by taking these steps:

  • Check the labels on your soap and personal care products to see if triclosan is listed as an ingredient.
  • Purchase all-natural soaps and personal care products.
  • Be wary of products claiming to be “antibacterial,” “antimicrobial,” or “germ-killing.” There’s a good chance they contain triclosan.

Natural Alternatives to Triclosan

Many essential oils and plants have natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Lavender, tea tree, peppermint, thyme, and aloe have germ-fighting abilities.

For household cleaning, lemon and other citrus oils, baking soda, and vinegar are great natural choices.

 

The Right Way to Use Uncle Earl’s Soap

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You may have read the title of this post and thought we’d lost our minds. Isn’t there only one way to use soap? You put it on your skin, add water and rinse, right? Well…not exactly.

What makes Uncle Earl’s Soap unique and, if we do say so ourselves, superior to other soaps on the market is that it puts moisture back into your skin instead of stripping it. When you use Uncle Earl’s soap, it’s as if you’ve washed your skin and immediately applied lotion.

In order to get the most moisturizing and skin-soothing benefits from our soap, you’ll need to wash  a bit differently than what you’re used to. It’s not difficult or time-consuming, just different.

Here’s how to wash your skin with Uncle Earl’s Soap:

  • Wet your skin and add a small amount of soap (remember, it’s concentrated so a dab’ll do ya!). If you’re using our bar soap, rub it over the skin a few times.
  • Rub the lather in and the dirt out, the longer the better.
  • Quickly wash off the lather under a stream of warm water.
  • Once the lather is gone, you’ll be left with a slick, lotion-like layer on your skin. This is exactly what you want. The slick layer will be absorbed into your skin. Depending on how dry your skin is, it may absorb almost immediately or take several seconds. The drier your skin, the faster the absorption.
  • Once the slick layer is absorbed, let your skin air dry or gently dab-dry with a towel. Your skin will feel softer and more hydrated.

That’s all there is to it! Follow these steps when using Uncle Earl’s Soap, and you’ll be on your way to healthier skin.

Once you’ve tried our soap, drop us a line. We’d love to know what you think.

10 Things Our Great-Grandparents Did That We Should Too

Photo credit: Wikimedia

There are lessons to be learned from our great-grandparents; skills and ways of life we can apply today. Our great-grandparents didn’t have smart phones, computers, Mp3 players, or big box stores. There was no Siri to answer every question or GPS to give directions.

Our great-grandparents weren’t bombarded with information or “plugged-in” twenty-four seven. They worked hard and played hard and appreciated all they had. They didn’t work to buy more stuff. They worked to make the world a better place for their children and grandchildren. Despite the lack of modern conveniences, it can be argued life was simpler. Slower. And dare we say, better in some ways?

Grew their Own Food

There were no Costcos, Sam’s Clubs, Safeways, Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods in our great-grandparents’ era. At most, in rural areas, there was a general store or two to serve an entire community. People had large gardens and grew their own food. Nothing went to waste. If there was extra, they shared the bounty.

Preserved and Stored Food

When it comes to being prepared for a rainy day, our great-grandparents knew the drill. They understood the fragility of life and wanted to be prepared for anything. Most had root cellars full of potatoes, onions, and canned vegetables, fruits, meats, jams, jellies, and fruit butters. This assured an ample food supply no matter what life threw their way.

Cooked from Scratch

Unless they lived in a city, “fast food” for our great-grandparents meant going to the henhouse and snatching a few eggs from a cranky chicken. And who needed KFC? When a chicken lost its usefulness, it also lost its head and became the freshest fast food chicken dinner ever.

Food was real back then. There were no GMOs, artificial preservatives, colorings, or flavor enhancers. Meals were hearty and comforting. Our great-grandparents made their own cheese, bread, and butter. Foods were healthier because they were whole instead of highly-processed and full of ingredients made in a lab.

Walked Everywhere

City or country-dwellers, our great-grandparents were always on the move. They walked everywhere — uptown, downtown, to the fields, or to the barn. They were on their feet all day. Households didn’t have multiple cars; they were lucky to have one. Kids walked to school. We’ve all heard the “when I was a kid I walked miles to school in the freezing cold, uphill” stories. An hour of exercise didn’t need to be carved into our great-grandparents’ day. They exercised without trying.

Helped their Neighbors

Many people in this country don’t know their neighbors. We’re more guarded than our great-grandparents were. Neighbors talking on either side of the fence or dropping in for a cup of coffee doesn’t happen seldom happens now. Our great-grandparents helped people without getting anything in return except the satisfaction of helping others. And everyone was better for it.

Didn’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Daily life was hard for our great-grandparents. But they saved their worry for big things such as war, economic depression, failing crops, epidemics, and how to feed and educate their families. They gave little attention to life’s little annoyances like the dog doing his business on the rug (if he was lucky enough to be in the house), kids squabbling, or the house not being immaculate. They didn’t cry over spilled milk; they knew life was too short.

Fixed Things

Our great-grandparents didn’t run to the nearest mechanic every time something broke, and they certainly didn’t throw it away. They fixed it themselves. And if they couldn’t, they salvaged what they could and re-purposed it.

Made Clothes

Not only did our great-grandmas make their own clothes, but they made them well. People couldn’t afford to buy every item of clothing they wore. They took advantage of whatever material was available and made Halston-worthy creations. It’s true that women did the major sewing in the family, but your great-grandfather probably knew his way around a needle and darned his share of socks and sewed his share of buttons.

Used Natural Remedies

The medicine cabinets in our great-grandparents’ homes weren’t filled with prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies. Instead, they held herbal and natural remedies. Our great-grandparents grew their own herbs and knew how to create herbal teas and infusions to treat everything from back pain, bee stings, and open wounds to fever, stomachache, and cough. Doctor visits were reserved for serious illness.

Paid Cash

Debt was a four-letter word for our great-grandparents. They avoided it at all costs. If they did borrow money, they paid it off as soon as possible, even taking on extra work to do so. They wanted to be self-sufficient and not indebted to anyone. Credit card offers didn’t arrive in the mail every other day so there was less pressure to buy beyond your means. Our great-grandparents were content with what they had.

Our great-grandparents knew the value of hard work and perseverance. They were frugal and took care of what little they had. They valued their freedom and independence, yet were always willing to help neighbors and people in need to the extend that they could. They appreciated the little things in life; moments that are often taken for granted today — a sunrise or sunset, the smell of fresh grass, a night on the town, or the satisfaction of a job well done. Their lives were more rhythmic than chaotic. Of course, there are things about that time that weren’t so great. But it was how our great-grandparents handled adversity and lived life to the fullest that we can learn the most.

 

 

9 Vintage Soap Ads Show Different Way of Life

1945 Swan soap ad

We love vintage ads. They give us a glimpse of what life was like decades ago and the artwork was second-to-none. Some ads are inspiring, others questionable at best, and a few so ridiculous they’re downright funny.

Take a look at a sampling of our favorite vintage soap ads.

We love the artwork on this 1945 Swan soap ad.

Cover girl Ann Drake advertises Sweetheart Soap

Cover girl Ann Drake advertises Sweetheart Soap

Can you tell which woman is the mother in this 1951 ad?

Can you tell which woman is the mother in this 1951 ad?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ads

Think pretty with Palmolive! This ad was part of Palmolive’s “You’re Prettier than you think you are!” 1956 campaign.

According to this 1943 Ivory Soap ad, romance is seldom rational.

Romance is seldom rational.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't lose love because of middle-aged skin! It doesn't get much more sexist than this.

Don’t lose love because of middle-aged skin! This 1938 sexist ad is one that leaves you asking, “What on earth were they thinking?!”

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Diana Lynn is “Lux Lovely” in this 1952 ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1959 Cuticura soap ad

1959 Cuticura soap ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitzi Gaynor for Lux soap, 1956

Mitzi Gaynor for Lux soap, 1956

Do you love retro ads? Let us know your favorite. For more nostalgia and a free Uncle Earl’s soap sample, subscribe to our email list.

 

 

 

 

 

Vintage Movie Review: Abbott and Costello in Hollywood

Abbott and Costello

Uncle Earl’s own classic movie review team, Annie and Manny, are at it again! This time, they’ve reviewed the 1945 movie, “Abbott and Costello in Hollywood.” And they didn’t see eye-to-eye.  

The classic comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made their last MGM movie while the war raged in Europe and the Pacific.  Rationing and blackouts were normal.  Many had little money.  Money didn’t matter so much, though, when you always knew of someone who wasn’t coming home, ever again.

Without a single nod to the struggles everyone already knew about, Bud and Lou pulled together a romping comedy that showcases many of their classic vaudeville routines. Theirs were skills that generally aren’t as honored in today’s comedic world, a modern world that prefers shock value and vulgarity in place of classic timing or wordplay.

Manny: Bud and Lou are the classic comedic team, setting the bar for every other pair of funny people ever since.  As far as this flick goes, it absolutely does the job.  It takes away my cares and makes me smile.  If I was watching this back in 1945, it would have helped me forget the fighting over there.

Even better, it holds its own.  The women are pretty with really cute dresses. The singing is great, and we get to hear the songs from start to finish.  The dancing is wonderful, and extremely classy especially by today’s standards.  People talk about respect and dignity, without being preachy.  The evil playboy has just enough devil in him so we know what he’s up to, but it doesn’t get overplayed.

In short, this film does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and it does it well.  So well in fact that I’m enjoying it some 70 years after it was made, and you know what?  People are going to be enjoying this another 70 years from now.  And you know why?  Because the “funny” movies of today are vulgar, shocking, and extremely reliant on today’s passing fads in order to make their jokes.  

How many times do you go back to watch “Dumber and Dumber” or any of its sequels?  How many times can you laugh at on-screen farts or scenes that demean love or women, usually both at the same time?  Nope, Bud and Lou did it again.  

MGM may have been upset by the poor box office of this film and let them off their contract, but they gave us a gem for the ages.  This is one funny movie.  Four bars from me.

Annie: I may be in the minority, but I’m not a big Abbott and Costello fan. This movie proved why. Having said that, I agree with you that comedy on any scale was desperately needed during WWII and a welcome diversion from the horrific newsreels.

I also agree that most of today’s comedies are shockingly vulgar. In fact, they’ve taken vulgar to a level Abbott and Costello likely never dreamed of. Huge fan or not, the comedy duo proved funny can be clean.

This movie had funny moments. A few times I even laughed out loud. But I felt the movie was overacted. Most of the comedic bits went on too long, and the double-takes were too exaggerated, even for physical comedy. The bits started out okay, but got so repetitive that I lost interest and wanted to tell them to get on with it. 

Costello’s trademark whooping and squealing throughout the movie made me cringe; it was very “Three Stoogish.” The over-the-top roller coaster scene left me yawning after the first minute. Again, it went on way too long. Lucille Ball’s cameo was even disappointing. I definitely didn’t love Lucy in this movie. What a lost opportunity! This film gets two bars from me. 

Manny: Heck, you proved my point for me, you goody two shoes!  You laughed!  You were shocked that they OVER-REACTED? Didn’t you know that’s what they were paid to do? That’s what all comedians still do!  Haven’t you ever seen, well, ANYTHING?  

Were some scenes too long?  Go buy some popcorn.  And don’t get me started about your remark about the Great 3 Stooges.  C’mon.  You’re obviously not a Larry, Moe and Curly fan.  You probably don’t like rubber chickens or banana peels either.  Geez.  Lighten up!  That’s what this movie is all about. Life is too serious as it is.  And I’d rather listen to laughter, even yours.

Annie: For the record, I have seen MANY things and many comedians. Take Lucille Ball, for instance. Now there’s a comedian! No one did physical humor better! Her bits weren’t overacted, her timing perfect, and the scenes didn’t bore me because Lucy knew when to move on.

Life IS too serious, but it’s also too short to waste time watching this movie. Who wants to listen to a man scream for over an hour? Oh yeah, I guess you do. Well, you can waste your popcorn on whooping, banana peels, rubber chickens, and overacted, ridiculously-long, repetitive, slapstick comedy that isn’t funny after the first attempt. I’ll save mine for comedians who knew how to keep it fresh like Lucy, George and Gracie Burns, Mel Blanc, Art Carney, and Jackie Gleason. C’mon, you can’t possibly compare Abbott and Costello to them?

Have you seen the film? Do you agree with Manny or Annie? Leave us a comment and let us know.