Modern toothpaste ads promise protection from plaque, oncologist sensitivity, buy discoloration, and gum disease. In 1953, however, Chlorodent (which briefly rose to prominience on the back of passing mania for chlorophyll as an all-purpose miracle additive) guaranteed protection against an even graver threat to one’s happiness and well-being –
– the predatory bottle-blonde hussy just waiting to swoop down and ensnare one’s lawfully wedded spouse.
The fine print under the (very AIP-Universal promo still) photo reads:
No wife wants her husband to carry the memory of her morning breath to work with him. The attractive women he meets during the day don’t have it.
While Chlorodent’s approach to marketing did rely on hardcore insecurity mongering, most of the ads tended toward paranoia of personal humiliation manifested as fashionably dressed ladies forced to hide behind some kind of whimsical full face mask. The above item upped the anxiety ante geometrically by positing a lurid and unforgiving realm where committed relationships would crumble at the halitosic hint of last night’s fish boil and haughty homewreckers lurked roamed the switchboards and secretarial pools with oversexed impunity.
The notion does seem to contradict the mythologized perception of the Fifties as an era of moral rectitude and unstinting devotion to the (bogus) concept of “traditional family values,” but shrillness of moral panics has tended to run counter to empirical evidence…as the current histrionics about illegal immigration and government spending (both presently at a historic lows) demonstrate.
Recommended listening: Looks like fun, cleans like crazy!
(from Action Comics #271, more about
drugstore December 1960; by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney)
I appreciate the fact that there was a time when sequences like the above were quick and decisive plot fixes, hospital and not springboards for some (typically depressing and/or gruesome) clarification three decades down the road.