Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.
20 of My Favorite Baby Photos
Author: Constance Bannister, “World Famous Baby Photographer,” and Lover’s Lane All Meat Weiners
Discovered at: Antique mall
The Cover Promises: Babies! Weiners! The two great tastes that, uh, not so much!
“The photographs in this booklet are among Miss Bannister’s favorites. We hope they will give you a chuckle and help brighten your days.” (page 1)
“Sausage stretches the food budget.” (page 2)
“Sausage is a highly nutritious food.” (page 3)
Steak and eggs. Tax and spend. “Yankees” and “suck.” The history of twentieth-century marketing is the history of pairing words up with such precision that their corresponding ideas lock into something grander than either alone – preferably something that moves your product. Think chocolate and peanut-butter, and you think Reese’s.
It’s understandable, then, that the good folks at the Lover’s Lane All Meat Weiners would want in on this action. But what to pair their weiners with? Popcorn had claimed “movies,” and apple-pie had a monopoly on mom, so they had little choice but the one remaining ideal beloved by the vast majority of Americans: babies.
Yes, babies and weiners. One’s made of lips and assholes, and the other is what you get when a casing machine and some by-products love each other very much! One plumps fleshily up against a delicate membrane, and the other might have cheese baked right inside!
Today, just tagging a blog post with “babies and weiners” is enough to get us investigated. In innocent 1953, though, this inspiration might have had some potential. Lovers Lane contracted Constance Bannister, a photographer with several best-selling baby books to her name. Together they whipped up 20 of My Favorite Baby Photos, a curious freebie pamphlet offering adorable babies in unguarded moments, wacky, adult-oriented captions, and – well, it’s best you see for yourself.
Right there, at the bottom of the page: ad copy that reads “Budget Low? Try Sausage.”
There might be some sense to this. Let’s say you enjoy the idea of a drunken, lecherous newborn, like the one above. And let’s further suppose that your budget is tight. Is it too much to expect that the next time you go home with a baby you met in a bar you might also treat yourself to a tasty, affordable sausage?
Especially when the babies clearly crave sausage, too!
Maybe I’m making too much of this. Maybe, sometimes, a weiner-selling baby’s fake-sausage cigar is just a cigar.
But can we all agree that no baby photo should ever be placed so close to an all-capped “SKINLESS”?
20 of My Favorite Baby Photos goes on like that, trying, in its confused, creepy way, to forever link in your mind the ideas baby and sausage.
Bannister and Lovers Lane offer baby kisses . . .
. . . baby tears . . .
. . . and baby indignation.
Whether or not the promotion boosted Lovers Lane sales, I can’t say. Googling “Lovers Lane” and “sausage” offers much amusement but little information. Still, the fact that this campaign hasn’t been imitated suggests that it might not have helped much. While it’s probably for the best that “baby” and “weiner” aren’t another “shave and a haircut,” I can’t help but wonder what the marketing departments at Ballpark Franks or Hebrew National would prefer. Would they rather their product was associated with an Anne Geddes or a Larry Clark, or would they rather we think “pig-snouts”? (Or the Studies in Crap favorite “A fucken basket full of weiners and monkeys.”)
Hot-Dog Related Bonus Crap!
There’s much to like in the February, 1973, issue of Betty Crocker’s Sphere magazine. The sphere of the title refers both to the classic domestic sphere but also to the globe itself, so the recipes are adventurous, international, and health-conscious, and most of the articles adeptly blend the urbane with the domestic.
Of course, none of that explains why the cover image is a woman eating a hot dog in front of a hot dog while dressed as a hot dog.
And flipping you off. And stroking the piece in her zoot-suit pocket.
I’m also confused by this sad-hobo maternity gear.
I apologize for the nastiness of my fake captions.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 27, 2009