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October 11th, 2011

The Magic of Advertising

Teeny the magical clown

The other day, my Extraordinary Pal David Malloy (NOT pictured above)  showed me a bunch of issues of Genii magazine from the 1950s. For the three of you who DON’T know, Genii is the conjuror’s magazine, and was published for magicians, both professional and amateur, all over the country. It chronicled new tricks, awards ceremonies and noted performers in what I’m sure were probably interesting and well-researched articles. They were also very long, so I didn’t read any of them.

The ads were more my speed.

And who can blame me?

Ventroliquism Envy

Are people envious of ventriloquists? Can anyone really “entertain” with ventriloquism? These ads are fantastic! (Please note that they carry hand-carved figures that are fully clothed. NO NAKED DUMMIES FOR SALE, you perverts.)

I also like this one, because it starts off as a warning:


You IDIOT. How could you possibly function in your sad, sad life without ABRACADABRA? You just cannot afford it. Oh, wait. It’s just a magazine about card tricks and card trick-related news. Never mind then.

Plus, since it was the 50s, people didn’t have to worry about unintentional sexual innuendo and they could do things like this:

What Every Wife Should Know

He doesn’t want neckties. He wants magic, you prude. Give the man who married you (and not your more attractive sister) a “Happy Christmas.” Dear Editor of Genii, The heading of that ad, “WHAT EVERY WIFE SHOULD KNOW,” makes every other term below seem dirty. Even the [ahem] “tricks” seem like depraved bedroom acts. “ShimmeRing?” “Minor Miracle?” And if “Bill Paul’s Lying Saucers” doesn’t have to do with testicles, I don’t know what does.

I’d like to pause now and apologize for this post so far. Starting out with a jolly (horrifying) clown at the top of this post must have been very misleading. And I’m sorry about that. I know most of you are delicate, gentle creatures, who don’t normally talk about sexual maneuvers and ball sacks.

But I’m not, so put on your seatbelts and shut up.

[Hi, Mom!]

So! How about the Chinese Egg Bag, which sounds like a tremendously weird euphemism for male genitalia?

Chinese Egg Bag

I mean, for god’s sake, it talks about “solid wood” and a “super climax.” COME ON, 1950s. You didn’t see how any of that was maybe a little yucky?

[Hi, Mom!]

Moving away from the realm of nut hammocks and the like, let me ask you this: Who decided this was a good idea for a Christmas show?


Head Chopper Christmas

Bring your kids on down, dress ’em up in their little velvet Christmas suits. Shove grandpa in the car! We’re chopping off the heads of spectators in honor of the birth of Christ! It’s a must-see holiday extravaganza!

Man, people will be FLOCKING to see that. Your friendly neighborhood magician will make his $18.75 back in no time at all!

Okay, so just to review: Ventriloquist envy, aggressive magazine sales, sexual innuendo, yuletide beheadings, and now…


Animated Baby Skunk

Talk about value! One dollar for a perfect-looking replica of something that has rabies that you will always carry with you! AND it’s GREAT AT PARTIES: “Say! It appears someone is causing screams of laughter over by the punch bowl!” “Why, it’s Dale– what’s he got in his hand?” “I believe that’s a baby skunk, Suzy!” “Golly, just look at it’s life-like antics!” “I’ll be he didn’t even have to pay postage!” “Ha Ha! It is provoking mirth from me!”

I would totally go to that party.


3 comments to The Magic of Advertising

  • Steve the Cat

    I wonder how many Head Chopper’s they sold, because in the 50’s $18.75 was the equivalent of about $8000 today.

    Also, who knew that “ventiloquial” was even a word, let alone that one could get a whole line of ventriloquial supplies?

  • Norm

    Actually $18.75 in 1950 would only equate to about $168 today after calculating actual inflation for all those years. Besides, what’s the point of cutting someone’s head off if there’s no blood and pain? It’s too bad shrunken heads have fallen out of fashion or it would be a great seller today at $168.

    As for the $1.00 skunks, I run into several real ones each week just in my normal interactions with people weekly… and they do what real skunks do.

  • David Malloy

    Ha ha ha I like Steve the Cat’s math better!

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