While I was doing my usual vintage Life on Google Books morning routine, I came across this ad for RC Cola featuring beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Linda Darnell in perfect forties' tied-midi-blouse, yellow high waisted shorts, and cola in hand. While Tyra might have something to say about her no-neckness in this modeling pose, I give her 1,000,000 additional bonus points for being freakin' Linda Darnell. The movie advertised in the byline there, Fallen Angel, is very near the top of my favorite noir movies (forget Calgon, DANA ANDREWS, take me away!), and I was suddenly intrigued to know just how high the RC Cola advertising budget for the wartime years. I always think of Coca-Cola when I think "all-American forties' soft drink" (I mean, they shipped cases and cases of Cokes all over the world to servicemen... what a marketing coup that must have been!)...let us now consider, however, RC Cola's wartime legacy (which mainly has to do with Hollywood-stars-that-I-love):
I remember in elementary school, a special treat for me was to go to Arby's with my grandparents and grab an Upper 10 lemon lime soda as my beverage of choice (side note: is not weird how old people have certain loyalties to fast food places no one else would regularly go to? My grandparents were also frequent fliers at Cap'n D's, Long John Silver's, and Rally's, which just doesn't even make sense to my adult human brain). Arby's at the time only carried RC Cola products, so you couldn't get a Coke (first tier) or a Pepsi (second tier; sorry, fellow Southerners, it's true!), or even a 7UP, but had to settle with RC Cola's fine family of beverages. I always thought this was weird, as it was well-nigh impossible to find some of the brand names in your local grocery store, and they always tasted slightly "off" (to my Pepsi and Coke acclimated childhood tastebuds, at any rate). Sometimes I just got water, just to be safe....which is saying something, if you're not familiar with my soda drinking habits as a tot.
However! None other than JOAN CRAWFORD HERSELF OH MY GOD agrees with RC Cola and Santa that "It really tastes best". I know she looks kind of strange in the picture below, but do look at her pretty, hibiscus dotted dress and elbow length gloves. And the aura of hero-worship emanating from this keyboard nonetheless. She's still my #1 girl...and she loves RC cola, apparently!
Who else joins the pantheon of stars with a taste for RC? Dorothy Lamour, who you might remember from her sarong-days as Bob Hope and Bing Crosby's mutual love interest in the Road to... movies. One thing I really like about this picture....well, two things....the black net at the top of her dress complete with her initials stitched into the delicate sheer fabric....and THAT HAIR. Are you looking at her hair in this picture? Not only does she have a slick, large chignon at the nape of her neck, but that pompadour! WOW! I can't decide if I love it or it's terrible, so it's probably a little of both.
Gene Tierney looks sickly in this picture but she's another one of my idols so I included her. Once again, Hawaiian style flowers rule the day on her smart little two piece bathing suit:
And RC Cola is not just for ladies! Gary Cooper was starring in a top role with Barbara Stanwyck in Ball of Fire the year this advertisement came out, where he actually played a semantics-studying encyclopedia compiler slash professor who was studying Stannie as a perfect living example of the "bop" generation dialect (her character's name was "Sugarpuss O'Shea, if that gives you any inkling to how adorable the movie was). Truth be told, as cute as he is in modern clothes and spectacles, taking notes on common usages of "absotively" and "zigzag" as a verb, don't you love him twice as much in buckskin fringe in a red neckerchief? He obviously needs to come across the plains on a painted pony and save my family from cattle rustlers that are plaguing our desert community. Le sigh.
Do you see Olivia de Havilland's completely drawn in hand? This is proto Photoshop gone terribly wrong, if you ask me. Where is that creepy, too-long-taloned hand even coming from? Ann Rutherford looks cool helping with the war effort on the left, too. It's an interesting mix of glamour ads and "We Can Do It" ads in terms of what celebrities are actually doing within the side panel of some of these spots.
Good gams, Betty Hutton! I AM OBSESSED WITH YOUR TEX-MEX, SOUTHWESTERN THEMED ENSEMBLE AND WHITE SLINGBACK WEDGES. Ugh. You are so cute! Do you see her corsage? Eartha and I have promised to bring these back in 2013, and this is just more encouragement.
Bob Hope looks particularly cool having a RC with some servicemen, and even plays a tuba in the triptych panel below! I was a big fan of the aforementioned Road to... movies as a kid when they used to run them like crazy in the summer on the old American Movie Classics channel. Those, schlocky horror movies on Sci-Fi channel, Carmen Miranda, Danny Kaye, and Blondie serials were all a very influential part of watching-cable-at-my-Grandma's-in-the-early-nineties'. Bid time return to when you could just flip on the tv and watch whatever was on it. Isn't he cute, ski-slope nose and all?
Last but not least, the Google books version they scanned had this page slightly ripped, but I couldn't get over the idea of Claudette Colbert playing ping pong in a nurse's uniform! And the bad rhyme on "Goddard" and "Bard" also made its right hand counterpart worth inclusion ("you know, a poet", the parenthetical notation pleads with its reader).
That's all for today, kids! See you tomorrow for Photo Friday!
(more on RC Cola history here)