Wednesday, June 18, 2008

McCall's Needlework & Crafts Magazine - Fall/Winter 1959-60

How I love my scanner. Today whilst dusting, I dug out an oversized McCall's craft magazine from the bookcase and thumbed through it, puzzled by its appearance. Why did I keep this?, I thought. I tossed out some other, better (although moldier) 50s-era home decorating magazines before we moved last August. Why did I hang on to this one? Then I really looked at it more closely, especially the ads. Oh yeah, I remember now: because it's such a demented little 50s time capsule.

Who knows if our current crafts craze will puzzle future generations. Will Etsy ads illicit the same stunned reaction as this? Doubt it. Because while our current advertising is certainly more hip and knowing than the agencies that helmed the 50s, it's also missing a key element: mad effervescence.

If you look at this ad, you might feel quite mad, yet excited by possibilities of Gay Needlework Accessories: Handbags and evening bags! Eyeglass cases and sleep shades! Even doorstops and pincushions. Did I read that right--PINCUSHIONS? When's the last time someone made and gave you a pincushion, or an eyeglass case with bejeweled cat-eye glasses (and eyeballs) on it? The case--it''s staring at me...
gay needlework ad - 1959-60
Glamour for only pennies... I want to sprinkle an affordable waterfall of bejeweled rhinestones, sequins and spangles from hand to hand, until someone puts me on medication.
glamour for pennies ad - 1959-60
Here we have the target demographic for McCall's Needlework & Crafts. Caucasian mannequins feeding a taxidermied squirrel. The ad copy proclaims: Fast & Foremost! Quick Hand-knits by sweater fashions you can wear forever! Like, when you're a corpse! Encased in wax!
knits with squirrel ad - 1959-60
One thing you can say about the 50s: those models knew how to pose. Look at this woman. She's so severe. Do you think she stood around like that at cocktail parties? If so, I'd zero in on her like a heat-seeking missile, just to find out what makes her tick. I bet it's not kit fashions by DRITZ, that's for sure.
Dritz fashions ad - 1959-60
You know what I think of when I see this be-sweatered gang? Republicans. Not Republicans of the 50s. Republicans NOW. If you can't WAIT to support war, torture, offshore drilling, the end of abortion rights, while banishing gay rights in the name of morality and religion, then chuckle smugly and join this gang! Taxidermied squirrel not included.
the whole knitted gang


Melinda said...

any chance of getting a copy of a baby sweater on page 33 from the 1959 winter issue for my mother? She's looking all over for this issue.

Melinda said...

Is there any way you could scan and send me the picture and directions for a baby sweater on page 33. My mother lost her instructions and wants to make that sweater as a gift. said...

Melinda can get an issue of 1959 winter at "the" so she can get the baby set. I might have an issue too, but I'm not sure.