Now in case you don’t remember, Thanksgiving is a holiday that falls on the last Thursday of November between Halloween and Christmas. It’s the one in which was based off the large 1621 feast in present day Plymouth, Massachusetts between a group of English religious nuts in funny hats and buckled shoes and generous indigenous people who would later become victims of genocide. Still, you would know these groups as “Pilgrims” and “Indians” but if you want to know some of the details from the first Thanksgiving story, you might as well go to my movie history post on Colonial America (it’s the one with Daniel Day Lewis from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible). Anyway, kids make paper costumes and dress like them when they aren’t doing tracing their hands to make turkeys. Of course, it’s been a national holiday since the 1860s though, which might’ve been promoted by an editor of a ladies’ magazine. Anyway, this a time when American families all over the country gather together to give thanks and enjoy a meal consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and perhaps a lot of things that aren’t really good for you. On the TV lineup, you have the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade special in the morning followed by The Purina National Dog Show hosted by John O’Hurley. Both programs are on NBC and in my house. The afternoon is mostly followed with football and an evening with either Thanksgiving programming or Christmas specials. As for me, my nuclear family just invites my grandparents and possibly out of state relatives for steak and shrimp since my mom’s one of eight kids who are mostly seeing their in-laws. Then we have Thanksgiving dinner on the day after, though I’m not sure if I’m going to make it this year since it would Black Friday and I accepted a retail job for the holiday season.
Now when we think of vintage ads pertaining to Thanksgiving, we tend to imagine the Norman Rockwell image of a family gathered at a large table featuring a succulent turkey. Of course, with the Christmas ad cavalcade, that we have any Thanksgiving advertising at all. However, many of these ads I feature in this post don’t really conform to that wholesome family image and may feature dishes that may be as bad on the eyes as they are in your arteries. So without further adieu, here some old timey Thanksgiving ads that you make you glad you didn’t live at that time.
1. Nothing goes better with Thanksgiving dinner than Rhinegold Beer.
Because after this woman is done killing, skinning, gutting, basting, and cooking the turkey, she’s sure as hell going to need a drink.
2. On this Thanksgiving, may Buster Brown help positively channel your children’s budding homicidal tendencies.
After a decade, and you might see that little boy with the axe in a newspaper listed as a prolific serial killer. I mean he obviously enjoys killing animals which means he’s probably a raging psychopath in the making. And does that girl have blood spilling from her hand?
3. Drink Budweiser for the first Thanksgiving was for corn.
For one, beer’s made from hops, barely, and wheat, not corn. Second, what in the hell do Southwest Pueblo Indians have to do with Thanksgiving? The Indians at the first Thanksgiving were Algonquin for God’s sake. And it took place in New England, not Arizona!
4. Like the Pilgrims, enjoy your Thanksgiving with Heinz’s Boston Baked Beans.
Now at least Heinz is better with geography than Boston. However, you need to understand that in 1621, the city of Boston, Massachusetts didn’t even exist yet! So the notion of the Pilgrims enjoying Boston Baked Beans is very much false. Yet, there is a Boston in England though.
5. Nothing says Thanksgiving like super skinny model and four turkey dinners in the background.
Of course, the model here is encouraging women to buy knits that would help them cover the extra pounds they’d gain after eating a Thanksgiving dinner or two (if you count the in-laws). The model kind of reminds me as the bitchy ex-wife from My Name Is Earl if she wore attire from the 1960s.
6. Beer: The Thanksgiving beverage for the grownup table.
Guess you must be 21 years old to sit at the adult table in this family. Still, I guess the kiddies shouldn’t disturb the adult family members while they’re hammered on the Turkey Day booze. And even Grandma gets a beer.
7. Try our new Campbell’s Turkey Noodle Soup.
Now turkey noodle soup is a dish people make with the leftover turkey bits after Thanksgiving. And it’s much more healthy and hardy than whatever Campbell’s shows here. Still, a great taste of salty flavor. Mmmm…salt.
8. Butter always makes everything taste better even turkey in Canada, eh?
Now this is an ad for Thanksgiving Turkey from a Canadian company. Now Canada celebrates their Thanksgiving earlier. However, either way, a buttered turkey is bound not to be good for your cholesterol.
9. Whether it’s for chocolate cake, stuffed apples, and yams, marshmallows go well with everything.
Now I’m all right with having marshmallows in apples and cake. Yet, in a dish for sweet potatoes for dinner, well, that makes the Thanksgiving dinner on the Charlie Brown special seem fairly healthy by comparison.
10. For a finishing touch on your Thanksgiving dinner, here’s Maxwell Coffee.
Now I guess that none of the men at Thanksgiving won’t be having any coffee, unless they’re the designated driver. Most likely the coffee would be drank up by those who prepared the dinner in the kitchen.
11. Nothing makes a better Thanksgiving decoration than a cranberry scented candle.
Wait a minute, this is an ad for Hellman’s and the “candles” are supposed to be salads you have to eat? And there’s even a recipe for it listed. Now this is just fucked up. There’s really no way I’m going to eat food that’s being burned as a candle.
12. For a vegetable, go with Del Monte canned sweet corn because it’s soft on your grandpa’s dentures.
Now my family doesn’t serve canned corn on Thanksgiving because it’s out of season. However, the only reason why anyone in my house would buy canned corn is to donate to the food bank or to store in case of an apocalypse. Besides, canned veggies aren’t really good for you anyway.
13. Try to make him taste the best with Campbell’s soup.
Of course, Campbell’s soup is great for flavoring the turkey, if you crave for that great salty taste of its chicken broth. As they sat at Campbell’s, “Mmmm…Salt.” Oh, I’m sure the pilgrim will strangle the turkey to death all the way home. Also, why does the soup have to be tomato for God’s sake?
14. For the black woman, use Du Pont cellophane to seal the freshness of the Thanksgiving food that you’re never going to eat.
You can figure the woman in this ad isn’t going to eat the food she’s wrapping up because her wardrobe screams, “maid.” Let’s just say the black maid is a rather demeaning black stereotype, if you know what I mean.
15. Get that down home feel, with a pack of Winston’s cigarettes.
Of course, they’ll be giving the kiddies exposure to second hand smoke. Also, I’m sure that down home taste isn’t worth the possibility of spending your last years with no hair and a respirator.
16. Have your cranberry surprise on a platter as a salad or an appetizer.
Now using cranberry sauce and fruit salad as a salad is one thing. But using it as a dip on an appetizer platter, now that’s just disgusting.
17. Buy your Big Ben Westclock to make sure the turkey is baked just right, for death.
I’m sure the little girl and her grandma are so excited with the turkey coming out of the oven. Probably because they could lace it with arsenic laced gravy. Yeah, this is the Thanksgiving that will kill practically everyone.
18. Try McCormick for your pumpkin spice pie or pumpkin spice latte.
I hope those black splotches on the pumpkin pie are either spice or burn marks. Let’s hope it’s not mildew shall we? Because that would be gross.
19. Don’t have time to cook on Thanksgiving? Well, why don’t you buy a TV dinner?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think someone who buys a frozen TV dinner for Thanksgiving has anyone to celebrate the holiday with. Either that or can’t cook. Also, TV dinners aren’t very good for you either.
20. For actual Thanksgiving dishes, why don’t you go with borderline tupperware Pyrex?
Of course, I wonder how could this woman slave over cooking Thanksgiving dinner while still keeping herself so glamorous and her kitchen so tidy. I’m sure that women must envy her for those tasks seem impossible.
21. Now join the veggie bandwagon with Lucky Strike cigarettes. It will give you a very good time.
If I were the turkey, I’d be as scared as hell of her running over me. Actually she kind of scares the hell out of me, too. Still, let’s just say Lucky Strike was one of the more famous cigarettes that might lead you to an early death. Mostly because it had no filter.
22. Make Schlitz your Thanksgiving beer as you pull the wishbone.
Let’s hope that this couple is married to each other because I think I know what happens after they pull the wishbone and go to bed. Still, why so many Thanksgiving ads for booze?
23. Sorry, it’s dinner time, so just let us finish our beer.
While seeing guys drinking beer is something to be expected on Thanksgiving, I don’t understand why they all have to be in suits. Seriously, on my family, a collared shirt and khakis are as formal as it goes.
24. After Thanksgiving dinner, enjoy a smoke with Turkish tobacco.
Seriously, having a Thanksgiving smoke after dinner to spend quality time with your family? Sheesh. Still, the family who smokes together all dies of lung cancer.
25. Nothing says Thanksgiving greetings than a Western Union telegram.
Of course, while the creepy younger boy can’t wait to eat, the girl doesn’t seem too keen of eating a piece of steaming nightmare loaf. Oh, and Grandma forgives Dad for sending her to that rest home.
26. Start your Thanksgiving with Cream of Wheat cereal.
Have to hand it to the offensive black stereotype Rastus to solve the world’s hunger problems by carrying a turkey that could feed a small village and cereal.
27. Drink some hot Dr. Pepper with lime for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Now I don’t know about you, but I think hot pop is not just disgusting but bound to rot your teeth. Oh, wait a minute, they’re cocktails.
28. Now this woman doesn’t need a man to kill her turkey, all thanks to Chesterfield cigarettes.
Still, I don’t think cigarettes have ever been tools for female empowerment. In fact, quite the opposite. Seriously, those smokers who can bag their own turkeys today, certainly won’t tomorrow.
29. How about taking your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers and putting them in a jello bowl to serve as a casserole?
This is proof that what was once a delectable family dish of the 1950s will soon become the college kid food of the 21st century. Besides, jello is a dessert food, not something you have with dinner. Just why do they seem to put jello in everything?
30. So what if you overate that Thanksgiving dinner? Why don’t you have a bottle of Coke and double decker sandwich?
Then again, since Thanksgiving weekend pertains to rampant Christmas shopping with Black Friday and the first day of buck season, this meal might not be a bad idea. After all, some people will need the calories.
31. Butter your Thanksgiving bird with Keyko.
I don’t know about you but somehow this ad makes a scene of a mother basting a turkey in front of her kids unintentionally terrifying. Still, buttered turkey is bound to clog your arteries.
32. Feast on Ocean Spray cranberries and enjoy them as the Pilgrims did.
Then again, even if the Pilgrims didn’t eat cranberries on the first Thanksgiving, we can be sure that the Native Americans ate them. So this ad isn’t completely wrong. However, I’m sure they didn’t consume them with gelatin though. Nor did they make sundaes from them.
33. For Thanksgiving dinner, why not make orange marshmallow yam-yums?
Seriously, this is disgusting and definitely not good for you. I mean marshmallows are basically candy for God’s sake. Seriously, how the hell did people come up with such recipes?
34. Smoking, like Thanksgiving is an American tradition.
Now this seems like a rather decent Thanksgiving ad. However, just because Americans have been smoking for centuries doesn’t mean it’s a tradition that should be encouraged.
35. Seagram’s Crown Whiskey, a great beverage for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Now drinking beer on Thanksgiving is one thing. However, I’m sure whiskey is perhaps the kind of alcoholic drink you don’t want at a family event. Still, this guy seems either hammered or can’t resist the turkey smell.
36. For Thanksgiving in 1942, top off your turkey dinner with some Schenley Whiskey.
Good God! I know that’s not Jimmy Stewart because he’s in his thirties at the time and is on his WWII hiatus (which means he has yet to make It’s a Wonderful Life and a three Hitchcock flicks). Yet, when I saw this it just as if Jimmy Stewart arrived to celebrate Thanksgiving 1942 from 20 or 30 years to the future in a time machine.
37. Behold, a turkey endorsing Schenley Whiskey as the Mayflower beckons in the distance.
Now I’ve seen turkeys before in cartoons and in real life. Now I can say that you may call wild turkey whiskey but that bird in the Pilgrim outfit depicted in the ad just looks like a rooster to me. More like a Rhode Island Red than Wild Turkey.
38. For you digestion, smoke Camels cigarettes with everything so have a pack on the table to keep you company at all times.
On second thought, you might want to go with antacid, Tums, or Pepto. Let’s just say smoking tobacco can result in cardiovascular disease, cancer, emphysema, COPD, asthma, skin yellowing, and early death.
39. For those who can’t get a turkey for this Thanksgiving, why don’t you go with Spam Birds?
Actually spam has an even poorer nutritional quality than turkey or any meat in that matter. Then again, being WWII, I suppose people had to make do. Still, it’s about as good a substitute for turkey as tofu and I’ll leave it at that.
40. Buy some Dromedary Dates for your Thanksgiving fruitcake.
Of course, this ad would be perfectly fine besides the fact that nobody eats fruitcake (or at least admits it). That is, unless it’s covered in booze or served with it. No wonder there were so many Thanksgiving booze ads.
41. Even though Mom had to slave all day in the kitchen cooking Thanksgiving dinner, she still had to be well made up with perfect hair.
Talk about setting impossible standards for women back in the day. Also, Dad seems to be wearing his suit and tie for some reason. Not to mention, the kitchen seems way too immaculate for any cooking to take place.
42. For your mounds of cranberries in lettuce, use Hellman’s mayonnaise.
These are disgusting beyond all repute an hardly qualify for a salad. Also, the gelatine content must be insane.
43. Celebrate Thanksgiving with a vegetable loaf containing apple rings, mashed potatoes, and “cranberry turkey.”
Now I suppose this was the vegetarian option back in the day. Still, whatever a “cranberry turkey” is, I don’t want to know.
44. Happy Thanksgiving, now bring on the beer.
Yeah, everything Thanksgiving seems to be here. I mean they got turkey, china, candles, and booze. Still, the adults are going to be buzzed when dinner’s over.
45. It’s always great for Dad to don his chef’s hat and help out baking the turkey.
Still, it doesn’t hurt Mom that he has a nice tight ass she could stare at while she’s tossing her salad. Guess this is an ideal 1950s marriage at its finest.
46. For comfort on your Thanksgiving, there’s Carter’s Trigs.
Most awkward father and son camping trip ever. Also, a blunderbuss, really? You know you have to load them every single time you fire it.
47. Shop at Gray’s Market for Thanksgiving with native turkeys.
“Wonder when he finds out it’s poison. Now he’s sure to croak any time now. Can’t wait until the life insurance pays out.”
48. Budweiser – the official beer for Thanksgiving.
Guess after Thanksgiving every adult will be afflicted with tryptophan and a hangover. Real American tradition.
49. Happy Thanksgiving by the General Telephone System and Paul Bunyan.
Hey, I didn’t know Paul Bunyan was present during the first Thanksgiving. And why is he wearing denim jeans and a workingman’s collar shirt form the 20th century?
50. Look your best for Thanksgiving with these Arrow shirts.
And I’m not sure whether these guys are looking at the turkey or the old lady’s ass. Dr. Freud might want to look into this.
These are so funny! I love your commentary. Thanks for the great recipes. I think that I will make a cranberry candle for the big day!
We need to stock up on cigarettes, and booze too.