Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The Girl Who Hated Christmas
Miss June Valli - the star of this 1954 ad - was known in the 50s for singing soppy songs like "The Wedding" and "Crying in the Chapel." And she was also the voice of Chiquita Banana. When she wasn't skulking around in a Santa outfit clutching a bottle of Halo shampoo, scaring girls who just want to Scrooge around the house in peace.
And by the way, June, honey - that girl is not crying about her horrible hair. It's because you scared the Hail (or Halo) Columbia out of her wearing that awful mask and the red suit and sneaking up behind her like that.
But June is not the only problem this girl has. She hates Christmas, that's what! Because she is having a bad hair month. And she wants to stay home by the fire with a bowl of gruel and bitterness.
Let's take a closer look at this little holiday drama. Cue the closeups!
Looky what Santa brought you, dear: a bagful of insults. First the verbal assault: you're a social pariah because your hair is really ugly and horrible and probably it stinks, too. Oh, and here's a subtle little present. Maybe you've heard of this stuff -
It's called shampoo...
And then June says she already bought the bottle of Halo for herself. Oh fine - a used insult present. After a little hair washing, June will take Scroogette to a party and try to get the boys to notice her.
...And so Scroogette used the magical shampoo. And afterwards her hair was sparkling with "a far brighter sparkle" that it had been before.
Wait - that sort of implies that it was already sparkling. That doesn't make any sense! Hey, wait a minute...No, never mind, the story surges on. It must. Do not stand in the way of the sudsy tsunami of rinse-and-repeat romance:
Careful what you wish for, Miss Valli. Girlfriend has turned into a chattering showoff. Can't stop talking about that hair. It's so shiny she could light up the city of Detroit for a year!
Look June, see what I did? See how I set my hair? Are you looking? Well, are you? Do you like it? Do you? Are you sure?
Miss Sparkle Plenty is filled with the Christmas spirit all right. Christmas punch, that is. Uh oh - now she's singing! June looks tense and worried, hands clasped to her chest. In the last picture she's looking sideways, towards freedom. And silence.
What an exhausting gig the Shampoo Santa thing was. Never again! How do I get out of this cartoon panel?
June can't wait to put that stupid Santa costume back on and make a dash for the nearest chimney. And if that doesn't work, she can pretend to be a big banana. Hey, whatever it takes.
[Advertisement (1954) from the Duke University Ad Access collection.]