Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blast From The Past

On vacation in Maine and stumbled across a TIME magazine from July 7, 1961. Back then you could get an entire year of TIME for $7, bet that doesn't cover the shipping anymore. But before you assume I'm going to start talking about the good old days (and this was published years before I was born), allow me to share an advertisement found inside this edition.


In the background a somewhat serious Steve McQueen-type holds a smiling blonde while she leans back to have the light catch a glass of red wine and her ample bosom. Focus closer and you'll find badly drawn (now it would be digitally normalized) male hands, one holds a glass of red wine and the other a grilling fork. The chef wears, what else, a chef's hat, which looks like an ambitious muffin, while leering at the middle of another woman's back.

I can only surmise they were not all in the studio together, hence the somewhat misplaced gaze. There is no background of any kind.

Observer's eyes follow his toward another glass of red wine, being held up to the lips of an attractive woman. She exudes all-American girl right down to a checked shirt a la Mary-Ann on Gilligan's Island (not on TV yet) and bowl-cut-with-panache so typical of the time. The chef appears genuinely enamored of his luck to be cooking for her and if they are anything other than employer/employee, I echo the feeling. His face displays beginnings of doughy sections expected from those further along in age, especially in the chin which might once have jutted and been called chiseled. The chef's extravagant nose protrudes beautifully for this ad since it catches more light and helps guide the viewer's eye to the true focus of the full page spread.

The Mary-Ann character arches her brows somewhat expectantly and perfectly shows an anticipatory smile as she prepares to have some Taylor Burgundy with her hamburger.
[Note: The hamburger appears to be naked except for the bun. Further note: Why the chef has a fork while cooking burgers is completely beyond me].

The copy reads as follows:
"It's a Taylor wine and you'll love it! Vineyard-rich, ruby-red Taylor New York State Burgundy adds glamour and glory to the moment...and to the menu, whether you're supping out under the sycamores...or by soft candlelight. For family meals, entertaining, or when you dine out, choose from Taylor's famous array of wines. Ask your wine merchant for helpful Taylor booklets."

I have no idea what vineyard-rich means but it reminds me more of manure than something I want in my glass. Please notice also that no mention of taste appears. I applaud their restraint in waxing poetic and their honesty in not trying to make this wine something it could never even aspire to be but the audacity of boldly labeling the wine "New York State Burgundy" baffles, amazes and frightens all at once. It's no wonder we get so confused about wine.

Coming soon: Some stories of blatant fraud involving Champagne...

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