One of my most vivid memories of Ronald Reagan is in 1960s black and white.
As a pitchman for a heavy-duty powdered hand soap called Boraxo, Reagan hosted a TV show called Death Valley Days, which purported to tell true stories of the American West, particularly in the Death Valley area of California.
Reagan, a B-movie actor and future president, hosted Death Valley Days in 1965 and 1966. During the show, he would tout the cleansing powers of Boraxo, good not only for cleaning hands, but for removing paint, soil stains, grease, shoe polish or wax.
The show was sponsored by the U.S. Borax Co., whose soap was made with borax, a white powder found in Death Valley. In the 1880s, the stuff was hauled out of the valley in wooden wagons pulled by teams of mules. I even sent away for a plastic model of the 20-mule team borax wagons, in a kit to be assembled and painted.
But all this has been a digression.
Reagan was also a pitchman for Chesterfield cigarettes. And I came across one of his best known magazine ads for Chesterfield while trolling the Internet for Christmas images that might end up on Jim’s Bike Blog.
Magazine ads from the 1950s and 1960s are a glimpse into another world, one in which smoking was a healthful practice recommended by doctors and women were best kept in the kitchen, using Dormeyer appliances. And wearing pearls, of course.
Times do change. Thank goodness!