As we all get ready to start partying for the next month and a half until the final tolling of the bell on New Years Eve, I think it's time we take a few moments and silently reflect on elves. Yes, ELVES! What do we know about them? Really, nothing. They're the straight men to Santa's one man show. They're the ones left behind Christmas Eve at the melting North Pole. And what exactly do they do that evening? Okay, so probably they're still working that night in case Santa has any screw-ups along the way. But when the jolly one pulls the sleigh into the barn and says "No, really, no more cookies. I'd like a nice California Chablis, a bag of Cheetos, and my slippers" what do the elves do? I'm thinking...they get plastered! Elves Gone Wild! I give you Beech the dancing party fool, and Ham the mixer of all things lethal. Imagine the YouTube videos of the mayhem. I'm guessing the partying goes on for a couple days before Santa tells them all to chill out and get started on next years haul of consumer items.
Okay, so maybe it's just my imagination run wild, but I often like to think of what elves do in their time off. Maybe it's just me.
As often is the case there's more to this story. These little fellows are actually advertising promotional paper dolls from the late 19th century offered by the Beecham's Pill company. Want to know why they look like this? I think they might have used the product. Do you know what happens when you take a pill made out of soap? Well...you get Elves Gone Wild! but not in the way they'd hoped for.
Beecham's Pills were a laxative first marketed around 1842 in St Helens, Lancashire. They were invented by Thomas Beecham (1820–1907), grandfather of Thomas Beecham (1879-1961).
The pills themselves were a combination of aloe, ginger, and soap, with some other more minor ingredients. They were initially advertised like other patent medicine as a cure-all, but they actually did have a positive effect on the digestive process. This effectiveness made them stand out from other remedies for sale in the mid-nineteenth century.
The popularity of the pills produced a wide range of testimonials that were used in advertising. The poet William Topaz McGonagall wrote a poem advertising the pills, giving his recommendation in verse. Two slogans used in Beecham's advertising were "Worth a guinea a box," and "Beecham's pills make all the difference."
The pills, and their marketing, were the basis for Beecham's Patent Pills, which became Beecham Estates and Pills in 1924, eight years after the death of Sir Joseph Beecham, the son of Thomas Beecham. The pills continued to be made by a succession of Beecham Pills Limited, Beecham Pharmaceuticals Limited, Beecham Health Care, and SmithKline Beecham. The manufacture of the pills was discontinued in 1998. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)And so it goes...so to speak.