The more things change the more THEY REMAIN THE SAME

Before there was Big Pharma was there a little guy in an apartment somewhere with a sure fire cure for warts-aches-pains-lumbago-diabetes-rheumatism-moles-hair loss-asthma, etcetera, etcetera, ecetera? Looking through these ads from the 1931 issue of Comfort you'd think so. All you had to do was write them and they'd send you information about their miracle cure. Now we have big 4 color ads in magazines and nonstop tv commercials. Will any of today's ads be kept as ephemera? Will any of them be lumped in with old fashioned snake oil sales? I can think of quite a few. 

Here, for your viewing pleasure, a variety of the tiny ads that were grouped throughout the back of this issue of Comfort. How many sick people were taken for a ride by these companies? How many people spent part of their meager income hoping for relief? Today instead of writing for information we're repeatedly told "Ask your doctor!" So start scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and then ASK YOUR DOCTOR!

My favorite line is "If you're feeling sour and sunk and the world looks punk..."

medical cures 3_tatteredandlost
medical cures2_tatteredandlost
medical cures 4_tatteredandlost
medical cures 1_tattered and lost

But I guess my favorite is just an old home remedy sent in by a reader, a cure for corns. It doesn't say what you do with the vinegar soaked bread after using. Perhaps bury it under a board then turn around three times and scream like a chicken?

corn treatment_tatteredandlost


  1. If they save all of today's drug ads for posterity, will they also save the two pages of disclaimers and adverse reaction warnings, too?

    You crack me up!

    my verification word: mixes

  2. I thought the same thing. Is anybody going to save those things? I bet someone out there has kept Vioxx ads. And any other med that comes along to be questionable will probably end up as ephemera in somebody's drawer. Well, let's just hope they don't think they're going retire on it by selling them on ebay.

    Don't you love the verification words? I think they're a hoot. I had one the other day that I should have kept because it fit so well with the site.

  3. I'll bet there's some middle-aged guy out there somewhere saving all those Cialis and Viagra ads and someone will come across them and look at all those happy smiling couples and think, "Why aren't I having as much fun as they are?" lol

    I recently switched my browser to Firefox and it so graciously prompts me with a drop-down list of previous veri words. Isn't that handy?

  4. You know I keep laughing at those Cialis ones with the bathtubs that show up in the strangest places. Especially the two of them under a big tree in a yard at night. I keep envisioning the neighbor looking out their window and seeing this and turning to his wife and saying, "Well, Ben and Judy are sittin' out in those tubs again. I guess that stuff Ben's taken still ain't workin otherwise they'd need only one tub."