Thursday, January 19, 2006

Burma Shave



An email sent me back in time this week, thinking about those old Burma Shave signs we used to see on the roads:


TRAINS DON'T WANDER ALL OVER THE MAP 'CAUSE NOBODY SITS IN THE ENGINEER'S LAP ---Burma Shave

SHE KISSED THE HAIRBRUSH BY MISTAKE SHE THOUGHT IT WAS HER HUSBAND JAKE--- Burma Shave


Remember these? For those who never saw any of the Burma Shave signs, here is a quick lesson in our history of the 1930's and '40's. Before there were interstates, when everyone drove the old 2 lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all over the countryside in farmers' fields. They were small red signs with white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing 1 line of a 4 line couplet...... and the obligatory 5th sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream. Here are more of the actual signs:

DON'T LOSE YOUR HEAD TO GAIN A MINUTE YOU NEED YOUR HEAD YOUR BRAINS ARE IN IT--- Burma Shave

DROVE TOO LONG DRIVER SNOOZING WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IS NOT AMUSING--- Burma Shave

BROTHER SPEEDER LET'S REHEARSE ALL TOGETHER GOOD MORNING, NURSE--- Burma Shave

CAUTIOUS RIDER TO HER RECKLESS DEAR LET'S HAVE LESS BULL AND MORE STEER--- Burma Shave

SPEED WAS HIGH WEATHER WAS NOT TIRES WERE THIN X MARKS THE SPOT--- Burma Shave

THE MIDNIGHT RIDE OF PAUL FOR BEER LED TO A WARMER HEMISPHERE--- Burma Shave

AROUND THE CURVE LICKETY-SPLIT BEAUTIFUL CAR WASN'T IT?--- Burma Shave

NO MATTER THE PRICE NO MATTER HOW NEW THE BEST SAFETY DEVICE IN THE CAR IS YOU--- Burma Shave

A GUY WHO DRIVES A CAR WIDE OPEN IS NOT THINKIN' HE'S JUST HOPIN'--- Burma Shave

AT INTERSECTIONS LOOK EACH WAY A HARP SOUNDS NICE BUT IT'S HARD TO PLAY--- Burma Shave

BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL EYES ON THE ROAD THAT'S THE SKILLFUL DRIVER'S CODE--- Burma Shave

THE ONE WHO DRIVES WHEN HE'S BEEN DRINKING DEPENDS ON YOU TO DO HIS THINKING--- Burma Shave

CAR IN DITCH DRIVER IN TREE THE MOON WAS FULL AND SO WAS HE--- Burma Shave

And my favorite:

PASSING SCHOOL ZONE TAKE IT SLOW LET OUR LITTLE SHAVERS GROW ---Burma Shave


Do these bring back any old memories? If not, you're merely a child. If they do - then you're old as dirt... LIKE ME!

26 comments:

lucylocket said...

The signs were the highlight of any trip.I was so happy when I learned to read them myself.

Carolyn said...

A couple of those ring a bell. I sometimes still see the old "Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco" signs painted on old barns up in central WV, toward Helvetia & Elkins area.

By the way, I tagged you for a small meme if you want to do it :)

Marcia said...

when ever anyone talks about BurmaShave I think about these signs on I-55 in rural republican Illinois (a stretch of highway I drive whenever I want to get to civilization, aka, Chicago). They're for a website promoting gun ownership, etc, and the one that always cracks me up is "Cabin or Castle / Or Geodesic Dome / Homeland Security / Begins at Home" and then the website. They crack me up.

marcy_peanut said...

Well, I don't remember these, so I must be a spring chicken!!

I think that you would REALLY like my latest post. It's really funny, and I think perhaps that you would appreciate the sense of humor.

BTW, you know me as Bhakti...my alter ego...**wink wink**

utenzi said...

I like that first ad you have pictured, Judy. However, hold the Burma Shave and give me the native woman.

By the time I was a kid there weren't many Burma Shave signs up but I do remember seeing a few on trips out west.

David E. Patton said...

I never saw any of the signs alone the road but heard about them from a song by Tom Waits.

LilNigglet said...

Grab my Dong and wiggle it, you've been hit by Lil' Nigglet - Burma Shave.

srp said...

I recall seeing a few of these on Route 66 as it went through Oklahoma City.

mar said...

I never saw a Barma Shave sign, Judy, maybe because I am from Chile! so now you know it. Funny signs!

Joe said...

We use Burma Shave type of sign in politics. It is fun coming up with the little jingles and such.

Here via Michele.

poopie said...

I vaguely remember them...nah. I'm thinkin' about when I saw 'em at Hoss's place.

Duke_of_Earle said...

(SIGH) Yes, I'm old enough to have actually seen those signs. And I actually remember some! One you did not list (I swear this is a real one!) is, "The Big Blue Tube -- Is Like -- Louise -- You Get -- A Thrill -- From Every -- Squeeze -- Burma Shave"

John

Jamie Dawn said...

Those are really neat. I like how they not only advertised their product, but gave safety tips for drivers.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

I don't remember Burma Shave signs but this is suspciously like heading down I-95 to South of The Border!!!!

Merle said...

Hi Judy ~~ Interesting post, as is the list of older women.
Where did the years go?
Thanks for your visit and words
of encouragement.
Have a nice day.

Paul said...

I did a Burma-Shave story on My Other Blog. Tune in... http://douglasaz.blogspot.com/2004_09_09_douglasaz_archive.html

Thanks for this. I always enjoy Burma Shave stuff. That second one you listed was about 8 miles outside my home town.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Big mistake
Many make.
Rely on horn
Instead of brake.

Interestingly, Jude, I did a Burma Shave piece just a few days ago.

Don't stick your elbow
Out too far,
It might go home
In another car.

(P.S. I KNEW you were one of my complimenters, because I saw your name on Ronni's site. Sorry I couldn't print everything you wrote, but ego has its limits...)

Seamus said...

I remember some of these on the old state routes - 'course I'm old, but dirt's older! ;p

Maria said...

The Burma Shave signs were the primer reading books for many of us. I was so proud when I discovered I could read them for myself. Thanks for the memories

Jess Riley said...

Here I finally am via Michele! :) (Took too long to write my darn comment & missed you the first time.)

I recently saw a book of these old Burma Shave signs. Such an interesting phenom!

Shane said...

these quips were really really cool
if i don't come back to your site, i'm a fool.

~michele sent me

Greg Finnegan said...

We would crane our litle necks - four kids in the back seat of a Packard, 1955, Mom, Dad and an aunt in the front - going form Chicago to Montana. Here's one:

IF DAISIES ARE
YOUR FAVORITE FLOWER
KEEP PUSHING UP
THOSE MILES PER HOUR
BURMA SHAVE

Gooberman said...

I don't recall any of the Burma Shave signs... If I did, I would have pulled along side of the road and asked for a clean cut shave from Burma. Anyways, good to see ya again, just like as before, Michele sent me to your great blog!

road apples said...

the "car in ditch" one sure brings back a certain memory of a incident on the pike about 20 miles north of norfolk.

Jude said...

good ones!!

ribbiticus said...

it's a shame they're no longer around. i would have loved to come across them! :)