Those of you who are younger than me (and I suspect that's a lot of you) may be wondering what on earth I'm talking about. Those of you who do know what I'm talking about may be wondering what my point is. So here goes:
Beginning in 1925, the Burma-Shave company, which made a brushless type of shaving cream - ah, I realize I need to go back one more step.
Prior to the invention of Burma-Shave and its ilk, men (or their barbers) had cakes of shaving soap that they lathered up with a shaving brush, like the image to your right. Burma-Shave was a ready-to-use cream. This was considered to be a time-saver, and was also presumably less messy. (At this time, only "fast" women shaved anything. And you didn't want to be considered "fast," unless you sought noteriety.) To advertise this, they began putting up signs alongside the road, like the one you see above, and quickly began using jingles to make them more attention getting. However, even at the glacial pace that early cars traveled, since the signs were small, you couldn't put much on them or they would not be readable from a moving vehicle. So they spread out the text on successive signs, with the final one saying just "Burma-Shave." Here is a typical advertising jingle, with each slash representing a new sign: "To change that / Shaving job / To joy / You gotta use / The real McCoy /Burma-Shave." They also began making safety jingles, such as the following: "He tried / To cross / As fast train neared / Death didn't draft him / He volunteered / Burma-Shave." Some were merely humorous: "Don't stick / Your elbow / Out so far / It might go home / In another car / Burma-Shave." And then there were the bad pun variety: "My job is / Keeping faces clean / And nobody knows / De stubble / I've seen / Burma-Shave." And finally, they were so well known that they could run this set, without the final "Burma-Shave:" "If you / Don't know / Whose signs / These are / You can't have / Driven very far."
So what's my point? Well, basically, that I published a serialized web story about Orpheus and Eurydice to publicize The Pittsburgh Camerata's concerts this weekend. If you missed the web story, go back 12 blog posts and check it out, beginning with "The Perils of Orpheus Part I." If you want to know more about the concerts, go to www.pittsburghcamerata.org
If you do this today or probably tomorrow, you will get the old website, which is okay, because it has all the information - it just doesn't look as spiffy. If you look in a couple of days, then, Lord willing, you will get the brand-new, spiffy website with the all-new logo and beautiful design by our web designer, Alex Lezberg. It should function fully and easily, thanks to our website builder, former Cameratan Adrian Rollett. And if you go to the blog, you'll find a fabulous post about Halloween, choral music, and science fiction, written by bass Roy Matway.
I hope you all enjoyed the story, and I hope to see you at the concert.