Posted by: Dutch | December 19, 2009

Burma shave along the highway

This article about Americana was passed alomg to me by way of my sister-in law. Since I travelled the highways and biways during the era described,  I have many fond memories of the phenomena.

For those who never saw any of these Burma Shave signs, here is a quick lesson in our history of the ’30s and ’40s. Before there were Interstate highways and everyone drove the old 2-lane roads,  Burma Shave signs could be found posted all over the countryside in farmers’ fields and on their fences These signs  were our entertainment while riding in the car back in those good old days. No TV, DVD or I-Pods:  Just counting cows or car types or the beloved Burma Shave signs for a little relief.

Artist rendering of Burma Shave signs

They were small red signs with white letters. Unlike the illustration, there were five signs (not 6),  about 100 feet apart, each containing 1 line of a 4 -line couplet, ending with the obligatory fifth sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream.

Here are more of the actual signs:

“DON’T STICK YOUR ELBOW
OUT SO FAR
IT MAY GO HOME
IN ANOTHER CAR.
Burma Shave”

“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”

“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 A LITTLE 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 HIGH
AND SO WAS HE.
Burma Shave”

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

Do any of these bring back any old memories?

If not, you’re merely a child.

If they do – then you’re old as dirt…LIKE ME!

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