My Look Back: 1939 (and some of 1941)

Friday, August 27, 2010

1939 was a great year for movies (Gone with the Wind, The Women, Ninotchka, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), and for many other things. Here's a personal look back at some of them and a couple photographs I came across that caught my eye. 1939 was the year that:


This photograph is an advertisement for Lady Borden Ice Cream. Although it's not mentioned it looks like the flavor is chocolate. In the small box it boasts of being "fresh as it's frozen" and ready to "dip out". The container style hasn't changed much from what we can find today in grocery stores and I really like the cow family they have depicted at the top. I had no idea that the Borden company actually no longer exists, although some of it's products (mostly dairy) are still being sold under a subsidiary owned by Grupo Lala. The mascot that is used on many of the Borden products is Elsie the Cow. I remember my mom using Borden Condensed Milk and to this day she refers to it as "the one with the cow". Elsie was developed in the 1930's as a symbol of the "perfect dairy product". In the 1940's she was just as famous as some celebrities, with the help of a voice over by actress Hope Emerson. Elsie's husband, Elmer the Bull, is prominently featured as the mascot for Elmer's Glue (which was originally manufactured by Borden, although it was developed by Georgia Tech Chemistry graduate, Ashworth Stull). Elsie was a real cow from Connecticut that Borden purchased to use as their mascot (although originally her name was "You'll do Lobelia").


Here is Elsie at the Canadian National Exhibition circa 1941. She actually does look like the illustrated version (sans the apron). The daisies are emblematic of the Borden brand as well. You can also see a framed picture of what looks to be Elsie's hubby, Elmer, in the background (with decorated uniform of course). Elsie actually starred in the movie Little Men, (RKO Radio Pictures, 1940) which features Jo March from Little Women running the Plumfield School for poor boys. Elsie was a Jersey cow and I just ask myself, how can you resist those big brown eyes?

Lady Borden Ice Cream Advertisement, 1939

(Photograph: Photographer Unknown; LIFE Photo Archive)

Elsie the Cow with onlookers at the Canadian National Exhibition, circa 1941

(Photograph: Gordon W. Powley; Archives of Ontario)

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