In this edition of Throwback Thursday, we reminisce, and chuckle, about some of the ads that have run in editions of The Hockey News. The ad pages were dominated by tobacco and alcohol companies, selling the vices in ways no longer socially acceptable, or in some cases, legal.
Today’s trends, tomorrow’s humor. We’re pretty proud of our history at The Hockey News, with our rich and unique library dating back to 1947. But some of the content in our rearview mirror is curious, and some is downright hilarious. Take the advertising. For the first few decades of our existence, the primary purchasers of space were alcohol and tobacco companies, targeting predominately a male audience. There were smaller, quaint ads, selling everything from local restaurants to skate sharpening to ice paint, but the vices drove the revenue machine.
Here’s a sampling of what you would have seen if you’d been reading The Hockey News when there were six (and later 12) teams in the NHL: Clearly, there were no taboos around cigarettes. They were cool. They were playful. And they made your life so much better. After all, at holiday time, was there anything better to buy for loved ones?
They made you excel at basketball.
And whales loved them.
As it happened, the sea mammals also dug a fine pint of lager. Who can blame them?
For all the love of whales in the 1950s and ’60s, it was clearly a man’s world. The guys ruled the roost and the women lit up their worlds. Lit-erally.
If you don’t believe Marguerite, then take Bobby Orr’s word for it. It was good to be a dude.
Sadly, not all men measured up. But on the bright side, that could be remedied. All you needed was 35 cents and a stamp and you could grow 2-6 inches taller. No gimmicks. Guaranteed.
Back in the day, a real man was allowed to pose shirtless, holding a shirtless boy, to promote a product. Today, someone would be facing charges over this.
It was every boy’s dream to make it to the NHL one day. If that didn’t come to pass, they could do the next best thing. Rent a rug from a real, live big league player. Really, it was a way to kill two birds with one stone: rub shoulders with a celebrity and keep mud and gravel off your flooring.
Kids of all ages could enjoy replicated big league action right in their homes, courtesy of table hockey. This edition is the self-proclaimed world’s greatest, replete with crowds and a press gallery and sticks that could take “lift shots”. Eat your heart out, NHL ’15. (Actually, if you’ve never played table hockey, do it. It’s a throwback that, for me, has not gone out of style).
Armchair Hockey, meantime, also touted its amazing, realistic features. Forget the aforementioned smokes, this was an “exciting Xmas gift for shut-ins.” Yikes.
Target marketing frequently found a home in THN’s pages. There weren’t many good vehicles to find born again hockey players to compete in Europe and Russia. But “if you loved the Lord, played hockey and were between 18-34”, you qualified to spread your faith overseas.
We’re not sure how those tours turned out, or what their accommodations were like on the road, but if they were as spiffy as the Leland Hotel, they were in for a treat. Detroit’s hockey headquarters had a bath in every room.
So, too, did the Hotel Piccadilly in New York, not to mention circulating iced water.
We’re pretty confident that all 700 rooms permitted smoking.