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Makeup fit for a prize fight – vintage cosmetic video

In the 1950s it was common for commercials to be part of the program which they sponsored. Here’s an example of Hazel Bishop makeup appearing on a game show.


The most compelling aspect of the ad is the “before and after” demo featuring Dorothy Smith of Chicago IL. Poor Dorothy looks like she just went 3 rounds in the ring with the heavy weight boxing champ of the world. If this concealor can make Dorothy look this good, just think what it’ll do for YOUR black eye.

Here’s the Beauty Science bit…

Ms. Bishop’s makeup was available in oily and dry skin variants and it’s interesting that even back in the mid ’50’s companies were beginning to differentiate by skin type. It would be years before the “oil free” craze caught on. By then products would contain silicones and emollient esters rather than traditional oils like mineral and plant oils.

My only regret is that the clip ended before we learned the secret behind Dad’s “special pair of trousers.”

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Christina August 15, 2014, 9:56 pm

    Go from a decrepit painting to a perfectly polished painting. My favorite is that is wasn’t even a photograph. Bahahaha great commercial!

    • Randy Schueller August 16, 2014, 8:22 am

      Yes, it’s unfortunate that photography had not yet been invented in 1956.

  • Eileen August 16, 2014, 11:22 am

    I think a lot of the fun of these old commercials is in seeing how a goal was accomplished using a much different level of technology. Back in 1956, it was still quite common to use illustrations rather than photos when advertising products. Photography was very primitive by today’s photoshopped, digitized standards. Achieving good before and after shots of people required a lot of work–different lighting set ups, special makeup so that the model’s “real life” colors would translate effectively to black and white (yes, even the before shots required makeup), and then hours of painstaking retouching all done by hand using a paint brush and an endless selection of black, grey, and white pigments. It was easier to simply take a couple of shots of the model and then hand them over to an illustrator. In concept, that’s not any different than handing pictures over to someone for photoshopping. An important difference, though, is that in the 50’s we knew what we were seeing was an illustration. Photoshop has taken deception to a whole new level.

    • Randy Schueller August 16, 2014, 11:26 am

      Excellent analysis! I was being flippant in my earlier comment but after reading your thoughts I realize there’s more too it than I thought.

      • Eileen August 16, 2014, 1:38 pm

        My grandfather started out as a photographer for Paramount Studios and eventually opened his own photo lab catering to the entertainment industry. When I was a kid I used to love going to work with him. It was a place where artistry and skill created magic :-)

  • Christina August 16, 2014, 6:59 pm

    Agreed Eileen. I was being flippant as well. I am generally always flippant with any advertising from yesteryear to the present.

    Overdramatizing before and afters always make me chortle. It is a marketing formula that unfortunately works and to this moment makes me shake my head.

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