Most of the ads, as I recall (I don’t have them in front of me right now, but it’s worth checking), were simply touting the usual familiar virtues of Postum. I don’t remember a particular pitch toward serving it to friends who ordinarily would be drinking coffee — I’ll check, though.
Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 5, 2009 @ 11:23 am
Cool ad, Ardis. The scene is a bit surreal, though. A favorite, popular, political radical sipping his hot, soothing, and friendly coffee substitute (whole grain of course) next to men with guns and menacing looking attack dogs. Classic. And, like WM, I too miss Postum. Pero is pretty good, but not quite the same. Haven’t tried any others yet.
I love these looks back to the (unknown me) rich legacy of Mormon ads.
However, use caution posting about Postum. I did a mere sidelink to William’s Postum post in #1 and have been getting intermittent comments ever since from heartbroken postum fans looking for blackmarket sellers, recipes, etc.
One of my highest commented posts. Of course, that may say something about my own blog too.
David, the easiest way to find previous posts is to click on the “Topical Guide” link in the upper left-hand corner of the page, and search or scroll through. Since the word “garments” is part of that post title, you’ll find it.
Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 5, 2009 @ 1:10 pm
On the twenty fourth of July one summer in the 70′s when I was a kid, my family happened to be positioned in front of Cleon Skousen’s house to watch the Days of 47 parade. Because of the heat and the number of wilting small children in our family, he invited us up on his porch to watch the parade. My parents were pleased with their brush with fame. We had all of his religious books, but none of his political ones. My parents were thinking more about the programmatic design of history and the impending Millenium than the evils of communism. Unlike the ad we were all offered lemonade, no postum in sight. He was very nice to us and it is a fond memory to me of a kind stranger. In my childhood world, Salt Lake really was the best place on earth.
I moved to Washington, DC a year and a half ago and was out of Postum so I went to the Safeway store and found a lonely jar there which I bought. That would have been about January of 2008. I later discovered that Postum had been pulled off the shelves in June of 2007, a year and a half earlier. I drink it every day and I have about two weeks worth left and am starting to worry. I don’t mind Pero but I can’t find it either. With sales of coffee wannabes so unbrisk, I’m sure Postum couldn’t pay for its spot on the shelves.
Ardis: As someone I genuinely trust when it comes to history, are you aware of a really good biography on Skousen? Not a fluff piece, but also not a “Skousen’s the devil” shtick? I am particularly interested in his role as a popularizer of Mormonism. You see, my wife’s grandfather joined the church in the 1961 partly due to reading “The Naked Communist”. My wife and I have estimated that her grandfather, either through himself, his children, his grandchildren, or through the efforts of he converted to the Gospel, has brought over a thousand people into the church. While I know it’s rather hip(and easy) to lambast Skousen’s history and philosophy, I really would love to understand his popularity and how he was able to have such an impact bringing people who were not LDS into the church.
Thanks, Matt. I’m not aware of any real biography of Skousen — everything I’ve seen has been short pieces that are stumping for or against his political stands in a modern rather than contemporary-to-his-life context. Maybe it’s too soon to be able to evaluate him fairly? or maybe the current interest via Beck will prompt the kind of biography you want? I hope so.
Such a biography would have to look at why he was so popular on so many fronts — his politics, his scriptural studies, his child-raising advice (So You Want to Raise a Boy), his popular tourist groups to the Middle East and to Central America. He obviously met a need for Mormons of the ’60s that wasn’t being filled by anyone else, no matter how inadequate his approach was according to current popular views. How did he zero in on what people were looking for? Why was he able to engage where other people didn’t, or weren’t trying? I think a real study of that would be even more interesting to me as a student of Mormon culture than as a biography. But I don’t know of anyone who has been or is engaged in that kind of study.
I don’t think he was a bad man by any means, and it’s just a little too facile to sneer at his puffing up his own biography and his other shortcomings without analyzing what need he filled, and how and why. It’s nice to know that his work has produced some terrific results, as you have outlined in your own family. Thanks for that.
Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 11, 2010 @ 9:26 pm