Posts Tagged With: vintage ads

Pictures Don’t Lie and Neither Do Fishermen

Digital technology has given us filters and apps that do all kinds of things to the images we share, making them “better” or even more “artistic” than what was originally captured. Some of us take liberty when sharing our surroundings, maybe simply tweaking the contrast or saturation, but some of us go so far as to create completely surreal, imagined landscapes to picture ourselves in.

Speaking of surreal, most of us, in our own heads, are stylized versions of ourselves (if not someone else altogether), and because we can alter the way we appear on a screen, humans being humans, we have done so to the point that “Snapchat Dysmorphia” is now a thing.

What’s next, digitally altered fish?

Now, before someone gets their knickers in a twist, I want to make perfectly clear that I am not implying in any way, shape, or form that a person who fishes might ever  present anything but the unvarnished truth. I’m saying it.

(Twisted knickers may be addessed in the comment section, below.)

Along with the digital wonders we can work with images, it is easy to take for granted that anyone, anywhere, can show a picture to everyone else in the world in a matter of seconds, something some of us do with alarming frequency.

There was a time we didn’t photograph everything, willy-nilly, and put it out there for all to see, as if it was interesting or important, fish included. Cameras weren’t part of our phones and we sure as heck couldn’t take our phones wherever we went. Instead of chips and a “cloud”, capable of holding pretty much everything there is, photos were recorded on a strip of treated plastic and the length of that strip determined how many pictures we could take.

The number of miles that film had to travel for a chemical bath and to have light shined through it onto special paper — which then got its own chemical bath — determined how soon we could see the pictures we’d taken. It was quite a process but my, how exciting it was to see those vacation pictures, sometimes weeks after they’d been taken!

With a fixed number of exposures on a roll of film, bad pictures cost the same as good ones, so every shot had to count. Companies like Kodak™ were there to help tell and preserve our stories, and if anyone can tell stories, it’s anglers.

Yeah, but I bet he’s going to tell you anyway.

An angler’s story, nicely told through photos. Handsome fellow gets in boat; handsome fellow nets fish; handsome fellow displays fish; handsome fellow ends up cooking hot dogs because that looks like a pike to me and everyone knows those things don’t taste good.

For less than $55 he could also have recorded 8mm movies, early precursors to modern video which, by the way, is much too easy to produce and distribute. Either way, it would have been days before he knew how his pictures looked.

Not that the aforementioned handsome fellow or his fish needed any work but, with all our opportunities to enhance, a modern angler might be tempted. With a little tweaking, that fish could become a good six inches longer and ten pounds heavier, but that was then and our hero is stuck forever with a middling 28-incher.

Not that the modern angler would need to do such a thing, especially with today’s cameras that can make any fish exciting. Miniaturization and advances in materials make it possible to take fish pictures our handsome fellow in the Kodak™ ad couldn’t even imagine. To think such a picture could be seen within seconds by anyone in the world would probably explode his tiny brain.

Such is the nature of modern life that we can present ourselves and our fish any way we want, any time we want and, in theory, our millions of digital fish pictures, doctored or not, will live forever out there in the cloud. But the truth is, despite their supposed immortality, most will never be seen again.

Old fishing photos have their own version of our modern cloud, consisting mainly of shoe boxes and old albums. Some are as faded as the memories they were meant to preserve, torn from their pages and consigned to dusty corners of antique shops and other such places frequented by the likes of me.

Most of the old photos I scan require a certain amount of doctoring to make them presentable but, no matter how much I struggle to bring out such things as the patterns of socks, there are some things I would never change even if I could.

Kodak print, 1949, location unknown

Handsome Fellow Displays Fish

 (cluttering up my own little corner of the cloud on Instagram)

 

 

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Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Flashback Friday: Anthropomorphism Edition

Anthropomorphism: the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object.

We humans have an innate tendency to project human traits on animals to make them seem friendlier, more relatable and well, more human. In contrast, we often use animals to point out the worst traits in our peers. Call someone a snake, a weasel, a pig or an ass and we know he’s no good but, thanks to anthropomorphism, snowmen dance, fish sing and people get it into their heads that polar bears need hugs.

Some pictures of monkeys this past week reminded me that it used to be possible to buy monkeys through the mail and the advertisements emphasized how much the monkeys were just like us. Sometimes all it took was to give the monkey a lollipop, like this ad in Field & Stream’s June, 1963 issue.

"Almost Human"

“Almost Human”

Another monkey dealer advertising in that same issue took a different approach, using a drawing instead of a photograph. This could have been a cost-cutting measure, allowing him to sell his monkeys for three dollars less. We can only assume the instructions included how to get a ruffled collar over a squirrel monkey’s head.

Adorable

Adorable

For those who had a hard time relating to lightning fast primates with dagger-like canine teeth wearing ruffled collars, Aqua-Land Pet offered up something a little different.

Hours of Fun

Lightning-fast primates with dagger-like teeth carrying tiny rifles. How cute! Aqua-Land Pet also offered baby alligators as an amusing hobby for children. Apparently, alligators were also helpful and friendly. Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Humor, nature | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Big Game

Sandwiched neatly between the two biggest spectacles in American sports is an event that, while less well known, is just as competitive and, to its participants, as important as any contest yet devised by Man. For some, February is defined by the Super Bowl™, for others, it’s the Daytona 500™; for the members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, their eyes in February are on Opening Day of Reservation Season™.

The injuries of which I’m aware have been minor and, so far as I know, no one has died, but the small stakes involved do not diminish the serious nature of the battle.

Will You Be There?

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing, Humor, politics, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flashback Friday: Fly Fishing Time

south bend

 

Weeks away? More like days. Opening Day at Fish in a Barrel Pond is next weekend, provided the ice goes off the pond and I can get the camps up and running again (See Quill Gordon and The Nonesuch Mountain Howler). Every day I find a string of messages from angst-filled anglers asking about the ice and if they will be able to fish in a week but I have yet to hear someone (other than my supervisor) ask if the faucets flow and toilets flush or if the woodland creatures have been evicted from beneath the beds. My head is sore from knocking on wood but every year the ice goes out and the camps open on time.

The ad above appeared in the April 1948 issue of Outdoorsman magazine. From the first trout to the last fightin’ bass, South Bend was there to make your sport complete. With split bamboo rods starting at $16 and nifty automatic reels for $10, an angler could still splurge on a nice double taper line and be fishing for $35! It is a virtual certainty that at some point in the season someone is going to show me a new rod that cost what I make in a month and tell me “you get what you pay for.” It’s also a good bet that same guy will be the one who asks who to speak to about the fishing around here.

Today’s dollar is a different animal than the dollar of 1948, and today’s anglers are different, too. Or are they?

masland

The weather on Opening Day can be as unpredictable as the fishing but C.H. Masland & Sons had every angle and angler covered in 1948. Their handy “opening day check list” consisted entirely of clothing items from their catalog, for all kinds of weather, including a nylon rain cape, knee-length for the same price as a South Bend reel.

One of the best things about C.H. Masland ads from the late 1940s was the cartoon at the top of each one. Illustrator Tom Rost (1909-2004) began his series of “Opening Day” hunting and fishing cartoons while at the Milwaukee Journal in the late 1930s, after a stint as an artist with the Civilian Conservation Corps (two of his watercolors were purchased by Eleanor Roosevelt as a Christmas gift to FDR in 1937). He enjoyed a long association with Field & Stream and other wildlife magazines and had a very successful career as an illustrator and artist.

I just can’t imagine where he ever came up with the things he included in those Opening Day cartoons.

Opening Day 1948

Opening Day 1948

Opening Day 1947

All of us at The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond wish everyone out there the most successful of Opening Days, no matter the weather or the cost of their rod. Of course, the definition of “successful” will vary from angler to angler; Quill Gordon will be happy if the toilets flush.

 

 

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Flashback Friday Shaving Edition: Chuck Heard a Scream

The chill I feel lately is due to more than just ditching the long-johns earlier than might have been prudent. Every fall a beard grows on my face and every spring I hack it off. It’s a bit of a shock to the system, not to mention friends and the cats, but it is spring and an old man’s thoughts turn to shaving.

A barbaric ritual that has been taken to extremes, the shaving of our various body parts supports a multi-billion dollar industry that pats itself on the back for selling us razors with as many as six(!) blades because, well, we’ll buy anything. Or steal it; most modern multi-blade razor cartridges are so expensive that they are kept under lock and key, or behind the counter with the ingredients for crystal meth.

Shaving didn’t used to require a “system,” as pointed out by Remington in this ad, aimed at outdoorsmen, from 1964.

remington 64

Civilized? Maybe, at least until the “rechargeable energy cells” start to run down, turning those 4 roller combs and 348 cutting edges into a low-power clam shell, yanking dozens of whiskers at once and leaving a fellow to return from the woods half-shaved and looking like his shaving kit included a weasel. Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Flashback Friday: The R Word

(It is the end of March and Opening Day is less than a month away and the days of the week have lost their meaning around here. With the countdown on, Flashbacks can occur at any time.) 

One of the great things about America is that one has the right to go on being offensive, even as the offended holler, “Stop!”

Some of us get offended that others are offended by our offensiveness and take a stand against Political Correctness by continuing to offend, maybe even ratcheting it up a notch or two. Some of us just say whatever we want because it is our right to do so.

Some of us will say that, whatever it was, it was meant in a good way and no disrespect was intended. Unfortunately, attempts to atone for these inadvertent offenses often come up so short they only make matters worse and give critics another bone to gnaw on.

Some of us will stay on the sidelines, so to speak, and not speak at all, listening in wonder as others say the things they are free to say. Daniel Snyder can call his privately-owned football team whatever he wants as far as Quill Gordon is concerned. It’s a free country and it is his team, but he’s not been doing himself many favors lately by clinging to a seven letter word beginning with “R”.

Very few people will agree that the treatment of Native Americans has been exemplary. Even famous outdoors writers like H.G. “Tap” Tapply, who wrote regular columns for Field & Stream, used offensive distortion to help his readers realize how good they had it compared to dirty savages.

sportsmans notebook

At the end of one column in the late 1950s, dispensing advice for avoiding bug bites while outdoors, Mr. Tapply closed out with a bit of what he no doubt saw as appropriate humor.

 

Pork Rind?

There ain’t much right about that sentence, other than the last 11 words. Some day we’ll pull out another of Mr. Tapply’s gems like the one where he recommended carrying a gun on fishing trips because you can always just spend the day shooting crows, snakes, turtles and frogs if the fishing is slow. Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Flashback Friday: Size Matters

A better writer than I once wrote something about the measure of an angler being not how large a fish he or she can catch but how small a fish he or she can catch without being disappointed. I think it was John Gierach, whose forthcoming book is titled, “All Fishermen are Liars.”

Another writer, better than anyone ever, is credited with something to do with never lying about the fishing where others know you but especially never lying about the fishing where others know the fish. That was Mark Twain, who was pretty sure all men, fishermen or not, are liars.

fish ruler

Overstatement, exaggeration and embellishment are vital components of our fishing heritage and culture. With a wink and a nod, we chuckle at what a bunch of good-natured rascals we are, telling all those stories like we do, as did our grandfathers and others who have gone before. Telling lies is a time-honored tradition of our sport and some of us find it no great insult to be called a pack of liars. Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Flashback Friday: Late, but with Appropriate Shoes

It’s surprising how scuffed the back of a magazine can become when it spends six months in a pile, waiting to be photographed for a blog post, especially considering the fact that I have magazines in better shape that were printed 70 or more years ago. Some things are just not made to last anymore, or at least stand up to normal use, and I’m pretty sure the guy in this Louis Vuitton ad is about to ruin his shoes. If his shoes aren’t ruined by the water flowing over those rocks his suit will be ruined for sure if he takes another step, not to mention the damage to his coccyx .

Louis Vuitton shoes

Not that those shoes are intended for use as suggested by this ad, unless they have fancy aluminum crampon bars attached to the soles, but even then their finish would surely be marred. While it might be hard for some to imagine a reasonable person wearing those shoes anywhere but to the office or a funeral, my experience at Fish in a Barrel Pond is with fly fishers, not reasonable people. Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Flashback Friday: Phoning It In

Some people think the most important day of the year for the anglers of Fish in a Barrel Pond is Opening Day, in late April, as long as the ice is out.

Those people are wrong.

Seasoned members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society know the most important day of the year is the second Saturday of February, the day they can start making reservations for the upcoming season.

It's Easy to Call Ahead!

Call by number! It’s twice as fast!

Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Flashback Friday: Born to be Mild

In 1960, when the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission of the United States Forest Service conducted the first U.S. National Recreation Survey, “off-highway motorized recreation” was not included as a recreational activity. A few people were driving into the back country with motorcycles or 4-wheel-drive vehicles but not enough of them to register as a population-wide activity.

Fifty years later, to say things are different almost gets it.

According to the 2008 Forest Service report “Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation in the United States and its Regions and States: An Update National Report from the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (NSRE)” retail sales of new All-Terrain Vehicles and Off-Highway Motorcycles more than tripled between 1995 and 2006, with 1,034,966 units sold in the last year for which statistics were available. An estimated 8,010,000 ATVs and Off-Highway Motorcycles were in use on back country roads and trails during 2001-2003.

We sure do like our internal combustion engines.

In the spring of 1967, Outdoor Life featured ads for motorcycles aimed specifically at fly fishers, with Suzuki touting them as an environmentally friendly solution to pollution.

suzuki

Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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