You haven't seen much of me lately, and for that I apologize. But I've been away doing some very extensive research on one of the topics that of course I love, dog food labels. And now it's extended even to the history of dog food.
As I sketched it out over a year ago, I've been collecting dog food labels for quite a while, and have found the kind of personal satisfaction from that that really nothing else in life has brought. I hate to be too dramatic, but it might be what I was born for.
Here are the posts:
1) Strongheart Beef
2) Strongheart Liver
3) Strongheart Chicken
4) Strongheart B, L & B
5) Husky Beef
6) Dog Food Labels on eBay
At that time I listed only a few items from my collection and let it go at that, just gave you a taste. And I'm afraid that's how it's going to stay. Because one of my personal quirks is a terrible paranoia, and it really frightens me that someone is going to break in and steal my collection. So there's no reason to tempt anyone, especially with the combination to the safe right on my bulletin board.
Anyway, in the last few weeks, I've been away doing this research. I've been going through an old archive of dog food ads. There's a guy I met through a friend of a friend. Really, he's about as paranoid as me, but with some TLC I was able to soften him up. We went through several nervous weeks of feeling one another out, but finally I gained enough trust to see his archives. He allowed me to photocopy a few of his microfilms, which are below. It's some good stuff!
The first one shows Strongheart himself from 1922, the flesh and blood inspiration for the dog food. Strongheart was a movie dog. What I wouldn't give to own his skeleton!
Then we get into the actual dog food. We're going back to 1936 for this next graphic, advertising Strongheart for dogs and cats. I didn't know they marketed it for cats. But apparently they liked it, too, since it said they'd smile sweetly.
We'll leave the decade of the '30s behind (for now), and move into the '40s. Here was a good deal in 1941, before our entry into the war, 4 cans for 19 cents! I don't know if that's why Japan attacked us, because they resented our low prices on Strongheart.
From 1948, we have this little cutie. My own dog, Underbrush, looks sort of like him:
Moving into the '50s, we have this price for Strongheart:
That's not a bad price. 3 cans for 27 cents? I could feed the whole neighborhood if it was that cheap now!
Then 1954 is represented with this ad:
I like what the dog has to say, "I'M POSITIVE!", reflecting the general optimism we had in the Eisenhower years. 1954 was a big year. Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System and my brother was born.
At this point we enter the tumultuous '60s, a time barely fit for man or beast. But of course everyone still had to eat, and that included dogs.
We had go-go joints in the '60s, the Whiskey A-Go-Go, etc., and they even carried it through to dog food ads, saying, "Give your dog go-go-go with Strongheart..." The lettering for PICK-UP also represents the strong psychedelic style typical in 1962, and it even seems to anticipate "Tune in, turn on, drop out" and "Sit ins," a quick phrase like "Pick up."
I'll bring it back down with this rather plain advertisement from 1967. It's one of my best memories of the Summer of Love, the great bargains we were getting on dog food.
And last, I have one example of Strongheart advertising from the '70s, 1972 in particular:
Here's a big surprise to finish off this post. We're going back to 1936 for a rare picture of the actual Strongheart's grandson, Silver King:
At that time in 1936, Silver King was on his way to Utah, apparently to direct traffic as a demonstration of his talents. Silver King had met most of the nation's governors, and at this time in 1936, was set also to meet and shake hands with Utah's governor, Henry H. Blood. Silver King had some interesting dental work. Three years before, he'd had some trouble with his teeth. So by 1936 he had two gold-crowned fangs!