Monday, April 6, 2009

Have You Seen This Girl?

I'm pretty sure false advertising doesn't even begin to cover what the NY American and Journal is doing here....but I'm also pretty sure there wasn't a law against doing that in 1906, so too bad for all those people eagerly looking forward to their own personal flying device. You're just up that proverbial creek.

From a purely historic perspective, this is a nifty little gem of a poster because it really gets right down to the art of early advertising: catch the audience's imagination with something completely new and exciting, and by doing so get them to buy your product. 

And what did Mr. W. R. Hearst (oh yes, this baby is the product of a company owned by that Orson-Wells-hating, Citizen-Kane-inspiring, Xanadu-living man himself!) decide to use to get people to buy his newspaper? Screw up-to-the-minute news coverage or acuweather forecasts--he went all the way with a parasol-toting Mary Poppins-cum-reporter. 

Why is this a clever gimmick? Well, by using a well-dressed lady, you pull in your hungry-for-female-flesh male readers. Because she also happens to be doing something seemingly-dangerous, you also get the proto-feminists itching to break into the male professional world, or, at the very least, fantasize about it from the comfort of their kitchens, to want to read this article. Finally, you attract the young and adventurous with promises of 'the new flying machine,' which, presumably, they too can own in the near future. It's like combining The NY Times, Elle, and Scientific American with a hint of Page Six. 

Now the more important question: why should you want to own this? Well, that's easy: it's super-rare, historic, funny, weird, and will easily start a conversation in any room in which it's hung. That, and, unlike many rare vintage posters, it's got an estimate in the May 3 auction of $2000-2500. 


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