Those of you of a “certain age” will remember cruising down the road in a car with a metal dashboard, a circular bright-light button on the floor, a front seat that went all the way across the car (girls had to figure out the “correct” amount of distance for a first date – somewhere between hugging the passenger door and hugging him), little side window vents with a pull-down-and-push latch, and not even the hint of a seat belt.
And as we traveled in our two-lane “blue highway" world, we often saw a series of signs that formed a jingle that made us laugh-- ads for a shaving cream called Burma-Shave.
According to Wikipedia, the “company's original product was a liniment made of ingredients described as coming ‘from the Malay Peninsula and Burma’." Burma Shave roadside marketing began in 1925, but after many successful years sales finally declined and the company was sold to Phillip Morris in 1963. Phillip Morris immediately removed the old highway signs.
But apparently not all of them.
We were driving down a small road here in Southern California near Aguanga. Aguanga lies along the old Butterfield Overland Mail stage route (in operation from 1857-1861), and there are still a few remnants and historical markers for places where the stage stopped as it headed to or from the Pacific coast.
All of a sudden, we saw another piece of Americana – Burma Shave signs, still in place! The first two were too broken and bleached to read, but the last four were in somewhat better shape:
According to Burma-Shave.Org, this sign was erected in 1940. The complete text is:
DON’T PASS CARS
ON CURVE OR HILL
IF THE COPS
DON’T GET YOU
And they were placed on a curvy, hilly road! What a fun find this was.