We pay them money

13 05 2012

I love old Life magazines. I have mentioned this before. Here’s another reason why. This is an ad that appeared in the January 11, 1960 edition of Life:

The text for the ad reads:

You perhaps know how we gently persuade famous folk to say sincere-sounding things about Skippy. WE PAY THEM MONEY. Take Basil Rathbone. We approached the suave actor at his table in a small fashionable restaurant. At first he mistook us for the waiter and asked for more French bread. But then we handed him a fistful of money (fortunately, we have a rather small fist), and asked him to say something nice about Skippy Peanut Butter.

“Peanut butter?” he exclaimed. “Surely you jest! Do you mistake this small fashionable restaurant for a nursery school for particularly loathsome children? Peanut butter is only for little tots who know no better. Fah!”

We pleaded. We implored. Then we brought in another hatful of money. Mr. Rathbone agreed to try Skippy. “Heavens to Betsy!” he cried aloud. “Can this be peanut butter? It tastes exactly like fresh-roasted peanuts under glass. Why, it would indeed be a shame to waste this splendid product on unappreciative children. May I keep the entire jar to butter my French bread?”

As Mr. Rathbone discovered (and you can, too) – Skippy is the one peanut butter made on purpose for grownups. Skippy alone gives you the true, exact flavor of U.S. Grade No. 1 peanuts. No other peanut butter tastes, or stays fresh and easy to digest like Skippy, because no other is made like Skippy.

I have two questions:

  • If this peanut butter is intended for grownups, why is it called Skippy? Skippy is not a grown-up name. I know of no adults named Skippy, and if I ever met one, I would probably run very far away.
  • What does “Heavens to Betsy?” mean? Are heaven and Betsy a significant distance apart? Is Betsy heavenly? I don’t get it. (I did a Google search: this phrase first appeared in print in 1857, and its origins are unknown. No one knows who Betsy is. Not even Betsy.)
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