Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gary Cooper's Gleaming White Smile

Here is a magazine ad for Calox Tooth Powder featuring Gary Cooper from September 1945. It mentions that the product is one again available in a metal can. World War II materials rationing would have affected even cans of tooth powder. It also shows how pervasive was Hollywood’s influence over marketing.

Lots of other stars promoted Calox Tooth Powder in the 1940s, including Bing Crosby, Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake, either willingly or unwillingly. One wonders if they signed separate contracts through their agents and managers for these side deals, or if the studios simply farmed out their names and likenesses without the stars even knowing about it or sanctioning it.

No lucrative deals for endorsing clothing lines, sports drinks, credit cards or life insurance as with celebrities of today. They grinned with capped teeth over the joys of tooth powder.

Here is a collector’s site where you can actually buy vintage tins of Calox and Pebeco (I always thought the rather wildly grinning gleaming white smile of the cartoon Pebeco Pete rather frightening) and other kinds of tooth powder. Pretty much replaced in the industry by paste and gel, I wonder if tooth powder is even sold anymore?

If you’ve been hankering to add to your collection of vintage tooth powder cans, have a look at this site.

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