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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Memories on a Safeway Shelf


Recently I was shopping at Safeway in Scottsdale and as I picked up a can of Consort hair spray (Hey, sportscaster Dan Patrick recommends it!), I noticed some old favorites are still on the shelf. They may have been reduced to one facing but it was like a trip down memory lane to see them. In all their glory sat Vitalis hair tonic, Groom and Clean hair gel, Alberto VO5 cream, and Brylcreem.

At some time in my life I used all those items along with others that are probably non existent now like Wildroot Cream Oil and Fitch hair tonic. I remember putting so much of the white Wildroot cream on my hair as a kid that when I combed it, the white cream collected on the comb. Fitch was a barber shop favorite. As a kid, you would always get your hair doused with that stuff after the barber cut your hair. He also would never cut your hair the way you wanted. He would always say "I think your mother would rather have it this way." Kids had no leverage in those days. Now, they would probably pull out their cell phone and call their lawyer on the barber AND their mom.

Vitalis was like Fitch, full of alcohol. It was actually flammable as I found out one day when I dropped a match in some. VO5 was basically a cream that you used to slick your hair down. It was more of a dressing than a gel and women even used it to give their hair a bit more body. Most guys remember Brylcreem and its great slogan of "a little dab’ll do ya, you’ll look so debonaire." Groom and Clean was a favorite of mine in the ‘60s. It was a blue gel that was not greasy, it would wash off your hands with plain water but left you hair with that nice 60s slicked down look.

By 1970, the "slicked down" look was disappearing after Gillette came out with a hair spray for men called "The Dry Look." By then I had been married for three years and made the big decision to change my act and have been a dry hair guy ever since. However, I still have fond memories of the old days of Groom and Clean and the other stuff combined with a splash of Brut or Hai Karate after shave. A guy couldn’t miss with the ladies on a Saturday night with those combinations! Add a pipe full of Captain Black tobacco and their slogan of "The chicks are back" could come true.

Now, if I can find some Butch Wax in case I go back to a flat top hair cut, I’ll be all set.. By the way, did anyone see a can of Burma Shave laying around? I lost mine.

3 comments:

J P McCarty Jr. said...

I am with you on the oldies but goodies hair care. I truly miss the old Vitalis "pump" Super Hold hairspray in the BLUE bottle. I could style my hair with that in the '80's and be sure to have a chick on my arm by the end of the night. As you, I spray on the Consort now, but it doesn't have that same effect with the ladies! The new Vitalis sprays really smell horrible. Im ready to see a revival of "the pump!"

Jim McAllister said...

Thanks for the comment, J. P. I'm also a "J.P." (James Paul). As a high school kid in the '50s I would use anything to plaster my hair down. I started using Groom and Clean in the 60s because it wasn't so greasy. In 1970 I went to the "dry look" with Gillette spray and have used spray since. Just a little shot though, I still want the wife to be able to run her fingers through it. At this point I am happy just to have hair at all. Lot of bald guys out there would kill to have real hair. We are the lucky ones!

Charles J. said...

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