Where did bill­boards for Burma Shave go?

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE -

Ap­prox­i­mately 1.3 bil­lion bill­boards line In­ter­state 4 through Or­lando, and that’s just count­ing ad­ver­tise­ments for per­sonal in­jury lawyers. “Dan Got Me $300,000!”

At this point, I’d hire Dan Newlin to sue sign com­pa­nies for un­re­lent­ing bore­dom. Bill­boards aren’t nearly as in­ter­est­ing as they used to be, which brings us to this week’s Ask Or­lando ques­tion.

It came from a reader who said he’s “so old I re­mem­ber when men wore tat­toos and women wore ear­rings.” He also re­mem­bered the great­est ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign in road­side his­tory. Burma Shave.

“Where did th­ese signs go,” he wrote, “and is there still such a thing as Burma Shave?”

Heck, there’s not even a Burma any­more. It calls it­self Myan­mar, which doesn’t sound like some­thing you’d want to put on your face.

Mil­lions of peo­ple slathered on Burma Shave, thanks al­most solely to its signs. Which brings up a Post-Boomer Warning:

This is one of those ThingsWere-Bet­ter-Way-Back-When col­umns. If you’ve bought a TV lately, you know that’s not al­ways true. But it is when it comes to bill­board amuse­ment.

“The signs’ con­tin­u­ing pop­u­lar­ity is amaz­ing con­sid­er­ing they were pulled off the road in 1964,” Clin­ton B. Odell told the Chicago Tri­bune in 2000. “The kids en­joy them just as much as the adults.”

He’s the grand­son of Clin­ton Odell, who founded the Burma


Burma Shave signs dom­i­nated Amer­ica's high­ways in the mid-20th cen­tury and turned the shav­ing cream into a cul­tural icon.

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