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The Verse by the Side of the Road: The Story of the Burma-Shave Signs and Jingles

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The story of the Burma-Shave signs and jingles. All 600 of the roadside rhymes are indexed.
Hardcover, 25th Anniversary Edition, foreword by Bob Dole, 121 pages
Published September 1990 by Stephen Greene Press (first published 1965)
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3.95  · 
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 ·  119 ratings  ·  31 reviews


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Paul L'Herrou
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1950 my family moved across the country from Los Angeles to New Jersey. In the back seat of the car as a 12-year-old before the advent of portable electronics, I overcame my boredom by reading and writing down the jingles I spotted on Burma-Shave signs. So, I was now fascinated to now read the history of Burma-Shave and their iconic advertising signs as well as the jingles as they were set out, listed by year.
Kirsti
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jan M., Jen
"Cheer Up, Face, the War Is Over"
--Slogan painted on the side of the Burma-Shave truck

Delightful (and thorough) history of a classic series of advertisements that had no connection to professional advertising execs. The makers of Burma-Shave sponsored jingle-writing contests, with the winning entries posted on roadsides, with each word or phrase about 50 feet from the last. To wit:

PITY ALL
THE MIGHTY CAESARS
THEY PULLED
EACH WHISKER OUT
WITH TWEEZERS
Burma-Shave


CARELESS DRIVING
SOON WE HOPE
WILL GO THE
...more
KennyO
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
You younger people, i.e. too young to retire, will not "get" what this little book is about nor what a big deal it was to kids to be out for a family drive and see the Burma Shave signs appearing on the roadside ahead. From the twenties into the sixties on the well traveled two lane roads "out in the country" the Burma Shave Company posted these signs in lieu of billboards and through the years they evolved from straightforward advertising to clever verse. It's a small story of one company that ...more
Kaleb Horton
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Necessary American history book.
Khris Sellin
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun nostalgic read about the Burma Shave jingles.
Leslie
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun book with history of clever road side signs.
Gregg Puluka
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read the truly explains the whole fascination with this ad campaign. As one who never saw it really paints a comprehensive picture
Michael Walker
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture
Funny, nostalgic look back at the Burma Shave signs that dotted the old Route 66 roadside.....
Michael Smith
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know I enjoyed this book in part because Burma Shave jingles drench me in nostalgia. Driving in the 1950s (my parents were driving, my brother and I were riding) from Michigan to my mother's parents' home in Utah we sometimes went south around Chicago and sometimes we went north and took the ferry across the Straits of Mackinac and came down through the Dakotas. But it was two-lane most of the way either way. (They didn't even start building Interstate 80 until 1957,I think.) And you passed th ...more
Bill
Feb 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, business
This is a great story about American pragmatism and entrepreneurial spirit. It is short, sweet, and well, down to earth. Not only do you get a high level overview of the Burma Vita company and the add campaign that should not have worked, but you also get all the Burma Shave sign texts, too. It is also interesting to note that the Burma Vita Company found it paid to mix in public service messages with their sales messages..
Some favorites are: MY JOB IS / KEEPING FACES CLEAN / AND NOBODY KNOWS /
...more
James Swenson

PRICKLY PEARS

ARE PICKED

FOR PICKLES

NO PEACH PICKS

A FACE THAT PRICKLES

BURMA-SHAVE


It's ridiculous, but I have to say that the Burma-Shave poems always remind me of Don Quixote's love poetry. [He wrote these carefully-scanned paeans to Dulcinea, then undermined them by taking on "del Toboso", her surname, as a sort of coda to each stanza.]


DON'T LOSE

YOUR HEAD

TO GAIN A MINUTE

YOU NEED YOUR HEAD

YOUR BRAINS ARE IN IT

BURMA-SHAVE
Christopher Roth
What more could you possibly want from a book about Burma-Shave? It even has ALL of the Burma-Shave jingles. ALL of them.

Actually, there is one more thing I could ask for. There is a reference here to the fact that, especially when a jingle contest was opened to the public, Burma-Shave received lots and lots of obscene jingles, which of course they could never use but which people sent in just for fun. Someone MUST have saved these. I think these need to be published as a public service, no matt
...more
Stephanie
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book encapsulates a great little tidbit of history that only the blue-haired crowd remembers. It lets people glimpse a bit into the past of old Americana that cropped up thanks to our love affair with cars and driving. The listing of all official jingles in the back is worth it alone to read the book.
Teresa
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not exactly old, but because I love old time stuff, people might think so.

This book is fantastic. It is amazing how many people have absolutely no idea of the history of these road signs.

Out on I-55 (South), in Illinois, en route to Missouri, one can read road signs. Not as cute as the Burma Shave's but still. We need to bring back some of the old fashioned fun.
Margaret Kumma
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have very fond memories of traveling with my family and watching for the famous Burma Shave Signs. I loved reading them, but of course I never had the chance to see them all. I was thrilled to find this book and have read it a number of times. It's highly entertaining and is a fun look back. Excellent.
David Allen
Gracefully written text, coupled with a complete compendium of all Burma-Shave jingles, some of which are awful and many of which are hilarious. One favorite: "Riot at/Drug store/Calling all cars/100 customers/99 jars/Burma-Shave." A fine bit of Americana.
Elizabeth
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember the signs with the verses on them. As a Marketing major I wondered what a campaign like that would cost to initiate and install and maintain. Life was simpler then. This book was an interesting and entertaining look at distinctly North American culture.
John
A cool compendium of the signs of lore along the Mother Road and other blue highways.:)
Carol
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
FUN!!! Do you remember these signs, which were on our roadsides from 1925 to 1963?
Edwin
An excellent book...takes me back to before I was born.
Gretchen Ingram
Pretty good... I was disappointed they didn't include the polar bear one.
Paula
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great little book on the signs and jingles that appeared on the roadsides years ago. Certainly pre-Madmen era, but interesting and creative, nonetheless.
Ann Keller
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, comedy, humor
I remember some of these signs from when I was young. These signs have all but disappeared in our modern age. It's nice to be able to review some of the favorites and remember.
Austin Storm
Pretty great - lots of warm nostalgia. Advertising inspiration
Valerie
I don't believe I've ever seen a Burma-Shave jingle in the wild. But I loved reading them, and I think I mostly ignored the rest of the text.
Eric
Mar 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A history of the Burma-Shave company and the roadside jingles that covered America from 1926 to the end of the 1950's. Well-written, with proper nostalgic touches and many humorous anecdotes.
Rusty
May 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you loved reading all those Burma Shave signs, you'll totally enjoy this reading. It brings nostalgia, fun, laughter and a sense of the fun of the past. Fun!
Dixie Diamond
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, my_books, cars
Not a work of scholarship but very entertaining.
Susan Keraus
Walk down memory lane...


Helen Pugsley
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/14497383
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