Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wig-Wagging With Wallace

Hanging out in the Mister's studio sometimes yields interesting results. Today, he has been archiving some of his records and I came in just in time to hear a little bit of "Keep Fit To Music", a "reduction" record set put out in 1941 by Wallace Reducing Records. The set was produced and distributed by the man himself, Wallace.

Yep, that's Wallace!

It's a lively mixture of marching band music, swingy tunes and other instrumentals mixed with Wallace's ever-present and enthusiastic voice of instruction.

The set includes six records and assorted guides, along with a letter from Wallace encouraging the lady of the house to pay seventeen dollars on his "easy payment plan" to lose weight, shape up and regain their "lost pep". Why, he even brags that many people pay as much as three hundred dollars to attend his classes. Even though that was a boatload of cash in the forties, it's still easy to believe Wallace. The enclosed booklets written by him practically ooze assurance - and the ever-present photos of his trustworthy face put a person at ease right away.

Or make one feel on edge. It's the eyes really.

One of the high points of the set for me is this booklet:

You may be asking yourself, "What is this 'Woman's Birthright' that is spoken of? Menstruation? Unwanted facial hair? Pay scales that don't match those awarded to male counterparts?" ( or you might just be thinking, "I didn't know that they could show naked lady nipple silhouettes in the forties") Either/or. Let's look inside, shall we?

First, a note from Wallace (and again with those eyes):

Whew! I bet he was really sweating bullets when those radios came in to vogue!

And how about a little of the introduction?

Thanks for the guilt trip, Wallace! I love the part where he says, "And beauty is a normal condition. If more women realized this - there would be more beautiful women."

Oh, snap! I also like the line: "Beauty is not a 'gift', but a reward for obeying Nature's laws."

Got it. Obey nature's laws. Can do.

(Unless nature has a law against Cheeto's and then well, slap the cuffs on me, Wallace!)

The booklet also includes some testimonials. This one from Mr. Frank Peterson:

Frank is enjoying his "new wife"! Let's hear it for those streamlined broads! Admittedly, she does look much more svelte and happy. One point for Wallace.

Here is another testimonial. This time from Mrs. Walter Smith:

Go Mrs. Walter Smith! She may have lost a couple of chins (color me jealous) but she didn't lose her taste in sweeeet hats. Oh okay, another point for Wallace.

Now before we get too excited and get our workout mats ready, a warning from Wallace:

And maybe we should look at his reduction tips:

So, wait..wait..he not only wants us to exercise but he also wants us to sweat ourselves into heat exhaustion? Who among us has ever worked out inside of our homes while wearing men's thermal underwear with fleece lining and thick Winter socks? After drinking hot water and before wrapping ourselves in a thick blanket while our life slowly drains from our body as we wait for our warm baths to reach capacity in our steam filled bathrooms? (If you have, don't tell me because I can't even bear to think of it.)

Before I get too riled up (and I am sure at this point that it's easy for you all to tell that I don't like to suffer for weight loss), let's take a look at the diagrams:

The Wig-Wag!

The Bicycle!

Wait one New York minute! That broad isn't wearing the grungy old, fleece lined long underwear that she got out of her husband's drawer! What's up with that??

Oh! There's Wallace again! And he's looking straight through to my soul!

I swear to you, Wallace! I've obeyed every single law that nature has put forth!

I'd better pipe down. Or else he's liable to send me to his torture chamber:

Nah, that's only one of his homemade workout machines:

(For you ladies who don't want to make the men in your life mad by screwing eye hooks and rope into the nice baseboard, just put your feet under the front of the couch. Disclaimer: This isn't Wallace's tip but mine - from the days when I wasn't afraid of exercise.)

Now, I think it's time for what I'm sure your hearts have been longing for - a little bit of ear candy from Wallace. Here he leads us through the mule kick. Don't miss how he kind of loses himself towards the end and starts to sing. I love it!:


Upon researching Wallace, I learned that his last name was Rogerson and that he did these records for many decades. I found ads for the record sets from the twenties right on up to the fifties. It seems that one could send away for the first record for free and then the sales pitch for the other records in the set would begin. From what I can tell from reading a pretty confusing legal affidavit regarding the use of his name, he passed away in 1943 and his widow continued the mail order record business until 1959. Here is one of the ads from 1950:

                                               Photo Courtesy of Duke University Libraries Digital Collections


As evidenced in the ad, he also used to have a "Get Thin To Music" radio show. I couldn't find much more except that where his office used to be is now a T.G.I. Friday's restaurant. Considering the calorie counts in that place, I don't think he'd appreciate that!

And if you're interested, here is a really cool website that shows the most awesome ad for the record set from the twenties and tells about how a "History Detectives" show has been done for PBS on these very same reducing records:

History Detectives

That ought to be a great episode and it's definitely going on my calendar. Maybe there will be some fascinating inside scoop on Wallace! It should air in September.

I'm planning on talking the Mister into doing a month of Wallace's plan with me. I'll report back. I'm sure that I'll reduce down to just a tiny sliver of a thing!

Until next time (
x's and o's,


Anonymous said...

Good grief girl- you had me laughing during this entire post. I mean, I know I should take my reductions and beauty regimens seriously, but still. The image of sweatsuited women prancing around their living rooms in winter socks (yet he still worries about their perspiration levels enough to encourage tea drinking in place of cold water) is just amazing. Plus, I love his John Waters-esque mustache. You know you can trust a face like that.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go do some wig-wags in hopes that by obeying Nature's laws, I am rewarded enough to fit into my skinny jeans.

Barbara said...

The Frito Bandito theme for mule kicks? When do you get to put your leg down? Back kick, knee forward, left leg back, knee forward. How????

Of course you'd wear the heavy suit - sweating out water weight! That's how he got fast results from us fat people! You think you're losing weight, but it's all water!!

God, this was terrific. I don't know where you guys find this stuff, but it's worth gold I tell ya!

Welcome to DeluxeVille said...

What an awesome post! I love stuff like this...thanks so much for sharing it with us and doing all the research.


cheshirecat666 said...

Those eyes! Must obey Svengali! I mean Wallace!

GAWD I'm glad I'm a dude,the pressure of being a girl is just TOO MUCH!

Anonymous said...

lol! OH MAN! I am now completely obsessed with evil, yet entertaining wallace! he totally seemed like the devil until i heard that singing! who couldn't get into that??? mary ann (my very adorable and very overweight cat) and i are listening to wallace and we may get some chocolate covered peanuts!

Straight Talking Mama! said...

This is hilarious! Thanks for this post, cheered me up this morning :o)

Bandita said...

AMAZING! haha! your take on this is so funny, i can't believe it says the line about there being more beautiful women if they would just realize their natural condition!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post! With those eyes, Wallace should have worked for the CIA. I bet he could snap people's wills like twigs.

Mod Betty / said...

I think I'm going to sign all of my letters now "Yours in Streamline" - thanks for the chuckle!

1950s Atomic Ranch House said...


And so many women went right along with ol Wallace. Think Jack La Lane might have one-upped ol Wallace with his TV show? It was revolutionary back in the day! Oh and Jack smiled. :)

monogirl said...

Love it! Reminds me of the song "Chicken Fat" written by Meredith Wilson and performed by Robert Preston.

Betty Crafter said...

That guy is mega offensive and a good helping of creepy to boot! I love mid century design and fashion but thank Jeebus we no longer are told it is our duty to nature and men to be beautiful. Or wait...are we?

DearHelenHartman said...

LOVE it - what a fun find. And what a fun find for me to find your blog! Love the banner... and the content... couldn't wait to become your new follower.

primaseadiva said...

"Hold everything!" His music is the same song Cielito Lindo that was on my Hartz canary training record.

Sara In AZ said...

Gosh, I could just go right outside, here in AZ, and sweat myself right thin without even any exercise! :D

PS - History Detectives is da bomb!

Anonymous said...

I think those photos of the before and after are a scam. They are probably current and past photos, just reversed.
I am off to obey nature's laws....with some Blue Bell Cherry Vanilla ice cream.

Georgie Horn said...

That is hilarious. I think he just wanted to print pictures of ladies scantily dressed.

Rae - Say It Aint So said...

i need a picture of wallace on my refrigerator to stare me down when i want to go in for a snack! great post. i love when he starts singing on the recording!

Nina said...

hahaha Ay, ay, ay, ay,
canta y no llores This for sure will make me cry hahaha

Little Rosy Runabout said...

I feel quite certain that Wallace would approve of Kendra Wilkenson's Yankee Doodle Dandy Workout. Now THAT is a woman who celebrates the gift of her American citizenship AND beauty!

Becky said...

I lost weight laughing! Before Jane Fonda! Before Richard Simmons! Wallace!

Now I'm gonna be on the hunt for the records when I go out a thriftin!

Holly Hall said...

I think those eyes will haunt me for the rest of my days. At least the next week.

Lisa said...

Hi-LAR-ious. Man. Those thirties and forties workout regimes were tough! I love the wig wag, however. And the reducing lady's hats in the middle of the post. And the Village of the Damned like stare Wallace is sporting throughout. You're right, the eyes DO see right through me!

I'm really glad Wii Fit isn't as mean, I'd be less willing to stick with it, I think!

Kally said...

Curse my unnatural bulk! Ahh his singing was marvellous... I can almost imagine his beady little eyes sparkling with excutement at the thought of me doing mule kicks in some sweaty long johns.

Unknown said...

There's just so much to work with here, but one thing really made my imagination dance-that excessive flesh can be removed. Removed by whom? And how? And with or without anesthesia?

Bill said...

Kaypea, if Wallace-izing doesn't work, might I suggest Bile Beans. Have a look: