Terrible Sound Effect
“Old Dutch, the cleanser
that polishes as it cleans.”
Lincoln, Me. (DG)—
order to be successful, radio relied completely on sound. Whether it was words,
music, or funny noises, they were all vital. Since radio commercials during the
golden age were heard only on radio and nowhere else, they also needed the
services of sound.
If you have read other articles I have written either
on this website or my own website (www.dg125.com), you should know when I
open an article with something that makes you want to exclaim “duh!”---
there is usually an exception to the rule. Guess what, gang? There is an
exception for the use of sound on radio. Silence on radio, that’s disastrous!
While other radio sponsors relied on sound, there was
a product that believed “Silence Is Golden” for its success. The quiet
product in question was Old Dutch, the cleanser with the famous
“Old Dutch Girl” chasing that nasty dirt with her stick.
It all took place on an Old Dutch Cleanser
commercial heard on a 1939 broadcast of the BACHELOR’S CHILDREN
serial program on the Mutual Network*
. The commercial
began with announcer Russ Young describing how Old Dutch cleaned
sinks, pots, and pans better than any other cleanser. The reason why was “Seismotite,”
an ingredient that cleaned and polished the surface it touched without
scratching. To prove Old Dutch didn’t scratch, a real live
“Coin Test” was conducted at that moment for the listeners to hear--- and
To prove the honesty of the test, Young informed the
listeners that housewives were selected to witness what was going on. First, 2
pieces of glass were placed on a table. When this was done, some Old
Dutch Cleanser was sprinkled on one piece of glass, and the infamous
other cleanser was sprinkled on the other piece of glass. When both cleansers
were applied, a coin was needed to perform the test. Now comes the moment of
truth. The coin was placed on the glass with the other cleanser and moved
slowly in a circular motion on the glass. For the few seconds it was done, the
listeners heard a nauseating scratchy sound. It wasn’t static from the radio,
but the sound of the other cleanser scratching the surface of the glass. Now it
was Old Dutch’s turn. The coin was cleaned off and moved to the
glass with Old Dutch. It was moved the same way as before.
Instead of that disgusting scratchy sound, the listeners heard nothing but
silence. If there was any noise during this phase of the test, it was the
You might be wondering what does the Coin Test
prove? The noise heard from the other cleanser meant that product had
disgusting grit. It scratched the surface while it was being cleaned. Granted,
the surface was clean, but the surface was ruined. Over time, this could get
very ugly! The noise not heard from Old Dutch meant its amazing
Seismotite combined cleaning and polishing for a smooth and clean surface
The result of the Coin Test ended in a split
decision. For sound effects, the other cleanser won easily, but for cleaning
and polishing without scratching, it was Old Dutch hands down.
Since the housewife cared more about cleaning than hearing sound effects, her
choice was to use Old Dutch for cleaning sinks, pots, pans, and
other surfaces of the house when a cleanser was used.
may not be fondly remembered for its sound
effects during the history of radio’s golden age, but sound effects doesn’t
necessarily promise clean and polished surfaces. That was why housewives
preferred to use quiet Old Dutch Cleanser than any other cleaning
product of the era.