Doing Its Part
For Allied Victory
"If you is careless today,
youíre going to be car-less tomorrow."
--- Arthur Godfrey
Lincoln, Me. (DG)---
When the United States entered World War II, it united the American
people, no matter how they felt before Japanís attack on Pearl Harbor. It
was also a war that everyone got involved in. Of course, many able-bodied
men and women enlisted in the Armed Forces. That involvement didnít stop there. For those who were unable to serve in the military, the people of the "Home
Front" were asked to ration, sacrifice, and perform domestic duties for
those people who worked in defense plants. Radio advertising played a
key role in getting the message across. This is the first of a 2-part series
on what was asked of the people of the Home Front, and how radio advertising
kept the listeners informed on what had to be done.
From 1942-1945, the radio listeners couldnít get away from a brief message
of some kind on how they could help out on the war effort. One such message
was the saving of soap. As the announcer stated, there were vital materials
in soap that were needed for the war effort--- and of course, soap was needed
for the men and women of the military. To make a long story short, all soap
products for the Home Front were cut back. The trick was how to conserve the
soap that was available. Of course, radio helped out with helpful suggestions.
For bar soap, it should not soak in the water for an extended time,
because the soap bar melted away faster than it really should. When the
user was finished with the soap, the bar should not rest on a wet soap dish. Doing this made the soap soft, mushy, and unpleasant to the touch. When
the soap bar wore down to a small sliver, there were 2 possible, but effective
alternatives in using it. 1.) Moisten the sliver and put it on a new
soap bar, and 2.) Collect several soap slivers, place them in a washcloth,
and create a soap mitt. The soap mitt was excellent for washing, while it
completely used all the soap slivers for this purpose.
For laundry soap in granulated or flake form, there were 3 easy tasks
the people could do to conserve what they have. 1.) Measure the amount
of soap used; 2.) Cut back on washing the laundry until a full load
was accumulated; and 3.) Scrape dishes well before washing.
rationing of petroleum products meant some adjustments had to be made when
it comes to going from Point A to Point B. To conserve fuel and rubber, the
listeners were asked not to make unnecessary trips--- and better yet, form
a car pool with the listenerís friends and neighbors. The maximum speed limit
during the war years was reduced to only 35 m.p.h. The commercials for oil
companies also asked the people to take their cars at their local service
stations, to have them properly tuned up and their tires inflated at the proper
On a broadcast of THE TEXACO STAR THEATER, announcer
Arthur Godfrey said it best when it comes to car care during the war years.
Said he, "If you is careless today, youíse going to be car-less tomorrow."
The trickiest was the rationing of food. In order to purchase food,
a point system was created. Once again, conserving played a major role. While
some foods were easy to purchase, others like meat and sugar were more difficult. The makers of Crisco, Spry, and other shortening or lard products
were coming up with recipes that made a satisfying meal, yet saved ration
points. Another way to save points was to serve soup, pasta, or even breakfast
cereal for dinner.
The radio listeners heard the phrase "Food Fights For Freedom---
Produce, Conserve, Share, and Play Square."
The phrase meant for people to grow their own fruits and vegetables in Victory
Gardens. Once they were ready, the fruits and vegetables were canned. When
fruit was used for jellies and jams, pectin products like Sure Jell
and Certo were great to use, because they helped in the making
of jams and jellies with a smaller amount of sugar. "Play Square" meant
there was so much meat, dairy products, and sugar to go around. Purchase within
the point system instead of dealing with the infamous and naughty "Black
biggest task of all men, women, and children of the Home Front was to maintain
good health. It was best to eat the foods within the "Basic 7" food
group, but with food rationing in effect, it wasnít all that easy. When sacrifices
had to be made for a meal, the people werenít getting the important vitamins
and minerals for good health. Enter the multi vitamins. Radio listeners knew
they could get their needed daily vitamin requirement when they heard commercials
for multi vitamin products like Benefax, Vimms, Groveís,
Stams, Vitamins Plus, and One A Day.
The announcers on the radio commercials for tooth paste and shave cream
encouraged the people when it was time to purchase tooth paste or shave cream,
to take an empty tube with them to the store where it was purchased. It didnít
matter if the empty tube was the same brand or the same type of product---
as long as it was a tube. Since the empty tubes were made of metal, they were
sent to the governmentís defense factories for the making of metal goods for
This is only a sample of how radio informed the American people on what
they needed to do to help the men and women of the Armed Forces. In Part II
of this series, weíll take a look at how the War Advertising Council
got the word out on what the people of the Home Front had to do--- and more
importantly, NOT do in their helping the Allies win the war.