Lever Bath Soap Makes
In 5 Minute Ads
Lincoln, Me. (DG)—
the 1992 Friends Of Old Time Radio Convention, I had an interesting chat
with Irving Krantz of Elmwood Park, New Jersey.
He said that he had the recordings of 5 Lifebuoy Health Soap
commercials that were about 5 minutes in length for each commercial.
What was interesting about these commercials Mr. Krantz described was
they were originally presented on the air in 1935.
Mr. Krantz wondered if I was interested in a cassette tape with the 5
commercials. Since Lifebuoy
Health Soap is my favorite radio sponsor, I gave an excited “yes.”
In a short time after the convention, Mr. Krantz sent me the cassette
tape as he said he would do. With
his gracious gesture of that time,
I dedicate this article to Mr. Krantz.
When I heard the 5 Lifebuoy commercials
for the first time, I was amazed how different they were from the foghorn and “B.O.”
sound effects from the 1940’s commercials I was more accustomed to.
Instead of the sinister sound effects, the commercials were
dramatizations of men, women, and children who weren’t aware they had “B.O.”
The commercials were similar in format to the Lifebuoy
print ads in magazines and newspapers during the mid 1930’s.
The print ads featured men and women who were wondering why their
popularity with other people was hitting rock bottom.
Luckily, a friend or relative informed that person that he/she had “B.O.” Since “B.O.” was mentioned, the “B.O.”
sufferer immediately bought Lifebuoy Health Soap.
After the next morning’s bath or shower, he/she no longer had that
annoying “B.O.” problem. In
no time at all, the former “B.O.” victim was becoming popular once
Now you know how the Lifebuoy "Mini Stories" in print were
presented, now listen
to this 5-minute
Lifebuoy Mini Story commercial. Radio announcer Fred Uttal was the
narrator in the enclosed commercial and the other Lifebuoy Mini
Stories mentioned in this article.
first Lifebuoy Mini Story took place in Downeast Maine.
It opened with Ethan Whittier* having a spirited conversation with his
wife Martha. The difference of
opinion between the spouses concerned Ethan’s upcoming trip to New York City
to see their daughter Louise and her husband Henry.
Apparently, there was a problem in the young couple’s marriage.
Martha thought Ethan was “just plain dumb” to get involved,
and she was afraid he would make things worse.
Regardless to what Martha thought, Ethan was going to get to the bottom
The scene changes to Henry and Louise’s apartment in
New York City. It opens with Ethan
talking with Henry. Ethan got to
the point and asked Henry if he was seeing another woman, to which Henry firmly
denied. The conversation abruptly
stopped when Louise stepped into the room to inform the 2 men that dinner was
ready. Henry quickly excused
himself to get ready for dinner. The
moment her husband left, Louise broke down crying.
Ethan told his daughter to sit on his lap and lay her head on his
shoulder. The moment Louise sat on
her father’s lap, Ethan immediately knew the problem that was ruining the
young couple’s marriage. Poor
Louise had a bad case of “B.O.”
Ethan gave Louise some sound advice--- to buy plenty of Lifebuoy
Health Soap and use it for her daily bath.
Louise followed her father’s advice to the letter.
With “B.O.” an unpleasant memory, Henry and Louise were very
close once again.
Ethan and Lifebuoy saved the day with
Louise and Henry, but he didn’t get very far with Martha.
She still thinks her husband is “just plain dumb.”
With Ethan’s sound advice, maybe we should all be that stupid!
second Lifebuoy Mini Story required the services of a detective.
The stars in this commercial were Judy Cushing; her younger brother
Sammy; and her boyfriend Hugh.
The commercial opened with a conversation between Hugh
and Sammy, who was a pint size Sam Spade. Since
Sammy thought of himself as a great detective, Hugh hired “Gumshoe Pete”
(Sammy’s detective alias) to do some detective work.
The boyfriend was wondering why Judy was giving him the cold shoulder.
Figuring it might take time, Hugh was shocked that Sammy immediately knew
why Judy acted the way she did. The
answer consisted of only 2 letters--- “B.O.”
When Judy entered the room, Hugh asked her out to go
dancing with him. Judy pretended
she didn’t feel very well. To her
chagrin, Sammy said she was lying through her teeth.
With Hugh’s “B.O.” overwhelming her, Judy ushered him
outside in the fresh air to finish their conversation--- now that’s big time
Although things looked very bleak, this love story does
have a happy ending. With “B.O.”
in his thoughts, Hugh made sure there was plenty of Lifebuoy on
hand for his daily bath.
The next scene featured a stink free Hugh asking Judy
out on a date. Instead of giving
excuses, Judy was happy to go out with him.
The conversation Hugh and Judy had with each other centered on Lifebuoy---
real romantic stuff! When Judy
asked what was in the small box, Hugh replied it was for Sammy.
At that moment, the great detective showed up to receive his reward, a
big league baseball. To Judy’s chagrin, her brother was in the room once again.
It wasn’t exactly a romantic moment for Judy and Hugh, but there would
be plenty of time for that kissy stuff later on in the evening.
third Lifebuoy Mini Story concerned a young couple; the art
of going home to mother; and a dog that found the answer by chewing up a
The scene opened with Bob Brewster in a very good mood
as he came home from work. Armed
with a bouquet of flowers, he wanted to celebrate the 3-month anniversary with
his wife Jean. While Bob was in a
good mood, Jean was in no mood to celebrate.
She was preparing to go home to mother.
Puzzled as to why Jean was leaving him, a stunned Bob let her go.
The following morning, Bob was eating breakfast.
While he was trying to figure out why Jean left him, Major Duff, the
young couple’s dog, was having fun chewing on the morning’s newspaper.
With Major Duff barking excitedly, Bob saw what the dog was doing and rescued
the newspaper from Major Duff’s teeth. He
read an ad the dog partially tore up. When
he put the ad together, Bob saw it was a print ad for Lifebuoy Health
Soap. The subject of the ad
concerned a wife who went home to mother for no apparent reason, and how “B.O.”
was ruining the couple’s marriage. Like
a bolt of lightning, Bob quickly figured out “B.O.” was doing some
serious home wrecking in his marriage with Jean.
He made sure there was some Lifebuoy Health Soap for the
next day’s shower.
The next morning, Bob was making a musical racket in the
shower while eliminating every trace of “B.O.” with Lifebuoy.
Out of the blue, there was a familiar voice yelling for him from outside
the bathroom door. Since dogs don’t talk English, Bob knew it wasn’t Major
Duff. That familiar voice belonged
to Jean who returned home. In an
excited manner, Bob got into his bathrobe, opened the bathroom door, and hugged
At first, Jean was tense. She was determined to tell her husband point blank that he
had “B.O.” She
immediately lightened up when Bob already knew of the problem and corrected it.
Thanks to Major Duff , a ripped up ad, and of course, Lifebuoy,
the happy couple was happy once again.
next Lifebuoy Mini Story is something else--- and possibly one
that may be a little hard to believe from a radio listener viewpoint.
Fred Uttal opened the commercial in the middle of a live
show at a theater. With the jokes
from the performers flying all over the place, Uttal pointed out there was a
small disturbance in the audience. When
he approached the disturbance, Uttal informed the listeners that a woman
fainted. With the ushers coming to
her assistance, the woman quickly regained consciousness. She was OK, but the woman had to leave the theater.
The scene changed to outside the theater where the woman
who fainted and her friend were talking. The
listeners found out about “B.O.” in a completely new dimension.
Instead of an annoying odor--- “B.O.” had real knock out
power! The woman said the reason why she fainted was the man seated
next to her had an exceptionally bad case of “B.O.” Luckily, Lifebuoy was powerful enough to
take on the most powerful “B.O.” any regulation human could
encounter--- even the kind that can make people faint.
you think “B.O.” won’t affect children, the final Lifebuoy
Mini Story may surprise you. The
subject of this commercial concerned a ceremony to initiate a new member into a
secret boy’s club.
The scene opens with a sobering ceremony taking place at
(supposedly) a campground. Chester
Arthur Harrison, the new member that was initiated, was blindfolded and had his
legs tied together. When the somber
ceremony was complete, the other members left.
While removing the blindfold, the head of the club informed Chester that
he had to stay by himself in the campground for an hour. When he left, Chester noticed something wasn’t what it was
supposed to be. Terrified, Chester
quickly noticed that he wasn’t in a campground, but in the middle of a
cemetery. Since it was dark, this
was a scary experience for the boy. What
made matters worse, there were ghostly sounds made by the other club members who
didn’t leave after all. They were
all dressed in white sheets as ghosts.
Unable to move, Chester was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. When he smelled something unpleasant in the air,
Chester’s fear turned to laughter. Unfortunately,
one of the club members had a problem with “B.O.”
To make matters worse, Chester knew who it was and said so.
There is a moral to this story--- when a new club member
had to go through an initiation, make sure every member of the club took a bath
or shower with Lifebuoy Health Soap before the initiation ceremony
was to take place.
Although the stories in the 5 commercials were
different, there was a common ground they all had.
With hot weather and the stress of everyday life, Uttal made it clear
that it was imperative for every man, woman, and child to bathe daily with Lifebuoy.
Of course, the sinister sound effects were in the
future, but the Lifebuoy Mini Story commercials definitely
got its message across to the radio listeners.
Like the printed ads, “B.O.”
was something for the radio listeners to take seriously. More importantly, anyone who was considered a human being
wasn’t immune to it--- unless Lifebuoy was used!