1971 - ASM #103 - Dostoyevski's Duraclean

Man, early comic book ads were wordy with type so small they recalled how sleazy used car salesmen talked quickly so as to not let you get a critical word in edgewise, but this ad tops them all:

A veritable cornucopia of things unappealing, this full page ad featuring a "true story by John B. Haikey"  had more words than many front-page newspaper articles.

Everything about the article just screams of not wanting to be successful. Pictures of utility vans, middle aged balding men, and retirement plans just doesn't seem like the kind of thing to rip allowances from 12 year-old boys.

(This ad also apparently appeared in Life Magazine at the same time and seems to suit that publication much better.)

Worse, if somehow you found yourself with a touch of pity for the old man trying to tell you a story and actually bothered to read the entire ad, you would find the most mundane tale of success ever in the HISTORY OF COMIC BOOKS.

Seriously, the story goes:

- He went to high school and held several jobs (butcher, clerk, bus driver).
- He invested in a convenience store.
- He thought that was going to be too much work.
- He saved some money and invested in a different job.
- That job was cleaning furniture and carpets.
- Now he can retire at some point.

That's the entire story. Oh, also now he has a van with a sign on it.

One interesting bit in the entire story, at one point he says "To pyramid this investment into retirement in less than ten years seems like magic, ..." Now, I can't really imagine any usage of the word pyramid to refer to an investment other than that usage, but feel free to correct me. Hey, at least he's kinda being honest about it.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia once again saves the day with more stories about Duraclean itself, and how it apparently led to the naming of popular electric battery brand Duracell:

The name came from a conversation with A-1 Durable Carpet & Fabric Specialist Inc. and an executive from Mallory Battery which were both from Waterbury CT. The executive called the cleaning company and asked if the name A-1 Durable Carpet & Fabric Specialist Inc. had a copywrite on the name Durable. The executive spoke to the son of the cleaning company,[Steven Nobrega]. The executive explained how they were thinking of calling a new battery that had a copper cell "Durable Cell" and asked how the name suited the cleaning company. The owner's son explained that his father was the owner of a franchise orginally called "Duraclean". His father had chosen the new cleaning company name for the cleaning company by dropping the clean in "Duraclean" and added able to Dura to keep the name similar. The two of them started playing with the name for the new battery and the executive and owners son instantly agreed that Duracell was a better name for the new battery.

(I apologize for what may be the worst edited paragraph in all of Wikipedia, but I swear if you get over that the story that seems to tell itself is way more interesting than anything that the original ad is trying to sell, I promise)

From Amazing Spider-Man #103, December 1971.


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