Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Vintage Coppertone Suntan Oil Spray

coppertone_7459

I used to spray this stuff on me like it was water, lay out in the sun until my skin was crisper than fried chicken and walk around all summer looking like a red patent leather purse. it was the desired toasted-by-the-sun-look for a Midwest girl in the Prehistoric 60′s when we thought sun was good and supertan and sunburnt were the most popular summer colors. Coppertone was the ONLY name in sun care products and spraying was the speed junkie route to stylish toasty flesh. No messy creme between your fingers, no sandy caps to screw back on so the next time you squirt some out it’s not like rubbing sandpaper on your burnt skin.
Coppertone hit the market in 1944. The original logo was an American Indian chief in feather headresss with matching “Don’t be a paleface” slogan. That was deemed politically incorrect in 1953 and the little trademark pin-up girl with snapping dog logo was born to replace it. When that illustration was lost in a fire the more familiar one you see on the can here was drawn in 1959 by Joyce Ballantyne Brand who won a contest to get the gig using her daughter Cheryl as the model. 
Jodie Foster made her acting debut at 3 in a tv commercial as the Coppertone girl.

I used to spray this stuff on me like it was water, lay out in the sun until my skin was crisper than fried chicken and walk around all summer looking like a red patent leather purse. It was the desired toasted-by-the-sun-look for a Midwest girl in the Prehistoric 60′s when we thought sun was good and supertan and sunburnt were the most popular summer colors. Coppertone was the ONLY name in sun care products and spraying was the speed junkie route to stylish toasty flesh. No messy creme between your fingers, no sandy caps to screw back on so the next time you squirt some out it’s not like rubbing sandpaper on your burnt skin.

Coppertone hit the market in 1944. The original logo was an American Indian chief in feather headdresss with matching “Don’t be a paleface” slogan. That was deemed politically incorrect in 1953 and the little trademark pin-up girl with snapping dog logo was born to replace it. When that illustration was lost in a fire the more familiar one you see on the can here was drawn in 1959 by Joyce Ballantyne Brand who won a contest to get the gig using her daughter Cheryl as the model. 

Jodie Foster made her acting debut at 3 in a tv commercial as the Coppertone girl.
coppertone_7457

This commercial is for a later Coppertone product, QT Quick Tanning Lotion, but is too much of a Kitschified gem not to be unearthed here: 

coppertone-commercial


Categories: Health & Beauty, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Products

Tags: , , ,



Share this page.   Subscribe to the blog.
  
 

Creative Commons License
Protected under a Creative Commons license

8 Comments

  • Ludovicah says:

    Amazing to think how we used to think basteing ourselves was a good idea. My grandmother used to say only coarse common people were tanned and when she was a girl it meant you worked out in the fields LOL.. Maybe she had the right idea ultimately

  • Deli says:

    OOOoh… that unmistakable scent of Coppertone Suntan Oil Spray (!!!) on my skin… the sounds of seagulls hovering in hopes of snagging a discarded bread crust or french fry… waves crashing on the shore… the dull roar of the crowd on the beach… and the patter of over-caffeinated DJ’s and my favorite songs coming from my trusty Emerson transistor. Back when the only thing I worried about was when to change the position of my towel so I could get a really even sunburn…

  • Scott Finnell says:

    What a fabulous find. I loved the commercial too! It is amazing to think that we thought that cutesy commercial was normal. I guess in twenty years when we look back, some of our commercials and music will seem silly and lame. I loved the sixties. The fashions, and sitcoms were so much fun. Thank you for showing us this Allee, it is so much fun to see where we were back then.

  • Melanie says:

    The “coarse common people” being tan was at the turn of the last century. Coco Chanel was the one who ultimately made tanning popular for the “jet setting” crowd that had lots of leisure time (which comparatively is most of us now)

  • Mechele Readling says:

    Trying 2 find the name and pic for a coppertone sunoil/ointment that smelled of coconuts but had vaseline consistency and came in a jar….I used it in the 70s and can’t find any info or pics or ads for it!

    • Allee says:

      Ooh, I wish I knew but I always used straight Coppertone. Maybe it was cocoa butter of some sort.

    • Susan says:

      Was it called ‘Coppertone Tanning Butter’? It had a vaseline consistency and came in a small jar. That’s the only kind of tanning product I have ever seen in a jar and I too used it in the 70′s. Loved that stuff!

Leave a Reply