Duck explains shaving

This undated/unsourced 1930s ad features a jaunty duck explaining shaving to a happy sailor (who leaves his hat on for his toilette). Ducks in sailor hats -- something out of the collective unconscious?

De-Waterproof Your Whiskers


    1. One ad-man was smoking weed, it seems to me…

      Seems unlikely, weed was predominantly a Hispanic drug until the 60s, and relatively unknown. Even most of the beats were into alcohol.

  1. I picture many 1930’s teenagers rubbing shaving cream on a ducks back. Just to see what happens.

  2. They emulsify that oily, waterproof coating

    …which you can use afterwards as mayonnaise!

  3. Those little “Happy Days” and “Grand Feeling” drawings are downright Japanese in their cuteness.

    1. Yeah. They reminded me of Robert Williams icons used as tableaux motifs in many paintings.

  4. Generally speaking, the talking ducks don’t appear until after you’ve chugged your after-shave.

  5. Used to use this and it worked very well, but the tube looked too damn much like a tube of toothpaste. Yeah, that’s right. Only needs to happen once, too.

    1. A friend of mine pulled that one on another friend with a tube of wasabi. “Here, it’s Japanese toothpaste!” Har har!

  6. “Mate, your whiskers are as GREASY as my ass, harder to remove than that fake tattoo on your arm.”

  7. ah who can forget the Big-Bubbles vs. Small-Tiny-Bubbles Shaving Technology Wars of the 30’s?

  8. The poses and attitudes on those whiskers remind me a lot of Larry Marder’s Beanworld comics!

    1. Oh my god, you are right.

      “Hoo-hoo-ha and a hooka-hooka hey! Shave with Colgate’s Rapid Shave today!”

  9. If you really listen to a talking duck, you deserve to spend that much for soap. Or Insurance.

  10. I use shave cream from a tube regularly – Proraso, Speick, Godrej, Art of Shaving. Trust me – leagues better than gel from a hydrocarbon-filled can.

    1. Why not go all the way and dispense with the mined and manufactured metal tube with the petroleum-based plastic cap and environmentally toxic inks on the packaging which really don’t list all the ingredients… and try soap? You know, since you’re concerned with the environmental impacts.

      Plain old soap, applied with a plain old brush. it works, but I have to admit…. you can’t really brag about it.

    1. Those soaps with glycerin chunks – you know the kind that have patterns made out of the different colored glycerin pieces – are great for this, you can choose the amount of lather versus nondryness with each brushstroke.

      Speaking of which, am I being environmentally friendly enough with my pry-out-of-my-dead-hands badger-hair brush?

    2. +1 for the Trader Joe’s stuff. I have tried several other options (including shaving soap and brush and several other creams) and that one’s the best for me.

      I also use a 60’s vintage safety razor I got for $4 at a flea market. Blades are 15 cents or less each and last three or four weeks.

      If I were paying the big bucks for the Gillette or Schick crap with seventy blades, I’d probably be inclined to spend less money experimenting with shave creams.

      Sucks for everyone who shaves with that crap. Seems the shaving industry’s business plan has gone through a rather vicious cycle, and people these days spend a lot more money on a much worse shave.

  11. In the period, this totally works.

    See, the Navy man is a BRUTE – a friendly brute, sure, he doesn’t work for the kaiser! – you can tell by those huge tattoos that would be totally socially unacceptable to the audience for the ad (1930s, remember? Wifey’s doing the shopping!).

    A brute like that is very hirsute and manly, testosterone and hair practically flies off him as he plies the sealanes. If he can’t get a razor, he just hammers his whiskers in with a belaying pin & bites ’em off on the inside!

    And if Colgate can shave this near-simian untermensch (remember, 1930s!) there’s no doubt it can handle your man’s relatively soft whiskers.

    It’s a proto-old-spice-guy. With a duck.

  12. I ran out of whisker de-waterproofin’ cream when I was broke a long time ago and found that leaving my face wet after a shower without using anything worked just fine. Eventually I got sick of standing in front of the mirror wet and learned to shave in the bathtub without a mirror. Then I switched to using shampoo that comes in a bar and works fine as soap so I’m down to one and only one personal cleaning product.

    Cute ad, though.

  13. There’s a guy who’s been housing-free for a few years now, he cris-crosses the U.S. on a regular basis.
    Unfortunately, I can’t remember his name, but readers might know him because of the outfitted baby-stroller cart that he uses to carry his gear. Tends to walk the southern states.

    Anyway, he swears by K-Y Jelly or similar generic products for shaving, both for being inexpensive vs. typical *shaving products* and for its longevity compared to most gels.
    I do believe he’s aware that its a petroleum product, but when you’re homeless, it’s hard to complain about things like that.

  14. Stopped using that crappy aerosol gel long ago. From what I learned, to shave you need to lubricate your skin and soften the hair a bit.

    Shaving after a shower accomplishes the softening, what you put on your face does the lubing.

    Ideally the lube doesn’t collect on the blade to prevent contact with your face; which is why gel’s suck.

    A good shaving soap works wonders, as it keeps your face slick, is thin enough to not gum up the blade and dries/evaporates slowly enough to maintain the lubrication during the time it takes to shave. Good sticks are cheap, last you a long time and come only packaged in paper (I stick the soap roll in a cleaned out deoderent stick).

    I use Arko Shaving Soap. $2 a stick, lasts a year or more. Smells great and, putting it on with a brush feels great. The soap plus brush, travels way better than a can of cream.

    Do it. You owe it to yourelf.

  15. I use the wacky multi-blade razors, but then I only use hot water to soften up my face. So am I a corporate slave, or a back-to-the-earth hippie?

    1. That just means you have awesome skin! If I tried that (in fact I have), my face would be a single gaping wound.

  16. ive never understood why shaving cream is needed. i just wet my face, the “slick strip” above the blades provides just enough lubrication. when i was in a hurry, id shave dry

  17. Ducks in sailor hats — something out of the collective unconscious?

    Well, what other branch of the service was a waterfowl going to join? Ducks aren’t natural choices for the infantry, and the Air Force was still part of the Army in the 30s (and a duck could probably fly faster than most of its planes). Ditto for geese.

    Also, only my method of shaving and choice of (or rejection of) shaving products is correct. Yours is born of ignorance and lack of manliness, and is implicitly racist. ;)

  18. Musgo Real from Portugal is my #1 cream, a family recipe and good value. Godrej mentioned above is avail at your local Indian market. For a stick I use Palmolive (the German import is maybe $2.00 or so). Razors can be had for $10 – $30 vintage Gillettes are hard to beat (thank you King Camp). Blades? I use the elusive Iridiums (Russian mfg.) they were $22.00 per hundred a year ago, now almost ungettable so, Astras or red Israeli Personnas. Brushes are a whole ‘nother subject. Badger is preferred by many and can go you $200. but a $10. version can be very good. For a change I use one of those economical Boar brushes from Italy. There are a couple of great websites for this stuff (BadgerandBlade). The guys call each other “Gent” and swap tips. Very nice community. Ah. the innerwebs..

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