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Beacon Senior News

Verses by the side of the road: Do you remember Burma-Shave Signs?

May 29, 2018 09:52PM ● By Pat Martin

Before the interstate, commuters and travelers were amused by a sequence of clever road signs they saw as they traveled down two-lane highways in the 1920s-60s. Each red sign was spaced about 100 feet apart on the roadside and contained lines of a short, humorous rhyme written in white lettering. The last sign was an advertisement for Burma-Shave, a brushless shaving cream.

This advertising gimmick for Burma-Shave, which spanned 40 years, increased the product’s popularity and sales even during the Great Depression and World War II.

Signs were positioned all over the country. At the height of the campaign, there were 7,000 sets of signs in 45 states.

In addition to the advent of television advertising, the expansion of interstate highways in the 1950s caused signs to gradually disappear from the roadsides because motorists were going too fast to read them.

The program came to an end in 1963. This iconic campaign became part of popular culture and was one of the country’s most successful advertising campaigns to date. Signs are now included in museum collections nationwide.

For more information on Burma-Shave signs’ history and cultural impact, read “The Verse by the Side of the Road: The Story of the Burma-Shave Signs and Jingles” by Frank Rowsome and Carl Rose.

Do these Burma-Shave verses bring back memories?

[bscolumns class="one_half"]

DON’T STICK YOUR ELBOW OUT SO FAR IT MAY GO HOME IN ANOTHER CAR


TRAINS DON’T WANDER ALL OVER THE MAP ’CAUSE NOBODY SITS IN THE ENGINEER’S LAP


DROVE TOO LONG DRIVER SNOOZING WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IS NOT AMUSING


BROTHER SPEEDER LET’S REHEARSE ALL TOGETHER GOOD MORNING, NURSE


SPEED WAS HIGH WEATHER WAS NOT TIRES WERE THIN X MARKS THE SPOT


AROUND THE CURVE LICKETY-SPLIT BEAUTIFUL CAR WASN’T IT?[/bscolumns][bscolumns class="one_half_last_clear"]

NO MATTER THE PRICE NO MATTER HOW NEW THE BEST SAFETY DEVICE IN THE CAR IS YOU


AT INTERSECTIONS LOOK EACH WAY A HARP SOUNDS NICE BUT IT’S HARD TO PLAY


BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL EYES ON THE ROAD THAT’S THE SKILLFUL DRIVER’S CODE


THE ONE WHO DRIVES WHEN HE’S BEEN DRINKING DEPENDS ON YOU TO DO HIS THINKING


PASSING SCHOOL ZONE TAKE IT SLOW LET OUR LITTLE SHAVERS GROW[/bscolumns][bscolumns class="clear"][/bscolumns]