Last month, I mentioned that I got my entrepreneurial start as a kid by selling stuff door to door. This “stuff” generally comprised products advertised on the back of of comic books: seeds, greeting cards, and so on.
For more than thirty years, companies recruited armies of salesboys and salesgirls through comics. I was one of them. But it wasn’t just kids they recruited.
I was reading an October 1956 issue of Blackhawk — a fanciful war comic (the Blackhawks didn’t just fight commies; they also fought space aliens) — when I came across this gem of an ad that touts how much a man can make selling Mason Shoes.
That’s a little small to see on the blog, so you can click through to see the entire ad on Flickr. Here are some of the best bits:
Bill’s friend Jim introduces him to the world of Mason Shoe:
Look how that shoe gleams in the second panel! Naturally, Bill started selling to his friends, relatives, and co-workers. Everybody wants comfortable shoes:
And here’s the end-of-the-page sales pitch:
“Bill! A new toaster!”
It’s probably obvious why I love this.
For one thing, it’s an ad in comic form from inside a comic book. For another, it’s promoting one of my favorite aspects of personal finance, personal entrepreneurship. True, it veers toward the “get rich quick” side of things (but then all sales schemes like this do), but that’s okay — in order to succeed, the Mason Shoe man will have to pour his soul into his work. Finally, I’ve done plenty of door-to-door sales in my day, so I have a soft spot for this sort of thing. (It’s never this easy!)
By the way, Mason Shoe still exists, though I can’t tell from their website if they still manufacture their own shoes. It may be that they just sell other brands…
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