All Purpose Vehicles

     Mere months ago, we considered the postcard possibilities of canoodling in a Cadillac or fooling around in a Ford.  We looked at a number of postcards chuckled at by our ancestors which dealt with the uses of an automobile for a little romance on the road, and the perils associated with it.  That heroic generation, used to automobiles without roofs, or with soft fabric roofs which might or might not be put up, depending on the weather, were amused by people getting tossed out on the road, especially if they were doing something that occupied much of their attention at the time.

     With one or two exceptions, we did not consider the people who got beyond a quick hug or kiss before hitting a rock and being pitched to the pavement.  The postcard artists were not particularly shy about the possibilities; I just seem, accidentally or on purpose (go ahead: guess), to have set certain cards aside for some future blog.  Certainly the things which could happen on a long drive out in the country abound in the literature of an early day, from fine old jokes (“Can you drive with just one hand?”  “Sure thing, Babe!”  “Good, have an apple.”) to what many feel is the oldest existing American pornographic movie, A Free Ride.

     Sometimes the automobile is just used as an excuse for implied naughtiness, as in this postcard, which we have discussed before.  (General Motors had just introduced automobiles with “knee action”, and the cartoonists could not resist.)

     The lady here is blushing because she is applying the words, mentally, the way the artist intended us to do.

     That’s the key to postcard humor, of course.  (Any other oldtimers around there remember when cars had keys?)  if you wanted that postcard to sell out in the open, where everyone could see it, you could not come right out and SHOW what was going on in the automobile.  One had to assume one’s readers would have naughty enough minds to understand why, for example, this man is planning to run out of gas.

     Or what the cop is seeing through the window.  (Nice picture, nice joke, and I hate to be vulgar, but…isn’t that car a little small for what we’re supposed to be imagining?  Or are you imagining something else?  If you’re muttering, “Size doesn’t matter”, you are definitely staying after class.  Be prepared to show your work.)

     Naughty minds are not purely mid-century, by the way.  This image dates to about 1906, and the postcard buyer of that distant day knew very well what the cartoonist—and the couple shown in high-society motoring outfits—was driving at.

     To get our minds, if not the cartoon characters involved, out of the gutter, we shall close by considering that some cartoonists thought the automobile provided great opportunities for meeting possible romantic partners.

     Though even in this case, they suggested driving carefully.

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