James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Thu Feb 3 20:02:16 UTC 2005

In a message dated Wed, 2 Feb 2005 12:08:24 -0600, Victoria Neufeldt
<vneufeldt at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM> asks:

>  I have been wondering, on reading all these Burma Shave jingles, who
>  wrote them.  Was it a committee?  One bright light in an ad agency?
>  Might this be documented anywhere?

According to Frank Rowsome Jr. _The Verse by the Side of the Road"
Brattleboro GT: Stephen Greene Press, 1965, ISBN 0-8289-0038-8, page 24, the jingles
were originally written by Allen and Clinton Odell, sons of the founder of the
company.  "Yet by the end of the Twenties it was painfully evident that their
muse was growing haggard and scrawny.  After a brief and unpromising dalliance
with staff "jingle artists," Allan turned to the idea of an annual contest,
with $100 paid for each verse accepted."

Most famous?  pp 66, 67 and 117
Within this vale
of toil
and sin
Your head grows bald
But not your chin
Burma Shave

This is the one that the company donated to the Smithsonian.

Checking through Rowsome's list of 600 Burma-Shave jingles (taken from
company records, with a caveat that the records have some lacunae), I find the only
ones I recognize are

Ben met Anna  (quoted previously on ADS-L)

At a quiz
Pa ain't
No Whiz
But He Knows How
To Keep Ma His
Burma Shave

Tempted to try it?
Follow your hunch
Be "Top Banana"
Not one
of the bunch
Burma Shave

    - Jim Landau

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