Old-time drivers will relate to this article, but if you’re younger than 65 you may not have ever seen the Burma-Shave slogans along the highways in the U.S.

From Wikipedia, Burma-Shave sign series first appeared on U.S. Highway 65 in Minnesota in 1926 and remained a major advertising component until 1963 in most of the contiguous United States.

Typically, six consecutive small signs would be posted along the edge of highways, spaced for sequential reading by passing motorists.

The last sign was almost always the name of the product. This use of a series of small signs, each of which bore part of a commercial message, was a successful approach to highway advertising during the early years of highway travel, drawing the attention of passing motorists who were curious to learn the punchline.

Many of the signs featured safety messages about speeding, drinking and driving, and railroad crossing safety instead of advertisements.

The following are some examples of the Burma-Shave signs that have a traffic safety theme — hope you enjoy them:

n Hardly a driver / Is now alive / Who passed / On hills / At 75 / Burma-Shave

n Past / Schoolhouses / Take it slow / Let the little / Shavers grow / Burma-Shave

n If you dislike / Big traffic fines / Slow down / Till you / Can read these signs / Burma-Shave

n Don’t take / A curve / At 60 per. / We hate to lose / A customer / Burma-Shave

n Train approaching / Whistle squealing / Stop / Avoid that run-down feeling / Burma-Shave

n Keep well / To the right / Of the oncoming car / Get your close shaves / From the half pound jar / Burma-Shave

n You can beat / A mile a minute / But there ain’t /No future / In it / Burma-Shave.

n Drove to long / Driver snoozing / What happened next / Is not amusing / Burma- Shave

n Sleep in a chair / Nothing to lose / But a nap / At the wheel / Is a permanent snooze / Burma-Shave

n The midnight ride / Of Paul / For beer / Led to a / Warmer hemisphere / Burma-Shave

n He saw / The train / And tried to duck it / Kicked first the gas / And then the bucket / Burma-Shave

n Slow down, Pa / Sakes alive / Ma missed signs / Four / And five / Burma-Shave

n Car in ditch / Driver in tree / Moon was full / And so / was he / Burma-Shave

n Drinking drivers / Nothing worse / They put the quart / Before the hearse / Burma-Shave

n Around / The curve / Lickety-split / It’s a beautiful car / Wasn’t it? / Burma-Shave

n When you drive / If caution ceases / You are apt / To rest / In pieces / Burma-Shave

n Her chariot / Raced at 80 per / They hauled away / What had / Ben hur / Burma-Shave

I am old enough to remember some of the Burma-Shave signs from when I was a kid. As we went on our “Sunday afternoon rides”, which I hated, the signs were the only thing I enjoyed about the rides. I miss the signs now — I wish they were back.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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