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The Worst Celebrity Product Licenses of All Time, Part 2

7 December 2009 One Million Watts 14,400 views 7 CommentsPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the first part of this series, Allee Willis showed us a few items from her peerless collection of flat-out bewildering celebrity product endorsements. The visual artist, Internet and technology evangelist and award-winning songwriter of such hits as “Neutron Dance” by the Pointer Sisters and the Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You” has a collection of celebrity kitsch that staggers the mind, and it includes a tin of Muhammad Ali Show Polish, an Eva Gabor-certified wig strap, and the following choice items.

I Love Lucy Phillip Morris Christmas Gift Cigarettes

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It says a lot about the Atomic Age that America’s pre-Kennedy First Family, the Ricardos, hawked cigarettes for the holidays. Now we know why Lucy’s voice was lower than James Earl Jones’ as she progressed through the years; she was most likely puffing on her lifetime supply of Phillip Morris.

1984 Jesse Jackson For President Thimble

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I’ve seen a lot of political promotional swag, but this Jesse Jackson thimble is one of my favorites. Hand out political pens, emery boards, tie tacks, but a thimble?! You can’t even see the man’s entire name without rotating the thing. Perhaps this promotional item was chosen to stitch together a scenario in which Mr. Jackson could snatch the Presidency.

Beatles Nylons

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Yeah, yeah, yeah — you’ve got the Beatles lunchbox, the Beatles tray and Beatles dolls, but do you have the hosiery? The boys and their guitars are textured into the mesh from thigh to toe as if to say “I Wanna Hold Your Leg”. They’re also stamped on the top edge of the nylons, their faces so close to the sweet spot as to give new meaning to the title “Please Please Me.”

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Noteworthy is that the manufacturer sprung for stamping four separate Beatles at the top of the nylons but drew the line at interpreting them all in mesh, leaving one generic Beatle to crawl up the legs of teenage girls all over the world.

Maya Angelou’s “Miss Calypso” LP

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Right, the first thing that hits your lips when you think of Maya Angelou is that she’s “Miss Calypso.” In her early days, the prophet poetess was an oiled-up chanteuse in a slinky red dress back-bending under the limbo bar. This Liberty LP was recorded at The Keyboard club in Hollywood in 1956.

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Angelou’s Afro-Cuban-Blues-Jazz songs included “Scandal In the Family”, “Mambo In Africa”, “Donkey City” and “Stone Cold Dead In The Market”, the first two of which she wrote herself, and which undoubtedly tweaked her mind to be able to turn out the voluminous amount of socially-significant material that later tweaked so much of American and world culture.

Allee Willis

See more photos of Allee’s collection in this Flickr gallery.

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7 Comments »

  1. At the risk of being a social leper, let me say that it’s a little silly to include the Ricardos’ cigarette endorsement in this list. Before it became the greatest evil in the history of mankind, pretty much everybody smoked, and Christmas cig cartons were as common as Santa Claus Coca-Cola cartons. Like it or not. They tasted good and they were fun, too, before the therapeutic society kicked in.

  2. We here at The Amuseum of Unnatural History are agog at the wonders presented in Parts 1 and 2, although they make our own paltry collections seem sad and inconsequential. Nonetheless, we are proud to possess a Jimmy Carter thimble as further proof that our politicians are not forgetful of the ladies. We also proudly shelve a wig-strap companion piece, genuine Eva Gabor wig spray which we can personally attest works on the hair of twelve-year-olds about to appear in a Christmas pageant and desperate to tame an unruly cowlick. May we further respectfully suggest that a possible offshoot of this exploration might be collections of celebrity poetry, but that could just be because we possess several of these, most recently having acquired Jimmy Stewart’s book of verse, most appropriate for this “wonderful life” time of year.

  3. […] Read Part 2 Here. […]

  4. THIS IS A KILLER ARTICICLE I LOVE CRAZY CELEBRITY AND THERE PET MONKEYS AND ALSO ENDURCMENTS TIGER WOOD TROJENS SLASH FROM GUNS AND ROSES HAS HIS BLACK DEATH VODKA MIKE TYSON BBQ SUACE,EARL CAMPBELSS HOT LINKS,MICHEAL IRVINS CRACK PIPE,ITS ALL A CRAZY MONKEY LUVIN WORLD OUTTHERE THANKS FOR KEEPING IT SPINNING.

  5. When I run for president I’ll make sure they spell my name right on the thimble.

  6. Does anyone know if Hal Spector who wrote the liner notes on the Maya Angelou album was any relation to Phil (the Chia-headed ladykiller)?

  7. In the 50’s everyone smoked. I remember our family doctor smoking in the exam room. I saw people grocery shopping while smoking. People smoked in theaters. Lucy and Desi hawking cigarettes at Christmas wasn’t a big deal. It shouldn’t be a big deal today. I remember my Timex watch that I got for my 6th birthday had radium in the numbers so it would glow in the dark. That had to be safe. All of the boys in my class brought mercury to class in empty medicine bottles. If a kid took mercury to school today, the entire school would be evacuated. Times change…get over it people.

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