The Worst Celebrity Product Licenses of All Time, Part 2
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
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
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
See more photos of Allee’s collection in this Flickr gallery.