Saturday, December 2, 2023

In Like Flynn

I've briefly mentioned Art Flynn Associates a couple of times here, as they were one of the firms used to procure baseball player contracts for Bowman, possibly the only one. In particular I have written about Joan Crosby, who covered Philadelphia and New York for the agency.  Being a woman, she did not have locker room access, which was only something that came to pass in the 1970's but it didn't seem to hold her back in terms of signing up players. But baseball was far from Art Flynn's only area of endeavors as the firm represented a wide range of sports figures, covering an impressive array of athletic pursuits.

Love of the Game Auctions recently offered a promotional flyer from the firm, which is a wonder of  casual sexism and hero-worship well worth a gander.  Here's one side:

The number of athletes who endorses cigarettes was probably still peaking toward an all-time high in 1947 when this flyer was prepared. Check out the upside-down group seen above:

Starting in the upper left we have Bobby Riggs, seen here in one of the funniest moments in the hilarious history of the Odd Couple:

Riggs is followed, in a counterclockwise fashion by Sid Luckman, golfer Lloyd Mangrum (winner of the 1946 U.S. Open), Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Nat Holman (a famous basketball player then coach who would later be tainted, perhaps unfairly, by scandal), and swimmer Adolph Kiefer (who won a gold medal in the 100 meter backstroke at the 1936 Olympics). Kiefer's presence may have had more to do with his prominence as a businessman than athlete at this point, although he was possibly just as well  known at the time as the man who taught Navy cadets how to swim properly during World War 2.

Here's the ad as it appeared around the country:

The list of sports in the flyer was quite varied and in addition to the ones represented in the Chesterfield ad, there were folks from: speed skating, polo (!), badminton, table tennis, figure skating, bowling, billiards and boxing.  They even threw in some theatrical types such as Bojangles Bill Robinson and Hoagy Carmichael. 

Television had not yet supplanted radio, that was still a couple of years off, but it did get an oblique mention:

"High-Hooper" refers to perhaps the preeminent service (Hooper) that was measuring radio ratings at the time, along with Crossley and Nielsen. The 1947-48 radio season would prove to be the highpoint in terms of advertising dollars spent on the medium before television use exploded.

Did I mention casual sexism and hero worship?

The Lifebuoy, Gillette and Chesterfield ads are so prominent, I suspect Art Flynn was able to leverage their co-op advertising into a greatly reduced printing bill.

I'd be remiss if I didn't include one of the Gillette cartoons before I go:

Frank Williams, if you're wondering, was the editorial and sports cartoonist for the Detroit Free Press from 1943 to 1978. Ya gotta look sharp!

1 comment:

John Bateman said...

Interesting that Musial is wearing his uniform cap/logo while Dimaggio and Williams are in street clothes