Burma Shave…

Old ‘Burma Shave’ Road Signs were a treat when we were kids…

DON’T STICK YOUR ELBOW
OUT SO FAR
IT MAY GO HOME
IN ANOTHER CAR.
Burma Shave

TRAINS DON’T WANDER
ALL OVER THE MAP
‘CAUSE NOBODY SITS
IN THE ENGINEER’S LAP
Burma Shave

SHE KISSED THE HAIRBRUSH
BY MISTAKE
SHE THOUGHT IT WAS
HER HUSBAND JAKE
Burma Shave

DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD
TO GAIN A MINUTE
YOU NEED YOUR HEAD
YOUR BRAINS ARE IN IT
Burma Shave

DROVE TOO LONG
DRIVER SNOOZING
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
IS NOT AMUSING
Burma Shave

BROTHER SPEEDER
LET’S REHEARSE
ALL TOGETHER
GOOD MORNING, NURSE
Burma Shave

CAUTIOUS RIDER
TO HER RECKLESS DEAR
LET’S HAVE LESS BULL
AND A LITTLE MORE STEER
Burma Shave

SPEED WAS HIGH
WEATHER WAS NOT
TIRES WERE THIN
X MARKS THE SPOT
Burma Shave

THE MIDNIGHT RIDE
OF PAUL FOR BEER
LED TO A WARMER
HEMISPHERE
Burma Shave

AROUND THE CURVE
LICKETY-SPLIT
BEAUTIFUL CAR
WASN’T IT?
Burma Shave

NO MATTER THE PRICE
NO MATTER HOW NEW
THE BEST SAFETY DEVICE
IN THE CAR IS YOU
Burma Shave

A GUY WHO DRIVES
A CAR WIDE OPEN
IS NOT THINKIN’
HE’S JUST HOPIN’
Burma Shave

AT INTERSECTIONS
LOOK EACH WAY
A HARP SOUNDS NICE
BUT IT’S HARD TO PLAY
Burma Shave

BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL
EYES ON THE ROAD
THAT’S THE SKILLFUL
DRIVER’S CODE
Burma Shave

THE ONE WHO DRIVES
WHEN HE’S BEEN DRINKING
DEPENDS ON YOU
TO DO HIS THINKING
Burma Shave

CAR IN DITCH
DRIVER IN TREE
THE MOON WAS FULL
AND SO WAS HE.
Burma Shave

PASSING SCHOOL ZONE
TAKE IT SLOW
LET OUR LITTLE
SHAVERS GROW
Burma Shave

Lots of common sense there… sigh…


Comments

Burma Shave… — 17 Comments

  1. I don’t recall signs like these but I live in deep south Texas. They may have been in Spanish … 8^)

  2. I remember seeing them when we’d go on vacations way out into the country in the 60’s when I was a kid. The first time I saw them I had no idea what they were until my dad told me.
    Probably the only worthwhile signs that we lost because of the laws on advertising signs on roads.

  3. Saw them growing up in North Texas in late 50’s, early 60’s. Found this interesting:
    “So what happened to this iconic bit of advertising? Well, Burma-Shave was bought by the American Razor Company in 1963 and the signs started to come down after that. Only one complete set of original signs remain, and those are housed in the Smithsonian.”
    The sign campaign started in 1926 – a pretty good run…

  4. I remember those so well — they were all over the place when I was growing up. A simpler, slower, quieter time.

  5. As John VS said, I remember them from trips to the south in the sixties, and I remember the use of a AAA Trip Ticket.

    I remember a parody that went this way.

    BEER CANS LYING BESIDE THE ROAD
    ARE UNSIGHTLY SO SOME SAY
    BUT AT NIGHT
    REFLECTING BRIGHT
    THEY SAFELY GUIDE THE WAY
    BURMA SHAVE

    Thanks for sparking a good memory.

  6. All, or almost all of them were collected in a fun little book called “The Verse by the Side of the Road”
    https://www.amazon.com/Verse-Side-Road-Burma-Shave-Jingles/dp/0452267625

    The book tells of one set that read:

    Free, Free
    A trip to Mars
    For 900
    Empty Jars.

    A while after this set got posted, the company received a letter from someone saying that he had collected several hundred jars so far and asked if they were serious (Kind like when Pepsi offered a Harrier jet for several jillion points and some guy actually wrangled them up.) But the company changed the signs:

    If a trip
    to Mars you’d earn
    Remember, Friend
    There’s no return

    This article provides more details about that story:
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/in-1958-burma-shave-jokingly-offered-a-trip-to-mars-this-guy-won-it/ar-AA11zcnU

    Another minor advertising nightmare occurred after the company posted:

    Rip a fender
    Off your car
    Mail it in
    For a half-pound jar

    People began mailing in bumpers taken from toy cars, and the company was good to its word sending out free product. The book mentions that some real, full-sized car fenders came in as well.

  7. Roky and Bullwinkle even had a riff on them:

    Don’t Turn Back.
    Go on instead.
    Your friend the Moose
    Is just ahead

    Boris Shave

  8. Within this Vale
    Of toil and sin,
    Your head goes bald,
    But not your chin.

    They missed their turn,
    The car was whizzin’,
    The fault was herrin,
    The funeral hissin.

    And many, many more. First saw them in the early 1960’s when we took our Epic Road Trip Way Out West.

  9. When I lived in the cascades, back in the 1980s, there were some of these signs on a couple of the smaller highways in the back country. I loved them.

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