Burma-Shave was an American brand of brushless shaving cream that came out in 1925 by the Burma-Vita company. What the brand name was mostly known for though was its creative marketing use of rhyming jingles on road signs. The signs were seen all across America until 1963 when Burma-Vita was sold to Phillip Morris who removed the signs. While they were primarily used to advertise the shaving cream in a humourous way, some of the signs displayed messages about traveling safely.
The full list of the 600 or so known sets of jingles can be found in the following two books, but they have frequent mention in a number of other American history and pop culture books as well:
1) The Verse By The Side Of The Road by Frank Rowsome
2) Sunday Drives by Michael Larson & Jill Larson Sundberg
Tom Waits also captured the magic of the road signs in his lyrical tale of a man’s journey on the road of life. Burma-Shave is on Waits’ 1977 “Foreign Affairs” album.
“I guess I’m going thataway just as long as it’s paved,
And I guess you’d say I’m on my way to Burma-Shave”
I’ll occasionally be posting on the Burma-Shave Jingles which you can find here:
Safe travels to all and don’t forget to jingle all the way!
Photo source: Matthew Lee High (mlhradio user on flickr.com)