November 30, 2006

Hanging in there... for -- what is it? -- 30 years?

I believe I have discovered the last surviving "Hang in There, Baby!" poster.

Hang in There, Baby!

Do you remember these things? They used to be all over the place in the 1970s. This one, you can tell by the faded colors, has been hanging in there all these years. I sort of remember what this poster meant when it was so popular, but it has by now acquired many layers of meaning. I can't tell whether it's richly ironic or sadly pathetic or whether it got back to being sweet again or whether it's gone on to being annoying the way it was in the 70s. Is it still up for no other reason than that it hasn't been taken down? It is behind a file cabinet (on what has long been an unused door between two offices). Or is the professor in the office trying to tell us something? And, if he is, what are the chances that it's "Hang in There, Baby!"?

Googling around, I found this old Ask Metafilter thread asking where to get the old poster, and that notes that "RetroCrush celebrates it." Do click on the RetroCrush link. You'll enjoy it. For one reason or another. I'm pretty sure.

(But it makes me think that the poster I've photographed here is an imposter. A second-rate follow on kitty cat, something like Jane Mansfield to Marilyn Monroe!)

27 comments:

reader_iam said...

It's got some company. At my in-laws house, they still have posters hanging up in one of the bedrooms from the time when they're kids were, well, kids. This poster is on the ceiling, over the bed (along with a number of posters of the same era). Over the years, each of the grandchildren in turn has lain in that bed, "reading the ceiling."

Originally, I'm sure it was left up for no other reason than it hadn't been taken down. Now, I think it's 'cause of the grandchildren (five reading, two to go).

reader_iam said...

"their" kids ...

Mark Daniels said...

I remember when Richard Nixon was going through his troubles, Ohio Congressman Sam Devine and a few other Republican representatives presented him with one of these posters. They felt that Nixon was being unfairly maligned and that he needed to keep on in spite of the mounting evidence of criminality in his administration and the shrinking support he enjoyed in Congress and the country. Nixon, of course, didn't "hang in there," resigning the presidency in disgrace, effective August 9, 1974.

Mark

George said...

Keep on Trucking

or

Truckin'

as the case may be.

knoxgirl said...

I love all those "cute" old animal posters. As a child, I had one of a mother koala with like 5 babies that said I need a vacation!"

Townleybomb said...

Among those many layers of meaning is the fact that, determined or not, that kitty is long dead.

Rick Lee said...

Just yesterday I commented on the blog of some young person who printed the "Desiderata" poem in a post. This person was unaware of the history and the millions of black-light posters it spawned. Re-reading the poem, I remembered why we liked it so much back then. It may not be deep but the message is still pretty good.

tiggeril said...

Could someone explain the physics behind Carmen Electra's bikini top in that Retro Crush link? I've been wearing bras for a long time myself, but I'm still baffled.

Anonymous said...

In our house in Tulsa when I was in 3rd & 4th grade (mid-70s), the previous owners had painted the "keep on truckin'" guy as a mural across one of the walls in the den.

Donald Douglas said...

I wonder if the "hang in there" kitty poster was as "all over the place" as the Farrah Fawcett swimsuit poster of the "Charlie's Angels" era. Now that was a popular poster, at least among adolescent boys and untold countless others who couldn't resist Farrah's pearly whites!

Burkean Reflections

Joe said...

The Keep on Truckin' guy was known as Mr. Natural.
Gotta go look for my Dennis Hopper middle finger Easy Rider poster, and my Middle Earth poster. Up in the attic somewhere... is that my bong?

David said...

tiggeril;

Carmen Electra's bikini pose provided the inspiration for the "Hang In There, Baby" poster featuring the kitty! Got me interested in the laws of physics!

Anybody remember the Burma Shave signs along the highways of old?

Zeb Quinn said...

The RetroCrush version of "Hang in there" is the one I remember from the early 70s.

Their version of Raquel's One Million Years B.C. isn't exactly the way I remember it being though.

John Jenkins said...

My grandmother has one of those cat posters in the laundry room of her house and it's been there as long as I can remember (the house was built in 1975).

Anthony said...

It makes me kind of sad knowing the little buggah is dead and gone. I hope he had a nice little cat life.

Steven said...

Townleybomb, credit your quotes! Marge deserves better than plagiarism!

Anonymous said...

I love it! My hang in there baby poster on the ceiling of my 1970s bedroom had a kitty hanging from the knotted end of a piece of rope.

Anonymous said...

omg, those breasts at that link...those are huge, heaving breasts that invite prolonged, lingering stares...

Revenant said...

Could someone explain the physics behind Carmen Electra's bikini top in that Retro Crush link?

I think that's a necklace of some kind rather than a bikini top. Either that or its glued to her boobs; models and actresses do that sometimes.

Drew W said...

No, indeed, the Raquel Welch poster on the RetroCrush site was not the famous "One Million Years BC" fur-bikini-on-the-beach poster that my next-door neighbor had up in his room.

I do think that the "Hang In There Baby" poster they show is the original one, but I also seem to recall that it didn't take much time for knock-offs to appear on the market. (And wasn't there a joke about the poster in a high-school flashback episode of "The Simpsons?" That must be what Townleybomb and Steven are referring to.)

In the '70s, the National Lampoon sold posters of the "Deteriorada," but I didn't get the joke, since I'd never read the "Desiderata" poster in the first place. (But I did have two Middle Earth posters, with artwork from the Ballantine paperback editions.)

I always thought that the "Hang In There, Baby" poster was an example of bland encouragement that nobody asked for in the first place.

And speaking of '70s messages that were so cheerily vague as to be a bit baffling, I was just thinking the other day about those "Easy Does It" bumperstickers that you used to see everywhere. For the life of me, I never understood to whom this unsolicited admonishment was addressed. You might think it was a caution against road rage, but that condition was (I think) still unnamed, and wasn't considered a problem at the time. Maybe it was the proliferation of the irksome little "Easy Does It" bumperstickers themselves that kicked off the whole road rage phenomenon. They always gave me the impresson that they had some religious meaning. Maybe it was just the typeface they used, which I would describe as "Davey & Goliath Gothic."

rightwingprof said...

Now if you can just find the last remaining Keep On Truckin poster ...

Bissage said...

Drew W: It was a slogan popular among recovering alcoholics. Others included "One Day at a Time", "Live and Let Live" and "Another Friend of Bill's", if I remember correctly.

Now that that’s all settled, what was up with those 1980s rainbow window decals?

mikeski said...

Was it just the "Hang in there, baby!" version or did it include the "Friday's coming!" variant?

Drew W said...

Thanks, Bissage re: the meaning of "Easy Does It." You've solved what was to me a decades-long mystery.

No telling about those rainbow designs, but if people stuck them on their windows in the '80s, they're probably still there. (Not unlike masking tape X's that people apply to their windows when the weather report predicts a hurricane.)

Faddish posters, at least, are removable. When I bought my first car in 1975, it was a 1963 Volkswagen beetle that had been adorned with those ubiquitous '60s flower decals that people thought looked cute on VWs. A previous owner had tried to remove them, but their outline was still plain to see. I rubbed them out with steel wool, but it left three circular spots that were lighter in color than the rest of the car. I figured that it's better to look at a few light spots than those dumb daisies.

Fleeting fads shouldn't use such permanent materials that they can't be erased somehow. (But this isn't another thread about people who get tattoos, so never mind.)

knoxgirl said...

Was it just the "Hang in there, baby!" version or did it include the "Friday's coming!" variant?

Not to be confused with the one with the sad puppy dog captioned: "Monday Again?"

The only remedy to this saccharine is :
http://despair.com/

...or Jack Handey!

rafinlay said...

Late to the party, of course, but the latest version I have recently seen of the "hang in there" poster features a similar cat, but the caption is "How long do I have to hang in here?"

GrowlGrrl said...

OK, this may date me, but I've already come to terms with being an old bat: I had a roommate who owned this onerous poster in college in the 70s and dared to hang it in our room. She wore a button-down cardigan, a hairband and sensible shoes. I wore combat boots, fishnets & 1940's silk faille jackets. I hated her and that freaking poster even more.