Back when movies were cultural touchstones made for adults, they were not as heavily merchandised as they are today. A soundtrack album may have been released and a paperback novelization would be on a shelves in bookstores, and that was about it. Other products such as the iron-on tee-shirt decal pictured above was the product of smaller, cottage operators who didn’t necessarily go to the expense of officially licensing a property, but still wanted to cash in on a current craze.
The Godfather seemed to be all that anyone was talking about in the early 1970s. I have older brothers and sisters who were old enough to see the forbidden and heinous R-rated movies, and they told me of the violent scenes in the movie which I found hard to believe!
Yeah, they shot this guy in the eye through his glasses and all of this blood squirted out!
How? HOW?! How, and more importantly why? It sounded like a nonstop bloodbath, and just the description of the scenes gave me nightmares. Why would anybody subject themselves to that?
Of course, this got ten times worse when The Exorcist came out the following year, and I heard all about that.
So movies were a craze that some of these little operators like tee-shirt companies would try to exploit. I’ma gonna offer you a proposition you no canna refuse was close enough to the line in The Godfather to be recognizable, but not so close that the studio would bother calling a lawyer to draft a cease and desist letter.
I remember seeing these decals and variations in the tee-shirt shops on the boardwalks of the Jersey shore. They were the tattoos of the era. The advantage was that they were temporary, and the shirts either wore out or were outgrown before the design lost it’s novelty. The same can not be said of tattoos.
This was in an issue of Navy Gobs ‘n’ Gals featuring Sad Sack which I always figured was a knockoff of Beetle Bailey, but it turns out that Sad Sack actually pre-dates the better known comic strip soldier. It was published by Harvey Comics which published a line of mostly juvenile humor books which I couldn’t stand as a child. They were the kind of comics that older sisters or aunts would buy to shut up the kids during a long road trip. As a kid I would hope for an issue of Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four. All hopes were dashed when Harvey Comics came fluttering to the back seat. It was going to be a long ride.
At least they had cool ads.