Mid-Century Bowl-O-Rama

Bowling captured the nation’s heart in the 1940s and ’50s, and was used to sell everything from cigarettes to magazine subscriptions.

Woman Bowling

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Bowling a Strike 
Lonie Bee 
March 15, 1941


Bowling was taking over America in 1941. An enjoyable pastime to take one’s mind off of the looming war in Europe, this covers by Lonie Bee showed that it was an activity that could be pursued by women as well as men.


Saturday Evening Post Subscription Offer 
December 27, 1941 (Click to Enlarge)


Bowling was popular enough in the 1940s to serve as an effective enticement for a four-year Post subscription.


Bowling Carnival Advertisement 
January 3, 1942 (Click to Enlarge)


Who could resist signing up for the Brunswick Bowling Carnival?


Camel Cigarette Advertisement 
January 31, 1942 (Click to Enlarge)


In 1942, this Camel ad featured bowling champ “Low” Jackson. “Light up a slower-burning Camel and watch this champion of champions in action.”


Beech-Nut Gum Advertisement 
August 29, 1942 (Click to Enlarge)


“Even in 1911, when lady bowlers wore clothes like this, the fine, distinctive flavor of Beech-Nut Gum made bowling more pleasant.”


Winchester Batteries Advertisement 
May 1, 1943 (Click to Enlarge)


“For ‘strike-bowling’, you need the extra freshness that keeps you going—results in  accuracy, rhythm and timing. In blackouts, man-made or natural, WINCHESTER Batteries too, keep going—now remain FRESH 50% LONGER!”


Bowling a Split
Stan Ekman
January 6, 1945


The idea for this Post cover came to Stanley Ekman when he was having a very tough night on the alleys in his neighborhood Glen Oaks Acres League at Wilmette, Illinois. “To top it all,” Mr. Ekman says, “my wife was trimming me badly.” The interior details of the cover were sketched in the King Pin Alleys in Wilmette and the Arena Alleys, Chicago.


Bowling a Strike 
George Hughes 
January 28, 1950


What do you do when your date blithely kicks off her heels, grabs a ball, skates forward on her slippery nylons, lets fly, and all ten pins rise into the air and disappear in clattery triumph?  

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  1. Thanks for this cool feature on bowling! The 41 cover, from the angle of the other end with the ball and pins crashing into YOU is extremely clever, and effective.

    The ad for the $50k Bowling Carnival is wonderful; including those 6 prizes of $250 each. Wouldn’t that be around $250k or much more now?!

    Love the 1950 ‘Bowling Strike’ cover of motion and shock. Isn’t it great? I’m inspired now to get over to my local Lucky Strike bowling alley for some fun soon. Being a good bowler + loving neon lights all my life make me sad it’s been a couple of years since I last went!

    Dinner at Vitello’s first, then time to burn off those calories. God they’re buttered garlic bread’s great. It was too at the Chez Nous French restaurant in Toluca Lake. Permanently closed about 5 years ago, the escargot was incredible and you could dip your bread in the garlic butter sauce they came in. An occasional delicacy indulgence like that is just what the doctor ordered, and I’m no doctor.


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