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3 Reasons This Vintage Beer Commercial is Awesome

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December 21, 2012

3 Reasons This Vintage Beer Commercial is Awesome

By Chad Love

If you're like me, you're probably a sucker for vintage advertising featuring hunting and fishing scenes, particularly ads and commercials with gundogs. I was recently perusing the Team Chesapeake website when I came across a thread about this awesome 1950s commercial for Carling Red Cap Ale.

The dog is one fine-looking chessie. It's interesting because I have seen quite a few other 40s and 50s-era advertisements featuring chessies, which points to how much more ubiquitous this breed was back then than it is now. And notice the label on the beer bottle. Is the "Red Cap" name derived from the dude on the label who's wearing an old-style Fuddlicious hunting cap? Does anyone remember or recognize this beer?

Whatever the story, one thing is obvious: retro beer commercials are light-years cooler than modern beer commercials, despite the cheesy dialogue, wooden acting and Walter Winchell accents. Or maybe they're awesome because of them.

Comments (13)

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Black Label is the only beer I remember Carling marketing in my area when I was a kid ... er ... a young man, of legal age of course. I think they may have also made Highlander Beer at one time.

An ad like that would get blown out of the water today (pun intended). Besides some poor birdy getting slaughtered it also was clearly sexist. And today's antler addicts would boycott the beer because of the puny six point buck hanging on the wall.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmrcexplorer wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Wow...this was great. Definately from a much differant time than now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Carling's Black Label was possibly the worst tasting beer that I have ever drank. I still shudder to think about it. Yuck! I wonder if the Red Cap could be any better?

Nice commercial though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from spentcartridge wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

My grandfather drank Black Label. He lived to 97 and I hunted dove with him two months before he died. I'm not saying this is the fountain of youth, but I'm not saying it ain't either.

And I still remember a tennis player named Carling Bassett who had a tie to this beer (family) and was the Anna Kournikova of her time. Yeah, the beer might have sucked but it had some ancillary benefits. As most beer does.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Carling Brewery has an interesting history. Of course, as an accomplished business historian, this appeals to me. Yes, Miss Bassett's mother was from the brewing family. The beer (and the tennis star) originated in Canada. After the repeal of prohibition the Peerless Motor Car Company of Cleveland, whose sales were lagging (I guess so ... anyone ever heard of a Peerless car!), bought the US rights to the recipe and brand and converted one of their plants to a brewery. Judging by the taste, I guess they never got all the gear lube out of the vats? Anyway, Red Cap Ale was their primary product until about the 1950s when they switched their focus to Black Label lager which was being successfully flogged in Canada and Europe. About the time the above ad came out Black Label was becoming famous in the US through the "Hey, Mabel, Black Label" ads in which a stunning blond, portrayed by Jean Goodspeed, is haled to bring the beer to a male voice. She was often cast as a barmaid. So, hunting lost out to sex appeal and Red Cap ale bought the bullet (pun intended). Who woulda thunk! During the 1970s, Black Label was very successfully flogged in Britain under the "I bet he drinks Black Label Ads" where some guy is portrayed doing something real cool or difficult with a bystander delivering the punchline. I recall many funny spoof skits which probably helped increase sales. What I find interesting was Carling's international focus on sexist advertising. Like women never drink beer? Hmmmm. Now that I think about it, I paid for a lot of grasshoppers, brandy alexanders, rum and cokes, and other sissy drinks for the dollies during my hustler days in the 70s and 80s, but nary a brewski. Ah, was it because advertising was creating or catering to market demand? That question has been the meat and potatoes of many a business historian's doctoral thesis. I'm sure in years to come future candidates will find lots of grist studying how advertising affected or was affected by the black gun phenomenon of the early 21st century.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dave63go wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Chad: No, the cap on the man on the label is not an old-style hunting cap, it's a jockey's cap. Or, an horse-mounted huntsman's camp, take your pick. An eBay scan of "Red Cap Ale" reveals an ad which shows the cap clearly; it has a bow on the front of it, hardly something you'd see on any self-respecting hunter....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgtsly wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Brick Brewing in Canada produces it now. Carling is now a subsidiary of MolsonCoors. Not sure if it is available in the states.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgtsly wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

brickbeerdotcom. Unobscene?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Black Label soothed a blue collar man's aches AFTER a hard day's fishing or hunting for a fair price.
Today, the PETAphiles or the legal team for the con artists at the Humane Society of the United States would have real men up on charges over this, not to mention some Soccer Mom freaking out that her Nancy boy son was having nightmares over "Duckie Wuckie" getting shot.
If you like these, but some of the old Curt Gowdy American Sportsman programs.
We were men then. Today we're whipping boys for the MSM, Soccer Mom's, The Administration and Gay Entertainment Tonight Types.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

And I thought I was crabby! Someone needs to add a dose of Valium to his hot cocoa.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgtsly wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Honker, you are.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wallofsam wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

They still sell Black Label here in Michigan. Ill stick to Budweiser thank you very much. lol commercial reminds me of great grandfather.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I sent this post to a dear friend of mine and received the following response:

"When my wife and I worked at Baker's Big Star [back in the 70's] they carried Carling's Red Cap Ale. They had limited shelf space so it wasn't always in stock. It had a mild sweet taste. I drank several bottles of Carling's Black Label while I was [hunting] in South Africa [last year].

"As to why you don't see Chessies........who the hell wants a dog that you may have to fight every day. No finer retriever...but....Labs as a retriever are about 90% of what a Chesapeake is and have 500% better personalities. The only thing they're not showing in that commercial is the club the hunter has in his off hand and the fact that the dog is growling his a** off as the hunter reaches for the duck! "

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Black Label is the only beer I remember Carling marketing in my area when I was a kid ... er ... a young man, of legal age of course. I think they may have also made Highlander Beer at one time.

An ad like that would get blown out of the water today (pun intended). Besides some poor birdy getting slaughtered it also was clearly sexist. And today's antler addicts would boycott the beer because of the puny six point buck hanging on the wall.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Black Label soothed a blue collar man's aches AFTER a hard day's fishing or hunting for a fair price.
Today, the PETAphiles or the legal team for the con artists at the Humane Society of the United States would have real men up on charges over this, not to mention some Soccer Mom freaking out that her Nancy boy son was having nightmares over "Duckie Wuckie" getting shot.
If you like these, but some of the old Curt Gowdy American Sportsman programs.
We were men then. Today we're whipping boys for the MSM, Soccer Mom's, The Administration and Gay Entertainment Tonight Types.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmrcexplorer wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Wow...this was great. Definately from a much differant time than now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Carling's Black Label was possibly the worst tasting beer that I have ever drank. I still shudder to think about it. Yuck! I wonder if the Red Cap could be any better?

Nice commercial though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from spentcartridge wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

My grandfather drank Black Label. He lived to 97 and I hunted dove with him two months before he died. I'm not saying this is the fountain of youth, but I'm not saying it ain't either.

And I still remember a tennis player named Carling Bassett who had a tie to this beer (family) and was the Anna Kournikova of her time. Yeah, the beer might have sucked but it had some ancillary benefits. As most beer does.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Carling Brewery has an interesting history. Of course, as an accomplished business historian, this appeals to me. Yes, Miss Bassett's mother was from the brewing family. The beer (and the tennis star) originated in Canada. After the repeal of prohibition the Peerless Motor Car Company of Cleveland, whose sales were lagging (I guess so ... anyone ever heard of a Peerless car!), bought the US rights to the recipe and brand and converted one of their plants to a brewery. Judging by the taste, I guess they never got all the gear lube out of the vats? Anyway, Red Cap Ale was their primary product until about the 1950s when they switched their focus to Black Label lager which was being successfully flogged in Canada and Europe. About the time the above ad came out Black Label was becoming famous in the US through the "Hey, Mabel, Black Label" ads in which a stunning blond, portrayed by Jean Goodspeed, is haled to bring the beer to a male voice. She was often cast as a barmaid. So, hunting lost out to sex appeal and Red Cap ale bought the bullet (pun intended). Who woulda thunk! During the 1970s, Black Label was very successfully flogged in Britain under the "I bet he drinks Black Label Ads" where some guy is portrayed doing something real cool or difficult with a bystander delivering the punchline. I recall many funny spoof skits which probably helped increase sales. What I find interesting was Carling's international focus on sexist advertising. Like women never drink beer? Hmmmm. Now that I think about it, I paid for a lot of grasshoppers, brandy alexanders, rum and cokes, and other sissy drinks for the dollies during my hustler days in the 70s and 80s, but nary a brewski. Ah, was it because advertising was creating or catering to market demand? That question has been the meat and potatoes of many a business historian's doctoral thesis. I'm sure in years to come future candidates will find lots of grist studying how advertising affected or was affected by the black gun phenomenon of the early 21st century.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dave63go wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Chad: No, the cap on the man on the label is not an old-style hunting cap, it's a jockey's cap. Or, an horse-mounted huntsman's camp, take your pick. An eBay scan of "Red Cap Ale" reveals an ad which shows the cap clearly; it has a bow on the front of it, hardly something you'd see on any self-respecting hunter....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgtsly wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Brick Brewing in Canada produces it now. Carling is now a subsidiary of MolsonCoors. Not sure if it is available in the states.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgtsly wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

brickbeerdotcom. Unobscene?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

And I thought I was crabby! Someone needs to add a dose of Valium to his hot cocoa.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgtsly wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

Honker, you are.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wallofsam wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

They still sell Black Label here in Michigan. Ill stick to Budweiser thank you very much. lol commercial reminds me of great grandfather.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I sent this post to a dear friend of mine and received the following response:

"When my wife and I worked at Baker's Big Star [back in the 70's] they carried Carling's Red Cap Ale. They had limited shelf space so it wasn't always in stock. It had a mild sweet taste. I drank several bottles of Carling's Black Label while I was [hunting] in South Africa [last year].

"As to why you don't see Chessies........who the hell wants a dog that you may have to fight every day. No finer retriever...but....Labs as a retriever are about 90% of what a Chesapeake is and have 500% better personalities. The only thing they're not showing in that commercial is the club the hunter has in his off hand and the fact that the dog is growling his a** off as the hunter reaches for the duck! "

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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