Pictured with family members and used to promote household products, the Cheerful Granny was a staple of the American advertising industry in the early to mid twentieth century. I was drawn to this advertisement for the chain store Penney’s because it appears to depict a three generation family, although I suppose that granny could have been visiting for the holidays. (Please excuse my less than perfect composite of a two page spread.) The granny has no special job except to display her gift, a super suede washable electric blanket. Only the father has a different role here, acting as Santa for his very large family. Of course he also sports a Penny’s product—a Towncraft pima cotton shirt available for $2.98.
Do we need anymore evidence of the pastel fifties than this ad? While beatniks might have been wearing black, the females in this family are content with light blue, shades of apricot, and sage green. The grandmother’s pale blue bathrobe seems designed to bring out her blue gray hair. She is very well turned out for a Christmas morning. Not only is her hair done, but she has even managed to put on jewelry.