Music Box from Clothes Dryer "How Dry I Am"
By Mark Kinsler
That music box that plays "How Dry I Am" at the end of the drying cycle
in a Westinghouse clothes dryer seems to me to be perhaps the essential,
concentrated, triple-distilled essence of the 1950's.
The song, like a great deal of 1950's suburban culture, refers to
alcohol consumption. You could (and still can, at Spencer Gifts) buy a
little music box with the same tune set into the base of a sculpture of
a drunk holding onto a lamp post. The figure of the drunk is
reminiscent of, if not inspired by, a skit done on television by Red
Skelton. Jackie Gleason also specialized in this sort of routine.
Everyone in 1955 thought it was hysterical.
Everyone drank a lot then. Everyone smoked. Nobody wore seat belts
because there weren't any.
The question of whether we've improved as a people since those careless
days is left as an exercise for the student.
Home of the "How Things Work" engineering program for adults and kids.
(Message sent Mon 1 May 2000, 23:09:40 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)