Tandaco Prepared Stuffing: Don't Cry Dear Lady (1942)

Tandaco Prepared Stuffing: Don't Cry Dear Lady (1942)
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This is a complete colour Tandaco Prepared Stuffing cinema advertisement from approximately 1942. It begins like a feature film with a title and melodramatic music and cuts to a woman crying as she peels onions for her roast chicken stuffing.

Having trouble finding the herbs in her kitchen, she imagines the consequences of serving the roast chicken without stuffing. She sees her husband and his boss look at her with disgust. The voice-over concurs that ‘you can’t have that happen’ and a packet of Tandaco Prepared Stuffing appears in her hand. She adds boiling water, mixes it and stuffs the chicken.

Later that night, her husband’s boss compliments her cooking saying that ‘you can’t beat this homemade stuffing’. The ad suggests various meals where you can use Tandaco Prepared Stuffing including cutlets, stuffed baked rabbit, leg of mutton and stuffed tomatoes. The advertisement ends with a packet shot of Tandaco Prepared Stuffing.

Summary by Elizabeth Taggart-Speers

The format of this c1942 cinema advertisement mimics a feature film of the 1940s. It opens with the mock movie title, Don’t Cry Dear Lady, and an orchestral musical score that wouldn’t be out of place in a feature of the period starring Olivia de Havilland. It even shows the name of the production company as would be expected on a feature film title slide. Audiences would have been unfamiliar with this stylistic approach in an advertisement and it would have grabbed their attention.

The opening scene shows a woman crying, not because she is upset, but as the camera zooms out we see she is cutting onions. This comic trope is used to outwit us but also prefigures the events that follow. The male voice-over provides a thoroughly condescending and patronising narrative to the action.

It’s hard not to cringe at this advertisement as it plainly reflects the attitudes people had toward women and their role in society in the 1940s – or at least the way advertisers saw it. However, we are also able to appreciate its production values. The colour grading is beautiful, the editing is tight, the audio clear and the direction is professional. As a mini-story it is actually a joy to watch.

As it was produced during the Second World War, it is interesting to note that during this time fresh ingredients were difficult to obtain.

Notes by Elizabeth Taggart-Speers

Ralph Smart Productions