It’s been 60 years since Burma-Shave rhyming ads last entertained and instructed drivers on U.S. highways, but their spirit lives on in a quirky Instagram account I discovered a couple of years ago. In my latest story for Medium, I write about Burma-Gram, which updates the “verse by the side of the road” concept with clever online messages for 21st-century readers.
A famous Burma-Shave rhyming ad: “Within this vale / of toil / and sin / your head grows bald / but not your chin/ Burma-Shave.” (Via Legends of America)
A recent Burma-Gram:
Read “Burma-Shave Is Dead. Long Live Burma-Shave,” and be sure to scroll down to the end, where I attempt my own Burma-style rhyme. Don’t forget to clap (up to 50 times per story!), and if you feel moved to join Medium, here’s my referral link.
Blog bonus #1: A 2012 article in Print magazine, “The motion-graphic ads of Burma-Shave, 1927-1963” (the URL calls it “morbid roadside ad poetry”).
Blog bonus #2: Post–Burma-Shave, but long before Burma-Gram, U.S. political campaigns borrowed the roadside-verse format for their own ends. In 2008, Poetry & Popular Culture blogger Mike Chasar wrote about some of those efforts in “Burma-Shave Politics.”