Saturday, December 10, 2011

Deconstructing Old Ads: The New Arbogast Hula Dancer (1946)

The New Arbogast Hula Dancer
This advertisement appears on the inside of the front cover of the May-June 1946 issue of Outdoorsman  magazine. World War II had ended the previous August and many fishing tackle companies that had been engaged in War production were gearing up to get back to making fishing tackle. Many ads in this time period reflect that effort. Unlike most larger companies, especially those that produced reels and rods, Arbogast was able to produce and sell baits during the War. Most collectors are familiar with the plastic lips on war-time Jitterbugs as well as various hook hardwares that were used in an effort to save metal for the war production.

It is always a pleasure to see an ad that answers very directly, questions concerning the history of fishing tackle. This ad does that on two counts.  The ad leaves no doubt that though the Hula Dancer has been experimented with for some time, this marks its formal introduction to the public. Fred Arbogast also states, "This is my first new bait since I brought out my Jitterbug in 1939." In speaking with Warren Platt (a long-time, collector and researcher of early Jitterbugs) this advertisement marks the first time that he or I have seen in print the date of 1939 claimed for the introduction of the Jitterbug. It has always been assumed that this date was correct as January 1939 is the earliest Jitterbug advertisement  found so far, but it is nice to see that confirmed here.

 I must admit that in my efforts to experiment with older lures, I have not yet tried the Hula Dancer. After seeing this beautiful advertisement, I'm going to make it a point to give one a try.

-- Bill Sonnett

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