I've got it all figured out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ask the Magic Internet a Stupid Question No. 0011

You know what creeps me out? That baby on the front of the Gerber baby food jars.

Look at it. It looks evil. It has those arched eyebrows and that creepy mouth. It looks like it’s about to hiss or show you that it has snake teeth. Like that baby in V.

Wow! Did you see the second one she pumped out? I think they used a Stretch Monster doll for that shot.

That clip could also appear in the deluxe box set for the movie twins. Labeled as the deleted director’s cut for the birthing of Julius and Vincent Benedict.

It’s like I’m looking into a mirror!

But enough about that. Let me get to today’s question. Just who is that baby? Is it as evil as it looks? Is it an alien lizard baby? Did it at least go the route of most child starts and become addicted to drugs/rob someone or something at gunpoint? Maybe it doesn’t exist at all. Maybe it’s just an on-the-telephone doodle drawn by a sick and twisted mind. Tell me Magic Internet! Tellllllll Meeeeeeeeeeeee! (Cue gathering clouds and lightening.)

Question 11: Who is the Gerber baby?

Vrooo. Vrooo Vrooo. Boop Boop (Beginning keyboard to the Ghostbusters song.) Vrrrrrr. Wrrrrr. Ding!

Magic Internet Answer: You think that baby is creepy? Try being the internet for a day. You’ll come out worse than 'Nam Ben. Well at least this is an easy one. First, the Gerber baby was not drawn by a sick and twisted person as you suggested.

File Photo: Not the Gerber baby artist.

The Gerber baby was drawn by Boston cartoonist Dorothy Hope Smith in 1928. She also drew this poster titled Don’t Kill Her Daddy with Carless Talk.

Morbid? Perhaps but sick and twisted? No. Dorothy drew the Gerber baby sketch as a submission to a contest that Fremont Caning Company had to find a baby face that they felt most represented their new baby food product. And the sketch won.

No Johnny, I don’t think that meant Gerber contained lizard meat.

Dorothy had said that if they chose the sketch she would finish it professionally but Gerber chose to use it as it was and that is the same sketch that remains on Gerber products today.

File Photo: Second Place.

But who was the baby in the drawing? The Gerber baby’s name is Ann Turner and she was 5 months old when the sketch was done. Ann Turner is still alive today. Although now she goes by the name Ann Turner Cook.

In her youth, Cook attended the University of Florida and studied education and English Journalism. She went on to receive a master’s degree in English Education. In 1966 she joined the English Department of Hillsborough High School. The original Hillsborough High School is said to be the oldest high school in America and Hillsborough High School as it stands now is one of the oldest high schools in the south.

Hillsborough High School, built in 1928. The same year the Gerber baby drawing was made. (Cue the Unsolved Mysteries music.)

Ann Turner Cook taught at Hillsborough for 26 years before retiring and turning her attention to writing mystery novels. It’s difficult to judge the quality of her writing without having read any of her work but I will say that the book covers and titles leave a lot to be desired.

No, I don’t think Dorothy Hope Smith drew that creepy bulky Ken doll on the cover Johnny. She died in 1955.

Yes, I suppose that ghost does look a little like David Lee Roth on the Cover of Eat Em & Smile

No, Johnny David Lee Roth isn’t dead… yet.

There is a handful of glowing reader reviews for Mrs. Turner Cook’s novels on Amazon.com, mostly from people that grew up in the area of Florida that she writes about. There is also a rather scathing review from Publishers Weekly.

In Cook's lackluster second novel featuring newspaper reporter Brandy O'Bannon (after 2001's Trace Their Shadows), Brandy and her husband, John, come to the proudly old-fashioned community of Cedar Key, Fla., for a long weekend. Intrigued by a classified ad asking the whereabouts of a woman and child who vanished in the area during a hurricane 20 years earlier, Brandy thinks there may be a story in it. John, hoping for a romantic weekend, is bored and irritable. Much of the action centers on the town's historic hotel: the private investigator who placed the ad is staying there, as are Brandy and John; the dining-room waitress may be the missing child; a skeleton found in a basement cistern may be the missing woman. Like many a plucky young heroine before her, Brandy plunges headlong into this multilayered mystery, ignoring police warnings and her increasingly resentful husband. An overly busy plot, alas, is weighed down with limp prose and repetition, including scenes of Brandy making endless lists of what she has learned and what she plans to do next. The tantalizing glimpses of the charming Cedar Key, deliberately turning its back on the tourist dollar, make readers wish for a stronger sense of place.
Hmm, a tad harsh maybe? Regardless of the quality of Ann Turner Cook’s writing I would recommend picking up one of her novels. At the very least you could tell people that you have read a mystery novel written by the Gerber baby.

Wow, thanks Magic I! Who knew that the Gerber baby would go on to do anything more than creep me out. Is there anything else I should now about her?

Magic Internet Bonus Answer: Well, here is something you may find amusing. I have a special searching mechanism called Google that I am sure you are unaware of. I attempted to use my Google to locate a picture of Ann Turner Cook’s mystery novel heroin Brandy O’Bannon. I was unsuccessful but the search did generate some strange results. The first page of photos was mostly pictures of Mrs. Turner Cook and her book covers. But by page 4 the results started to get very strange. Have a look.

Captain Kirk drinking brandy.

Tar Man from Return of the Living Dead.

The DVD cover for The Ape.

A group photo of dirty 70s Jersey Shore hippy band The Looking Glass.

And this cool customer.

Perhaps I have uncovered a mystery for Brandy to solve in Ann’s next novel?

Ha ha ha, Magic Internet, you so crazy!

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