Betty Francis’s Space Odyssey

space housewife cleaning lestoil

“Women of the Future will make the Moon a cleaner place to live” Vintage Lestoil Household Cleaner Advertisement 1960s

The dawning of the Space Age may have caused some business men to ponder their obsolescence but homemakers needn’t worry- their jobs were secure.

With Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey looming over Mad Men, it would be no surprise if Betty Francis got in the Space Age swing of it too. Looking for a way out of her humdrum housewife existence, the former Betty Draper might have set her sights on the moon.

Betty Francis’s Space Odyssey

Like many housewives in the late 1960’s her own suburban odyssey seems to have stalled for poor Betty.

Increasingly bored and  frustrated, she is  stifled by overbearing men like Don and Henry  and at odds with her children. That is until one day when she accidentally stumbled upon a solution that seemed out of this world. Absent-mindedly eyeing a new shade of Revlon’s Moon Drops dewy lipstick while flipping through McCall’s Magazine,  she took noticed of an unusual sweepstake.

This was no ordinary soap suds- jingle-25 word or less-win-a-new -Frigidaire kind of contest.


Space 2001 McCalls Sweepstakes

An alternative grand prize was offered in McCall’s 2001 Sweepstakes if the moon wasn’t available. “Win your tomorrows dream holiday today- visit the namesakes of the planets here on earth. 3  week all expense fabulous discovery holiday for 2 visiting…”Venus”- Paris, France, “Mars”- London, England, “Jupiter” – Rome, Italy, “Mercury”- Florence, Italy and “Neptune”- Venice, Italy. Other prizes included luxurious mink stoles, an RCA portable color TV and record album featuring the original soundtrack from “2001 A Space Odyssey”

In her own nod to Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey , Betty decided to enter McCall’s fabulous “2001 Sweepstakes” that promised to take her straight from the suburbs to the solar system.

In an issue devoted to the futuristic year 2001, the woman’s magazine offered the opportunity of a lifetime…a trip to the moon.

Girls, leave your grime, girdles and the generation gap behind and hop on a rocket.

“Offering 2001 fabulous prizes the grand prize was…..

“Everybody’s exciting dream…an all expense paid fantastic voyage to the Moon ( if available by commercial transportation and tourist hotel accommodations at the time of the winner selection)

Over the Moon

Of course who ever won the contest would be in for a rude awakening.

Not counting the fact that we would have to wait for Neil Armstrong to actually take the first step on the moon, it turns out the moon was not all to was cracked up to be.

According to a Lestoil advertisement  that ran in the same issue of the magazine,” if we did make it to the moon, it would be women who cleaned it.”

Clearly the space age wouldn’t make the housewife obsolete.

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2014.


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