In the early days of the science of marketing, manufacturers had to find a way to sell their products to a customer base that lived like primitive animals without e-mail, streaming video, smart phones, or government-implanted RFID chips. Wait, you weren't supposed to know about that last one. Anyway, selling to the rubes and hayseeds was accomplished through many rustic means; advertising in penny dreadfuls and dime novels, posting 'Old Time Wild West' style posters on the sides of General Stores, and paying Bonnie & Clyde to shoot the name of your product in machine-gun bullets on the walls of the bank they just robbed. Another method was the almanac, which was kind of a general compendium of useful knowledge contained in a small, easy to carry package, like your smart phone. And like your smart phone, you shouldn't get it wet. UNLIKE your smart phone, the almanac couldn't handle full-motion video, so it was forced to fall back on a more reliable technology - cartoons and illustrations. And that's where we come in.

Dodd's Kidney Pills weren't made of kidneys, you silly, they were designed to HELP your kidneys, that vital organ that filters your blood and keeps you from dying of uremic poisoning. But living as we do in 1955, without Jamba Juice or Vitamin Water to help keep our innards lubricated, how are we supposed to ensure proper functioning? Dodd's, that's how.

Why do I never have any "pep"? Maybe it's because you forgot to go to the grocery store and buy Kellogg's Pep cereal, or to go to the newsstand and pick up the latest issue of Pep Comics starring Archie and the gang! Or maybe you aren't taking enough Diamond Dinner Pills -from Dodd's- the pills that stimulate your liver into secreting more bile and getting the whole system tuned up and ready to digest. Or maybe you should quit eating those big 1955 meals of boiled vegetables, fried meat, and potatoes, potatoes, potatoes... but no. Just take some Diamond Dinner Pills. WARNING DIAMOND DINNER PILLS DO NOT CONTAIN REAL DIAMONDS (actually they contained iron, copper, zinc, potassium, and calcium. So, almost diamonds.)

Backache may be your warning of kidney trouble! Or back trouble! But we can't treat your spine with pills, so it's probably kidney trouble! Here, stimulate your kidneys with Dodd's Kidney Pills, as your brother spoke of previously! Or just drink a lot of water. Wait, we haven't invented bottled water yet so we don't make any money from water, so... definitely you need Dodd's Kidney Pills. Aren't you glad you took my advice?

Of course, being sold as an almanac, the people at Dodd's felt it necessary to include a lot of filler "advice" and "wisdom" to make the whole thing seem like less of an advertising circular. Here's a handy guide to good nutrition.

Before we had the "dietary circle" or the "food pyramid", citizens made their eating decision based on the "meal brick" shown here in its basic form. Don't forget to drink a pint of milk every day, eat a whole loaf of bread AND a bowl of cereal, and two tablespoons of butter. Just cram that spoonful of butter in your maw. The best part about this diagram is the headline, with its emphasis on the word "EAT". What the hell else do you expect us to do with this stuff, Dodd's?

And of course the thing is full of this great mid-century clip art of hollering moms and crying children. Dodd's all around will help this family!

It looked as if Jane Had The "Jitters"! I'd have the "jitters" too if my comic strip panels started out normal sized and then kept getting smaller and smaller as the staff artist realized he was running out of room to bring his little story of Mom's backaches causing familial strife to its Dodd's inspired conclusion! Will Dodd's cause us all to shrink? Jane is certainly a different girl lately. No more "nerves". Or "height".

Lady, if giving birth caused you pain in your BACK, well, I'm not a doctor, but you're doing it wrong.

Relax, mothers, I'm kidding, I know the miracle of childbirth can wreak havoc on all parts of your body. Why not take some Dodd's Kidney Pills? Sure we don't know what's in them, but the kid's already born; no chance of wrecking his chromosomes NOW. Also note the helpful child-rearing tip from Dodd's - make sure the bath water isn't scalding BEFORE you put the baby in there. BEFORE.

I WAS A MEALTIME MENACE! Until... my long suffering wife threw that dinner right in my ungrateful face! Right? Let's see!

Holy cow, so pissed off at dinnertime he just ups and leaves! Change the locks and call a lawyer, lady. I say the SOB can sleep in the Packard tonight.

Our SOB hero repairs to a local restaurant where he spies jovial old George chowing down like its his last meal. What's his secret? Perhaps he avoids giant drama-queeny shouting matches with his family over a goddamn meal? Maybe. Or maybe it's DODD'S.

"Why that's simple, I started taking these pills every hour on the hour. Now nothing bothers me at all, ever! Thank you, Valium! I mean, Dodd's Dyspepsia Tablets. Dodd's! Not Quaaludes!"

What we can't see in this panel is the large handgun Alice is holding in her right hand. "Yeah, you better be smiling, you SOB! Now sit down and EAT! EVERY BIT OF IT!"

And now Joe can eat whatever he likes thanks to Dodd's. Of course, if an ordinary home-cooked dinner is causing him amazing degrees of gastrointestinal distress, perhaps he should see a real, actual medical doctor. And if Alice's ordinary home cooked dinners are causing amazing degrees of gastrointestinal distress, perhaps she should take a home ec class. But no, let's just treat the symptoms.. with Dodd's!

I HATED TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR because... of a backache. Not really seeing it myself, but logic in the 1950s worked differently. Perhaps the drug store can help! And then... what do you think she did?

THEN SHE USED DODD'S KIDNEY PILLS!!!! In giant type, colored blood red, imparting dreadful import to our little scenario! "Subtle" was not a term advertisers would discover until sometime the next decade.

And now Mother is president of "the club" and it's all thanks to Dodd's. And ballot box stuffing. But mostly Dodd's.

Mother's been so tired recently! Perhaps she should take these pills that everybody else has been taking. That's right mother, everybody's doing it! Be one of the cool kids! Join the in crowd by taking pills! Gosh, I wonder how America developed a prescription drug addiction problem? Surely the pharmaceutical industry had no part in this, what with their insistence on shoving pills down everybody's throat in response to the slightest provocation! No, I bet it's communism, that's what's causing this teen-age dope "fad". Communism.

THEN SHE USED DODD'S KIDNEY PILLS, we're informed in giant type. Now she can cook meals for the whole family around the clock - and she can beat John with her pep! Not even sure what that last one means! You can depend on Dodd's!

Say, what was in Dodd's Kidney Pills, anyway? Why, they contained that scientific wonder drug acetylsalicylic acid. Or as we know it, "aspirin". I guess just being honest about its ingredients didn't carry enough mystery or wonder for the folks at Dodd's. And of course nowadays the drug companies are required to tell us what's in their wonder pills and miracle cures. Sure we may be healthier and live longer and not suffer kidney-related backaches as often, but we also no longer get almanacs in the mail full of clip art, advice on our recommended daily allowance of butter, and comic strips about patent medicines. Is this progress? IS IT REALLY??