Historic Beer Birthday: Maria Best

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Today is the birthday of Maria Best (May 16, 1842-October 3, 1906). She was the daughter of Philip Best and wife of Frederick Pabst.

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The photo below was taken around 1870. Here’s its description: “Quarter-length studio portrait of Maria Best Pabst (1842-1906). She is wearing a dress with leg of mutton sleeves and ornate embroidery. The daughter of successful Milwaukee brewer Phillip Best, Maria married Captain Frederick Pabst in 1862. Together they had ten children, only five of whom survived to adulthood. Pabst went into partnership with his father-in-law in 1863 and eventually owned what would become the Pabst Brewery.”

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Frederick Pabst, before he became a brewery owner, was a steamship captain of the Huron, a Goodrich steamer on Lake Michigan. Maria Best, when she was a passenger on his ship, met the dashing Pabst and then began courting, marrying in 1862. Not long afterward, Pabst became a partner in his father-in-law’s business, the Philip Best Brewing Co.

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Beer In Ads #2173: Harry Von Zell & Bill Goodwin For Pabst


Tuesday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1950. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features two celebrities, Harry Von Zell and Bill Goodwin. Von Zell “was an announcer of radio programs and an actor in films and television shows. He is best remembered for his work on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, and for once mispronouncing President Herbert Hoover’s name on the air, a slip that was exaggerated on a later comedy record album.” And Goodwin “was for many years the announcer and a recurring character of the Burns and Allen radio program, and subsequently The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show on television from 1950-1951. Upon his departure, he was replaced by Harry von Zell.”

In the ad, the pair of announcers are at a bowling alley, enjoying some beer while throwing a few games. They’re both wearing some pretty audacious bowling shirts, pretty much the only way for a 1950s man to wear any color. Harry’s taking a break and pouring himself a beer, while Bill’s about to (hopefully) knock down some pins.

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Beer In Ads #2172: Larry Hughes For Pabst


Monday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1950. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Larry Hughes. He was the national champion in archery for 1941, using newly developed aluminum arrows. Unlike almost every other Pabst celebrity in this series, there’s very little information about Hughes out there apart from a few simple mentions of him on archery websites. For example, on the efforts of Doug Easton to pioneer aluminum arrows, Abbey Archery has this to say:

1939 saw Doug move to yet another larger facility in Los Angeles. It was at this new facility that Doug began his search for an alternative to the wooden arrow. One of the first set of metal arrows made by Doug during the first year in this new building was given to local champion archer Larry Hughes. Larry shot these arrows very successfully in tournaments until 1941, when Larry won the National Championship with these new metal arrows. However, World War II was now in full force, and aluminum was no longer available for anything that was not war related. This effectively ended Doug’s efforts to perfect the new arrow until the end of the war.

In the ad, Hughes appears to be at an archery range, perched on a ledge, with a beer in his hand. Next to him, from a chair, his drinking buddy is apparently shooting from the clubhouse lounge. But on closer inspection, he’s just holding the arrow in his hand and sighting it, with no bow. I guess somebody’s had a few too many beers, and they took away his bow.

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Beer In Ads #2171: Ben Hogan For Pabst


Sunday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1951. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Ben Hogan. He “was an American professional golfer, generally considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Born within six months of two other acknowledged golf greats of the 20th century, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson, Hogan is notable for his profound influence on golf swing theory and his legendary ball-striking ability.

His nine career professional major championships tie him with Gary Player for fourth all-time, trailing only Jack Nicklaus (18), Tiger Woods (14) and Walter Hagen (11). He is one of only five golfers to have won all four major championships currently open to professionals (the Masters Tournament, The Open (despite only playing once), the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship). The other four are Nicklaus, Woods, Player, and Gene Sarazen.”

In the ad, Hogan is in the clubhouse, presumably after playing a round of golf, because he was good, but I’m guessing he still wouldn’t be as good after a few glasses of beer. Although personally, my golf game improves when I’m lubricated.

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Beer In Ads #2170: Johnny Weissmuller For Pabst


Saturday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1950. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Johnny Weissmuller. He “was a Hungarian-born American competition swimmer and actor, best known for playing Tarzan in films of the 1930s and 1940s and for having one of the best competitive swimming records of the 20th century. Weissmuller was one of the world’s fastest swimmers in the 1920s, winning five Olympic gold medals for swimming and one bronze medal for water polo. He won fifty-two U.S. national championships, set more than fifty world records (spread over both freestyle and backstroke), and was purportedly undefeated in official competition for the entirety of his competitive career. After retiring from competitions, he became the sixth actor to portray Edgar Rice Burroughs’s ape man, Tarzan, a role he played in twelve motion pictures. Dozens of other actors have also played Tarzan, but Weissmuller is by far the best known. His character’s distinctive Tarzan yell is still often used in films.”

In the ad, Weissmuller is lounging at a pool. He obviously hasn’t been in the water, because his hair is perfect and his towel is dry. And I guess he should wait at least thirty minutes now that he’s drinking a beer.

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Beer In Ads #2169: Pancho Gonzalez For Pabst


Thursday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1950. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Pancho Gonzalez. He “was an American tennis player. He was the World No. 1 tennis player for an all-time record eight years from 1952 to 1960. He won 17 Major singles titles, including 15 Pro Slams and 2 Grand Slams.

Largely self-taught, Gonzales was a successful amateur player in the late 1940s, twice winning the United States Championships. He is still widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. A 1999 Sports Illustrated article about the magazine’s 20 “favorite athletes” of the 20th century said about Gonzales (their number 15 pick): “If earth was on the line in a tennis match, the man you want serving to save humankind would be Ricardo Alonso Gonzalez.” The American tennis commentator Bud Collins echoed this in an August 2006 article for MSNBC.com: “If I had to choose someone to play for my life, it would be Pancho Gonzales.”

In the ad, Gonzalez has (probably) just come off the court, and is relaxing with a friend, sharing two bottles of beer. It’s one of the only one of this series of ads in which the beer appears to have already been consumed. Usually, the glass is full. Here it’s half empty, or is that half full?

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Beer In Ads #2168: Larry Doby For Pabst


Thursday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1949. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Mr. and Mrs. Larry Doby. He “was an American professional baseball player in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball (MLB) who was the second black player to break baseball’s color barrier. A native of Camden, South Carolina and three-sport all-state athlete while in high school in Paterson, New Jersey, Doby accepted a basketball scholarship from Long Island University. At 17 years of age, he began his professional baseball career with the Newark Eagles as the team’s second baseman. Doby joined the United States Navy during World War II. His military service complete, Doby returned to baseball in 1946, and along with teammate Monte Irvin, helped the Eagles win the Negro League World Series.”

In July 1947, three months after Jackie Robinson, Doby broke the MLB color barrier in the American League when he signed a contract to play with Bill Veeck’s Cleveland Indians. Doby was the first player to go directly to the majors from the Negro leagues. A seven-time All-Star center fielder, Doby and teammate Satchel Paige were the first African-American players to win a World Series championship when the Indians won in 1948. He helped the Indians win a franchise-record 111 games and the AL pennant in 1954, finished second in the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award voting and was the AL’s RBI leader and home run champion. He went on to play for the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Chunichi Dragons before his retirement as a player in 1962.

Doby later served as the second black manager in the majors with the Chicago White Sox, and in 1995 was appointed to a position in the AL’s executive office. He also served as a director with the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 by the Hall’s Veterans Committee and died in 2003 at the age of 79.

In the ad, Doby is in his home, sharing a beer with, presumably, a friend, while holding a baseball trophy in his hands. I feel like at some point he’s going to have to put that down, or he won’t be able to drink an of his beer.

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Beer In Ads #2167: Angier Biddle Duke For Pabst


Wednesday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1949. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Mr. and Mrs. Angier Biddle Duke. He ” was an American soldier, diplomat in the United States Foreign Service and a White House aide. In 1952, at age 36, he became the youngest American ambassador in history when he was appointed to be the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador.” He came from a very well-to-do family. Duke University was named for his family, and especially his grandfather, Benjamin Newton Duke, who was a major benefactor.

Duke became skiing editor for a sports magazine in the late 1930s. In 1940 he enlisted as a private in the United States Army Air Forces, and by discharge in 1945 was a major serving in North Africa and Europe. His uncle Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle, Jr. was serving as ambassador to most of the governments-in-exile that were occupied by Germany during World War II.

In 1949, Duke joined the United States Foreign Service as an assistant in Buenos Aires and subsequently Madrid. From 1952 to 1953, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador during the Truman administration and was, aged 36, the youngest ever U.S. Ambassador up to that time. With the Democratic Party out of power in 1953–1961, he left the foreign service and returned to private life. During much of this time, he served as President of the International Rescue Commission. Originally a Republican, he later became a Democrat.

In 1960, Duke accepted a call from the Kennedy administration to serve as Chief of Protocol for the U.S. Department of State with the rank of Ambassador, holding this position until 1965. His most visible task during this term was to supervise the protocol for the world leaders who attended the November 25, 1963 funeral of John F. Kennedy.

At end of his term as Chief of Protocol, the Johnson administration asked him to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Spain (1965–1967) and then to Denmark (1968–1969). In 1969 he was awarded an honorary LL.D. degree from Duke University.

With the Democratic Party again out of power, he was again out of the U.S. Foreign Service. The Carter administration brought him back again to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Morocco in 1979–1981.

In the ad, Angier and his second wife (of four), Margaret Screven White, are outside “Duke Farm,” their Southampton, Long Island summer home. They’re sharing a couple of beers, while she’s holding roses, presumably from their garden, while he’s holding small dog, or perhaps it’s a puppy.

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Beer In Ads #2166: Viscountess Furness For Pabst


Tuesday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1948. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Thelma Furness, Viscountess Furness. She “was a mistress of King Edward VIII while he was still the Prince of Wales; she preceded Wallis Simpson (for whose sake Edward abdicated and became the Duke of Windsor) in his affections.

During most of her relationship with the Prince, she was married to a British nobleman, Marmaduke Furness, 1st Viscount Furness. That marriage ended the year before her relationship with the Prince ended.

Her first name was pronounced in Spanish fashion as “TEL-ma.” Her identical twin sister was Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt who was married to Reginald Vanderbilt and had a daughter, Gloria Vanderbilt.”

In the ad, Thelma, I mean the Viscountess, is being served in “the Drawing Room of her Beverly Hills Home.” Typical of this series of ads, there’s a silver tray with two bottles of beer and two glasses. Although I think this is the only time the glasses look like they’re made of cut crystal. That can’t be a coincidence.

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Beer In Ads #2165: F. Warren Pershing For Pabst


Monday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1949. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Mr. and Mrs. F. Warren Pershing. He was the son of General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing, and the only one of his children who survived a fire at his home in the Presidio in 1915. “He graduated from Yale University in 1931. On April 22, 1938 he was married to Muriel Bache Richards at St. Thomas Church in New York City. During World War II he enlisted as a Private in the United States Army. He asked for no special privileges and to be treated like any new recruit.” Despite this, he eventually attained the rank of Colonel. He also “served in the Second World War as an advisor to the Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall. After the War he continued with his financial career and founded a stock brokerage firm, Pershing & Company.

In the ad, Pershing and his wife Muriel, or “MuMu,” are in their Narragansett, Rhode Island home with a tray of beers between them. Although I must say she doesn’t look particularly happy to be there.

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