Outrageous Claims of Yesteryear

By Sg Published on .

* Soft Drinks. Extolled as a "brain tonic and nerve stimulant," the "real" Coke may indeed have had some of those properties in the early part of the 20th century (when it contained traces of actual cocaine), while 7-Up was touted as a cure-all for stress and anxiety. Now, the latter simply tells TV viewers to "Make 7-Up Yours."

* Cigarettes. Shortly after World War II, Camel distributed free cigarettes to doctors' offices, conducted a poll to see what these medical men were smoking, and proclaimed, "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette." Well, duh. Today, Philip Morris touts its programs that help battered wives and female and minority-owned businesses. Still, "cigarettes have killed more women than Hitler," notes Bob McCannon, executive director of the New Mexico Media Literacy Project.

* Diet and Other Health Aids. Dr. Crum's Cotherator allegedly grows back amputated fingers and toes with radio waves, in addition to supposedly destroying insects within a 70-mile radius if a photo of the infested area is smeared with bug-killer and inserted into the machine. A form of it reappeared as recently as 1989. In the 1920s, when radiation was believed to enhance sexual prowess, industrialist Eben MacBurney Byers guzzled about 1400 bottles of Radnithor, distilled water laced with radioactive isotopes. He died shortly thereafter of radium poisoning. It gave him a glow, but not the one he expected. And just last December, Calorslim 2000 offered a "Millennium meltdown: our revolutionary herbal bullet burns ugly fat and flushes it out of your body!"

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