I must tell you I knew nothing about this until I ran across it last night. Aside from its carcinogenic benefits, it had to be the greatest marketing ploy anywhere. The text from a radio commercial, circa 1948:
We know that once you buy shoes that are scientifically fitted, you will shop at <<STORE NAME>> all of the time.”
I’ll bet. Of course, we’re talking about the Shoe Fitting Fluoroscope — a contraption into which a customer slid his feet to view the bone structure inside a new pair of shoes. Children and women used it most, along with the salesmen, all of whom were blissfully ignorant of the dandy effects of scatter radiation.
The latest use of this gadget predates me by about 10 years, but I’m surprised that I never heard about them from the adults in my life (especially since I lived in Milwaukee, where many of the things were manufactured). Mavis, do you remember anyone ever talking about them? I don’t.
Anyway, the salesperson would fill out a card on each customer, thereby enabling him/her to recommend the right shoe. Again, brilliant marketing. If you could get a Fluoroscope in your store, the trap was set. All you needed to do was wait for the fish to take the bait.
Many of the comments I’ve read about them come from people now in their 60s and 70s, who thought it was fun as kids to line up in the shoe department and play on the Fluoroscope while Mom shopped. I imagine it would have been a hoot back then to look into the viewfinder and see your foot bones — like you were Ray Milland in The Man With the X-Ray Eyes, a movie that scared the snot out of me when I was ten years old.
Fortunately, by the time that movie came out, the medical community had wised up and the FDA banned the Fluoroscopes.
Interesting, ja? Now I’m going to be ooky for the rest of the day. Ray Milland. *shudder*