War Gum: "'Delousing Party' Behind the Japanese Lines"
War Gum: "'Delousing Party' Behind the Japanese Lines" (No. 149)
Text on reverse of card: "Personal hygiene has always been one of the most baffling problems to confront soldiers at the battlefront. Bathing is impossible during war operations and the doughboy becomes prey for insects which breed in filth, familiarly known as 'cooties.' In the Japanese army this persistent problem soon found expression in a song of growing popularity, titled 'Serenade to a Louse.' Broadly translated the words run:
'Sitting round the campfire I think of you; / I know you think of me, too... / Because you tell me so! / All this broad land is devasted and getting thin; / Only you are getting fat... Fortunate Louse!'
Returning from the front, the soldiers want a hot bath more than anything else. Oil drums set in glowing ashes make satisfactory bath tubs. They are water proof and big enough to hold a small Jap.
To know the HORRORS OF WAR is to want PEACE. This is one of 240 True Stories of Modern Warfare. Save to get them all and compete for 1000 Cash Prizes. Ask your dealer. Copyright 1938, GUM, INC., Phila. Pa. Printed in USA"
"Bubble-gum cards emerged from their wrappers, smelling of powdered sugar, in comic-book colors with armies and soldiers, tanks and planes, blood and gore...There was a message on each to justify their acquisition to the parents who provided the pennies: "To know the HORRORS OF WAR is to want PEACE." We kids hardly noticed....
A curious, comic-book war survives on the cards, the dream visions of gum-company copywriters. Whether the scenes were gruesome or glorious, the colors were always as bright as the outlook for victory. The enemy was always vicious and often cowardly, while our side was always brave and fought like heroes."
Stanley Weintraub, "The Bubble Gum Wars," in MHQ
Courtesy of Carl Sheeley