Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hollywood Super Stars clamored to be featured in Maybelline color advertisements during the 1940s

                                    Rita Hayworth

 During World War ll, Maybelline's market share skyrocketed, because so many women worked in air craft plants and refused to cut back on their cosmetics.  When the war ended Tom Lyle's thirty-year-old invention benefited mightily from the Postwar Boom when mascara and eye-shadow came out in matching colors - with new hues added every Spring and Fall - imitating the practice of fashion designers.  The increase in sales were dramatic and though in 1940 only one in four American women wore eye make-up, by 1949 this figure increased to three out of four, with Maybelline accounting for 45,000 units out of 51,000 eye products sold that year. 

Merle Oberon
Tom Lyle contracted major motion picture stars to appear in Maybelline's advertisements.  War-movies showcased them as the ideal Amercan image and young girls around the world purchased Maybelline at their local dime stores.

Rita Hayworth, Merle Oberon, Betty Grable, Joan Crawford  and Hedy Lamarr (click to see) were some of the GI's favorite pin-up girls. They were top box office queens during the war years and their image represented money in the bank for Maybelline. 
Betty Grable

Tom Lyle contracted Betty Grable for her sex appeal, moxy and girl next door image.She appealed to young want-a-bee’s who saved their grocery money to buy hope in a little red box.  Maybelline turned simple shop girl's into  sex symbols - inspiring soldier boys to get back home.  In fact a G.I.'s morale was often dependent on pictures of their girls with "Those Maybelline Eyes."

 Tom Lyle spent more on his beautiful movie stars as cover-girls then any other cosmetic company in history and it paid off in the 1940's beyond his wildest dreams.

Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford became the official face of Maybelline in 1945 after she won an Oscar for "Mildred Pierce."  Be sure to watch HBO's new version of "Mildred Pierce" with Kate Winslet airing Sunday March 27th.  This mini-series depicts the era, clothes and background painted in The Maybelline Story.  I'm sure if you watch the series and read the book at the same time you'll see The Maybelline Story come alive.

Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress. Though known primarily for her extraordinary beauty and her celebrity in a film career as a major contract star of MGM's "Golden Age.  She had a seductive look in her eye that appealed to Tom Lyle, because she targeted a certain audience of women who sought her sex appeal. 

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