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Memories of War: Vintage wartime advertising

Taking a look back at how The Oklahoman covered World War II and its impact on the state involves talking to people, and looking through a lot of old newspapers. Here are some wartime ads that ran in the paper in January and February 1942, about two months after Pearl Harbor.

Now with 28 percent less nicotine! This Camel ad appeared in the paper in January 1942. It included testimonials from generic servicemen from all three branches. It also implores those back home to send their sailor, soldier or airman a carton of satisfying Camels as often as possible. And it's easy. The ad touts Camels "ready to ship" cartons for convenience.

This ad from Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company highlights the value of copper to the war effort and how that meant it wouldn't be building a lot of additional power lines in the near future.

In this ad, the U.S. Army attempts to sell the idea to new applicants that they can take flight in one of the air corps' bombers even if they weren't a college graduate. The new testing procedures allowed applicants to visit exam boards in certain cities for on-site mental and physical exams the same day they applied. It also changed testing procedures to determine more early in the process if an applicant could successfully complete the training. Applicants still had to be between 18 to 27 and in good physical condition.

Gasoline was rationed during World War II and new cars were not produced in large numbers. To that end, Texaco created an ad campaign to help motorists get the most out of the car, the fuel it consumed and in this case, the tires it rode on. Making sure tires were properly inflated stretched their service life, as did keeping speeds under 40 mph.

The war, and the war effort, took up a lot of the country's focus after Pearl Harbor. But it wasn't all war all the time. Movies were a popular diversion. Here's an ad for "Hell za Poppin'"starring Martha Raye at the Criterion and "You're in the Army Now" with Jimmy Durante and Phil Silvers at the Liberty. Tickets were only 20 cents up to 6 p.m.

'Memories of War' project seeks readers' help

Seventy-five years ago on Dec. 7, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor prompted America's formal entry in to World War II, a conflict that would transform the nation and along with it Oklahoma and its people.

Almost 5,500 Oklahoma service members would die in the conflict. Those who survived the battles are either long-grayed or gone now.

To commemorate this landmark anniversary, The Oklahoman presents the series “Memories of War,” which will include photos, videos, archival accounts, interviews and other elements that seek to recreate those turbulent times as they unfolded.

More than anything, we want to tell your stories, to share your memories. To do that, we need your help.

Do you have photos, letters, diaries, mementos or a good tale you'd like to share with our readers related to World War II? If so, drop us a line at mpatterson@oklahoman.com or poconnor@oklahoman.com.

Also, visit the Memories of War special coverage page for all content related to this project.

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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›