Sunday August 22, 2021’s Smile of the Day: Liquid Soap

On this Day:

In 1865, William Sheppard was issued the first US patent for liquid soap.

Soap is a salt of a fatty acid used in a variety of cleansing and lubricating products. In a domestic setting, soaps are surfactants usually used for washing, bathing, and other types of housekeeping. In industrial settings, soaps are used as thickeners, components of some lubricants, and precursors to catalysts.

When used for cleaning, soap solubilizes particles and grime, which can then be separated from the article being cleaned. In hand washing, as a surfactant, when lathered with a little water, soap kills microorganisms by disorganizing their membrane lipid bilayer and denaturing their proteins. It also emulsifies oils, enabling them to be carried away by running water.

Soap is created by mixing fats and oils with a base, as opposed to detergent which is created by combining chemical compounds in a mixer.

Humans have used soap for millennia. Evidence exists of the production of soap-like materials in around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon.

Liquid soap was not invented until the nineteenth century; in 1865, William Shepphard patented a liquid version of soap. In 1898, B.J. Johnson developed a soap derived from palm and olive oils; his company, the B.J. Johnson Soap Company, introduced “Palmolive” brand soap that same year. This new brand of soap became popular rapidly, and to such a degree that B.J. Johnson Soap Company changed its name to Palmolive.

In the early 1900s, other companies began to develop their own liquid soaps. Such products as Pine-Sol and Tide appeared on the market, making the process of cleaning things other than skin, such as clothing, floors, and bathrooms, much easier.

Liquid soap also works better for more traditional or non-machine washing methods, such as using a washboard (per Wikipedia).

First, a Story:

My house was robbed last night. The burglars took everything except my soap, shower gel, towels, toothpaste, and mouthwash.  Dirty buggers.

Second, a Song:

“Splish Splash” is a 1958 novelty rock song performed and co-written by Bobby Darin. It was written with DJ Murray the K (Murray Kaufman), who bet that Darin could not write a song that began with the words, “Splish Splash, I was takin’ a bath”, as suggested by Murray’s mother, Jean Kaufman. The song was credited to Darin and “Jean Murray” (a combination of their names) to avoid any hint of payola. It was Darin’s first hit and the song helped to give him a major boost in his career, reaching No. 3 on the U.S. pop singles chart and No. 2 on the R&B Best Sellers chart. “Splish Splash” was Darin’s only entry on the C&W Best Sellers in Stores chart, where it peaked at No. 14. In a 1967 interview, Darin claimed that he was so happy about having his first hit that his skin condition cleared up.

Splish Splash was recorded in a session at New York’s Atlantic Studios on the evening of April 10, 1958. The personnel on the original recording included Jesse Powell on tenor sax, Al Caiola, Billy Mure on guitar, Wendell Marshall on bass, and Panama Francis on drums.

The lyrics mention several characters from other songs of the period, including “Lollipop”, “Peggy Sue”, and “Good Golly Miss Molly”.

However, in an interview, former classmate Jerrold Atlas claimed that “Miss Molly” referred to Molly Epstein, Darin’s former English teacher at the Bronx High School of Science. “She taught him to use the language in staccato notes: short fast, words…She was very fond of Bobby. Bobby told me she sharpened his respect for language”.

British comedian Charlie Drake scored a top ten hit with a comedy version of the song in 1958, produced by future Beatles producer George Martin on the Parlophone label. The song was remade in 1979 by Barbra Streisand for her album Wet. It features new lyrics by Streisand and backing vocals from Toto lead singer Bobby Kimball and Chicago keyboardist Bill Champlin. A short extract from the song also appears in the video for the 1812 Overture featuring Charlie Drake playing both the conductor and all the musicians.

A Brazilian Portuguese version of the song was recorded in 1963 by Roberto Carlos.

On 1965, Quebecois group César et les Romains broadcast a French cover of the song on television, over the network Télé-Métropole.

In 1976, Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick, Donny Osmond and Marie Osmond performed the song on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

Sky diver Andre Tayir performs this song on the Kidsongs Kids’ 1990 video: Ride the Roller Coaster.

In 1990, Joanie Bartels covered the song, releasing it as a single from the album Bathtime Magic, the compilation album The Stars of Discovery Music and from the 1994 video The Rainy Day Adventure.

Kevin Spacey performs the song in the Bobby Darin biopic Beyond the Sea (2004).

In both the English and German versions of Animals United (2010), Billy the Meerkat sings this song while taking a shower, but it’s cut off by Toto the Chimpanzee.

“Splish Splash” was featured in the trailer for the Patrick Dempsey film Loverboy. It also appears in the soundtrack for the 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail.

The song appeared in an episode of Happy Days, in which where Richie Cunningham becomes a DJ, ‘Richie the C’ (possibly a play on Murray the K).

In the Family Ties episode “The Boys Next Door”, Elyse performs the song with her childhood friend Roger at a class reunion.

It was featured in a DTV music video on The Disney Channel, set mostly to clips of Disney characters bathing, particularly from the 1948 cartoon Mickey and the Seal (illustrating the singer’s bath in the first verse), as well as Mickey’s Birthday Party (to illustrate the party Darin walks in on).

The song was also featured on an insert on Sesame Street, where the zookeepers at the Bronx Zoo are washing the elephants.

The song can also be heard in the films Because of Winn-Dixie and Air Bud. It was partially sung in 2012 film The Dictator, when the main character, General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) plays a practical joke on his new friend (Jason Mantzoukas) by singing the song with a severed head as a hand puppet, while his friend is taking a shower.

Sesame Street is a long-running American educational children’s television series that combines live-action, sketch comedy, animation and puppetry. It is produced by Sesame Workshop (known as the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) until June 2000) and was created by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett. The program is known for its images communicated through the use of Jim Henson’s Muppets, and includes short films, with humor and cultural references. The series premiered on November 10, 1969, to positive reviews, some controversy, and high viewership; it has aired on the US’s national public television provider PBS since its debut, with its first run moving to premium channel HBO on January 16, 2016, then its sister streaming service HBO Max in 2020.

The format of Sesame Street consists of a combination of commercial television production elements and techniques which have evolved to reflect the changes in American culture and the audience’s viewing habits. With the creation of Sesame Street, producers and writers of a children’s television show used, for the first time, educational goals and a curriculum to shape its content. It was also the first time a show’s educational effects were formally studied. The show, therefore, has undergone significant changes in its history as adjustments to the format and content have been made to reflect change sources to the curriculum.

Shortly after creating Sesame Street, its producers developed what came to be called the “CTW model” (after the production company’s previous name), a system of television show planning, production, and evaluation based on collaborations between producers, writers, educators, and researchers. The show was initially funded by government and private foundations but has become somewhat self-supporting due to revenues from licensing arrangements, international sales, and other media. By 2006, there were independently produced versions, or “co-productions”, of Sesame Street broadcast in twenty countries. In 2001, there were over 120 million viewers of various international versions of Sesame Street, and by the show’s 40th anniversary in 2009, it was broadcast in more than 140 countries.

Sesame Street was by then the 15th-highest-rated children’s television show in the United States. A 1996 survey found that 95% of all American preschoolers had watched the show by the time they were three years old. In 2018, it was estimated that 86 million Americans had watched the series as children. As of 2018, Sesame Street has won 189 Emmy Awards and 11 Grammy Awards, more than any other children’s show (per Wikipedia).

Here is the video from Sesame Street, where the zookeepers at the Bronx Zoo are washing the elephants with a special soap.  I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“In the early 19th century, they tried selling soap as healthy. No one bought it. They tried selling it as sexy, and everyone bought it.” – Rose George

Further to the Adding Machine Smile, Eric O’Dell of Surrey, BC, Canada writes:

The link took me to a story of American industrial mobilization during the 2nd World War, not adding machines, etc.  However your story reminded me of the rapid changes in my lifetime.

When I started in the B of M [Bank of Montreal] branch in Ashcroft in 1948, there was a Burroughs manual hand-cranked adding machine. It was 10 keys across and I believe 10 down.  On the counter in front of the Teller’s cage was an abacus.  There were some Chinese customers.  I did learn to use it, not with the speed that they used it, and with a process that is not now well remembered.

In 1957 when I started with Westcoast Transmission in Vancouver, I was supplied with an AddoX 10 key electric adding machine and a Marchand electric calculator.  There were also similar Friedan calculators and comtometers in the office. In the tabulating section, there were computers using punch cards.

1963 in Kitimat Hospital there was a Burroughs bookkeeping machine…..a rather cumbersome object.

When I went to Lion’s Gate in 1971, there was a basic computer in the Accounting Department.  I remember soon after, the VP Finance coming into our morning Exec meeting with a small hand-held calculator.  Now you can buy any number of varieties for $10.00. It wasn’t the early Texas Instrument version; that came a bit later.  As you know, starting about 1978, we started planning and starting the gradual implementation of an IBM system for patient care functions.  Required a specially built air-conditioned room with miles of cables to different parts of the hospital.  Believe my Smart Phone and IPad each have more capacity.

Initially Lion’s Gate had its own built-in Paging system which worked in house and locally except Deep Cove and Horseshoe Bay areas. Then a Marvelous improvement: we purchased a Motorola flip phone for Administration on-call.  This allowed us to cross the bridges the weeks each of us were on call.

Think I would be lost now going into an office!


Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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