Humorous ads are swell, although not so much if the ads also come across as being creepy or outright disturbing. Take the cartoon shown at right; would you guess that it shows:
A) a young man enroute to deliver important papers, or
B) a maniac fleeing the scene of a gruesome murder?
Call me judgmental, but if that glowering lout with his snaggle-toothed rictus knocked on my door, I’d hide under the bed after calling the cops, pronto.

This ad appeared regularly in the Press Democrat during 1910 – and on the front page, no less. It’s hard to imagine there was much demand for a “messenger service” in little Santa Rosa with its population of 10,000, but likely they also handled small deliveries of groceries, drug store items, laundry and whatnot.

Later in the year the ad copy changed to read, “The Rapid Messenger Service has produced the goods and will continue to do so. That is what has built up the business and made possible the success attained. The merchant and the general public have time and again expressed their approval, highly praising the services for its active and satisfactory work.” Their only other ad was the cartoon strip shown below (CLICK or TAP to enlarge) which appeared only once. This time the messenger appeared less thuggish, thank goodness, although he kept shrinking over the course of his mission.

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