Thursday, August 9, 2012

Scheib sign, Brannan off Sixth

What is it that belongs to a particular time about the smile on the face of Mr. Scheib -- or whoever he is -- on the decaying sign at the old Scheib body shop on Brannan Street?

If you've got a moment, click on the photo at left to enlarge it and appreciate the datedness of the salesman's conspiratorial smile there. In a halo, no less.

People were supposed to fall for that kind of a  smile -- to find it charming, reassuring, anyway engaging. I guess smiles like that must have brought in a fair number of customers, too. It's in so much advertising of the circa 1950s. Is it the Sinatra-type domineering devil in the eyes?

Funny, I'd say that, in present marketing practice, an expression like that wouldn't be a business person's choice for a portrait. Too controlling, too much like he knows what's good for you. It's a frog-position portrait -- you're looking at him from below. Really you're being invited to let him be your boss, or anyway to want to be his sidekick.

Knowing nothing about the real Mr. Scheib, I'm getting the impression that the man pictured is an able teller of funny stories. A man who could charm a full table full of gents. To women, perhaps not so charming: there's a hint of a leer. Whoever Mr. Scheib really is or was, why would he want to be seen that way by strangers?

Would you buy a car repair, here and now, from someone who smiled at you like that?

Have our accepted interpretations of facial expressions changed?

No comments:

Post a Comment