1920 ‘Props’ for 1920

This article originally appeared in a 1920 issue of Hettinger’s Dental News. Yes, it was actually a longer advertisement to update your dental equipment.

“All the world’s a stage,” but-thank goodness-we can choose our own “props.” Stage props, properties-if you will insist on full-grown English-are all the movables on deck-the flying trapeze of the Figuaro Family, the glass tank of the Diving Venus, the revolver which barks out the villain’s doom in the last act, the chaise longe, the Victrola, the floor lamp, etc., which indicate: “Living room of the Van Flatter’s apartment. Time: present.”

Now suppose you went to the theatre to see that play in which the Van Flatter’s apartment figured in the story. Suppose there were an accident, or misunderstanding, or something behind the scenes, so that when the time came for the stage hands to shove on the chaise longe, Victrola, etc., they couldn’t be found; and they had to hurriedly run on an old set, of the Hazel Kirke period.

The actors would come on in their 1920 attire. The indiscreet Mrs. Van Flatter would lounge back on an 1880 horsehair sofa, smoking a cigarette, and say to the too attentive young Reginald; “Step on the accelerator, Reggie. Give us some jazz.”

And Reggie would step center-left to a brown walnut parlor organ, full of gingerbread trimmings. Then he’d pull out a few stops and do the Zippanola-Rippanola Rag in hymn time-the only tempo the old relic could wheeze out.

Of course such a ridiculous thing couldn’t happen-at least it’s not apt to; and what has this all to do with you, anyway? Just this:

It’s just as ridiculous to try to perform 1920 dentistry with “props” of 1880 as to perform a twentieth century play with nineteenth century stage settings.

“1920 ‘Props’ for 1920.” Hettinger’s Dental News Jan. 1920: 4. Google Books. Web. 25 Aug. 2015.