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Back in the early half of last century, when life was a bit slower, Burma-Shave signs entertained cross-country travelers on US highways. This was a brilliant marketing ploy devised by a company hoping to expand its market for a new brushless shaving cream. The signs were small compared to the oversized billboards that scream for attention today. They were planted in a series of about six signs, spaced a few miles apart. Each sign contained a line of verse or a story and built an arc to the final sign with its punch line and reference to Burma-Shave. The campaign was wildly popular, especially in the west where highways crossed mind-numbingly, monotonous swaths of landscape. The first set of signs were placed in 1926. By 1936 the once unknown brand had risen to the second most popular brand of shaving cream in America. By the late 1960s, Burma-Shave signs suffered competition from ubiquitous and much larger billboards (pre-Lady Bird Johnson’s Highway Beautification Act of 1965), as well as from the much faster speeds at which automobiles could chew up the miles.

I think ol’ farmer Jess made a play on the Burma-Shave sign concept along his fence line in Owyhee Country. The signs have seen better days, but the idea prevails and merits slowing down, letting the dust settle, and looking closely at the humorous art work.

No Hunting
Private Sign; Do Not Read
No Trespassing; We’re Tired of Hiding Bodies
The Jess Ranch; 1902 No Trespassing Private Sign
That’s All Folks

Legends of America; Where are the Burma Shave Signs? https://www.legendsofamerica.com/66-burmashave/