Sunday, July 21, 2013

Where is it now that we need it?

(Feeling a little less than "bright eyed and bushy tailed" the other day, I got to thinking about a tonic that many of the adults used to swear by back when we were growing up and wondered if some might still be around. So I did a little research that I thought I'd pass along.   -Ed)

It's not what our Grandmothers told us we needed, like Milk of Magnesia or Cod Liver Oil.
It's what they took for themselves, when "feeling poorly " or "out of sorts."  In fact, the directions on the bottle recommended that it be taken daily...four or five times.

 It was loaded with those recently popularized (post WW2) thingies called vitamins.
Heck, after a couple of doses of  what came to be called the "apotheosis of  nostrums".....the heartbreak of psoriasis was nothing more than a walk in the park.

Dudley LeBlanc
It all began in 1943 when a man named Dudley LeBlanc (who later became a Louisiana State Senator) hobbled into a doctor's office for help with what started as a sore toe and had rapidly progressed to what LeBlanc considered a life threatening situation. Three other doctors had treated him without success. The fourth was confident he could cure him. Sure enough after only a few treatments, his condition improved dramatically.

Being curious, LaBlanc finally asked the Doctor what the medicine was that he was being treated with. The Doc refused to reveal his secret, so on his next visit, Dudley slipped a bottle into his pocket and within a week, with the help of a chemist friend, he had unlocked the secret of the magic elixir.

He knew stealing was wrong, but this was different. This was for the benefit of mankind...not to mention Womankind.

Surely, you haven't forgotten so soon. It was all over the radio and (later TV). There was even a popular song about it. There were traveling shows featuring Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Hank Williams.

This was all happening in the late forties and early 50's when everything, including medical advances were blossoming in America. It seemed like a miracle a day.

Uncle Dud's elixir claimed to cure, high blood pressure, ulcers, strokes, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, pneumonia, anemia, cancer, epilepsy, gall stones, heart trouble, and hay fever. And that was only the beginning.

Enough already.

By now you realize this miraculous cure of the late 1940's and '50's was Hadacol. 

And its secret ingredient was alcohol.   12 per cent exactly. Of course it made its customers feel better...for a while. But it didn't cure any diseases that the FDA knew of.  So its demise was simply a matter of time.

Meanwhile, Carrie Nation was turning over in her grave.

LeBlanc was the P.T. Barnum of patent medicine. He had earlier success with two other "medicines" he had brought to market, Dixie Dew Cough Syrup and Happy Day Headache Powders, but neither had even come close to the  success that  Hadacol had enjoyed.  In fact, the name Hadacol was a contraction of Happy Day Company plus the "L" for LeBlanc's own initial.  However, Uncle Dud was fond of telling people that "I hadda call it somethin."

In a fit of honesty, LeBlanc admitted on Groucho Marx's TV show, when asked what Hadacol was
good for answered,

 "It was good for five-and-a-half million for me last year."

Ah, the good old days!