Last week my column was about remembering the legendary Burma Shave signs that dotted American roadways for more than three decades. I shared some with you in that column and asked if you had any you recalled.

“She kissed the hairbrush

by mistake,

she thought it was

her husband Jake.”  

– Burma Shave

Last week my column was about remembering the legendary Burma Shave signs that dotted American roadways for more than three decades. I shared some with you in that column and asked if you had any you recalled.

Your responses were absolutely delightful, and I wanted to share a few of those fun memories with our readers.

One reader reminded me that there are a total 600 Burma Shave roadside rhymes, saved now for future generations in the book “The Verse by the Side of the Road” by Frank Rowsome Jr. She keeps it in her guest room.

I want one and will definitely search for it this week. 600 rhymes! I can’t wait to remember them.

Bonny, now in her 80s, shared a fascinating story about how one Burma shave sign changed her life and from that moment on she never forgot its message.

From Bonnie: “Yes, our family so much enjoyed reading those (signs) as we traveled when I was a girl, and I am now in my 80s. I’ll tell you about the one that made the greatest impact on me. I was newly married and living in California. My husband and several of his friends had signed up to serve in the California National Guard. They were going to be sent to Japan. Several of us wives were traveling from the Los Angeles area up to Camp Cook to visit for the weekend. I was speeding along at an excessive rate, as we were anxious to spend as much time as possible with our soldier husbands before they shipped out.”

Bonnie said, when she came upon a Burma Shave sign telling her to slow down, she realized that she might not get to Camp Cook at all to see her husband if she kept speeding.

Here is the sign she remembers to this day:

“Her chariot raced

80 per.

They hauled away

What had Ben Hur.”

Do I need to explain the reference to Ben Hur to younger readers? I hope not.

“Believe me,” Bonnie continued, “I slowed down after that, and that Burma Shave admonition has served to rein me in and my driving (speeding) ever since. I now can pass on the admonition to my grandchildren by telling them my Burma Shave story.”

She adds that Burma Shave did a lot of good and gave us great pleasure with their clever advertising.

Others agree.

Joseph wrote of his childhood memories of Burma Shave signs when they first appeared in Oklahoma many years ago. He thinks he first saw them along State Route 99. Here’s his favorite:

“The monkey took

one look at Jim

And threw the peanuts

Back at him.”

Mary said she, too, watched the side of the road for Burma Shave signs and always had to read them out loud for everyone in the car. Her favorite:

“Ben met Anna

made a hit.

Neglected beard


Don’t you wonder who sat in a Burma Shave factory or office between the 1930s and ’60s writing these rhymes and having a great time doing it? What a fun job.

Woody shared a couple of ads he remembered as a young lad: “I’m 75 now so it has been some time, but I remember this first one and it took me a few years to figure it out. Probably when I first drove at night, it hit me.”

“Twinkle, twinkle

One-eyed car

We all wonder

Where you are.”

And this one:

“Around the curve

Lickety split.

Beautiful car

Wasn’t it?”

 A couple more memories, and I’ll quit.

Joan wrote that she enjoyed those signs tremendously, and said, “Our parents actually drove slowly enough to read them, waaaay back in the day! The Golden Days to many of us who ‘remember them well,’ as Maurice Chevalier once sang.”

Joan commented from research she did on Burma Shave signs that initially they were posted all over the countryside in farmers’ fields when motorists drove on two-lane roads, long before interstate highways.

She recalls the small red signs with white letters – five signs about 100 feet apart, each containing 1 line of a 4-line couplet, ending with the last sign, Burma Shave (a popular shaving cream of the day).

Most of the jingles were about driving safety or shaving. What an advertising plan!

I wish I could share more but there are just too many for this short space. For those of you who remember, what great memories this brings back. For those who never heard of Burma Shave shaving cream and its famed ad campaign, you don’t know what you missed!

John sends this final one I’ll share today:

“Just try our cream

Follow our hunch

Be top banana

Not one of the bunch.”

– Burma Shave