Parts Pups Periodical Sexist Tripe for Grease Monkeys Vintage Sleaze
It is no secret (particularly to those following this blog) that dirty jokes about dames and the grease pit, be it the local gas station or the home garage, were often decorated with sexist tried and true tripe. Possible worst offender? Parts Pups, a crappy digest full of I suppose horrible jokes about "dipsticks" and "rigid tools" and "injector parts" for the mechanic. Well, to forget the past is unfortunately to relive it, so here is half a tool-kit full of Parts Pups for all you nostalgic sexist grease monkeys out there. I have more. These will suffice.
Their slogan was "Published in the Interest and Enjoyment of the Automotive Repairmen--our Customers" which means crap given out to keep you busy while someone banged dents out of your car. They sat on those mid-century industrial round tables in the waiting room next to stains of vending machine coffee-rings and filthy, overflowing ashtrays.
Parts Pups appears to have made money several ways. The would accept advertisements (frequently equally stupid ones from other suppliers or sub-divisions of the company) to "men's" shops like "Mac's Super Gloss Radiator Paint" and they would apparently license the magazine to parts shops and mechanic's supply companies. In these examples, the Signal Auto Supply company in Rochester, New Hampshire. They are frequently referred to as "NAPA" joke books, but I think many other suppliers had their company names stamped on them as well. They started before the 1950s. They are not missed at all.
Each year the jokes (and pin ups…which were of the truly horrible kind with less glamour than an oil pan) got a bit more risqué, until the late 1980s when the models were, well…showing full headlights. I reckon they were the same women who sprawled over the hood of new cars during annual "new model" season. They seem to have reverted to bikini tops in the 1990s, perhaps in response to indignant women who had the audacity to drive an automobile. The booklet lasted well over twenty years after the women's movement tried to enlighten those holding screwdrivers in their greasy hands. In other words, Parts Pup was a hold-out. The last issue was probably 1997.
The old issues hung around the joint for a while longer. IN 1998 a woman sued her boss for bumping against her and claimed he "…also joined with other male Napa workers in openly studying Parts Pups, a Napa publication that features pictures of women in bikinis." according to a story reported in The Advocate. Well…that kills it. If money and lawyers are involved, we'll let them watch TV in the waiting room instead.
The earlier editions are far more interesting than the later color ones. Initially, some classic cartoonists supplied gags. Lowell Hoppes, a particular favorite here, and Bill Powers, Bob Tupper, Jack O'Brien. Some were also drawn by the same folks who sold work to Sex to Sexty.
Interestingly, each cartoon had a prominent "parts pups" logo superimposed on it to prevent xerox machine theft!
Also featured are tons of the type of perennial jokes which were passed around the water cooler…handwritten limericks and such folded and unfolded dozens of times and smirked at while an unfortunate typist nearby suffered her fate as the butt of jokes.
About the only ones you'll find today are on eBay, where they seem to be priced according to the amount of oil spilled on the covers, but few, if any, bring more than the cost of a gallon of gas.
Group of cruddy, sexist, stupid, useless "Parts Pups" Joke Books 1971 - 1996 Collection Victor Minx
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