Monday, August 5, 2013

Rare Ten Cent Book Will Improve Your Face

by Stephen J. Gertz

As the nine-year old prodigy qualified to perform an appendectomy using a radio-knife because I studied the instrument and procedure in All About Great Medical Discoveries by David Dietz (1960), and as the man twenty-six years later responsible for marketing Lindsay Wagner's The Accupressure Facelift while head of Karl-Lorimar Video's How-To division in 1986, I am uniquely qualified to discuss all manner of surgical and non-surgical interventions to alter facial topography and return the skin and subcutaneous muscles from passé to pristine as a baby's butt.

That's why I'm so excited to tell you about Professor Anthony Barker's Improve Your Face By Making Faces (1903). 

Mea culpa.

Are you depressed because your depressor septi, depressor supercilii, depressor anguli oris, and depressor labii inferioris muscles have let you down and are making you look inferior to your once superior visage?  Begone double-chins and puffy eyes! Say sayonara to those irrigation canals once fine wrinkles, let crow's feet take wing never to return, and bid fare-thee-well to the face that now horrifies when it stares back at you in the mirror.

Professor Barker, principal of New York City's School of Physical Culture (110 W. 42d St.),  provides five exercises (with halftone examples of each) guaranteed to banish all that blemishes your facial appearance.

“If you want to improve your face, make faces. That is the best way to treat it to upbuilding physical culture exercise. It sounds simple enough and silly enough, but it is neither. A short trial will prove that the right kind of faces cannot be made in a jiffy, although, with a little patient practice they can be executed…The benefits that accrue to both men and women from making the faces herein described ten or fifteen minutes a day, either upon rising or before going to bed, are manifold.” 

"Bride of Wildenstein."

Prof. Barker, apparently projecting into the future with New York socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein's reported $4 million worth of procedures in mind, includes a brief cautionary tale about the perils of facial plastic surgery - particularly if performed by a nine-year old with radio-knife, botox, silicone, and a satchel full o' implants.

Originally published at 25¢ but discounted to 10¢ if you time-travel back to 1903 and act at once while it's on your mind yet $100 if you return to 2013 and Garrett Scott Bookseller still has a copy, your Occipitofrontalis, Temporoparietalis, Procerus, Nasalis, Orbicularis oculi, Corrugator supercilii, Auricular (anterior, superior and posterior), Orbicularis oris,  Risorius, Zygomaticus major, Zygomaticus minor, Levator labii superioris, Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi, Levator anguli oris, Buccinator, and Mentalis muscles will thank you. As well as romantic partners.

Never again will you freak-out when teased with the mysterious elementary school taunt, "Your epidermis is showing!" - though you may be overcome by syncope when you see stuffed derma on a delicatessen menu and imagine against your will Jocelyn Wildenstein on a plate with a side of potato salad.

OCLC notes only a twenty-two page edition of Improve Your Face By Making Faces, at two locations only. But, then again, how many libraries in the world would acquire it in the first place? That said, the plates in this little gem follow in the tradition of Louis-Léopold Boilly's Recueil des Grimaces (1823-28), his series of ninety-six hand-colored lithographed plates that caricatured human facial expressions.

BARKER, Professor Anthony. Improve Your Face By Making Faces. (New York: William R. Robinson, Printer, 1903). Third edition. Sixteenmo. 31, [1] pp. Five half-tone photo-illustrations. Original printed green wrappers.

Exercise images courtesy of Garrett Scott Bookseller, currently offering this book, with our thanks.

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