From the Archives: Squash advertising

squash advertising
Sept. 1935: When this banana squash was small, Roland C. Casad scratched on the skin some words praising the Los Angeles Times. The squash, in healing, formed scar tissue over the cuts that become a form of advertising.
(Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

In the early 1930s, Roland C. Casad introduced a new form of advertising: text on squash. On at least four different occasions, the Los Angeles Times featured Casad’s squash advertising.

Casad, in the above image, appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Sep. 16, 1935. The text on the squash proclaimed, “You may not like everything about a person, even so about a newspaper, but if you want to read a real newspaper, read the Los Angeles Times, Roland C Casad.”

In 1933, Casad sent a squash — with a text message — to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Oct. 18, 1933, Los Angeles Times reported:


If the railway mail service is gentle in its handling of the parcel post package interested to its care yesterday by Roland C. Casad, orchardist of Covina, President Roosevelt will enjoy at his Thanksgiving Day dinner a huge green banana squash, grown especially for his table.

On the squash, which weighs eighteen pounds and is twenty-one inches long, the President will find a message addressed to himself and the citizenry at large, reading as follows:

“When the people show as much interest in the solution of this depression as our President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, does, this depression will soon be over. This is the people’s problem as much as his.”

When the squash was about six weeks old, Mr. Casad, using an ice pick, scratched the message on the vegetable. The scar tissue caused the inscribed letters to stand out as though they were embossed.

After displaying the gift to Postmaster O’Brien, U.S. Atty. Hall and United States Marshal Clark, the grower had it prepared for the parcel post service.

This post originally was published on Sep. 29, 2014.