Widowers is a fictional Manchester, UK, department store created by Eric Needham, for which rhyming advertising jingles became a fannish fad after the first of them appeared in the second ish of Needham and Harry Turner’s OMPAzine, Now & Then (November 1954). An example by Needham:
Judas hung himself from a bough A curious use for trees... What use to perish, no more to cherish WIDOWERS WONDERFUL PEAS?
The best of these four-line verses have a completely absurd counterpoint between the first couplet and the product promoted in the last; a rhyme scheme of abccb, with an internal rhyme in the third line; and, ideally, do not rely on a preposition to begin the final line.
WIDOWER'S WONDERFUL PRODUCTS appeared in the mag early on. Eric Needham, my co-producer, did some bulk-buying to economise on his house-keeping, and confessed he was getting fed up with a steady diet of Batchelor's Baked Beans. After a discussion on the techniques of persuasion, Eric tried his hand at some advertising jingles for the products from an imaginary company — Widower's. I used the results as fillers in N&T, and we found readers joining in with new jingles. There was a time when we had so many jingles on our hands that we had plans to produce a WIDOWER'S CATALOGUE...
And in the third issue of N&T, Eric came up with the strange story of WIDOWER'S WART REMOVER.
Socrates, so wise, drank hemlock And that was the end of him So much for high thinking, you’re better off drinking WIDOWERS LONDON DRY GIN
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