Juvenile Delinquency: an Alternative Explanation, circa 1950

juvenile-delinquency-causes-Postum-ad-previewOver the years, you've probably seen various theories to explain why teens turn to crime, but I'm pretty sure you haven't run across this one: caffeine. 
Yes, that's right. Here's a 1948 ad for an instant coffee substitute called Postum, in which "coffee nerves" cause a woman to drive her son (who's apparently also over-caffeinated) into the streets. He promptly steals fruit from a local market. 

The bearded guy in the jetpack and underwear is "Mr. Coffee Nerves," a ghostly apparition who takes great glee in wreaking havoc in people's lives. In the series of ads from which this one is taken, Mr. Coffee Nerves is always foiled by some busybody who recommends that the afflicted party stop drinking coffee and switch to Postum. (If you want to see more examples, check the June 9th post of this blog on comic art.)
if anyone's thinking that newer energy drinks like Red Bull are to blame for a local juvenile crime wave, I've got bad news: Postum was apparently discontinued in 2007.

Updated: February 08 2018