Thursday, November 13, 2014

316. LAPU-LAPU AND BULAKNA PORTRAITS

A pair of Filipiniana paintings depicting Lapu-Lapu, the hero of Mactan and his wife, Bulakna--or so that's how the dealer described them to me. These mid-century 18 x 22" paintings, painted by artist Rodolfo Pasno, dates from 1957--and they were obtained online--in a facebook group, of all places. Pasno was a noted Mabini painter, active from the 50s thru the 70s, in a shop at the famed Pistang Pilipino.
They were sold in stretchers, with few chips and scratches. At some point, someone painted over the background, but that doesn't detract from the portraits that express so much of the character of the country's first hero and his voluptuous wife. I had them re-stretched, re-framed and cleaned, so now they're ready to hang again...so happy I could sing! "In March 16, fifteen hundred and  hundred twenty one, when Philippines was discovered by Magellan..."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

315. The Russian From U.N.C.L.E.: ILYA KURYAKIN SPY DOLL

One of my fave TV programs from the 60s boomer years was The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) , broadcast on NBC from 1964-1968. It follows secret agents Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn)  and Russian Ilya Kuryakin) fighting its chief adversary, the agents of THRUSH  (Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity). Solo and Kuryakin's popularity resulted in the creation of  11.5 in. vinyl "spy dolls" made in 1965 by Gilbert of Japan. In its perfect condition, Ilya would have come with a pistol, pocket insignia and a mechanical arm. Conceived originally conceived as a minor character, Kuryakin, became an indispensable part of the show, achieving co-star status with the show’s lead. McCallum’s blond good looks and the enigmatic persona he created for the character garnered him a huge following of female fans, leaving them weak-kneed and crying--Uncle!

Friday, October 24, 2014

314. How To Enter the Dragon: BRUCE LEE KEY CHAIN

Saw this cheap, plastic martial arts key chain in a Cubao thrift shop. The small, 2.5 in. figure is gold painted, and I assumed it to be Bruce Lee, who first appeared as Kato on the Green Hornet 60s TV series. Of course, he is better known as THE kung-fu master of all times! The figure holds a pair of nanchuks (chaku) and is poised to demolish the door if the key doesn't work! Bruce Lee souvenirs--as well as martial arts collectibles, are not hot items at the moment, but that doesn't matter--it's picking for cheap collectibles that gives me a kick!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

313. Advertique: AN ABOGADO'S TRADE SIGN

There was a time when it was popular to advertise your professional services via signboards often posted on the front of your residences for all the world to see your title and your degree--from Comadrona, Dentista, Medico to Abogado or Notario Publico. Of course, services are advertised more conveniently now online--in such special sites as Linked and in many profession-specific websites. But back then, you would see painted signs on tin and wood such as this--picked from Manila--artistically framed and lettered, examples of vintage signage art made extinxt with new technology like computer-designed and weather-proofed tarpaulins. Of course, there was an impulse to google Abogado Silverio S. Tayao  on google, and a wealth of information was gathered online: Atty. Tayao came from Malolos and was admitted to the Philippine Bar on 24 January 24, 1955. He rose to become a Judge in Makati.  I was glad to know that he is still active, with offices in Salcedo Village, also in Makati. But I am sure his office sign is much more attractive than this, perhaps of gleaming chrome and steel, for better visibility and presentation. I'd much rather stick to his tin sign, when billboards, signs and posters were all done by hand, making them truly, one of a kind!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

312. YOU'RE A KEWPIE DOLL!

"Cute as a Kewpie!"
Kewpies were initially conceived as comic strip characters by artist,  Rose O'Neill. The name "Kewpie" it is said, was derived from "Cupid"-- also depicted in mythology as a youn child, naked and winged. The cartoons began to gain popularity after the publication of O'Neill's comic strips in 1909, and thereafter, paper doll versions of the Kewpies were made. The characters were first produced as bisque dolls in Germany beginning in 1912, and became extremely popular in the early twentieth century.Later, they were made from composition, celluloid, hard plastic, soft rubber and vinyl.
KEWPIES made in Germany. With and without the identifying Kewpie heart label. PICTURE SOURCE:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kewpie

The earlier bisque and composition versions of Kewpie dolls are widely sought-after by collectors--and this  7-inch German-made example was a prize find from a local antique shop. Versions were made without the identifying Kewpie heart label found on the doll's chest, but all have the same characteristics: protruding belly, googlie eyes, stubby arms and little back wings. Kewpies have become part of our pop culture--used as mascots, in advertising, art,  and even in songs!

Friday, October 3, 2014

311. Advertique: PLANTERS PEANUTS' PRES. OF U.S.A. PAINT BOOK

One of the earliest Chirstmas gifts I can remember was a 1960s coloring book of the U.S. Presidents given out by Planter's Peanuts---that peanut company with that ever-present Mr. Peanut mascot gracing the front page. The coloring book, purchased by my Mother from Johnny's grocery in downtown Angeles City, featured all the American presidents--from Washington to Kennedy. It was one of the few color books that I did not keep, so when I found this smaller paint book version--I knew this would be a perfect substitute!
Planters Peanuts was founded by Italian Amedeo Obici in 1906, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. In 1916 the company held a contest to create a company logo and the contest was won by a 14 year old . schoolboy named Antonio Gentile who drew a Peanut Man. Artist Frank P. Krize, Sr., improved it by adding a top hat, a monocle, and a cane to the drawing, and Mr. Peanut was born. By the mid-1930s, the raffish figure had come to symbolize the entire peanut industry, appeared on packages, advertising and premium items like this paint book.
The paint book features side-by-side illustrations of the U.S. presidents--one in black and white and one in color, to be used as a color guide. Defining events from the president's term are also drawn; in the case of Pres. Kennedy, the age of space exploration is shown. The paint book is unused and dates before Kennedy's assassination.
Planters Peanut products were available in limited quantities in the Philippines--through the military PX goods mostly. Even today, Planters are imported, available in select groceries and supermarkets like S& R. It just goes to show how popular the brand has become globally, with Mr. Peanut winning acclaim as one of the most recognized character trademark in marketing history.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

310. When Bobbysox Music Ruled: RHYTHM TOTE

For almost all teens of the Baby Boomer years, music was an essential part of their life. It was the Age of Rock 'n Roll, of Paul Anka, Everly Bros., Frankie Avalon, Shelley Fabares, Fabian and Chubby Checkers--and of course, Elvis! American bandstand ruled the airwaves and millions of teens couldn't get enough of the bubblegum and bobbysox music that they sang and danced to, in their shindigs and barn dances. They took along their 45 RPMs in vinyl cases such as this "Rhythm Tote", when they gather 'round to share and review songs about heartaches, cheating hearts, hound dogs and puppies in the window. This cheap mid-century relic held 14 records in brown paper envelopes, plus an index page you can write on. Made by Teen Time Products in Rhode Island, it has a current market value of about $20.  Just 8.75 in. x 7.5 in., the "Rhythm Tote" is  a wonderful nostalgic record case to store those special memories in!