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!

Friday, September 19, 2014

309. So Big, Yet So Little: BIG LITTLE BOOKS

I found this neat cache of books in a little shop called Round Trip Collectibles--a collectible store in Metuchen, years ago. I think I paid 5 dollars for the lot--7 Big Little Books, as old as the late 1930s and as recent as the late 60s (in the case of Batman). These kiddie readings saw print first in 1932, published by the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin. They were small, they were compact and had simple captioned drawings opposite each page of the text. They soon became big hits among children, so competitor like Saalfield, copied this format. Back then, each book cost just 10 cents each.  Great graphics, great stories, great size and price...what more can you ask for in a book?

Friday, September 12, 2014

308. The Midnight Special: CAPT. MIDNIGHT "MYSTERY DIAL CODE-O-GRAPH"

Captain Midnight was a popular U.S. radio series that began in 1938 in Chicago, created by Robert M. Burtt and Wilfred G. Moore. At the onset, "Captain Midnight" was simply an undercover name for pilot  Jim "Red" Albright. As an agent, he helped gather information to capture criminals. Captain Midnight was constantly trying to stop the plans of the evil Ivan Shark, remaining his evil nemesis throughout its radio run. He found help in Chuck Ramsey,a member of his Secret Squadron and Patsy Donovan. The series grew in popularity and was broadcast over the Mutual Network beginning in 1940 sponsored by Ovaltine.
The company had been looking for a heroic figure to sponsor their product, Ovaltine, as the country seemed headed for World War. Continuing the tradition of their previous series, Radio Orphan Annie, the company began to integrate coded messages and club identification into the episodes--brass examples of which were given out to viewers as premiums.
The "Mystery Dial Code-o-Graph" , first given in December 1940, was so called because the center of the inner disc was supposed to look like the dial knob of a radio. It was used to send a secret message to listeners about the next program episode. To decode, one had to turn the dial, which  proved to be a chore, what with the setting windows located at the back. The secret messages to decode were always given at the end as a "Secret Squadron Signal Session.".
The brass decoder has a slot for Capt. Midnight's picture (missing) and came with a manual, such as the one you see here. This highly prized radio collectible--available on ebay from a low of $69.95 to a high of $139--without a manual, was purchased complete and intact in its own envelope, originally addressed to a young radio fan from New Jersey.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

307. True Colors: TV CARTOONS MINI-COLORING BOOKS

I first saw this set of small coloring books being sold at Visual Mix, a 2nd-hand book shop that has evolved into the giant used book shop chain, Book Sale. Of course, I just had to get them; they were no ordinary color books to me--they depicted cartoon characters which I watched avidly back in the 70s and early '80s. There was PAC-MAN, based on a Japanese computer game, Pakkuman;  MARVEL'S SECRET WARS that featured all my fave super heroes like Thor, the Hulk and Spiderman; HERCULOIDS, a Hanna Barbera cartoon that had characters out to save the planet like Zandor, Tara, Dorno and Gloop & Gleep. Finally, there was POPEYE, THE SAILOR MAN, that had its beginnings in 1933, although the cartoons I remember were produced by King Features Syndicate from the 60s.
These were cheap Philippine reprints, nostalgic paper relics of  Saturday mornings of marathon cartoon-watching, when the world and I were younger.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

306. Advertique: MENNEN POWDER TIN

POWDER TO THE PEOPLE! MennenTalcum For Men. Vintage powder tin, 5" high.

The Mennen Company was founded in 1878 by German immigrant, Gerhard Heinrich Mennen, who founded his company in Newark, then later moved to Morristown, New Jersey in 1953. The company's first product was talcum-based powder, an innovation at the time. Its product line expanded to include over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and personal products such as the Skin Bracer, Speed Stick, and Baby Magic products.
The men's line began with  "Mennen Talcum for Men."  and this example dates to the '30s. It was found in a local shop with its content almost full. Areas of missing paint are apparent--the paint on the tin is easily washed off.
The product graphics are still strong and unblemished in some parts, and the front panel even retains the image of the founder. Locally, the brand was overshadowed by Johnson & Johnso, which dominated the powder market. Mennen found a niche with its men's personal care line like skin bracer, deodorants and after-shaves. Mennen was later sold in the '90s to manufacturing giant, Colgate-Palmolive.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

305. Campaign Memorabilia: MACAPAGAL TIN PLATE

MACAPAGAL FOR PRESIDENT! A 1961 campaign memorabilia promoting the candidacy of Diosdado Pangan Macapagal of the Lberal Party vs. President Garcia. 

Campaign gimmicks were not unknown in the 60s, and whe Vice President Diosdado P. Macapagal decided to run for presidency, he made sure his political promise will be remembered by every Filipino every time they set their table: "No more hungry Filipinos!!!". This campaign giveaway--a tin plate printed with Macapagal's name and famous quotation: "I'd rather g to jail than see the people go hungry!"-- was meant to do just that--and, as everyone knows, he succeeded, becoming the 9th president of the Philippines.
Found in a Bulacan shop, the plate is in a remarkable state of preservation--even it's plate stand was intact. I have seen a similar one years before ina Manila shop, a little rusty and dented--but which sold anyway, to my utter disappointment. This time, I would not be denied. Despite the rather steep price, I got this rare gem of a collectible, and a fine example of Pampanganiana, if there is such a term!
True,  Macapagal served the country to the best of his ability--but his term was considered unproductive, even with his Land Reform program. His term was badly tainted with the Stonehill corruption case, and in 1965,  he lost to Ferdinand Marcos--but at least he did not leave behind a country in disarray. The ouster of Joseph Estrada in 2001 paved the way for the rise to power of daughter, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who went on to assume the presidency. Her term was another story.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

304. 1970s FLINTSTONES PREMIUM CUPS

The Flintstones, an animated cartoon from Hanna Barbera Productions,  were a stone-age family from Bedrock, with a working class background. Like modern-day families, the Flintstones, along with their neighbors, the Rubbles, the Flinstones, headed by Fred and wife Wilma, had to contend with everyday concerns like eking out a living, issues in the workplace and at home. The cartoon was broadcast from 1 Sep. 1960 to 1 April 1966, and proved to be the most successful cartoon in 3 decades, topped only by the Simpsons. Naturally, Flintstones merchandising were made by the hundreds of thousands. This 1970 set of plastic mugs are from the popular Chewable FLINTSTONES Multiple Brand Vitamins. The plastic promo cups show Fred Flinstones, Dino and daughter Pebbles. They're about 3.75 in. tall and 2.75 in. in diameter. When I found this set in a U.S. flea market being sold for $5, I could not stop myself from screaming..."Yabba Dabba Dooooo"!