Tuesday, December 22, 2009

88. WILD, WILD WEST Collectibles

Giddy-up horsey! Lasso 'em Cowboy Collectibles: BACK ROW: Bat Masterson TV Whitman Book (1962), The Rebel TV Whitman book (1967), Annie Oakley Movie Coloring Book (1947), Davy Crockett Coloring Book (1955), Gunsmoke Coloring Book (1957), Roy Rogers premium plastic mug (1950s), Hopalong Cassidy lunchbox with decal and thermos (1953), Indian bisque figurine (ca. 1950s).

87. Color Them Collectibles: TV COLORING BOOKS

Assorted TV Land collectibles, 1st ROW: "Uncle Martin, The Martian" (from My favorite Martian, starring Roy Walston and Bill Bixby, 1964), "Get Smart" (starring Don Adams and Barbara Feldon, 1968), "Ronny Howard" (child actor Ron Howard of Andy Griffith Show--now and Academy Award winning director, 1963). 2nd ROW: "Green Hornet" (starring Van Williams and Bruce Lee, 1966), "Star Trek" (starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, 1968), and my box of unused vintage crayons!

Monday, December 14, 2009

86. Where the Boys Are: KEN & ALLAN DOLL

Ken, Barbie's boyfriend, was introduced in 1961 with flocked hair. These two you see here with painted brunette hair were produced in 1962, 1/4 inch shorter than the earliest Ken, but with heftier arms and more defined knees. Mattel felt that Ken needed a male buddy after giving Barbie a bosom friend in the name of Midge. So, Allan Sherwood was born in 1964, introduced together with Skipper, Barbie's younger sis. Allan was meant to be Midge's boyfriend but apparently, since he and Ken shared the same body type and clothing, they spent a lot more time together. The trio reside ina plastic carrying case made especially for Ken and bought in a U.S. collectible shop. Oops, do I hear Barbie having a fit again?

85. Boxed: PELE

Edison Arantes do Nascimento, or simple Pele to the football world was a sporting legend in his native Brazil. At age 21, he was the top football player of the world, having helped his country become a world power in the sports. Pele was given the title "Athlete of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee and in 1999, he was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. But in 1975, King Seeley Thermos paid the ultimate homage to the football megastar--he was boxed! Pele remains one of the few men of color to be featured on a lunchbox, driving the price range of this metal collectible from $50 to over $150. As always, I paid just 50 pesos for this slightly-rusted example. Touchdown!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

84. It's Pouring Pachyderm! : AN ELEPHANT TEAPOT

"I'm a little teapot with a tusk, here's my handle, here's my trunk..."
Now isn't this a monstrously clever idea? A bloated elephant teapot, with a trunk for a spout, its tail for a handle, and a pagoda sprouting on its back. You won't get any sympathy when you serve tea, but only horrific stares and snickers. Ceramic figural teapots may not be so rare, but a fancy elephant design is seldom seen.This collectible teapot, possibly made in the 50s was found appropriately in a Thai flea market, and it now sits on a mantle in my jungle of a house.


Thanks to Walt, I have these assorted Disney collectibles to show off, picked from here and there. L-R. An early 1940s plaster lamp of Snow White complete with its tulip glass shade (bought in a Bangkok flea market); a ca. 1939 German made boxed paper jigsaw puzzle of "Snow White & the 7 Dwarves" (from a mail-order collectible auction); "Sleeping Beauty" 1950s long-playing record; 1950s Donald Duck rubber toy; and a 1960s Donald Duck squeaking cap found in a local thrift store. Truly, "when you wish upon a star, makes no difference what you score.."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I never get tired of this singing bunch--I just ordered the Season 3 of the Partridge Family TV series released in DVD! The hits series of the 70s inspired many merchandise like this boardgame made by Milton Bradley in 1971. It's your typical race-to-the-finish board game using cut-out Partridge Family members as play pieces. There's Keith and Danny, Laurie and Shirley, Tracy and Chris that you stand on blue and red plastic bases. It also comes with 2 dice, 24 cards and game inserts. This Partridge Family Game was in an unplayed-with condition when I got it from Hake's Americana & Collectibles. I paid $15 for this, which I haven't actually used for fear that I might reduce its value. Imperfect and used examples on ebay carry a price tag from 10-20$, while one in good condition sold for 50$! Pssheww! I wonder what budget-conscious Mrs. Shirley Patridge would think of that...


Here goes another poodle collectible, this time, a TV lamp in the favorite 50s colors--pink and black! The twin poodles flanking the fiberglass shade sport yarn hair. This ceramic lamp horror was meant to be place on top of a TV to provide mood lighting, in case the light from the TV screen is not good enough. These were so popular in the 1950s that almost every home had them. I found this lamp in great working condition from a dealer who was downsizing his merchandise upon the closure of his shop in a mall. So he gave it to me for a bark, err, a song.


Li'l Abner, drawn and written by Al Capp (1909-1979) was a very popular comic strip that made its appearance in international newspapers, including the Philippines. The satiricial series included hillbilly characters led by Li'l Abner Yokum, a 6-foot-3 simple-minded but sweet-natured country bumpkin his grouchy Mammy and less-than-bright Pappy, and Daisy Mae,the girl who had the hots for Li'l Abner. The strip ran from 1934-1977, and it was read by millions of people worldwide, captivated and entertained by the strip's characters and humor that had a powerful cultural impact. Out of this series sprouted many licensed merchandise that were produced throughout the forties and fifties. This 14-inch Li'l Abner made by Baby Barry Toys in 1957 is just one of them. Purchased from Hake's Americana, a mail-order auction company, the doll is made of soft rubber and has his original clothes. Al Capp was such a master marketer that his characters earned millions from endorsements and licensings. Which just goes to show that even a hiollbilly can be a millionaire.


Margaret O'Brien (b. 15 Jan. 1937) was a child star of the '40s, and her talent was apparent early on. Her first film appearance was in Babes on Broadway at age 4, but it was the following year that her first major role brought her widespread attention. As a five-year-old in "Journey for Margaret", O'Brien earned accolades fro her natural acting style. Her most memorable role was as "Tootie" in "Meet Me In St. Louis" with Judy Garland. She earned a Juvenile Oscar as "outstanding child actress of 1944", but she was unable to make the transition to adult roles. In her heyday, many merchandise were made of her--including a composition doll, coloring books and these large paper dolls bought from a U.S. paper collector. The two figures have been carefully cut from a book, and the back features the former child's star's autograph, making these movie collectibles even more precious.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

79. 50s Flash: PINK VASE

This strangely shaped ceramic vase with asymmetric handles is a quintessential 50s kitsch! Everything from its free form, the flowery relief decoration, the fluted opening, the weird Japanese-style base to the trashy pale pink color sprayed with gold glitter--all scream bad taste. Which is why, I LOVE it!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

78. Boxed: THE MUPPETS

Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Scooter, Fozzie Bear, Foo-foo...this group of puppet characters created by the late Jim Henson and his team from Sesame Street. They first appeared in the Muppet Show in 1976, with Kermit taking center stage. The immensely popular TV program featured guests like John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Rita Moreno, Richard Pryor and Elton John, and gave the world unforgettable characters like the glamorous, self-centered porcine diva, Miss Piggy, the stuntman Gonzo and the stand-up comic Fozzie the Bear. A lunchbox was made of the motley group of puppets as well as spin-off shows, plush toys and comic books.


Cortal was aleading pain reliver brand in the Philippines back in the 1950s, and like aspirin, every botica (pharmacy) had the tablets always in stock, as Cortal fights pain--safely, curely and fast. For years, Cortal's trade character showing an animated tablet wielding a sword, was a familiar figure used in the advertising and promotions of the medicine. This large enamelled sign made for Botica Intramuros was offered at the famous Greenwhills collectibles fair, but found no buyers. It has a few dings and paint losses but the main graphics and the colors are intact, making it an attractive advertising antique. Today, the trade character has been graphically simplified, losing its human face and features. Cortal continues to be made by Glaxo Smith Kline despite the availablity of more modern and technologically advanced pain relievers.

76. Screaming Collectible: MACAULAY CULKIN DOLL

After Shirley Temple, Macaulay Culkin was perhaps the most popular and successful child actor in his prime. Who doesn't remember him as Kevin McCallister in the blockbuster 1990 20th Century Fox film, "Home Alone"? As a child accidentaly left home by his family, Kevin thwarted the plans of two intruders who broke into their house with his kiddie capers. Fans around the world lapped the movie up, and sequels were made in succession: Home Alone 2 (Lost in NY), Home Alone 3, Home Alone 4/Taking Back the House. It also prompted toy manufacturers to cash in on Macaulay's unprecendented fame by issuing this " Screaming Kevin/ Home Alone Doll". The doll has a talking mechanism that allows him to talk--"You guys give up, or are you thirsty for more?"/ "I made my family disappear!"/ AAAHHHHhhhhh!". On ebay, I've seen this relatively new doll priced from 2 dollars (used but working) to $25 (mint in a box). I'm glad I bought this doll new in 1991, so that I don't have to scream.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Coca Cola made a lot of these tin coin banks in the shape of the classic red Coca Cola cooler as advertising premiums. These proved to be very popular, as for many years, these coin banks were updated and re-issued. This example dates from the 1950s and has better details than later editions. For instance, the shape is very faithful to the traditional Coca Cola cooler, with rounded corners, deeper red paint and finer lettering (later 1970s coin banks had sharper corners, paler red painting. Indeed, savings go better with Coca Cola!


The 1985 action movie, "Commando" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Col. John Matrix bolstered the Austrian beefcake's career as a Hollywood hottie. In the movie, Matrix's daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano) was kidnapped and the colonel, a former elite member of a a special operations unit comes back to attack and destroy the evil perpetrators led by Bennett, an ex-captain of Matrix's very own unit. To capitalize on the film's success, Diamond Toymakers created this large 18" John Matrix action figurethat came with a pistol, an M16 and a grenade. The toy line was criticized for making children's toys out of Rated-R movies that few of them should have seen.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Now here's the world' most famous girlfriend 'n boyfriend dolls--Barbie and Ken. Made by Mattel, Barbie (Barbara Millicient Roberts) was created by Ruth Handler in 1959, the first fashion doll in the world. Barbie is much older than Ken (last name: Carson) who was introduced in 1961. The doll duo featured here underscores that age difference--the Bubble Cut Barbie you see here dates from 1962, while Live Action Ken is from 1973. Barbie is the rarer piece, and price guides list their value from $100 up, depending on their condition. I was lucky thatI found mine for a few hundreds, purchased from the collection of a former stewardess who bought her Barbies during her travels. Ken is a U.S. flea market find.

72. The Sensation of our Time: EFREN MONTES

Efren Montes burned the 70s airwaves with his monster hit song: "Kiss Me, Kiss Me". (Sample lyrics: "A-kissa-kiss-akiss me in the morning, akissa-kiss me in the night! Kiss me kiss me in the daytime, kiss me kiss me all the time"). Efren--dubbed as "The Senastion of our Time" -- rose to become a TV star (he starred in the series "Padre de Pamilya") and even made a few movies. Efren recorded more LPs like this one, but they never matched the success of his first vinyl. When the child singing wonder reached his awkward years, he kissed-akissed--akissed his showbiz career goodbye.


It's an itsy, bitsy, red polka dotted bedside clock from the 50s! Now who wouldn't want to wake up to the sound and sight of this free-form timepiece! And it still works! Oh, what a beautiful morning....

70. BOXED: Indiana Jones

Before chasing Ally McBeal (aka Callista Flockhart), Indiana Jones (aka Harrison Ford) was looking for an adventure in the Temple of Doom. This rusty lunchbox, made by King Seeley in 1984, marked that moment in moviedom. Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones first made his appearance in the adventure saga "Raiders of the Lost Ark", which proved to be a blickbuster hit. Several sequels were made, notwithstanding the aging of its lead star (last one was in 2008, "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"), who was losing his hair but not necessary his appeal. Too bad this lunchbox is rusrty and has lost its lunchbox, otherwise, it would have cost $90 on ebay. But for 50 pesos, this Indiana is good enough for me.

Monday, October 26, 2009


What did James Dean, Tab Hunter, Elvis and Frankie Avalon used in common to keep their hair shiny, gleaming and in place? Brylcreem, of course. Created in 1928 by County Chemicals, Brylcreem was responsible for giving generations of young men the "wet look" hairdo, the rage of the times. Brylcreem was marketed internationally, available even in Thailand, where it was sold in jars (in America, Brylcreem was sold in tubes).

This rare Brylcreem thermometer with a wooden backboard and painted features was just one of the thousands of merchandising materials produced to support the brand in stores. Even in conservative Siam, men were entitled to some form of vanity, and just a dab of Brylcreem provided just that.Bryl-creem, you'll look so debonair. As the product jingle goes: "Bryl-creem, the gals will all pursue ya, they'll love to run their fingers through your hair".

68. Now Serving: HERO OF MANILA

Hershey Chocolate paid tribute to Admiral George Dewey, the American who decimated the Spanish fleet under Patricio Montojo, in this 1974 tin serving tray. The connection between Dewey and chocolates is not that apparent, until one learns that Dewey reportedly liked smoking cigars--hence these "chocolate segars"", get it? The history of cocoa is featured on the other side of this collectible tray which I got for a few dollars from ebay. Current online search pegs the value of this tray from between $6.95 to a whopping $139. What a price range extreme! No wonder the Spanish armada sank..

Thursday, October 22, 2009

67. Bottled Wellness: AGUA DE CARABAÑA

Long before we were introduced to mineral water in plastic bottles, Filipino in the peacetime era were discovering the many health benefits of Agua de Carabaña, mineral water in clear glass or aqua bottles, from the Carabaña Springs of Spain. The water was believed to have curative and medicinal properties that it was soon being commercially bottled in the early 20th c. to America and Europe. Agua de Carabaña was available only in boticas and farmacias in the Philippines and was used to cure all sorts of ailments--from kidney problems, stomach ills and even as an abortifacient!

Today, mineral water is so commonplace in the Philippines and its only use is to assuage thirst. Old colored bottles with the familiar Agua brand name in relief are easy to find; but unlike plastic bottles which are being resold for recycling, Agua de Carabaña bottles are for antique collecting!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

66. TOM MIX and Other Cowboy Cigarette Cards

When my old man was still around, he would tell us stories of his growing-up years, including those times when he would play hooky to watch movies starring his favorite cowboy hero, Tom Mix. Tom Mix (born in Pennsylvania as Thomas Hezikiah Mix in 1880) was the first Hollywood western superstar, the son of a logger. The King of Cowboys made over 300 movies in his lifetime, inlcuding "Destry Rides Again", "The Texas Bad Man" and "The Miracle Rider". he also became a popular radio personality, hosting the his own radio erial entitled, "Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters".

Tom Mix died in a freak car accident in 1940, but not before leaving a rich legacy of classic Western films and a while slew of offiial merchandise such as these cigarette cards. Teal Cigarettes was a popular brand of British-made cigarettes in the 1930s. A common on-pack promotion at that time was to give cheap premiums--like these cigarette cards-- with every cigarette pack purchase. The card sets were always themed--everything from national costumes, flags, movie stars, and in this case, cowboy heroes. This particular cowboy series also included other stars like Harry Carey, Leo Maloney and William Hart.

I scored these cards in a Bangkok flea market, of all places. Not too many locals are interested in cowboys and Indians over there, so these cards were largely ignored. Had the cowboys been riding on elephants, it would have been a diffrent story. Hi-yo, Chang, awayyyy!


These small made-in-the-Philippines Coca-Cola cases were popular collectibles in the 1950s--the yellow painted wooden divided cases date them to that period. Although they look like salesman's samples, they were treated as miniature curio items or even as toys, to be displayed and kept in glass cabinets. Missing are the small, clear Coca Cola bottles (24 to a case) complete with embossed logos and tin crowns, mini replicas of the classic bottle. Finding an intact set is very difficult these days, as bottles were sold separately (I only have two bottles). If found complete, the whole caboodle would be worth about Php3,500. This slightly damaged pair were found at the annual Greenhills collectibles fair, priced at Php500 each (see the price sticker peeking from the case?). But since it was the last day of the evnt, I got the two for half the price. Now if I could only find more Coca Cola bottles...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

64. Shirley You're Not!: BRIGHT STAR DOLL

Shirley Temple dolls were all the rage in the 30s that unauthorized impostor dolls were made of the most famous doll in history. To get around the legalities, doll manufacturers made their own Shirley look-alikes, with some variations. This deadringer, from Horsman Dolls, is actually Bright Star, a composition doll circa 1930s. Horsman Doll Company was founded in 1865 by Edward Imeson Horsman. the company is still in operations today.

For a 70+ year old plaything, this Bright Star Doll is in remarkable condition, complete with an identifying tag and its own cardboard box. Toys are "sleeping collectibles", rarely offered by antique shops here, so when a local dealer showed me this doll, I napped it up. Besides, even if she's a Shirley rip-off, who could resist those dimples and curls?

63. HAND VASE: Hands Across Time

Hand vases were popular motifs in the 50s and 60s, and a lot of these kitschy ceramics were made cheaply in Japan. They were kept atop tocadors and dressing tables, with a thousand and one variations: some held cornucopias and shells, and one example featured outstretched fingers meant to hold rings. This manicured example holds a vase that looked eerily like a funeral urn to me. Could it have held someone's dearly departed's ashes, perhaps? But I love the symmetry of this kitschy piece. I'm sure The Thing (from Addam's Family) will also fall in love with this one!

62. Hey, You've Got to Hide this Tray Away: BEATLES TRAY

Now you can eat your cake and ogle at the Beatles too. This is Beatlemania to the extreme! John, Ringo, Paul and George immortalized on a metal tray. If you're a fan, would you dare use this funky piece of moptop memorabilia and risk rusting the smiling likenesses of the Fab Four. Of course not, in fact, this enameled serving tray made by Worcester Ware hangs in my room, like a treasured painting. And this circa 1964 tray has an authentic provenance--I got this from a trip from the famous Portobello antique strip in long-ago London trip. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

61. Boxed: PAC-MAN

Before Pacquiao, there was Pac-Man, an arcade game created by Namco in the 1980. It is derived from "Pakkuman"--which a Japanese description for the sound of the mouth when it opens and closes abruptly. The ghost-eating Pac-Man goes around a maze, devouring its enemies along the way. It became so popular in the U.S. that it is now a classic game icon of the 80s. Well, if you've been boxed, you must be good! This rusty Pac-Man lunchbox was found in an American-leaving shop in Dau. It shows Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Clyde in the clutches of Pac-Man. I wonder what ghosts taste like.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This tin ukulele, with superstar Nora Aunor's silkscreened likeness, must have been inspired by her singing of Hawaiian hit songs "Pearly Shells", "Little Grass Shack" and "Tiny Bubbles". Why she even made a whole album called "Blue Hawaii"! This is an unauthorized merchandise that was made at the height of Ate Guy's fame, mid-70s possibly. A real trubute to the "Li'l Brown Gal" of Albay! Aloha oe!

59. '50s ARTISTAS! Fan Photos Galore

Dream. Believe. Survive. Starstruck!

And survive these 1950s movie stars did--in these small color fan photos found at a recent collectible show. Printed on thin paper, these may have come as premiums with certain products--like bubble gum and candies--made to be collected as a set. Or they may been cheap prizes for a "bunutan" board. The photos even have printed 'autographs' of the stars that include Nestor de Villa, Tessie Agana, Ben Perez, Carmen Rosales, Evelyn Valle, Danilo Montes, Carlos Salazar, Jose Padilla Jr. Armando Goyena and Alicia Vergel. You see, old movie stars never die, they just get collected.


At a recent Greenhills Collectibles Fair, I found this Chinese Checkers board, a game we used to play as kids but which we discarded in favor of the easier-to-play dama or plain checkers. The objective of the game is to place one's marbles in the corner opposite your starting position on a hexagonal star, through single moves or jumps over your opponent's marbles. This game, however, is not Chinese at all--it was devised in Germany in 1893 under the name “Stern-Halma”, which in turn, was derived from an American game called "Halma". “Stern” is German for star. The name “Chinese checkers” was coined by Bill and Jack Pressman from their patented game originally called "Hop Ching Checkers".

The above-featured Chinese Checkers board is Philippine-made by Aristocrat Checker Supply, possibly in the early '70s. It is of thin plywood and painted green and red. I thought this boardgame is worth keeping - I still haven't figured what to do with it--considering that nobody plays Chinese Checkers anymore. (Well, I know of one friend who still plays this game--but online!)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

57. TV Dog Hero: LASSIE

Wel, well, well, do you know that Lassie--the canine hero of the hit TV series that ran from 1954-1973--was actually a boy dog? Joining the pooch as human companions was eleven-year-old Jeff Miller (Tommy Rettig), his mother, and his grandfather until seven-year-old Timmy Martin (played by Jon Provost) and his adoptive parents took over in later seasons.

"Lassie"was such a hit that many merchandise were produced during the show's run, including inclbooks, costumes, clothing, ring, wallet, gameboards, luncboxes and toys--such as this fluffy stuffed Lassie. The silver collar identifies the heroic dog, who was actually played by a collie originally named Pal and several of his male descendants. Still in good condition, this Lassie toy serves to remind me of those early days of TV when shows were still watchable and wholesome. Now it seems, a lot of TV shows are going to the dogs.


First time to see a Magnolia milk amber bottle! This is a quart bottle with the familair oval logo. The back side has the same oval with the words "Mutlivitamis Added" inscribed. A listing of the nutritional content is added. Perhaps this was some form of a therapeutic milk product. This Magnolia bottle mystery still stumps me.


Meet Jamie Sommers (played by Lindsay Wagner), the Bionic Woman--but do be careful--this former tennis player re-engineered by Oscar Goldman has superhuman legs, amplified hearing and a bionic arm that packs a mean wallop. Jamie first appeared in a 2-part episode on "The Six Million Dollar Man", earning such high ratings that a separate series was spun-off by ABC and later NBC, running from 1976-78. This mint-in-the-box action figure of Jamie Sommers made by Kenner was a purchase from Hake's Americana and Collectibles, a mail auction that was hugely popular before the advent of ebay. A quick ebay check showed a similar piece with a $99 starting bid, but I got this for just 20$. In 2007, an attempt was made to revive the TV series but failed to flex its bionic muscles.

Monday, September 28, 2009

54. 6 MILLION DOLLAR MAN Action Figure

The hit TV series Six Million Dollar Man ran from 1974-78 and was based on the novel Cyborg. Headlining this series about a man working for the OSI (Office of Scientific Intelligence) was Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors), whose various body parts (legs, left eye, right arm) were replaced by "bionic" implants. This enhanced his strength, speed and vision far above human norms: he can run at over 100 km/hour, and his eye has a 20:1 zoom lens with infrared powers. Steve Austin became such an icon that an action figure had to be made, replicating his bionic capabilities. This plastic figure shows Steve with his bionic eye (which is simply a magnifying lens) and a springing bionic arm. Also on Steve is an original membership button for "The 6 Million Dollar Man Club". In 1975, Steve was given a love interest with the launch of "Bionic Woman".

Nowadays, at the rate plastic surgery is being done in the Philippines, more and more men and women are becoming bionic, rendering the feats of Steve ordinary and commonplace.


"Nothing To Wear" proclaims this 1950s ceramic bank in the shape of a model mannekin. So if you fill up this coin bank to overflowing, would you have enough funds to wear a Dior? I doubt it. I don't think you'll have enough even for a Divisoria duster!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

52. PLAZA LUNCH Advertising Pocket Mirror

Celluloid pocket mirrors were favorite advertising giveaways of establishments like Plaza Lunch, a Manila restaurant established in 1914, touted as "The Only Place In The Orient"--whatever that means. Though popular in its time, I have not uncovered much information about Plaza Lunch, but a lot can be told about its manager-founder, American Fred M. Harden. Harden married Filipina Esperanza Perez in 1917, and together they started several successful businesses, acquiring prime real estate and valubale property. In 1938, they stopped living together. In connivcance with another Filipino, Fred spirited away cash and assets from his wife, thus committing fraud in the administration of their conjugal ownership of properties. Sued by his wife in a case that reached the Supreme Court, Harden was subsequently jailed at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa.

"Mirror, mirror in my pocket, whose criminal case is in the docket?.."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


"At the wheel of the Nation", is my guy, Pres. Ramon Magsaysay (1907-1957), immortalized as a wind-up mantle clock, posed literally steering the country to progress. But as we all know, time ran out prematurely for Magsaysay when an airplane crash took his life in 1957. Made of cast metal, figural clocks of politicos like these are more common in the U.S. (I have seen a Franklin D. Roosevelt version of this). I found this Magsaysay clock in a Bulacan junk shop and have seen non-working examples go for as much as 3 Thousand Pesos in antique shops. Rarer is the Manuel L. Quezon clock that looks not much different than this. The clock face and mechanism of this timepiece have been lost a long time ago, but the glass is surprisingly intact. A new coat of paint and a replacement clock are all this needs to make my guy go tick-tockin' again!

Monday, September 21, 2009


I saw the movie version of this 1974 TV cult classic, and was sorely disappointed at the film re-make. Cha-ka looked so downright dumb, the acting was way over the top and the special effects failed to excite. Well, I guess their new creators never knew the Pakunis that much. Anyway, the original Land of the Lost recounts the adventures of the Marshall family who were trapped in an alternate universe inhabited by dinos and denizens like the humanoid lizards called Sleestak and stone age Pakunis. Created by the prolific Sid and Marty Krofft (they also gave us H.R. Pufnstuf, Bugaloos, Wonderbug and Sigmund and the Sea Monster, to name a few). The episode storylines focus on the family's efforts to survive and find a way back to their own world. Before they could retrace their way home, lunchbox manufacturer Larami freezed a Marshall family moment in this metal box, dated 1975. A neat way to eat your dino meatburger, you like Cha-ka?


In the 60s, "Coca Cola Body" was used to describe a lady with a sexy, hourglass figure, in reference to the familiar shape of the Coke bottle. But early 1900s Coca Cola bottles actually had straight sides, as this ca. 1908 American example shows, bought from a Cebu collector. The color, too, is aqua, and the brand font seems cruder than the more flowing typeface used today. But whether sexy or straight-sided, vintage Coke bottles are one of the hottest collectibles in the market today--the pasue that continues to refresh!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

48. Movie Poster: TAGUMPAY

A small handbill features the pairing of the Golden Boy of Philippine Cinema Rogelio dela Rosa with Arsenia Francisco in one of the first post-war movie offerings of LVN Studios, entitled "Tagumpay" (Victory), with obvious patriotic stirrings in its theme. Rogelio eventually became a senator and a diplomat while Arsenia became the wife of Jose Padilla Sr. This piece of showbiz ephemera came from a dealer in Bulacan whose family owned the printing press that printed these cheap newsprint promotional handbills.


"Palikero" is the Filipino term for a "dandy", an apt brand name for a local pomade product manufactured in the late 1930s. This small paper label, featuring a photo of an unidentified Hollywood star with slickbacked hair, was once glued on the front panel of a bottle with a tin cap, just like the way popular brands of the day like Tarzan, Verbena and Three Flowers were packaged. Hair pomades left hair greasy and gleaming with oily luster--just what the girls go for in their men!

Monday, September 14, 2009


This small Filipina doll, made in the 1930s for the tourist trade, was an ebay find. Philippine curios were quite in demand during the American occupation, either bought by visiting tourists or Americans based in the Philippines, for sneding to friends and relatives back home. This doll is typical of those cheap souvenirs peddled by outlets (such as San Juan Store, as the box label shows) all over Manila.

Made of composition and dressed in a native baro't saya, the features of this jointed doll are hand-painted. It is wigged and outfitted with non-blinking glass eyes. The molded head has cracked and the body shows signs of peeling paint. Despite the flaws, this doll has quite a history, as documented by the ebay seller.

Indicated on the box are the pencilled notations: "To the secretary of Gov. Frank Murphy". It turns out that this particular souvenir doll was given as a gift to the secretary of a fomer Governor-General of the Philippines at the time of the Commonwealth. William Frank Murphy (1890-1949) was appointed as a Governor General of the Philippines from 1933-1935--the last American to serve. He also served as the first High Commissioner of the Philippines and after his Philippine assignment, went on to become a Mayor of Detroit, Governor of Michigan and the Attorney General of the U.S. His contributions to his leadership of the Philippines were recognized by way of Fifty Centavo and One Peso Coins minted in 1936 with his likeness.

As for his secretary, the recipient of this pretty souvenir, no records of her remain.