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!

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