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.