Thursday, March 14, 2013


James Buchanan, thought of the black and white terrier mascots for his Black & White Scotch Whisky product that he founded in London in the 1890s. Since then, the scotch whisky brand with the familiar label has figured prominently in our pop culture--it was featured being drunk in movies like James Bond, Dolores Claiborne, La Dolce Vita (with Marcello Mastroianni as the happy swigger), and is te favorite drink of Dean Martin and Cary Grant. The iconic terriers (actually a black Scottie and a white West Highland) have appeared in thousands of merchandising materials through the years.

This particular display, found in a Pampanga shop, is one such example. To entice barhoppers, this usually was placed on the bar top, with a real B&W Scotch bottle set next to the cute canines. It is made from some kind of plastic and dates from the 50s. These bar displays may have been imported to the Philippines by the local distributor. On ebay, a flawless example (sans the vntage bottle) of this advertising collectible commands a starting bid of about $20. Got mine for about half of that price--considering its condition, but still a good buy for a rarely seen piece.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

256. Tailored Sailor: POPEYE CLOTH DOLL

I've always been a Popeye fan ever since I was a kid, so when I saw this vintage cloth doll in Bangkal, I just had to get it. Popeye the Sailor Man, as the world knows, was born in 1929, a cartoon character created by Elzie Segar. Popeye first appeared in King Feature's daily comic strip and proved to be quite a hit; in 1933, cartoons were produced until 1957. In the Philippines, Popeye cartoons were shown starting in the mid 60s on Channel 7, delighting kids like me with his feats of strength (from a can of Spinach) used against his nemesis (Brutus) whose shenanigans always put into harm's way Olive Oyl, Brutis and hamburger-chompin' Swee'pea. As predicted, Popeye's global popularity resulted in the production of millions of licensed merchandise--toys, dolls, costumes, comics, books, to name just a few.

This Popeye cloth, I assumed was U.S. made--it had a cloth label with the very foreign-sounding brand name Henlich Mark.To my surprise, it turned out to be Philippine-made, a creation of a company owned and operated by the Henares-Lichauco Family back in the 60s. The enterprising Mrs. Lichauco had started the business at home, first, making powder puffs, then branching into children's costumes and stuffed toys which were popular among kids in the 70s thru the 80s. The company is still in existence today. This 22 inch doll has silkscreened features (including his anchor tattoos and trademark pipe), and comes with a separate collar and buttons to complete his sailor outfit. After all these years--Popeye lives on in this doll-- "strong to the finish, 'cause I eats me spinach, I'm Popeye the Sailor Man! Toot-toot!"