Friday, October 24, 2014

314. How To Enter the Dragon: BRUCE LEE KEY CHAIN

Saw this cheap, plastic martial arts key chain in a Cubao thrift shop. The small, 2.5 in. figure is gold painted, and I assumed it to be Bruce Lee, who first appeared as Kato on the Green Hornet 60s TV series. Of course, he is better known as THE kung-fu master of all times! The figure holds a pair of nanchuks (chaku) and is poised to demolish the door if the key doesn't work! Bruce Lee souvenirs--as well as martial arts collectibles, are not hot items at the moment, but that doesn't matter--it's picking for cheap collectibles that gives me a kick!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

313. Advertique: AN ABOGADO'S TRADE SIGN

There was a time when it was popular to advertise your professional services via signboards often posted on the front of your residences for all the world to see your title and your degree--from Comadrona, Dentista, Medico to Abogado or Notario Publico. Of course, services are advertised more conveniently now online--in such special sites as Linked and in many profession-specific websites. But back then, you would see painted signs on tin and wood such as this--picked from Manila--artistically framed and lettered, examples of vintage signage art made extinxt with new technology like computer-designed and weather-proofed tarpaulins. Of course, there was an impulse to google Abogado Silverio S. Tayao  on google, and a wealth of information was gathered online: Atty. Tayao came from Malolos and was admitted to the Philippine Bar on 24 January 24, 1955. He rose to become a Judge in Makati.  I was glad to know that he is still active, with offices in Salcedo Village, also in Makati. But I am sure his office sign is much more attractive than this, perhaps of gleaming chrome and steel, for better visibility and presentation. I'd much rather stick to his tin sign, when billboards, signs and posters were all done by hand, making them truly, one of a kind!

Saturday, October 11, 2014


"Cute as a Kewpie!"
Kewpies were initially conceived as comic strip characters by artist,  Rose O'Neill. The name "Kewpie" it is said, was derived from "Cupid"-- also depicted in mythology as a youn child, naked and winged. The cartoons began to gain popularity after the publication of O'Neill's comic strips in 1909, and thereafter, paper doll versions of the Kewpies were made. The characters were first produced as bisque dolls in Germany beginning in 1912, and became extremely popular in the early twentieth century.Later, they were made from composition, celluloid, hard plastic, soft rubber and vinyl.
KEWPIES made in Germany. With and without the identifying Kewpie heart label. PICTURE SOURCE:

The earlier bisque and composition versions of Kewpie dolls are widely sought-after by collectors--and this  7-inch German-made example was a prize find from a local antique shop. Versions were made without the identifying Kewpie heart label found on the doll's chest, but all have the same characteristics: protruding belly, googlie eyes, stubby arms and little back wings. Kewpies have become part of our pop culture--used as mascots, in advertising, art,  and even in songs!

Friday, October 3, 2014


One of the earliest Chirstmas gifts I can remember was a 1960s coloring book of the U.S. Presidents given out by Planter's Peanuts---that peanut company with that ever-present Mr. Peanut mascot gracing the front page. The coloring book, purchased by my Mother from Johnny's grocery in downtown Angeles City, featured all the American presidents--from Washington to Kennedy. It was one of the few color books that I did not keep, so when I found this smaller paint book version--I knew this would be a perfect substitute!
Planters Peanuts was founded by Italian Amedeo Obici in 1906, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. In 1916 the company held a contest to create a company logo and the contest was won by a 14 year old . schoolboy named Antonio Gentile who drew a Peanut Man. Artist Frank P. Krize, Sr., improved it by adding a top hat, a monocle, and a cane to the drawing, and Mr. Peanut was born. By the mid-1930s, the raffish figure had come to symbolize the entire peanut industry, appeared on packages, advertising and premium items like this paint book.
The paint book features side-by-side illustrations of the U.S. presidents--one in black and white and one in color, to be used as a color guide. Defining events from the president's term are also drawn; in the case of Pres. Kennedy, the age of space exploration is shown. The paint book is unused and dates before Kennedy's assassination.
Planters Peanut products were available in limited quantities in the Philippines--through the military PX goods mostly. Even today, Planters are imported, available in select groceries and supermarkets like S& R. It just goes to show how popular the brand has become globally, with Mr. Peanut winning acclaim as one of the most recognized character trademark in marketing history.