Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cracker Jack toys

I don't know about you, but I've never been a fan of Cracker Jack.  I mean, as a kid, I'd eat it, but only for one reason - the toy surprise inside!  I'm sure it drove my parents crazy that there'd be half-eaten boxes of the stuff around the house but after I'd looted it for the booty, I really could've cared less about the actual confection.

I grew up in the 70s and to me, it was the best era of Cracker Jack toys.  Upon viewing the little joke books and "tattoos" of that time, they almost seem subversive compared to today's "Let's not offend or upset anyone!" mentality. 

My absolute favorite prize was the tiny little notepads - that was hitting the jackpot, as far as I was concerned.  I must've had a collecting gene even then, because I wouldn't use more than one of the sheets!  I couldn't resist trying it out but after that, they'd get stored in a little drawer.  If only I'd kept those, but alas - they're lost to the ages.
Fortunately, there are pack rats like me who somehow kept these babies intact.  I found a good portion of my collection at an antique mall in Oshkosh, WI (about 15 miles from me).  For three bucks, I got a pretty swell representation of the 70s prizes.

Some of you may question whether or not these prizes should truly be considered ephemeral, as it clearly says right on the front of the wrapper, "Collect 'em all!".  But kids will be kids and, especially in the case of the "tattoos", it's a miracle that these survived.  So yes, I'm going to call them ephemera.  Alert the paper police!  :D

I've also used this stuff in my art - it always lends an air of fun to the piece!


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