Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Downtown

Remember when I said that I was going to take the week before the election and talk about the political ephemera in my collection?  Well, I'm taking a break, because today is the day that I hang my exhibit:

I am beside myself with excitement.  I have been working on this project for the last year and a half, from conception to the final framing.  I hope you don't mind that I use my blog as a platform today!

I LOVE downtown Fond du Lac.  I've lived here since October of 1996 and I've been hanging out downtown pretty much since Day One.  We have a vibrant, thriving Main Street full of specialty shops, restaurants, and services.  This exhibit is my love letter to my city.  :)

You can read the newspaper article here, but I also wanted to make this plea to you, my dear readers: this holiday season, why not revisit the downtown area or city center where you live?  I'm a big cheerleader for independent businesses (and The 3/50 Project!) - these are the shops and services that make our own cities unique.  These are the folks who put their heart and soul into their life's work.  They're just waiting for you to stop by and say "howdy"!  :D

Okay, I'm off of my soapbox now.  :D  You may be wondering, "This is all well and good, but how does it fit in with ephemera?"

Well, most of the pieces in my exhibit are collages that I created with decorative paper and said ephemera.  The use of ephemera is very subtle and you really have to look for it, but it's there.  It's my little "wink-wink-nudge-nudge" to you, my fellow Ephemeraologists.  There may be a vintage label here, some handmade paper there - it's like I was waiting to use these things for my most important project to date (there's another VERY important project coming up in April - that one's for charity).  I even made a book/e-book to complement the exhibit!  You can check those out at my Blurb store here and here!  :D

Thanks for indulging me today, my dear readers.  I will be back to more fun vintage political stuff tomorrow - until then, I'm going to have a series of coronaries today.  Wish me luck!  :D

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Political Pre-Pinbacks

Holy smokes - we're in the home stretch, people!  To all my readers living in the US (and those Canadians who receive US channels) - hang tight!  Only one more week of political ads!  :D

What I'd like to do for the next week is to travel back to a gentler time - a time with newspapers stating facts with an occasional opinion (as opposed to cable news networks of either slant, where it's exactly the opposite), and only three channels, where the only news you'd get would be from David Brinkley, Walter Kronkite or Harry Reasoner.  :)

Before Facebook, how did voters show their affiliation?  With buttons!  The political button is a time-honored tradition - I have quite a few myself!  In fact, there is a photo of me in 1988, shortly after my 20th birthday, proudly showing off my Dukakis pin - I wish I knew where it was but alas, it's probably buried somewhere.  We all know how that turned out!  :)

Here are some pre-pinned pinback buttons, complete with registration marks, probably direct from the printers'!  There are some LBJ pins from the 1964 election....

Some HUGE McGovern pins from 1972 (RIP, George)....

And a Ford-Dole sheet from 1976.

It's interesting that the only winner was LBJ!  And I am VERY ashamed to say that I didn't know that Dole was Ford's running mate in 1976 - I thought it was Nelson Rockefeller!  :/

I love that these were never pressed into plastic - they're as pristine as the day they were printed!  They all show promise, don't they?  In the months preceding an election, it's almost always a nail-biter (with the glaring exception here of the McGovern campaign - he lost in a landslide).  These pins are so hopeful - we Americans have always been loyal to whomever we feel is the best candidate.  It'll be interesting to see how political buttons fare in the coming elections.

Anyway, I'd like to take this opportunity to say, Lincoln in '64!  :D

Monday, October 29, 2012

What does it Mean?

Oh, how I love estate sales - especially when I find stuff like this:

It's a Spanish-English dictionary for Venezuelans, copyright 1945!  The book itself is inherently cool, but its contents spilled forth more than just pages!  In fact, it's chock-full of really interesting finds!

I have to preface this by saying that I was in Kohler (Wisconsin) this weekend for the sale.  If the name Kohler sounds familiar, check your bathroom or kitchen - it's entirely possible that your sinks and/or toilet bear this name!  :D  The city is indeed named after the company's founders, and now the company itself, which is still headquartered there.  It's a fairly wealthy enclave (here's the house where the sale was) and I always got the impression that it is quite insulated - almost everyone knew everyone else at the sale.  Judging by the age of most of the patrons and the fact that this house was built in 1952, I believe that the owners were the first and only inhabitants of the home until now.

Now that you know where I was, this letter I found in the book will make a little more sense!  :D  It's from Conrad Kohler, Commercial Attache to the US Embassy in Venezuela, to Sen. Joseph McCarthy.  Yes, THAT Senator Joe McCarthy - I'm ashamed to say that he represented our fair state of Wisconsin.  A dark period in history indeed.

Anyway, the letter doesn't really seem to be about anything of major importance, but I LOVE that I own it! I actually have the letter and the duplicate.  It was written about a year and a half before McCarthy's Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954 and his subsequent censure, but it was during the big Communism scare.

I have MUCH more from this book - I tell you, it was chock full!  But I will wait until next Wednesday to talk more about it - beginning tomorrow, I'm beginning my week-long series of political ephemera!  Not to worry - it's ALL vintage and there will be no proselytizing!  :D

Thursday, October 25, 2012

They've been Workin' on the Railroad....

Train travel - doesn't that sound romantic?  I'm sad that I missed this mode of transportation, and it wasn't by much, either - maybe 20-30 years?  My mom and in-laws, who were all born in the same year (1946), all have traveled by train.  And I'm only 22 years younger!

For all of my romanticizing and nostalgia, there was a working side to the railroad, as these wonderful memos suggest:


These are from another lot of goodies that I got at Manto Fev this past weekend.  I HAD to have them!  I have a lot of railroadiana but I had never seen these before.  Plus, some of them are 111 years old!

The handwriting is hard to read on most of them but I did decipher one memo from a gentleman (I assume) who had lovely penmanship.  It reads:
B.W. Herrman, Agent                                                                     7/25
"Dear sir - in regard to aftd (?) our Delivery Clerk made a careful search of all such places but he was unable to Locate the missing case.  I had him make another search but in doing so he found a case simmilar (comforting to know that people misspelled even back then! - Mel) to the Lost Case and he Purchased it and had it delived (sp) to Theobold & Son. I called up Theobold & Son and they said that they would withdraw there (sp) claim as soon as they would receive the Case of Empty Bottles. - Fleming."
Marvelous!  I have no clue what it means, but doesn't "Case of Empty Bottles" sound like a country song?  I think it's a hoot that so many common nouns were capitalized - don't know what that's all about, either.  :D

If you're wondering about the Norfolk & Western Railway, it was in existence all the way up to 1997, when it was merged into Norfolk Southern, a railway that exists even today.  It began life at the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio in 1838 but changed the name to N&W in 1881.  They were mainly cargo freight (lots of coal) but also had some passenger operations as well, like the Pocahontas and the Cavalier.  Both cars last ran in 1971.

Will I use these?  Oh yes.  Not all of them, but the ones with white space will most definitely be used in some sort of railway-themed collage.  How could I not?  :D


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Special Today!

I love old signage.  Case in point:

Oh, yes.  Isn't this glorious?  I love everything about it - the colors, that "store" font, the ridiculously low price, the size (roughly 6 X 10"), the fact that the actual store name is featured - it's ALL good.  :D

And how about that store?  If you can't read it, it says, "Murphy's, the Complete Variety Store".  From a quick Google search, I believe I discovered that these stores began in McKeesport, Pennsylvania and, like many other variety stores, had a lunch counter and low, low prices (here's something fascinating - in doing my research, I discovered this photo from a Murphy's - right here in Fond du Lac!!  Is this true?!?!  Native Fond du Lacians - help me out!).  :D  From the company website, it seems that there were many stores, mainly in the Eastern U.S. and some Midwestern states.

Because of my age, I pretty much missed the "variety store" days.  By the time I was cognizant of store branding and retail merchandising, the "discount store" had taken the variety store's place.  Sure, K-Mart had a cafeteria, but it wasn't the same as a lunch counter, at least to my mind.  I'm pretty sure the Slushie was the only 'fountain' drink that K-mart served - no phosphates or egg creams there.  :)

Because I enjoy living vicariously through those who have come before me, I would LOVE to hear any variety store stories you have.  Please - share with me and the readers what you remember and loved the best about any variety store in your area - and don't forget to name the store!  :D

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Enveloping Ephemera

Sometimes, it's just the simple things that I enjoy most.  Take, for example, these old envelopes -

I just got a lot of them from Manto Fev!  Now of course, most people reading this would wonder why on earth I would spend money on USED, old envelopes (and this is the second post I've done on used envelopes, even!).  Well, they just don't get it.  :)

If they DID understand, then they'd know why these are so cool!  For example, they'd understand that each of these envelopes has a story.  You'll notice that all of these are addressed to residents of Omaha - that's because Manto Fev's based out of Omaha.

Or how about the awesome return addresses?  Can you imagine having a bank (no more savings & loans!) called CONSERVATIVE in this day and age?  You'd have 50% of the population who'd refuse to bank there.  ;)  But oh, look at that beautiful interior!  It's one of the most wonderful things about vintage business envelopes - the cool designs!

Or take this envelope. Here's something you'll never see again, but was absolutely common 55 years ago - addressing the recipient's residence as "City".  No zip code, no city, no state - if the mail sorters were in charge of local mail, why would you need any of those things?  And I'll bet that it was received the next day, or in 2 days at the latest.  No return address, either!  There is also a lack of a postmark (because it was in the city?) but in my short research on the Martha Washington 1 1/2 cent stamp, I'm going to place this around the late Thirties.

I'll be honest - some of these envelopes are going to be cut up to use as backgrounds for collages I'll be doing (that vintage yellowed paper can't be beat), and some will be turned into handmade paper.  If this bothers you, take heart - at least I saved them from a thousand years in a landfill!  :D

Monday, October 22, 2012

People Today

Wow!  How times change!

How so?  Well, check out this "adult" publication from 1951:


If the magazine looks tiny, that's because it is!  It's pocket-sized.  This lascivious lady is hiding the title, but this is a copy of "People Today", which was published from the Fifties through the Seventies.  The copy I have, from August of 1951, has no advertising whatsoever.  I suppose that no "family" companies would want to be associated with such filth.

I mean, just look at this horrific smut contained in this rag!  How on EARTH are magazines like this allowed to be printed?  Someone should really do something about this - does the Attorney General know that disgusting printed material is being sent through the US MAIL?!  :D

I kid, of course, but I'll bet that there some folks who weren't kidding, 61 years ago.  Why, there are women in bikinis or less in these pages!  Just look at these!  And how many poor, unsuspecting young girls do you suppose these pin-up boys have corrupted? (Answer: zero, if you know what I'm sayin'.  Wink wink!) ;)

I can't even remember anymore where I got this mini-mag.  I just love it for the historical context - who would've known 1951 what would become of "adult" magazines in the future - or on the Internet, for that matter?  This cover wouldn't even warrant a second look anymore!

I sometimes wonder what else there is for us as a society to do for prurient shock value.  I don't really want to know about it, but I'm sure there isn't any 'theme' or fetish that hasn't been unearthed for those who enjoy whatever they want to enjoy.  I'm all for free speech and no censorship, unless it deals with minor children, so whatever floats one's boat is a-okay with me.  But if this is the "smuttiest" publication in my house, I'm okay with that, too.  :D

P.S.  The rest of the magazine has articles like this.  Hilarious!

Friday, October 19, 2012

SO Glad these are Obsolete...

I'll let you in on a little secret -

I LOVE doing laundry.  I do!  It's a "chore" I don't mind doing at all.  I have it down to a science, and because it's just Brian and me, it's a snap.  Three loads a week, always done on Sunday (because we're normally home that day) and it's done by 4 p.m.  My wonderful husby even helps with the folding.  :)

I think one of the reasons I love it so much is because I'm extremely grateful for the time we live in.  When I think back to the actual CHORE that laundry used to be, how can I be anything but happy that I have a washer and dryer, and that I don't have to use these:

So, what are these things?  To be perfectly honest, I didn't know either - I had to look them up!  I just bought them because I loved the packaging.  And for my art work.   :)

Let's start with the Satina, which claims to make ironing easier (I know what makes it easier - buying clothes that don't need to be ironed!  Amirite?).  What really intrigued me was the line on the box that says, "For use with cooked starch".  WHAT. THE. WHAT.  Yep, you had to take starch, break off a section of the Satina bar (I don't have the bar, just the box), add boiling water, and mix until it's a thick paste.  I honestly don't know what you're supposed to do after this - do any of you, my dear readers?

I grew up in a household with very little ironing.  I remember my mom ironing my dad's shirts - sometimes.  I think "permanent press" ruled the day, but there must've been some occasions (weddings? Funerals?) where my mom deemed it necessary to use the iron.  When she did, she only used Niagara spray starch, so this "cooked starch" nonsense must predate me by 10-15 years.  Let me tell you - if THIS is what it took to get ironing done, Brian and I would go around looking disheveled.

This next obsolete item (thank goodness!) is bluing.  You can still get bluing in the store, but it's now almost exclusively in liquid form.  The object of bluing is to get your whites looking whiter, and the color blue is used since it's a complementary color of yellow (the dingy color your whites have become).  These blocks you see here are actually British - Reckitt's has been around in one form or another since the 1840s.  As you can see from the directions on the right, you're supposed to wrap this stuff in cloth and stir while squeezing the Blue in the rinse water, and then dip your whites separately until all have been "blued".

Once again - if this is what it took to get your whites whiter, then Brian and I would be walking around in very dingy clothes.  Or we'd just take them to the cleaners every week.  :)

I actually bought the bluing at Silver Crow Creations (still available!) because I wanted to see what it would do to paper.  I had sort of forgotten about the stuff but now that it's right in front of me, I may have to do some experimenting today.  :)

I will leave you with this thought - the next time you need to find something to put in your gratitude journal, think about how totally easy laundry is compared to what our grandmothers and ancestors had to go through.  You should never complain about doing laundry AGAIN.  :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

End of an Era

Happy Thursday, Ephemeraologists!

Thank you so much for sticking with me through sickness AND health - yesterday just knocked me on my patootie!  I'm not 100% yet, but at least I'm vertical and have the strength to type.  :)

But as I turned on the TV this morning, I was greeted with the news that as of December 31, another of our beloved stand-by print magazines will be no longer -

Yep, Newsweek is the latest of the venerable news magazines to bite the dust, at least in print form.

I guess this shouldn't come as any surprise - they had been losing readership (and advertising) for at least the past 5 years.  But when you are so used to something, and it isn't there anymore, it's always kind of sad.  It's hard to be current when news is immediate now - by the time the latest issue hits the stands, that news is almost a week old.  It's too bad that we're such junkies about getting our news the second it happens; sometimes it's good to have a couple of days to reflect on what has happened before we rush to conclusions and start reacting like chimps (and writing stupid comments on boards about said story).

Newsweek began publication on February 17, 1933, almost exactly 10 years after "Time" began printing.  In fact, it was a former foreign news editor of "Time" who began Newsweek.  In the beginning, it was actually News-Week, but was changed in 1937 to its present name (hyphens were all the rage in the early 20th century - why is that?).

You may remember the post I did about the Mad Men cover that Newsweek did last March - alas, even clever stunts such as that were not enough to save the magazine, at least in print form.  And while the powers that be are quick to say that they're "just transitioning the magazine, not saying goodbye to it", I can't help but think that maybe this is it. (Or as the comedian Bad Banana said today, "Congratulations to Newsweek for going all digital.  You are now a blog.")  Digital editions of print magazines are still in their infancy, and it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.  I wish them every success!

I only have one vintage Newsweek (see above) and now I think maybe I should leave it intact.  What do YOU think I should do with it?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Remember Big Boy?

I think this may depend on how old you are, but when I was a kid, going out to eat was a BIG deal.  Even McDonald's, which hadn't been around for very long when I was a kid, was a treat.

For me, one of the best restaurants in the world was Big Boy.  I LOVED going to Big Boy!  Here in Wisconsin we had Marc's Big Boy - what was the franchise near you?

Because of my love for the rotund little guy, I HAD to get these burger wrappers when I saw them on Old Stuff Only a while back.

Aren't they great?  I have four of them.  They have that wonderful wax paper-feel to them.  I had never seen Shoney's-franchised Big Boy ephemera before, so I jumped at the chance to have some in my collection.  In fact, before seeing these, I didn't even know that Shoney's had ever been a Big Boy franchise!  But yes they were, before 1984.  They dropped the Big Boy name that year because they wanted to expand into other states, which were franchised by other Big Boy restaurants.

That was the neat thing about Big Boy restaurants - as a kid I remember being so excited visiting an Elias Bros. Big Boy in Michigan.  My mom would tell me about the Bob's Big Boy when she and my dad lived out in Reno.  And in my twenties, I visited Cincinnati, where they were Frisch's Big Boy.  That Big Boy had BLOND hair!  :D

There are a few remaining Big Boys around - Brian, my mom and I ate at one during a trip to Michigan two years ago.  But for some reason, there are 200 Big Boy restaurants - in JAPAN!  Who knew?  :D

I have used my wrappers only once so far - to make this ATC.  I will use these again, somehow - stay tuned!  :D

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cheap Thrills!

I loves me a good bargain.  Yes, I am one of those people who try to maximize my grocery dollar by pairing store sales with manufacturers' coupons.  I am hardly what you'd call an "extreme" couponer, but I love it when I save money.

Every once in a while, I'll snag something for FREE!  One great perk about working from home is that I'm around when the major brands do giveaways, usually limited to the first 10,000 people who enter.  I've gotten many free tubes of toothpaste, an entire jar of peanut butter, sweet potato fries, lots of free coffee and cappuccino, Philly cream cheese products, Jell-o products - all for FREE.  I'll bet I get about $40 worth of free products per year.  SCORE!   :D

Just this past Friday, I not only received my coupon for a free box of Triscuit snacks, but these awesome stickers, too:

I think I was more excited about the stickers than the free food!  These are going right into the Perpetual Ephemera Depository!  It was all part of a campaign Triscuit ran where they made the entrants file a "topper's complaint", in the form of a Mad Lib, in which we voiced our "displeasure" that Triscuits were so addictive.  Along with the coupon and the stickers, I also received this reply:

I think companies are getting really creative and clever with their marketing strategies!  Let's say, for example, that Triscuit mailed a total of 50,000 coupons for free boxes.  I'm going to bet that 20% will never use the coupon before the expiration date, so that leaves 40,000.  It's STILL cheaper than running a couple of spots on a national network during prime time, plus now you have the added bonus of yokels such as myself indirectly or directly talking about the campaign.  CLEVER!

Will I ever use those stickers?  Only time will tell.  But I can't help thinking about the lucky soul who will someday be at my estate sale and find these stickers and the letter, and will squeal with delight as much as I did when I got them.  :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Making Dentistry FUN!

I'm very lucky - I have a great dentist and hygienist.  They are both very skilled and make going to the dentist a more pleasant experience.  I believe I am finally over my phobia, which plagued me most of my adult life - once, I didn't go for 12 years and another time, for eight.  The sound of the drill was enough to send me over the edge, and I'm a crier, which was always so embarrassing.  But now, I go religiously every four months (I am atoning for my absence by going three times a year).

Harry O. Solomon knows that you have to make dental things fun - check out these beautiful letters!

I have two of these but I had more previously (some of you may have some because of giveaways!).  They're so unusual, aren't they?  This company would send out letters to dentists promoting their services, mainly for prosthetics (dentures).  I got these at Old Stuff Only a while back (they're still available!) and if they say that they're from the 1940s, I believe them.  :)  As you can see, each tri-fold postcard has a different Parisian scene or castle.  Each letter also has a different border.  Beautiful!  I also love that one of the letters is orange!  In the Forties, it would be hard not to notice a letter like this in the stack!

I tried finding more information about Northeastern Dental Laboratory in Detroit but alas, there is nothing to be found.  When I Googled the address, I discovered that there is currently a Marathon gas station on the site. 

When I think about what a trip to the dentist must've been like in the Forties, it makes me even more grateful that we live in an age of pain-free dentistry.  Imagine what it'll be like in another 100 years - maybe dentures won't even exist!

So will I be using these letters in my collage work?  ABSOLUTELY!  I think Harry O. Solomon would want it that way.  :D

Thursday, October 11, 2012

To the Aid of your Party

Wait!  Wait!  Don't leave this page - it's NOT political!  I wouldn't do that to you this early (although I DO have a lot of vintage political ephemera, so....).  :D

No, this is a very vintage party game pack!  I picked it up on a recent trip to the Fox Valley Antique Mall - (yes, the same trip as when I bought these guys - in fact, it was in the same booth!).  The copyright is March, 1942 - hence, the patriotic pun.  This was three months into WWII (for us here in the States) and patriotism must've hit a fever pitch at this point!  It was put out by Reginald S. Leister, who went on to found the Leister Game Co. (which by the way, still exists - typos and all!).

Okay, so I spent a little more than I normally do for this game, but *GASP* - check out some of the games that are included!  And the box is nearly full, so I can keep most of the sheets AND use them for my collages!  :D

First, we have the "Memory Test" game, which is chock-full of awesome images.  When I opened this box at the antique mall, it was this sheet I saw.  I knew right then and there that I HAD to have it - and my friend Elise "helped" me realize it.  :D  I mean, COME ON!  How awesome is that vacuum?  And the shoe?  And the plane?!

So that sheet is wonderful enough, but then I encountered this one:

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!  Sheet upon sheet of 1940s advertising logos?!?!  If I wasn't convinced before, this one clinched the deal for me.  I was also surprised at how many of these are still around today!  Along this same vein is this sheet, full of advertising slogans.  Again, there are some on this sheet that I knew right away, because they're still in use!  Hey, if it ain't broke....

Here's a fun one - the movie stars sheet!  They obviously made these so that anyone can play along - if I can figure out who most of these people are, 70 years later, then it must've been a cinch for the game-players of 1942!

There are also "Who am I?" and "People in the News" games included.  Some of these are a little harder to figure out but if you like history, you'd probably get most of these eventually.  And if you don't, the answers are all in the inside of the box top!  :D

Last but not least are these 8 party games, which I'm sure got even better after the al-kee-hol was imbibed.  I'm sure our parents or grandparents played these games - heck, even I played some of these at get-togethers!  Maybe we should bring this type of fun back - I'm sure hilarity would ensue!

After looking over all that I got with this purchase, any buyer's remorse flew right out the window.  I can't wait to use all of these wonderful sheets!  :D

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Junk Food History

I had such a fun day yesterday!  I continued my "birthday week" with a trip to Stoughton, Wisconsin with my wonderful sister Jen.  We visited an antique mall there, and while there were a lot of clothes and books for sale (two things I really don't collect), I did manage to score these:

What's even more fantastic is that I thought I was just getting a lot of the Jay's bags - I had NO idea that I was hitting the motherlode of vintage cellophane junk food packaging!  :D

When you think about it, "junk food" is such a weird thing, isn't it?  In our grand scheme of things, the food itself is not only pretty new, but the concept of snack food is preposterous, isn't it?

Up until about 100 years ago, most of us were too concerned about merely surviving to concern ourselves with leisure activities, let alone leisure FOOD.  Who was going to make it, anyway - the woman of the household?  Oh, sure!  After three meals a day plus an occasional dessert, I'm sure she'd be THRILLED to whip up a batch of deep-fried potatoes or some weird corn things with seasoning!  I'm pretty sure popcorn was a real treat in most households, unless you lived in Iowa during harvest time.

Here are a couple of really early examples of packaged snack foods - "Reed's Original Cheez Korn Kinx", from Reed's Food Products in Darien, Wisconsin; and Pagel's Potato Chips from Pagel's Bakery in Watertown, Wisconsin (both towns are very south-central Wisconsin, close to Janesville and/or Racine).  I love the early misspelling of words - it was like the bakery's way of letting the consumer know that what they were about to eat was not really "food", per se, so they didn't have to spell it correctly.  Oh, and I think our days of using the word "kinx" in any sort of food product are over, too - it's taken on quite a different meaning since the '70s.  :D  That Pagel's bag is my favorite of the entire bunch - LOVE that red!

The Jay's and Fritos bags are the national brands in the bunch.  There is a copyright of 1961 on the Fritos bag, and just by the look of the Jay's bag I'm going to assume it's from around the same time period.  I LOVE that old Frito-Lay logo with the wavy "F" and "L" combined!  Once again we have some misspelling on the Fritos bag - they're "truly krisp and tender".  What does this mean?!  Is there a reason they couldn't spell "crisp" correctly?  The mind reels.

Here's another Frito-Lay product:  Red Dot popcorn.  That clown is muy creepy, yes?  There is NO WAY you could get away with that today, unless it was distributed around Halloween.  Clowns are no longer acceptable on any childrens' or "fun" food items - thank you, Stephen King!  But I love it nevertheless, because the font is marvelous

You may remember this post about potato chips, more early examples of packaged "junk food" (which, etymologically speaking, was coined in 1971 or '72).  If we want to trace the obesity trend in the US, here's a good place to start.  In the meantime, these bags help us to fondly recall a time in our history when they were truly a treat, as opposed to a staple, in our diets.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Captain Midnight Flight Patrooool!

On a recent trip to the Fox Valley Antique Mall in Appleton, Wisconsin with my friend Elise, I came across an entire lot of ephemera from Green Bay, my hometown.  One of the items included was this:

AHHH!!  Isn't it fantastic?!  It's for a card-carrying member of Captain Midnight's Flight Patrol!  The only name on it is just "William".  Judging by the penmanship, I'm going to say that William was about 8 at the time, which would make him around 82 years old today!  How do I know this?

In doing my research for this card, I discovered that Skelly Gasoline was the sponsor of Captain Midnight (more on the show later) for only two seasons: 1938-1940.  If William were indeed 8 years old then, that would put his birth date around 1930, which would make him 82-ish.  Doesn't that just sound bizarre?

I LOVE this card, because it hearkens to that time where kids actually wanted to be heroes.  Does any kid want that anymore?  When I first saw it, it actually reminded me of that part in "Up", when Carl tries to emulate Charles Muntz, the aviator/explorer who I'm going to assume was based on Charles Lindbergh (the hero part)/Amelia Earhart (the disappearing part).  He sees the amazing things Charles does in a newsreel before a matinee.

Well, Captain Midnight is sort of like that.  It began as a radio serial in 1938, with the hero being a part of a Secret Squadron of fighter pilots.  When the U.S. entered WWII, it was even more popular, as the protagonist (real name: Jim Albright) was fighting more conventional villains in the war effort.

All Captain Midnight Flight Patrol members had to live by the code, which is spelled out on the back of the card:
"As a Junior Pilot of the Captain Midnight Flight Patrol, I pledge myself to be Honest in all things, Fair to all others, Brave in the face of danger, Courteous to my superiors and elders and Alert at all times to the fine principles of our Flight Patrol."
I like that.  :D

Looks like William got more perks every time Dad hit the filling station.  And because of these here Internetz, you can see for yourself all of the wonderful Captain Midnight premiums (from Skelly) that were available!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Jetzt Hear This!

I love price tags.  If you're a long-time reader of the blog, you'll remember this post (and this one, too) about my obsession with them, especially if they include that marvelous cents sign.

Well, I just got a lot of price tags that are verlich toll -

Oh, ja!  Diese sind gut!  :D

I don't know why all the German ephemera this week, but whatever the reason, I thought I'd round it out with these babies.  I love 'em!

"Jetzt" means "now" in German, so I'm going to take an educated guess and say these are markdown price tags.  It's interesting to me that other countries have adopted the seemingly American standard of retail sales - the kind that Kohl's has perfected (i.e., have stuff ALWAYS "on sale").

The whole tag is great!  The downward arrow shape, the color, the hand pointing to the price, and that beautiful "Jetzt".  Thanks to Google Translate, I know now that it's pronounced "ee-etst".  :D

I don't know how I'm going to use them yet, but oh yes, I will be using them!  I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's Dynamite!

Attention all my U.S. readers, ages 30-50!

No, this is not a post about how you already qualify for life insurance.  :D  I'm just curious - how many of you remember "Dynamite" magazine?

I LOVED "Dynamite"!  Unfortunately for my sister, I would read it first, even though it was really her subscription.  I don't know what I was thinking - maybe that because I'm the oldest, I get to read it first?  Yeah.  Let's go with that.  But here's my chance to publicly apologize, 35 years later.  Sorry Jere!  :D

According to Wikipedia, "Dynamite" was published by Scholastic Press from 1974-1992.  I was on the early end of that scale; I'd say prime years were probably 1977-1980.  Covers I remember the most featured Mork and Mindy, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, and Kristy McNichol.

So when I found these AWESOME stickers at our "white elephant" swap, which was held during our most recent live ATC trade in Greendale (that's me in the magenta hoodie at the end of the table!), I squealed with delight.  Turns out they belonged to my friend Carolyn, who just happens to be the same age as I (I think we were the EXACT demographic at the peak of the magazine's popularity). When her parents visited from Virginia, they also brought much of Carolyn's childhood belongings, and these were in one of the boxes!  Even though it had been 35 years since I'd seen these stickers, I immediately knew their origin.  When Carolyn saw me reach for them, she laughed - I think she knew that I would be the eventual recipient when she brought them to the swap!

As a 9 year-old girl, there couldn't have been anything more thrilling than new stickers.  I think I had Ephemeraologist tendencies even then, because I would never use these stickers!  While other kids were pasting them willy-nilly on their notebooks and Trapper Keepers, I would stash mine and occasionally take them out and look at them smugly, because mine were all pristine and everyone else's were getting all dirty from use.  Of course this smugness was moot, because I was the only one who cared whether or not the stickers were pristine (yeah, I was one of those kids) - the sign of a burgeoning collector.  :)

Thanks for being another of "those kids", Carolyn!  :D

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

From the "I'm Just Happy this Exists" Department

Oh. My. Goodness.  I received a package from London yesterday, and THIS was part of it:

Yep, I own this.  And I LOVE IT.  :D

Is this not so cool?  In case you can't tell in the photo, it's butcher paper, so it's kind of vellum-y.  It's obviously German, and that pig!  That pig can't be beat.  Allow me to translate for you:

Roughly, "Grade A Pork"
Okay, the only thing I can translate is the "inhalt", which
means "content".  So obviously this is the weight info.

This is the plant where the meat was processed.  Can you
imagine having a "Karl Marx Place" in the U.S.?  :D
Incidentally, this appears to be in the city of Chemnitz,


I have no idea what I'm going to do with all 10 feet of this glorious paper, but I know it will be "just the thing" someday.  I'm just happy that it's mine.  :D

Monday, October 1, 2012

Who is Julius Meinl?

As I was cleaning and re-sorting my studio this summer (egads, that was painful!), I kept coming across various items of my ephemera that bore a certain silhouette and name:

I believe this roughly translates to: "We
like to go to Julius Meinl!", but don't
quote me on that.  :D

It was all at once so familiar to me, and yet I couldn't place why I knew it.  Then I read the history behind the name -

OF COURSE!  It was the eponymous coffee shop I had visited numerous times during my month-long trip to Vienna 25 years ago!  (Side note:  If you're wondering how I could forget something like this, keep in mind that I was 19.  And I could legally imbibe alcohol in Europe.  'Nuff said.)  :D

Coincidentally, Julius Meinl is celebrating 150 years this year! Over here, any company celebrating 150 years is astonishing; in Europe, they're still considered a "young" company.  Did you know that this shop was one of the first to roast coffee beans in-house?  It was a time-saver for customers, who used to have to roast the green coffee beans themselves!  Over the last century and a half, their logo has changed very little.  The only thing they've modified is the transition from image to silhouette - no doubt to play down what could be construed as offensive, especially now that there are shops in the U.S. (one cannot discount what could be deemed "offensive" over here; i.e., EVERYTHING).

It's too bad that I didn't take better care of my ephemera from that glorious trip to Vienna a quarter-century ago.  I still have some in a scrapbook but the mundane stuff, like sugar packets from a well-known institution, never made it.  Alas, such is the carelessness of a non-fully formed Ephemeraologist.  But my Grammie kept her bag from her trip in 1984!

And my friend Mary, who has seen the world via her zillions of flights and cruises, saved those sugar packets for me!

The matchbox cover label, pictured above, just randomly came in a pack of six I ordered from Manto Fev.  I'm so happy to have it!

And there's good news - I can now visit a Julius Meinl on my next trip to Chicago!  They opened three shops on the north side - two coffee houses and one patisserie!  The next time I'm there, I will definitely go - and this time, I'll save the ephemera.  :)