UPDATE: This post was made in regards to my book Mail-Order Mysteries. The book is finished but I'd still love to know if you dig up any of these items. Email me at kirkd (at) centurytel.net
My unending fascination with stuff that was sold in old comic book ads has lead me into yet another project based on the topic. I'll be able to go into more detail later but right now there are a handful of mail order novelties that would be nice to include, but I can't seem to track them down. I can offer a gift (and credit) to any fun spotters who can provide high res photos of, or point me to, or lend me any of the following items....
UPDATE: How to Draw Monsters, Pocket Gym, and the original Bag Full O' Laughs have been found! Alas there's more on my wish list...
Frontier Cabin- This "playhouse" is a plastic tablecloth that's big enough to cover a card table. I've heard from folks who had it but nobody kept it. (Which is no surprise.)
Grow 7 Monsters- These are little cardboard things that grow "hair" when you water them. Please tell me you have a box of them in your warehouse.
Like the Johnson Smith horror record this one is a 7-inch that plays at 33rpm. I don't know who the hypnotist is (though it's possibly Melvin Powers) or if it had cover art.
UPDATE: FOUND! Electrostatic Generator- This silly thing was offered for decades and yet I can't even find a single photo of it online. Did they all break? Do they go by another name? Is this a government cover up?
Motorized Submarine- I've found about a half dozen motorized submarines that look extremely close to this (though many are 12 inches) but I can't locate one that matches this illustration exactly. It was sold in the late 70s, early 80s.
Height Increase Pads- There's a vast supply of shoe lifts old and new, but I'd love to find some from this place, The Liftee Company (Though Liftee may just be the name of the distributor.) These seem like a tough find.
Missile Firing Tank- This is in the same vein as the Polaris Sub and the Jet Rocket which is to say it's a lot of cardboard. Never seen the real thing.
This is not to be confused with the more common Haunted House Mystery Bank that features a little plastic ghost in the doorway. This one is nearly identical except that it has a hand that grabs your money.
I've got the bat but I'd love to assemble the "Horror Outfit" which consists of...
-Flying Creepie [sic] Monster with popping eyes
-Wierd [sic] Skeleton Head
-Dangling Black Widow Spider
-Shrunken Head (I have this)
-Surprise Slimy Creature
Did you ever order one of these? Do you remember what these looked like? I've got lots of goodies that would fit those descriptions, but I want the exact ones that came with the bat.
This is a poster that I can't find.
There are plenty of modern smoke bombs out there but I'd love to find a vintage package of these in particular, though I have no clue what they look like.
Certainly you have this very pair of Weighted Wristlets laying around that I could photograph.
These are monster balloons that I doubt I'll ever find. As I understand it the lower one came with a crude device that makes sound when you run your finger across it, almost like the grooves of a record.
If you have any leads for me on any of these please leave a comment or email me at kirkd at centurytel.net Like I said, if it works out that I use an image of your item (or find one based on your lead) then I'll give you full credit and reward you less-than-handsomely, with a product inspired by this theme (and I would be extremely thankful.)
You can also contact me if you have access to anything similar, or just tell me if there are any old mail order novelties that you were particularly fond of or curious about.
None of these are essential to the project, but I just thought I'd ask. In the future I'll serve up a more satisfying post in which I'll share some of the stuff that I actually have tracked down.