August 14, 2011


(photo gets huge when you click it)

As a life-long collector I think it's interesting to watch the ebb and flow of my ongoing collections. My interests and my resources teeter totter, and each of the four seasons has an effect on my taste in nostalgia. Winter usually causes cravings for old video games, and Spring reminds me of bike rides to the 1-Stop Mart for Wacky Packages and comic books. This summer I've gone after a few reminders of the open road which is common, and something got me on a premium toy kick early on.

My debilitating geekiness caused me to lay out my bounty from the past few months to see a literal snapshot of the stuff that's come into my possession this Summer, making note of the various means of acquisition, and of course, posting it on the world wide web as a questionable form of entertainment.

So, referring to the above photo, starting clockwise from the upper left corner...

-Greetings from Route 66 book by Voyageur Press- I have my share of Route 66 books but visually, this one's my favorite. It's jammed with beautiful vintage postcards, restaurant menus, and souvenirs. Found it on ebay for five bucks plus shipping.

-The Lincoln Highway book by Michael Wallis and Michael S. Williamson- Having been up and down Route 66 so many times, I'm having fun discovering another vast stretch of American road with its own unique landmarks and attractions. This book will cause me many road trips.

-His and Hers Mod Kooky Komb- A product of Mego, better known for their line of "World's Greatest Super Hero" figures. This item is just nuts even by 1960s standards. My good friend Scott gave me this based on his strong understanding of my needs.

-The Party Survival Kit in a tin can- More about it later in this post.

-Waffle House scary logo plate- I'm not often faced with the temptation to steal, but thanks to this ebay purchase I will no longer have this moral dilemma. I wrote about this here.

-Vintage Stuckey's postcards- I found these three for a dollar in a modern day Stuckey's on I-70 in Indiana. That's like something I would have a dream about.

-Pitfall T-shirt- Happily discovered at Target. I've always loved that cartridge graphic and the way that Activision used the rainbow as a design motif on all of their games.

-Horrible Dog Figurine- Something irresistibly kitschy that one might find in yesteryear's souvenir shop. Formerly covered here.

-Shaky Bacon Wallet (by Dan Goodsell)- An anniversary gift from my lovely wife. So tempted to replace my dilapidated leather wallet with it, but I'm already such a man-child that it might push me into creepy status.

-McWrist Wallet Happy Meal toy- A cheap ebay grab that I've wanted since Jesse French's birthday party in first grade.

-Vintage cereal premiums- All ebay finds, including a Creeping Monster, Fruity Pebbles coin purses, Toucan Sam decoder ring, and the skull pen I detailed here.

-Vintage travel brochures- Flea market finds by my wife who knows me well enough to pick the very best ones.

I will highlight a couple items. First, the Creeping Monster that came in boxes of Honeycomb cereal in 1976. I was too young to know about them at the time, but ever since I gazed into the realm of vintage cereal prizes they've always been high on my want list. I am extremely tempted to open it...

Brandon of the excellent Waffle Whiffer Zone blog
has the original box, of course. That art is phenomenal!..

The other item deserving extra attention is this "Party Survival Kit" from 1966, by American Publishing Corp. APC put out a bizarre assortment of gifts which included a bunch of jigsaw puzzles that were also packaged in tin cans, wooden novelty signs, and the Presto Magix rub-off graphic sets (assuming that's the same outfit).
Speaking of graphics, that's what I love about the survival kit, especially the generic party drunk, the off-kilter borders, and those great, happy typefaces one on top of the other.

APC were the go-to folks for canned non-foods, and I love it when companies really reach to come up with new products to fit their format. The can makes it the epitome of a novelty. It also means that if I want to see what's inside I must ruin it. I can hear stuff rattling around in there, although the cargo seems sparse and lightweight. Here's the cleverly worded list of contents...

And here's my interpretation...
Pin the tail on the quail game = ?
20 miniature safety flares = birthday candles
Pneumatic party rouser = party blower
Hors d' oeuvres starter kit = toothpicks
Acetyl of Salicylic acid Tranquilizer = Aspirin

All of it sounds pretty lame, but what about that quail game? And why quail? What if it's a cool poster illustrated by the same person who drew the drunk? This single question is the reason that yet again I'm tormented with the age-old collectors' conundrum... to break the seal or not. Truly one of life's most fruitless mysteries. Although, it is cool to think that also inside is the forty-five year old air from a novelty factory.

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