Has Fonzie’s Real Cool Happy Days Game Jumped The Shark?

For a decade, from 1974 through 1984, Happy Days was one of the most popular sitcoms on television. While the show was supposed to be centered on Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his family, quickly the star of the show became Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler). So much so, that in 1980, the Smithsonian honored the Fonz and the series for it’s role in American pop culture history by putting one of the Fonz’s leather jackets on display — and there’s even a Bronz Fonz in Wisconsin memoralizing the TV series. But when I brought home the Happy Days game from the thrift store (a paltry $1.75), neither of our girls (age 19 and 12) even knew what or who the heck we were talking about.

I guess our rigid TV limits prevented them from mindless hours of channel surfing & the discovery of reruns.

But I never let stuff like that, be it the ignorance or the distaste of others, stop me from enjoying a new-to-me find.

I cleared the table and invited them all to play Happy Days, “Fonzie’s Real Cool Game By Parker Brothers”, © 1976 Paramount Pictures Corporation.

happy-days-boardgame-cover

The instructions sheet states the goal of this retro board game as follows: “Heeeeey… the Fonz is hangin’ out at your house. Show him how cool you really are by being the first player to collect 16 cool points and light up Arnold’s juke box.” Which doesn’t tell you much — other than you’ve somehow appropriated Arnold’s juke box and are keeping it at your house. Or maybe the Fonz did the liberating? I don’t know.

In reality the game is based on collecting cool points; but you don’t spend time at your house or anyone elses (with or without the Fonz). In fact, landing on your home space or another home space can cost you in cool points. But I guess I’m expecting too much story from a story-based board game.

Anywhoooo…

The game is pretty simple. In theory. I’m not saying the ages 7 – 13 thing is off; I’m just saying that it’s more complicated to explain without typing the entire instruction sheet.

But I’ll try.

OK, picture playing Monopoly. You start with some money (in this case, a $3 allowance) and your playing piece starts at your own color-coordinated home rather than “Go”. Unlike Monopoly, you also get a Somethin’ To To card, have a peg in the juke box “cool meter” (with one cool point granted to you), and you only have one die to roll.

game-set-up

You roll the die, move that number of spaces, and where ever you land on the board, take the action directed — should you be able to. Because you might not have enough allowance to go on the date or activity listed on your Somethin’ To Do card — or you might have used-up your Somethin’ To Do card supply.

Round & round the board you go, going on dates, hanging out with pals, earning allowance & money for odd jobs (so you can hang out and go on dates) — plus earning and losing cool points.

game-in-play

The game is not monotonous. Along the way, you or another player may draw a Crusin’ card, which will direct you all to “stuff a telephone booth” or “play the pinball machine” — the winner of which, selected by being the high roller, gets two cool points. Of course, you can loose cool points whimsically too. Like when another player draws a Crusin’ card which says “knocked over Fonzie’s bike” or “the Fonz catches you wearing colored socks”. The penalty point loss isn’t given to the player who drew the card; they get to play it against an opponent.

But by far, the most fun are the Drag spaces on the board.

When you land on one of these two spaces, you get to challenge any other player to a drag race. Should anyone chicken out, the chicken loses a cool point and the other gains a cool point. Ah, but if you race, the action moves to the center of the game board, where you roll the die to see who reaches the finish line first — be careful, because you could spin-out or have an engine stall! The winner of the race gets two cool points and the loser is moved to the “Hey, Nerd!” space of the winner’s choosing, where he or she loses a point. Plus the winner of the drag race gets to place themselves anywhere they’d like on the board.

So while the game play is pretty simple, the game action is rather varied — and we all had a blast.

I know what you’re thinking — I’m a silly board game geek and a lover of retro chic, so of course I liked it, and therefore I’m probably imagining that everyone else did too. Plus, I won the first game. But honestly, the kids insisted on playing three more games (Des, the 12 year old, won twice) — and both girls whined when hubby & I had to call it quits for dinner.

And the rest of the night, “Hey, Nerd!” was shouted and giggled at one another for any old thing. Not just by the kids either.

It almost became annoying. Almost.

So I totes recommend the retro Happy Days board game; it has not jumped the shark. It’s even fun if you don’t know the show.

destiny-ayyyyyy

I’m A Little Late To The National Cleavage Day Party

I didn’t know that there was/is such a thing as National Cleavage Day. If it weren’t for Denise‘s post about it at BlogHer, I still wouldn’t know about it. And if I had somehow stumbled into the Wiki page about NCD, I would have thought it was something Steven Colbert had directed his Colbert Nation minions into creating. (Seeing “corporate sponsor” Wonderbra’s page on NCD wouldn’t have helped either; the power of Colbert is boundless.)

But I’m not only late to the party — I’m a National Cleavage Day party pooper too.

Now it may surprise you that I’m not really a fan of National Cleavage Day. You’re likely thinking that as a collector of smut, not to mention the owner of a rack that would require the jaws of life not to make cleavage, I’d be in favor of a day which celebrates cleavage. But I’m not.

Call me jaded by the decades of leers & drool, accuse me of being exhausted and annoyed from the countless times of having to hold strong chiseled male jaws in my hand and tilt them, like that of a small child, so that their owners may speak to my face and not my breasts; I am. But really, do we need to encourage men to stare at women’s breasts?

Oh, sure, if you’re at a bar or club or other place where you are participating in and exploiting nature’s call to preserve the species, by all means, show it off. And I’ll admit that while those days of hunting-til-he-catches-me are over for me, I’m not above bringing out The Girls to remind me, myself, and hubby that I’m a sexy desirable woman — all the leers, drool and jaw tilting keep any need for Cialis at bay. But I don’t display ’em at WalMart. Or because a corporate sponsor told me to.

But a day for cleavage watching? Like a Take Your Boobs To Work Day? A Shake Your Boobs At Work Day? Or Super Casual (& Smutty) Friday? Puh-leeez.

I’ll guarantee you that the girls (lower case here because we’re now talking about a group of young females, not my breasts) who participate in this “holiday” are “third wave feminists” who think that proffering crevice, tit or ass (via whale-tails etc.), is akin to rolling down one’s stockings: an advance for female equality. Only, see, we don’t allow men to show pecs and gluts in public either — and that means we don’t see their cracks between such flesh in the workplace either, hun. That’s equality.

If I sound like a crotchety old anti-porn feminist, know I’m not. (If you want proof, I’ll send it.) But I just get so frustrated with the lack of class. Leave a little mystery, damnit. And save the intimate visuals of intimate spaces for intimate times & intimate places.

And as for you, Wonderbra, shame, shame, shame on you.

If Wikipedia is to be believed, the “corporate sponsorship” is intended to be as uplifting as the Wonderbras:

According to Samantha Paterson, the brand manager for Wonderbra, the National Cleavage Day is started according to a design to solemnize women’s independence and power in all facets of life, from their careers to their relationships to their own destiny.[1] Anita Meiring, public relations consultant for Wonderbra, explained the event, “It is a day for women to realise that their cleavage is something unique and that they should be proud of it”.[4] Paterson explained “It gives women a chance to be beautiful and glow in the furtive, yet appreciative, glances their cleavage evokes from men”.[1] She also explained “It gives men a legitimate reason to stare at boobs”.

Just how does one “solemnize women’s independence and power in all facets of life” by proffering exposed breast? And hey, Meiring, I completely realize that my cleavage is “unique” and I am “proud of it” — but I know (at least) two things that apparently you don’t.

One, this ain’t Utopia, sister; women who expose themselves in public are seen as “asking for it” and that puts us in danger twice (first for being assaulted, and then at the mercy of a court who holds us and our mode of dress responsible for male actions).

Two, my pride isn’t dependent upon flashing it to prove it to you, to leering men, or to anyone/everyone else. Confidence just is.

Quietly just is.

And that’s the way I like it, especially in public.

I’m not asking for the burka, baby; just some rational acceptance of public decency as reflective of both no need to push my privates into public spaces and people’s faces and my desire to not see every body part others are proud of. That’s what manners are all about, making people feel comfortable. Can ya dig?

In reality Wonderbra is pimping: they’ve created a faux holiday through which they can use sexism to profit off of the display of female bodies — selling women and sexist misogynistic fantasies under the guise of pride.

The final nail in National Cleavage Day’s coffin is the fact that Cosmo supports it. Again, from the suspicious Wiki page:

Vanessa Raphaely, editor of the Cosmopolitan, argued the NCD is not intended to objectify women, but to celebrate in a fun manner.[4]

Cosmo hasn’t been accurate about women’s rights & male responsibilities since the 60’s — if then. So pooh on that.

It is sexy to feel like you are in control of your beautiful bodies, ladies, but the realities are that even here in the US of A we women are not in control of our own bodies — but we are somehow responsible for male reactions to our bodies and, in cases of rape (for rape is all about rage & power, not lust & sex), we are somehow responsible for that too. And when women are harassed and abused for busting with pride and showing off their cleavage, you know what will happen.

Oh, it’s a mess out there, Virginia. And while I’d like to let you boldly go forth, displaying your confidence laden cleavage, I know better.

Naughty Secretaries Vs. Bosses Gone Bad

The myth of the naughty secretary was created & used to perpetuate fears among Victorian housewives, who, as the arbitrators and guardians of morality, were thought to be able to dictate who took dictation via two paths.

One path was the ability to hen peck their husbands’ hiring practices, and therefore not have female applicants get picked for the jobs. (Often women would suggest male candidates, as they needed to support families — or have enough income to get married.)

The other path was to pressure their ‘sisters’ into conforming to womanly virtue. Like their Chinese counterparts, women would bind their sisters’ economic feet — only through lecture, condemnation, and societal pursuit. But women would be hobbled just the same — and, as males preferred, the women would direct their anger and blame at the feet of their sisters. (Like foot binding, this female-on-female action would only further divide the sisterhood of women, fracturing bonds of trust and creating suspicion among women — which only added to resistance of the messages & mantras of moralistic matrons as well as causing the matrons to believe that women who wanted or needed to work were of poor virtue, ready & willing to debase men and even steal husbands.)

Case-by-case analysis of individual hen pecked husbands & women worried into conformity aside, the plan not only failed (as evidenced by more women continuing to enter the work force for years to come), but backfired into male & female belief that women who did seek employment outside of hearth & home were of poor virtue and suitable not only for dictation but dick-takin’.

Of course, the sexually harassed and abused women found little-to-no comfort or assistance regarding their complains in the arms of their sisters; for in their eyes the secretaries were seen as having it coming (if not the perpetrators of sin themselves, seducing men into indiscriminate behaviors).

Insert jokes about naughty secretaries (and naughty maids), such as these vintage French mechanical cards below, which carried the same weight and purpose in the 1950s atomic age as they did in Victorian times. After all, the concerns were the same.

The Baldknobbers (It Ain’t No April Fool’s Joke!)

Flipping through a box of ephemera at an antique mall, I spotted the word “Baldknobbers” in big red letters — who wouldn’t pull that up for a closer inspection?!

In my hands I now held a souvenir book for The Baldknobbers Hillbilly Jamboree Show, “a tradition in Ozark Mountain Country”– the 25th Anniversary Edition.

baldknobbers-souvenir-book-cover

That was a bit disappointing… I mean with a name like “The Baldknobbers” I had expected something far more pervy. But it turns out that The Baldknobbers Jamboree attraction was Branson’s first country music and comedy show — and are largely credited for the “music scene” (tourist trap) that Branson now is. Apparently the group started back in 1959 when brothers Bill, Jim, Lyle and Bob Mabe began entertaining visitors in downtown Branson on the Taneycomo lakefront. (One can only imagine that this consisted of odd performances and very little money put into hats?)

baldknobbers-1959

I could remain disappointed that there’s not enough smut-factor, that the group still exists — that I don’t have something incredibly exotic and rare. But my souvenir program dates to 1984 (which is older than some of you reading here) and it has 11 Baldknobber autographs, including from founders who have passed away. And, it has photos of the “Baldknobber Wheels”, aka old touring buses used by the group — so awesome, I must have that first one!

baldknobber-wheels

(Truthfully, it’s those images which made me pay the $5 & rush home to show my Mom — one lady who enjoys kitschy vehicles and “baldknobbers” as much as I do.)

While that’s cool & all, the interesting thing is the very thing which drew me to the old souvenir booklet: the name Baldknobber.

It turns out that the Mabe brothers took the name from an Old Ozarks vigilante group the Bald Knobbers, who called themselves that because they held their meetings on a treeless hilltop or “bald knob”. Those original Bald Knobbers have a long & complicated history, beginning as, according to Wikipedia, “a group of non-racially motivated vigilantes in the southern part of the state of Missouri.”

original-bald-knobber-hood-mask

Non-racially motivated? I cannot look at the Bald Knobbers’ traditional hoods with horns — on dark fabric with light markings for facial features, no less (Gerry Darnell says they wore horned black pillowcases with the eye and nose holes rimmed in orange) — and not see anything other than the horror of blackface. I’m wondering who can?

But apparently the group was borne of the post-Civil War lawless southwest, a vigilante response to murder and other crime that, horrible enough prior to and during the war, went unheeded & grew after the Civil War as fugitives sought refuge in the remote and inaccessible Ozarks region.

The purpose of the old Bald Knobbers was to “correct the lawlessness”, but eventually they became not only increasingly violent, but using their power for greedy and selfish purposes, including killing Anti-Bald Knobbers and those who spoke negatively about the Bald Knobbers — finally becoming home grown terrorists.

While the Bald Knobbers may not have originally been racially motivated, some argue that the group did not dissolve in 1889, but merely went underground after the lynching of John Wesley Bright in 1892 and then members &/or believers became associated/perverted/twisted into the KKK family clan.

All of this certainly takes a funny phrase and makes it anything but funny.

The “full circle” moment for this collector was discovering that I’ve had my hands on this story of the original vigilante Bald Knobbers for quite some time. In some box or other (which I can’t really dig in right now, due to the flood situation here in Fargo), I’ve got at least one copy of Harold Bell Wright’s Shepherd of the Hills, which I’m told covers the Bald Knobbers and this period of United States history:

In 1907, Harold Bell Wright published the novel Shepherd of the Hills which tells about the Ozark area and its’ settlers such as the Ross family. Mr. Wright was afflicted with tuberculosis (consumption) and stayed with the Ross’ while he waited for the White River to recede enough to be crossed. Mr. Wright was a young man seeking his health. He stopped among the hill folks and found peace. He explored Marvel Cave and was amazed with its beauty. He visited each summer for seven years collecting notes about real life events of the people of the area. He stayed in a tent near the Shepherd of The Hills homestead. The experience moved him to set a story-part fact, part legend, part dream. The novel gained popularity quickly and attracted many tourist to see the area he wrote about. The Shepherd of The Hills novel has become a widely read book and had over a dozen television productions and eight movies made from it.

This is a still from the 1919 movie based on the book:

film-still-of-bald-knobbers-in-1919-film-the-shepherd-of-the-hills

The bottom line is that I now have two reasons to go to Branson: to see The Baldkknobbers (with my mom, so we can steal some vintage Baldknobber wheels) and to see the cabin that Harold Bell Wright stayed in. I had no reason or desire to go before.

cabin-which-inspired-harold-bell-wrights-book

So, to re-cap, I paid $5 for a retro souvenir booklet worth so much more: it made me laugh out loud, discover a fascinating history story — one which leads to a book I likely already own (another excuse to read!), and now have a reason to travel to Branson. I call that a good score.

The Black & White Of Seeing In Color

When I was young, my family was one of the last to get a color television. We were among the first to get a microwave though; because both my parents worked, a microwave was considered practical. Original microwave ovens were about the size of TVs at that time, but probably even more expensive. I remember my sister and I sitting ’round the microwave making more s’mores than we could stomach because we loved to watch the marshmallows expand — something that drove my mom nuts because, like the early television myths (and masturbation), watching the happenings inside a microwave would make you go blind.

But hey, we didn’t have a colored TV to watch, so sis & I entertained ourselves with the microwave until the novelty wore off.

We entertained the neighborhood kids with the microwave too. Something quite handy when it came time to force friends to reciprocate when their families got those new-fangled video cassette machines. Our cousins, who lived out of state, were the first we knew to get VCRs — I think they even had one before we had color TV even. Being technology geeks, they were into Beta not VHS. I remember them bringing the machine and the tapes along with them when they visited for holidays like Thanksgiving. My sister & I thought our parents would hop on video players asap — we thought the convenience of watching movies when it suited them was like the convenience of microwave ovens. But no. TV was a very low priority in our house.

But I digress.

We had black & white television for ages — until the early 80’s, I think. But my sister and I saw the programs in color.

Through the magic or our minds, we took in black & white and deciphered it into color. Something which both made our parents marvel — and further delay purchase of a color TV set.

We knew what we saw (deciphered) was correct because, say, we’d be watching the Miss America pageant, and I’d say that Miss Oklahoma’s hair was the same color as Rita Hayworth’s and my sister would say she loved the fabulous blue bikini’s in the swimsuit competition — and then, the next morning in the paper there would be color photos of the contestants posing in bright blue swimsuits — and proof of Miss Oklahoma’s red locks too.

Whatever this ability to view black & white yet “see” color was, I lost it somehow during all the years of viewing color television. Occasionally, watching classic films, I get it right (verifiable via color promotional photos etc.); but for the most part I am guessing, not seeing as I once did.

I wonder if my sister has lost her ability too… I’ll have to call her and see.

The Goodness Of A Mike Shayne Twinkie

A relatively recent 50 cent thrift store grab, a paperback copy of The Homicidal Virgin; cover illustration by Robert McGinnis.

The Homicidal Virgin is, like all the Mike Shayne works, one of those classic gumshoe detective stories. Now, as far as “classic gumshoe fiction” goes, it’s a fairly predictable genre. That’s not to say the story endings are always seen a mile away (or before you finish reading the wraps), but, like most all pulp fiction works, it’s a rather formulaic genre — and it’s a slam-dunk that the detective will get his man along with his woman. (And should the perp be a woman, well, the lucky detective gets two women.)

As an avid reader, I avoided most works in this genre, along with the related “romance novels” for many years. But after collecting vintage pulp novels & retro paperbacks for their covers, I began to become interested in what lay beneath the art. After reading a few, I found that these vintage and retro works can be like Twinkies: something sweet & quick to enjoy between real sustenance. And that too many (or one bad one) can hurt your teeth (from excessive grinding) &/or give you a giddy giggly high. Anyway, every now and then, I grab a pulp off the shelf and read it.

The Homicidal Virgin beckons with sex. From the back cover:

LOST INNOCENCE

Mike Shayne had been in hotel bedrooms with beautiful girls before, but this time it was different. This girl was different. She didn’t smoke, didn’t drink and she blushed.

Unfortunately, she was too good to be true. But Mike didn’t realize this until later, after she lowered her eyelids and softly confessed her one little vice — murder.

As if that tease wouldn’t lure in the usual male readership, the front teaser page promises even more…

SHAYNE WATCHED THE TWO WOMEN AT THE BAR

One was seated on the last stool against the wall. She wore a low-necked ruby-red dress and tinted Harlequin glasses that effectively concealed her eyes, but Shayne could still feel her piercing gaze.

The other had just arrived. She seemed too young to be dropping into a cocktail lounge alone. Not yet twenty, Shayne thought, with a virginal and appealing look of timidity about her.

They both wanted to talk to detective Shayne. Ruby-Red Dress had a difficult-to-believe story of a missing husband; Miss Virgin, and even more harrowing tale of sexual depravity. And the strange thing was, both stories were connected — with utter improbabilities.

Right at the moment, Shayne didn’t know which woman he had more faith in. It was almost impossible to believe that both of them had been speaking the whole truth and nothing but the truth all the way through.

As a sophisticated woman of 2009, I find the sexual stereotypes laughable. But then again, this fictional world of laughable gender roles is far preferable to the confusing oppression of the real world — of the 60’s or today. I daresay that it’s done purposefully to be somewhat comical in the man’s-man tone. (It is certainly benign — no action, and less heaving bosoms than a Harlequin novel.) So why not float in it, go with the current? Especially when you know that the book isn’t going to live up to all that pseudo sexual tension. Hell, it downright misleads with the situational placement of the women (they do not both appear in the bar to tell their stories near simultaneously). But I guess as a teaser, it works for the typical audience.

As for the rest of the plot, once you get past the simplistic sexual stereotypes, it’s believable enough. And the ending is definitely not predictable. (But the end is far too quick-wrap-up, with Shayne giving a “and that’s that” dust-off of his hands.) So as far as a detective mystery goes, it’s a-OK.

Other than the gender stereotypes, references to sedans and coupes (car terms you know but are hardly used today), there is only one other way the novel is dated. And that’s on page 18, where an “attractive colored girl” is seen down the hotel hallway, refreshingly juxtaposed with the “chubby cheeked” bag boy with a “long sharp nose” whose color is not mentioned (and so presumed colorless — or “white”), and so we’ve skipped at least a “Yessum!” stereotype of the black bag boy.

Given how sexist the rest of the book is, I was, after resettling my hackles from the “colored girl” reference, rather pleasantly surprised.

If one can forgive the brief appearance of antiquated race terms (and subtle racism created by the omission of other black characters) and laugh at the portrayal of Mike & his “babes”, it’s a sound little Twinkie of a read.

***

The Homicidal Virgin, a Mike Shayne Mystery, is credited as written by Brett Halliday, originally a pen name of Davis Dresser. I have the 1967 “New Edition” published by Dell — the original is copyrighted 1960 — but the novel was not written by Dresser because Dresser gave up writing the Shayne novels in 1958. (Bookish types can find out more about ghost writers, film & television etc. at ThrillingDectective.com.)

You can find more Mike Shayne covers by McGinnis here.

A Quickie From Quick, 1950

Having just become smitten by a new discovery of vintage Quick magazines, here’s a look at one of the back covers (July 31, 1950 issue):

boy-on-back-of-vintage-quick-magazine

Interestingly, the back cover tells us to turn to page 64 for the details of the comical photo — but actually, the info is found on page 68, where the photo is credited to Milton James, with the following text:

Steven James, son of a N.Y. music editor-arranger, registers intense concentration as he tries to read his temperature during a mild siege of illness.

One can only conclude that Milton, seeking some free publicity, sent in the photo of his cross-eyed son. He probably even made the boy sick too.

No Valentines, Red River

I found this vintage Valentine’s Day card at Cherryland Postcard Auction (lot #1667, if you’d like to bid online), and fell in love with it because it’s clearly an old promotional item from True Confessions magazine.

true-confessions-valentine-opens-to-illustrations

I love (and therefore collect) past issues of the publication & am dying to see the illustrations on the inside… I’d love to buy it, but…

But all of this just reminds me of all the old ephemera I have — and that is a problem living here in Fargo during this historic 2009 flood of the Red River. Certainly it is not the time to add to my collection.

As I type, hubby is still toiling down in the basement, lifting & propping as best he can to get all the boxes up a few inches, just in case our house (currently one of the areas designated as an “evacuate to” area) has issues from sewage backup or sump pump failure.

I’m not being lazy; I’ve taken my shifts and now need an emotional as well as physical break. I’m not from this area originally, and while I’ve seen the usual spring flooding here the past five years, I’m still not familiar with all the locations and flood terminology — so I’m doing my best not to panic. (Just how does one not panic when the hospital just two blocks east of you announces they are evacuating due to the flood? I’m expecting a tsunami any minute.)

So it’s no new old Valentines for me.  And the Red River is only getting one if it spares my house.

Dancing With The Stars, My Age Is Showing

Watching Dancing tonight, the results show, I saw Hall & Oates perform one of the songs from my glory days, Maneater.

Now the interesting thing, the thing is not just that I feel old because I watch the show with my kids, but because I’ve seen Hall & Oats perform live, in concerts. And I thought I’d already seen the duo’s life cycle.

But I was wrong.

The first time I’d seen the band I was 19 or 20. It was at the great party on the lake, Summerfest — back in the day when the old stage had true general seating. Not some general seating (like today on ‘the hill’, with partially obstructed views, vs. the ticket seats closer to the stage), but all the seats were general seats.

The only price you paid was your general admission to the fest (and the food and drink bill — which was no small thing, but still cheaper than it is today). The true fans, those dedicated to the principal of the fest and music, would arrive in a group at the festival park before the gates opened, and at 10 A.M., when the gates opened, rush the main stage.

There you’d scrounge for and stake-out the best seats you could get. You had to be a group because in order to keep you seats, at least a pair of you would need to sit, lounge and/or lay upon the old wooden plank seating from 10 in the morning until 7 P.M. or so when the opening act would begin their performance.

You’d guard in shifts, with other members checking back in either to take their shift at seat saving or to bring you wine coolers, beers & real brats (not the grey hotdogs many try to pass-off as bratwurst). I personally loved my seat saving duties. Despite the great number of other seat savers (and the scavengers who tried to poach seats) and music occasionally billowing by from one of the other stages, it was one of the more quiet places on the lake to actually have a conversation. Conversation, sunlight, wine coolers, music, lake breezes… What’s not to like? Oh yeah, and the inevitable run-in with old friends who spotted you on your concert seating stake-out. (Remaining in place, letting others come to you, has always been one of the best ways to be found.)

Anyway, the first time I saw Hall & Oats was at Milwaukee’s Summerfest — they were just approaching their biggest days and as a college student on the cutting edge of music at the time, it was freakin’ fantastic. Being slightly drunk on beverages, the feeling of cool night lake air caressing hot sunburned skin, the intoxicating mix of old and new friends (and lovers), and youth was topped-off by awesome music & dancing on the wooden plank benches as we scream-sung the lyrics. Hall & Oats was on fire and so was I.

But just a few short years later, or so it seemed to me, Hall & Oats was once again back at Summerfest — but this time, at one of the smaller music stages. I still went to see them & had a fantastic time. But it was a stage demotion, symbolic of their loss of cool status — and my own. No longer were any of us on fire… Smoldering, maybe; but not on fire.

I noted it, this temporary ‘hot’ status in pop culture, and how it mirrored my own fleeting popularity in our youth obsessed culture. I didn’t like it; but I accepted that this was how others would see us. They were wrong; but let them move along with their fads & fancies.

Flash forward to now. A few weeks ago, Hall & Oates appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (yes, I am old; but I’m also cool enough to have intelligence and good taste, thankyouverymuch). Their appearance may have seemed a slice of retro kitschy goodness to many — a big “Howdy” to gods from the 80’s, a decade now so “vintage” that it’s back “in” again — but to me, it was a fond remembrance. Not just of my glory days, but of my “they’re wrong, they don’t know what they’re doing” thoughts. Seeing them with Stewart wasn’t a nod from a current pop culture collegiate deity to gods that once were; it was, at least, mutual recognition of one another’s cool factor — with neither’s being over with.

Seeing the duo’s performance on Dancing tonight, with that hot Karina Smirnoff in a flaming red jumpsuit and black leg warmers, I realized that I may no longer look as hot as she did — but I once wore those leg warmers, those heels, and mesmerized audiences grooving to Maneater. My audience was smaller, my moves less professional; but by boobs were bigger and I was entertaining and cool to those who watched. Like Hall & Oates, I may not be the looker I once was, but I’m not dead. Or irrelevant.

I hope to keep seeing more of them; because, boys, every time you go away you take a piece of me with you.

The Tale Of The Dachshund

The Tale of the Dachshund, A Humorous Song, by Harvey B. Gaul, is another silly little ditty:

I had a little dachshund once,
So long, you haven’t any notion,
The time it took to notify
His tail of his emotion;
And so it happened when his eyes,
Were full of woe and sadness,
His tail would still be wagging on
Because of previous gladness.

* He thinner grew each day,
Till ht stretched himself away!
I had a dachshund once
The hot-dogs know him now.

* “Text for ending is optional.”

And I think I’d opt “No, thank you.” That last line is especially icky.

The Tale of the Dachshund, copyright, 1923, Harold Flammer, Inc.; dedicated to May Peterson.

Everything’s Better With Blue Bonnet On It

It’s true; even for a clear rain bonnet with a bit of blue.

(Of course, once you go black…)

*****

Anyway…

Now that I have your attention, I’d like to mention a few other things I found this week…

Two great things that go great together: Matadors & Black Velvet.

Now together again… On clothing? Yes! Check out this vintage 1950’s souvenir skirt, with sparkles even!

You can totes say “Ole!” to the men who charge at you now, and brush them aside with your skirt. Just don’t get any blood or other man-stuff on the skirt though… It isn’t terribly troublesome to get blood of sequins, but it will stop the sparkle until you do.

This inspires me to buy velvet and make my own black velvet painting skirt… But I’ll need to practice painting Elvis first. Ooh, and Jesus too. Maybe I can paint a black velvet skirt with Elvis & Jesus! Of course, I’ll need some nice wooden platforms to go with it.

*****

In contest news, you can bloody Win a Living Dead Jason doll — Signed By Damien Glonek!

Collectors’ Quest is giving away one autographed LLD of Jason from Friday the 13th figure. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Given that we’re a site about collecting, we’re looking for the most original concept about what Jason might collect. Please submit your photos, jpegs, videos and pdfs to f13contest@collectorsquest.com

2. Nothing sexist or racist will be allowed. All entries will be displayed on the site and will become property of Collectorsquest.com

3. Deadline is March 31st. Winner will be selected thereafter

How Can Any Man Love A Listless Cranky Woman?

By drugging her, I guess. At least that’s the impression I get from this vintage ad for Jayne’s Tonic Pills found inside the 1941 Jayne’s Almanac,published by Dr. D. Jayne & Son, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. (Yup, the image gets big enough to read if you click it. So click it and follow along with the class.)

Well, I guess it is just pushing iron and B-1… But still, check this out:

If your husband isn’t as attentive as he use to be; or, if you are single and the telephone never rings any more for dates, the chances are it is your own fault.

Wow. It couldn’t possibly be that hubby’s a jerk, having an affair, or secretly hiding the fact that he’s gay (maybe all three?) It couldn’t be that the guy in 2A who waits for you at the mailbox every day has cut your phone line. Nope. It’s you, babe.

Whatever men do — or don’t do — it’s your freakin’ fault. So even when you’re continually complaining about being so tired, don’t check all the facts or see a doctor — take the tonic. And like it.

Oooh, tiny, pleasant pellets, in a small handy package… Wait! Isn’t that how I got into this marriage in the first place…?

And when the iron binds your intestines tighter than a Chinese foot in a lotus-shaping shoe, just as effectively forcing you to hobble about, I’m sure Jayne will have another tonic for that.

But only take it if your hubby is unhappy with your hobbing about &/or constipation. Because if it ain’t bothering him, it just doesn’t matter.

Down With Love: Retro Movie Film Review (Squared)

If you dare to modernize the classic Doris Day and Rock Hudson sex comedies, as Down With Love does, you’d better do a pretty damn fine job of it. Today’s audience is a bit different from the audience of the 50’s & 60’s ~ we’d like to say we are more sophisticated, but really, we are more smuttified.

In a jaded world like ours, if you expect us to believe in silly games where identities are hidden with a mere accent or hairstyle change, or, more difficult yet, believe in the concept of love, well, you are going to have to suspend our beliefs with pretty little distractions, or better yet, overt sexual content.

This movie begins with plenty of retro fluff, from the old Twentieth Century Fox logo & the kitschy opening credits, & continues with wonderful set decoration & fabulous fashions. (Lots of that retro girlie pink!)

And the soundtrack is full of greats such as Xavier Cugat & Count Basie.

So far, so good, for the pretty little distractions. Now how does it deliver on the sex games?

No longer are movie goers (or renters) titillated by the old standard coy dialogues used in classics like Pillow Talk. Nope, we want, we crave something a little more direct nowadays.

Down With Love hears our world-weary, sex-bleary cries, & delivers a clever phone scene of it’s own — complete with corny dialogue, mind you, but filled with delightful eye-candy as well. As the couple talks, the split screen shows sexual entendres that surpass the coy dialogue & engages the viewer. (It’s twice as fun when you try to imagine Doris & Rock!)

Combining frolicking fun with the fantastic fashions of the times — without the fake film morality (as if no one was having sex in the 50s & 60s!). This is the way we modern girls prefer to remember the past. (Groan free, not moan free lol)

Enter the plot, which raises the question “Can women have it all, as men do?” — without beating you over the head with it.

Renee Zellweger plays novelist Barbra Novak, who has written the ‘feminist’ best-seller Down With Love, encouraging women to stand up for themselves in the boardroom & to have sex a la carte, and in general, be in charge of relationships, not prey to them. Ewan McGregor plays Catcher Block, general play-boy & rogue, who is the love interest in this game of chase. David Hyde Pierce plays Catcher’s magazine editor, and Sarah Paulson is Barbra’s book editor, and naturally, they have their own chase going on.

But who is chased, who is caught, it is all worth the viewing, and I won’t ruin it here for you.

Get a copy, and lie on the couch, and become enchanted with the past, as charming as we’d like to think it was.

PS For those adored the movie, take a weird trip to see it acted out with Barbies!

You Can’t Judge A Racist Nun By Her Habit, Part Three (Or, The Little Chink In Sister’s Armor)

That darn Sister Patricia also owned a copy of Little Chink, one of (at least) three Musical Recitations by Helen Wing.

Little Chink is by one Mildred Merryman — who, as it turns out, is quickly becoming an obsession. More on that in a bit; first, here’s the lyrics.

Chink, Chink, Chinaman, named Chow-Chow,
Lives all alone with his dog Bow-Wow,
Sits and drinks his tea all day
Out of a tea-pot, Chinese way.
Chinese girl thinks he’s just right
She sings to him with all her might:

Little Chink Chink Chink
I think think think
You must be wise
Little Chink Chink Chink
When you wink wink wink
With your funny little beady, little eyes.
Little Chink Chink Chink, I love-a, love-a you
Lets you marry me and I’ll marry you,
Little Chink Chink Chink
What do you think-What Do you think?
I saw you wink! Little Chink.

I get that the word “Chink” lends itself to easy rhymes like “wink” and “think”, but geeze.

Now, the second verse is not printed with the actual music composition, so when I saw Sister’s penciled lyrics, I immediately thought that she herself had (as she had done with Japanese Love Song) made her own lyrics, creating the “pig-wig tail” part.

But inside the front cover, the entire lyrics are printed. Here’s the second verse:

Once came a big bear Woof! Run, run!
Poor little Chink, Chink have no gun,
But he such a brave boy, He no fail!
He shoots him down with his pig-wig tail
Chinese girl thinks he’s so smart
She sing to him with all her heart.

So while Sister is guilty of purchasing, playing & likely directing a choir of children to sing this song based on the titular ethnic slur, she is free of the sin of writing any part of it. That honor goes to Mildred Merryman…

Mildred Merryman is Mildred Plew Merryman, nee Mildred Plew Meigs. Very little is known about Mildred — something that only makes me more obsessed. I do know that she wrote a number of poems for children, so silly & full of rhyme that they naturally lend themselves to children’s songs — making each poem a potential ditty. (In some cases, a real doozy of a ditty.)

From what I can see, neither her other poems or ditties are so offensive. In fact, they are quite cute. So I continue to hunt for more and am doing some heavy research. Stay tunned for more on Mildred.

The Great (Fashion) Taste Of Lymon

To dress with the Great Taste Of Lymon, begin with the (sub)lime

And then the lemon goes under – underpants!

I guess the lemon’s to cut the fishy taste?

Ah, it’s a joke; don’t go spraying lemon-scented Pledge in your underpants.

Then again, I don’t want to get into your polishing habits.

It’s fab when you can begin a post with a soda pop culture reference and end it with totally tasteless, err, inappropriate jokes.

You Can’t Judge A Racist Nun By Her Habit, Part Two

More vintage sheet music owned by Sister Patricia; this time, Story Poems with Musical Settings by Phyllis Fergus.

The song, The Woodpecker (copyright 1925 by Clayton F. Summy Co.), takes its lyrics from an anonymous poem previously published in The Millgate Monthly, and is dedicated to Fergus’ niece, Elizabeth Clifford. Something which likely makes poor Elizabeth cringe — roll over in her grave? — why couldn’t her aunt just pat her on the head and exclaim, “My haven’t you grown!” and give her an ugly frock like the rest of the relatives? Because this is one racist little song:

The Woodpecker

A woodpecker picks out a great many specks
Of sawdust when building his house.
He works like a nigger
To make the hole bigger,
He cuts thru’ the wood like a mouse.
He doesn’t bother with plans of cheap artisans,
But there’s one thing can rightly be said;
The whole excavation has this explanation
He builds it
By working, Well! by using his head!

Can’t you just imagine a classroom full of students with bright shining faces who, at the urging of Sister M. Patricia, are happily singing the n-word as part of their religious dedication?

Singing their way into heaven? Hmmm, more like sinning their way to hell.

Ah, but it was the times… The roaring, racist 20’s.

But if the image of a nun leading a choir of earthly angels in singing the n-word doesn’t illustrate how entrenched and insidious racism is, then what will?

If the name Clayton F. Summy sounds vaguely familiar, it likely is due to the Happy Birthday hullabaloo. (See also: Google Answers.) Which means that the same folks who claim to own the rights to Happy Birthday likely also own this racist little ditty.

Messy Marvin Meets The Messy Witch

What follows are scans of all the pages in a retro Hershey’s promotional comic story book featuring Messy Marvin. This is apparently the top story portion, separated by perforations, from a larger activity book. (This explains the perforation-bumps running along the bottoms of all pages — and some color bleed.)

(I’m tossing this into the 80’s pile because while the book may have been copyrighted in 1979, we all remember Messy Marvin from Hershey’s 1980’s advertising campaign.)

I love how much the Messy Marvin on the front cover looks like Peter Billingsley (did). I don’t know who or what this Suzy was.

While this was the story book above the activity book, you’ll see there are plenty of directions in this part too. This page instructs you to color it; but the previous owner only did the first panel.

Note that this page directs readers to use the Messy Marvin Magic Decoder to find out what the evil “dragoon” says. In true lame don’t-make-the-kids-work-too-hard style, the answer is provided for those kids who didn’t have one. (Sorry, but I grew up in the days where they didn’t give you the answers, where the blanks remained blank until you got your hands on the magic decoder… Those blanks haunted you, the text taunted you… And true friends made deals: “I’ll get the activity book, you get the decoder, and we’ll meet back here on Saturday.”)

Anyway, the dragoon’s message is as special as Ovaltine’s was in A Christmas Story; but then, the whole book is an ad. I guess by this time, even the kids were so jaded that they expected such shameless promotions.

“ALGU EP!”

“Mirror, mirror please tell us what to do.” The magic mirror’s answer is revealed when you hold it up to “another” mirror. Since the book didn’t cheat and give you the answer, I hope kids knew that “another mirror” was a real mirror.

“Marvin, since you’re so messy you better let me carry that potion!”

(I love seeing the eraser marks as the former owner tried to deny his mistakes in doing this puzzle.)

This page includes a dot-to-dot. Apparently dot-to-dots were so difficult for kids in the 80’s to do that Hershey’s was compelled to give the answer. The former owner sure found counting from 1-59 was such hard work that he gave up at 7 and read the answer, I guess.

They fall… All the way down Craggy Peak…

Into and through the waiting arms of the Ghosties!

“Don’t worry about the evil dragoon! Just as we can’t go there, he can’t come here.”

(I bet this writer went on to write for the SciFi Channel.)

BRAP
ZAP
GRIP
GRAB

Trees you are and trees you will be… Until my Hershey’s syrup is returned to me!

Pages to color and decode? Didn’t they learn anything from the failed dot-to-dot attempt?

Not bad, found them together and in only three days.

That’s nearly as easy as flipping the book to read the answers!

Marvin was even messy as a tree, but they know he’s not messy when he makes chocolate milk with Hershey’s syrup — however, he must find the mean and messy witch’s glass first!

He found the witch’s glass, did you?

One last puzzle before your advertising activity book is done — and if you solve it, maybe you can have one. *wink*

Friday the 13th Contest Is A Killer Heh Heh

Collectors’ Quest and Mezco have teamed-up for a thrilling Friday the 13th Contest.

Up for grabs:

The Jason 3.75 inch Toy Fair 2009 Limited Edition Produced exclusively for the 2009 New York Toy Fair, he comes with his trademark machete and removable Glow In The Dark mask.

Cinema Of Fear Friday the 13th 2009 Remake 7in Figure The legendary slasher of Camp Crystal Lake strikes again in the all new Friday the 13th film. The Jason Voorhees figure is crafted with incredible detail, full articulation, & comes with an array of weapons used in the film.

I can’t win because I’m a staff writer — but there’s no reason why you can’t win! Here’s how to enter the random drawing:

1. Sign up to collectorsquest.com to receive one entry in the drawing. (And be sure to make me your buddy — I’m Poptart.)

2. Upload a collection and you will receive 5 entries. Present CQ members must upload a new collection for entry.

3. Drawing will be held on March 14th and winner announced thereafter.

Good luck!

Memories Of Messy Marvin

Among the Messy Marvin ads, I found this cup:

Perhaps the Messy Marvin cup brings back memories for you. Heaven knows I was too mature to drink from a Messy Marvin cup (but wapatui from a dorm garbage can was fine). I do remember the print ads and commercials; they were everywhere.

Hi, my name’s Messy Marvin.

I got that name because no matter how hard I tried, my room and my clothes were always messy. But then one day, Mom brought home thick, rich, yummy Hershey’s Syrup in the no mess squeeze bottle. And before I knew it, I was making the best chocolate milk I’d ever had. But I wasn’t making a mess. It’s fun, too. I just pull the cap and squeeze. Nothing drips, nothing spills.

Now Mom’s happy and so am I.

My room and my clothes are still a mess, but at least there’s hope.

Look for a quick shot of a very young Tracey Gold in the second commercial in this video collection:

This ad campaign pretty much rendered any kid — even a ‘college kid’ — a Messy Marvin to anyone older; thanks, Hershey’s.

And yes, the child actor who played Messy Marvin was the same kid who played Ralphie in A Christmas StoryPeter Billingsley. Which makes the Ovaltine decoder ring storyline ironic.

Apparently Billingsley too felt some disappointment with the ring; it’s not one of the film’s props that he saved. According to SFGate’s The Poop interview, Billingsley kept the BB gun, the bunny suit and the slate board.

I wonder if he kept any Messy Marvin mementos?

You Can’t Judge A Racist Nun By Her Habit

Normally the most interesting thing to me about vintage sheet music is the cover art; this is because I’m musically illiterate and can’t use it for anything but decoration and/or parts for altered arts (honestly, the only way I am able to carry a tune is to buy sheet music *ba dum dum* ). But this weekend I bought hundreds of sheets of vintage sheet music & some of the most fascinating ones were those that had little to no artwork at all.

All of the pieces I’m showing you today were owned by one Sister M. Patricia, O.S.B. (Order of Saint Benedict), from Sacred Heart Convent, East Grand Forks, Minnesota. (Puzzling then, that at least The Naughty Little Clock Song sheet music would come all the way from Boston! Surely there was a cheaper option in the Twin Cities?)

But anyway, Sister M. Patricia was a racist nun — and I can say that based on her musical habits.

First up, her copy of Japanese Love Song, copyright 1900, words by “Anon”, music by Clayton Thomas aka Salome Thomas Cade aka Nellie Salome Thomas, and dedicated to Madame Alberto Randegger. Only Sister has crossed-out “Japanese” and replaced it with “Chinese” —

Because apparently one Asian is as good, or as heathen, as another. Hey, I’m not calling anyone a heathen! The original lyrics read:

She was a maid of Japan
He was the son of Choo Lee
She had a comb and a fan,
And he had two chests of tea.

She wore a gown picturesque,
While he had a wonderful queue,
Her features were not statuesque,
Which matter’d but little to Choo, to Choo,
Which matter’d but little to Choo.

He smiled at her over the way,
She coquetted at him with her fan;
“I mally you,–see?” we would say
To this queer little maid of Japan.

And day after day she would pose
To attract him, her little Choo Lee,
All daintily tipp’d on her toes,
This love of a heathen Chi-nee, Chi-nee
This love of a heathen Chi-nee.

But Fate was unkind to them, quite,
For he never could reach her, you see,
Though she always was there in his sight,
And she look’d all the day on Choo Lee;

For a man mayn’t do more than he can,
Tho’ a maiden may languishing be,
When she is a maid on a fan,
And he’s on a package of tea, of tea,
And he’s on a package of tea, ah!

Her revisions also include changing lyrics in the newly created Chinese Love Song:

For continuity purposes, of course, “Japan” was changed to “Chi-nee”. And Sister is nothing if not consistent in her racism, as we’ll see in part two. (Yup, that’s a tease to come back soon.)

PS This little song was performed at a The New York Times, August 31, 1902:

Please Do Not Feed Or Molest Prairie Dogs

From the first page in It’s a Dog’s Life, by Robert Cunningham (photographs by Ed Bry, illustrations by Ted Cornell, published by The Theodore Roosevelt Nature and History Association; circa 1980).

But I think we all know that if you even think of molesting a prairie dog, you’ll get this look from him:

The Naughty Little Clock

The amazingly cute and gay lyrics to The Naughty Little Clock:

There once was a frivolous and giddy little clock,
A little French clock very gay;
Very trim and very neat but a creature of deceit,
When you wished to know the time of day.
It’s goings on would shock
The old hall clock, Till it held up its hand aghast;
I’m sure to tell the truth, It went wrong in early youth,
Had a natural inclination to be fast.

Chorus:
Tic-toc, tic-toc, said the silly little clock,
“Oh, life in the house is slow,
So cold and grim, very dull and prim,
I’m getting run-down I know”
So she sighed all day for a life more gay,
She longed for a shady past.
This naughty little, haughty little clock, tic-toc,
That had an inclination to be fast.

“I’m quite wound up,” declared the giddy little clock,
“I’m weary of the mantel shelf;
For years I’ve had to chime to give other folks the time,
Now I’d like to have a time myself.
I’d even run away
With a gay roué,
If he’s show me the town’s great sights;
So she took up with a lamp,
And incorrigible scamp,
Who smoked and always went out nights.

Tic-toc, tic-toc, said the foolish little clock,
“Oh, won’t you elope with me?
I’m yours from today if you’ll take me away
Where something of life I’ll see.
Well, they ne’er came back and the bric-a-brac
Had scandal enough to last
In gossiping about the little clock, tic-toc,
That had an inclination to be fast.

Copyright 1899; music by Reginald De Koven, lyrics by Harry B. Smith. (My copy of the sheet music states that the copyright was assigned 1930 to Theodore Presser Co.)

Gimme Back That Filet-o-Fish

Not since “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun” have I enjoyed singing along with a McDonald’s commercial so much, so many kudos to Arnold Worldwide for the latest Filet-o-Fish commercial. Here are the lyrics, so you can sing along with the video which follows:

Gimme back that filet-o-fish
Gimme that fish
Gimme back that filet-o-fish
Gimme that fish
What if it was you
hanging up on this wall?
If you were in that sandwich
you wouldn’t be laughing at all!

Normally McDonald’s falls so far behind the trend curve that they become not fun & kitschy but irrelevant (leaving Burger King to reign over kitsch & cool) but this time the decade delay in mocking Billy Bass works. Not just because you’ll find a dozen of these plastic mounted wall fish thrown back into the consumerism pond via thrift shops, but because of the incredible music & lyrics.

The music is not, as rumored to be, by the band Holy Fuck. However, if you are looking for 6 minutes and 26 seconds of similar sounding retro Casio Keyboard nostalgia (with a bit more heat & noise from the mutated rhythm), then get Casio Bossa Nova. I totally enjoyed it myself; but it’s not the music in the commercial.

Determined to find out who it was behind the fab song in the McDonald’s ad, I got on the phone with the folks at Arnold Worldwide — who, by the way, answer the phone with the perplexing, “Good afternoon, Arnold,” which prompted me to respond, “My name is not Arnold.”

Anyway, Arnold Worldwide didn’t write the tune or the lyrics, but they still get my kudos because they hired the folks who created it: Pulse Music.

So thanks, Pulse Music. I’m off to get a Filet-o-Fish. Humming & singing Gimme back that filet-o-fish all the way.

PS My dog especially loves it when I sing the “ahh!” at the end.

“My brain is a poor cocoon — the Libby’s jingle goes in like larva, but it never enters the pupa stage and morphs into a beautiful butterfly leaving me with an earworm.”

I spotted this retro doll, a promotional piece for Libby’s foods, at an antique store.

It reminded me of the following:

1) I am getting really old because more and more stuff from my time is now entering the “collectible” category and being sold in antique stores (if not, yet, actually as antiques).

2) I have a friend whose nickname is Libby; it’s a shortened form of her online user ID “Libertine”. I am forever singing, “When it’s got Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s on the label label label, you will like it like it like it on your table table table,” to her. It’s especially a hoot if you wiggle your eyebrows during the “you will like it like it like it on your table table table” part of the lyric.

3) When you reference “online user ID” in conjunction with “retro 70’s” stuff, your brain hurts a little.

4) No matter what you put in your brain, if there’s a jingle in there, it will over power it all and come out victorious. My brain is a poor cocoon — the Libby’s jingle goes in like larva, but it never enters the pupa stage and morphs into a beautiful butterfly, leaving me with an earworm.

5) Funny thing about recalling jingles, no matter how many times the earworm loops, no matter how many times you find yourself singing it aloud, you suddenly wonder if the version you are singing is the accurate version…

I searched the Internet for a video of the old Libby’s commercial; but none had that jingle.

I wouldn’t call all this a waste of time, an hour later I have these two gems to share with you:

First, a 1960’s commercial in which Libby’s makes up a “Sloppy Joe” dance craze to peddle product:

I’m too young to remember that one; but I’m betting if there were any of those t-shirts etc. still around in an antique store I’d want one. Bad.

I vaguely recall this Libby’s canned vegetables ad with Tony Randal:

I don’t recall these 70’s ads for Libbyland dinners…

But then, we weren’t allowed to have TV dinners, so maybe I had no dietary connection to leave a lasting promotional imprint… Those folding tray/boxes are completely fascinating!

I Rant About eBay

Ambiguous Policies: Many of eBay policies are not very clear. In fact, if you keep hitting reply and asking the same question about a policy, each reply will have a different section pasted in the document for you to read. It seems that the interpretation is open… This is especially confusing when it comes to one area of selling on eBay: Nudity on eBay.

I personally collect, and therefore sell, vintage men’s magazines. All of these magazines are 1940s through mid 1960s. Some of these magazines have nudity, some are pin ups. When I buy these items as estates etc, I often wind up with vintage nudist magazines mixed in these lots or stacks. Some of these are airbrushed, some are not. Now the difference between the two magazines is the original intent of the publishers —

Men’s magazines were sold to men, for the primary purpose of titillation. The nudist magazines were published to promote & educate on the lifestyle choice of nudists. As such, the photos are not designed to be sexual. Of course, there are some pretty nude women in there, but there are also families sitting around the pool, and some less than beautiful people as well…

The men’s magazines are (usually) deemed OK to sell in the Collectibles areas of eBay, just at pre-1980s Playboys are – they are not graphic. But the nudist publications? Oh no, those must go into Mature Audiences. (Which I personally find offensive as there are photos of families & children in them, and they were not – nor are they now – designed to excite sexually. By putting them in Mature I feel that I am doing something wrong, — especially when that category prohibits the sale of child pornography. So much so, it bans the use of the words “children,” “child,” “Lolita,” etc.)

But to place nudist magazines on eBay in the Collectibles category (where true collectors are looking &/or bidding on them), you risk being booted. I know. I have been suspended for a 30 days for doing so.

The only place you can sell them on eBay, inappropriate as it seems, is the Mature Audience category.

Mature Audiences: This category on eBay is a complete mess. In order to keep out minors, who according to eBay policy are not allowed to bid or buy anyway (they cannot enter legal binding contracts which bidding & buying actions are), eBay has a lock on the Mature Audience category.

Sure, it seems benign enough, smart even. But how the process works is that you have to hunt to find the category, then when you click to enter it, you get a warning, and you must agree that you are legal, not offended by adult materials, and not going to hold eBay responsible if you pass out while viewing the items for sale. Once you agree, you have to find your way back to the Mature Audience category, and start again.

It is now, for the first time, that the subcategories will show up. And you must be in that category to do searches – a search for “all of eBay” does not include Mature Audiences even when you are signed in – at least not consistently.

Again, this may not seem like a royal pain, but it is for 2 reasons:

#1 Your agreement is temporary. It wears off, and you don’t know it until you see the restricted warnings again.

#2 This second login often locks you out as a seller. For some reason, their system of Adult Cookies is not compatible with the cookies used for members or sellers. Which means you cannot search for similar items when selling to get comparisons for items you are selling, while you are listing. (Oh, and you cannot do a search for past sales on Mature Audience Items.) All of which makes for a difficult time selling in the category.

Other restrictions on selling adult materials are no “Buy It Now” & no PayPal.

All this for a category which is policed enough for illegal items, such as child pornography, bestiality etc.

The bottom line is, all these restrictions hamper buyers from finding items, as well as deter actual sales.

You might say that eBay has a right to be “a family friendly business.” And yes, it is their right. But frankly, they are happy to take the listing fees & get no sales, aren’t they? That money is as “unclean” as a sales transaction – only more evil as they know what the odds are; it’s akin to stealing.

I personally think they ought to just end the “offensive” categories, and stop the confusion.

For more on eBay’s treatment of sellers of adult items, read here.