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

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!

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*

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?

“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!

Bridal Madness: Vintage Bridal & Baby Shower Party Plans

(Thursday Thirteen header by Jenn.)

Are a lot of your friends announcing engagements, getting married and having the stork visit — so many, that you’re running out of party ideas and ways to celebrate? Here are 13 vintage ideas, loaded with kitsch and just begging you to use them, maybe even update them a bit…

Remember — all the images get much much larger when you click them — so read away!

1. How To Tell The Secret, aka bridal announcement ideas, from The Bride’s Party Book, published by Dennison. Some of these may be tweaked to fit other announcements — or even used to invite guests to the next event.

2. The next few bits come from Bridal Shower Party Games, “For As Many As 20 Guests” (presumably because it originally had 20 copies of each of the game sheets), Leister Game Company, Toledo, Ohio, (N-1400). The company is still around (but the site isn’t working — or they did just perish — so some links are to Goggle cache).

Inside the front cover, ads for baby & bridal party games and products. The company has gotten racier since then; now they have “Naughty Bingo” and “Condom Blow Jobs”. So you may prefer the quaint & corny vintage Leister games.

Anyway…

One of the party games is Card Pass — “a relay race that’s a little daisy!”

Totally believe you should open a brand new pack of playing cards for this; you don’t know where the hands of previous card holders have been and you’ll be sticking them in your mouth. :shudder:

3. A game called Lucky Pairs:

4. Want-Ad Marriage (which, by the way, is also a fun game to play on girls’ night — having you write each other’s ads):

5. Variation Mystery Feelers

(Don’t know about you, but I don’t want any of the objects back — they’ll be covered in toe-jam!)

6. A Game Of Pairs


(I could be crazy, but didn’t we just do that?)

7. This next one is a fill-in-the-blank game — but don’t get excited thinking it’s a Mad-Lib; it’s a geography quiz. You fill in the blanks of the Honeymoon Trip.

Sadly, the answers were on the back cover which has been cut; so you’ll have to figure out some of these by yourself. (Treat it like a test — like you have to be this smart to get married.)

8. This next one, Wedding Spell, is some twisted spelling bingo thing. Too complicated for me these instructions are. May Yoda help me.

9. Back to the Dennison’s book again…

This time, it’s the bride who gives a party (and isn’t it about time!)

I love the sweet-kitschy-goodness of making these little dolls with faces cut from magazines — I totally want to do this for other parties (but that could be another list of 13…)

And the legal team wants me to tell you not to stuff the cuff party favor with cigs; totally not healthy or PC, you know.

I’m totally skipping the wedding day stuff; I’m certain your bride is not going to let you make crepe paper couple centerpieces. Or crepe paper anything. That doesn’t make her Bridezilla either; she just doesn’t want the kitsch enshrined forever in photos on the in-laws mantle.

(If, for some reason, you need these crepe paper frights delights, let me know.)

10. “There Went The Bride” is “A Mock Wedding for Your Anniversary Celebration” — complete with kitsch skit.

Highlights include:

The bride “as seen by her future mother-in-law — carries rolling pin decorated with flowers”.

The clergyman begins the ceremony with, “Dear Friends, we are gathered here before this congregation of fellow sufferers to join this headstrong couple with the shackles of matrimony. If anyone present can show just cause why this painful ceremony should never take place — for heaven’s sake — speak up — tomorrow may be too late!”

The groom, repeating after the clergyman, vows: “I ____ take thee ____ for my duly wedded wife, to hold, if I have to, from this day forward, in spite of your ceaseless conversation, your unappetizing cooking, your nagging and complaining, your silly girl friends and willful spending — until death do us liberate.”

The bride, repeating after the clergyman, vows: “I ____ take thee ____ for my duly wedded husband, to hold if I have to, to tolerate your black cigars, to laugh at your corny jokes, to clean up after your poker parties, to balance on your budget, until death do us liberate!”

It’s not just me who sees the bitter irony in these two sets of vows… Is it?

Well, at least the ceremony ends with handcuffs… :wink:

11-13 First comes love, then comes marriage — and if you make it through the mock wedding anniversary celebration — next comes your friend with a baby carriage. Some announcements for the new arrival:

Upon My Sole! Announcements with a shoe theme
Non-Stop Flight Announcement has a flying stork theme
The Family Tree is an announcement stretching things — using a hat rack?
Ship’s Log has a nautical theme.

All the patterns for these baby announcements are found on page 24 and the scan is here:

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here

Dogs In Advertising

An ad for Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky featuring a Scottie and a Westie, found in the July, 1974, issue of Psychology Today (I shared an article on political activism from the issue here, and sent scans of article pages on nuclear families to Shawnee too).

I don’t think dogs should drink whisky. Even if the dog treats are healthy.

But these dogs are less worrisome than the bulldogs mentioned in the latest T-Mobile commercial. Have you seen it? The grumpy guy is complaining that he doesn’t like commitment, so the wife says, “We’ve been married 40 years.” He retorts it’s only been 38. And that he doesn’t like sticking with the same thing, to which the wife replies, “We’ve had 11 bulldogs, all named Steve.” What the hell are they doing to their dogs?!

I’m no math geek, but that’s like what, 3 years per dog?

I could get a calculator & do the math, but I keep loosing my calculator. I should have saved one of those giant calculators I sent out for Valentine’s Day for myself.

I’m not exaggerating; the calculators were huge. I knew you wouldn’t believe me, so I took pictures. See, just one is the size of my Cairn Terrier (named Toodles Squirrel-Face Davidson III).

I gave them to folks double-dog-daring them to lose them. They even can be hung on the wall. (Just $3.99 each at Hobby Lobby — because you know I love the Hobby Lobby.)

Huh. I guess I just made my own ad featuring a dog.  But my dog wasn’t drunk.  And she’s well over 3 years old too.

13 Kitschy Finds


(Thursday Thirteen header by Jenn.)

Just 13 things I found shopping online and had to share this Thursday…

1. Time out of whack? Whack it back with this ping pong paddle clock:

2. Ever wonder what your kitchenware does when you’re at work? They play croquet, of course:

3. I just love this vintage watercolor of Browning, Montana’s “Drugstore & Moving Picture House, in the Snow”:

4. Is it just me, or does it look like this retro poodle got drunk on kitty whiskey?

5. Vintage 1940’s porcelain, wood and fabric Carmen Miranda pin:

6. Two great things that go great together: flamingos and black velvet!

7. Because I often write as Pop tart, you know I’m loving this Cherry Pop-Tart Ring:

8. This is a reproduction, but if you love the style of those classic retro heads — authentically colored turquoise, yet — this head’s for you:

9. Cuddle & coo with this retro Dankin Dream Pet poodle:

10. Get a bit of vintage cheesecake for your cupcake:

11. Miss Piggy went to the UK in the 80’s; bring her back.

12. Go nutty with vintage style peanut bags:

13. And what can go better with circus-style peanuts than vintage hot pink clown shoes? Answer: Nothing. Then again, few things do ever trump vintage clown shoes.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here

A Nude Exposes The Vincent Price Of Art At Sears

This lithograph of Nude, Sleeping by Wolf Kahn was part of The Vincent Price Collection.

No, it’s not like Vincent Price himself owned the nude — but is his selection of the art for a collection to sell at Sears any less creepy?

Yes, you read that right; Vincent Price, the famed B-film master of kitschy horror was selected to head a retail art sales program for Sears.

While we all remember him for his ghoulish yet flamboyant film personae, Price was a Hollywood film star in the 60s when George Struthers, Sears’s vice president of merchandising, came calling — but Price lent more than star-power cache to Sears. Price had been a student at the Courtauld Institute of Art intending to become an art historian when the stage came calling, and while he became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars he was also known world-wide as a passionate art collector, a former art gallery owner, and, having spent a dozen years studying art at Yale and the University of London, an art lecturer.

The art sold wasn’t cheap reproductions — in fact, they weren’t reproductions at all, but original works of art. And Price was no simple pitch-man; he searched throughout the world for fine art for Sears and had the authority to acquire any works he considered worthy, buying single works, whole collections, and commissioning artists, like Salvador Dali, to create works specifically for The Vincent Price Collection at Sears. It’s clear that as an art lover, Price cared about the collection.

You can — and should! — watch this kitsch-tacular instructional film from the 1960s, in which Vincent Price guides Sears Roebuck employees through the art he’s selected for sale in this collection.

The collection had works by artists like Rembrandt, Chagall, Whistler, Picasso and Reginald Pollack.

But not all were the big names in Art with a capital ‘A’ as they are today. And that’s sort of the point of all of this.

Sears-Roebuck had already established a history in selling art; they’d been selling art as early as 1895. But as America entered the 1960’s, the do-it-yourself hobby mentality clashed with this new-fangled art movement called Modern Art. Of the art buying public (i.e. older folks with money to invest), few understood Modern Art; some never accepted it. But most all were intimidated by it… What would be a good investment or at least not be an embarrassing purchase?

Americans who were interested in art had several problems: Knowing what to buy, knowing who to trust to buy it from, and access to purchasing it.

Vincent Price’s role was that of popular art expert; and Sears was the trusted retail outlet you could trust, who brought art to locations throughout America — and at prices folks could afford.

Did it work? You bet! According to Sears, artworks ranged in price from $10 to $3,000 (and customers could also purchase items on an installment plan for as little as $5 down and $5 a month), and that between 1962 when the collection began and its end in 1971, Sears & Price moved over 50,000 pieces of fine art through about a dozen physical locations and Sears catalogs.

Vincent Price’s personal art collection was donated to East Los Angeles College’s Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM).

The nude art work is part of the American and European Paintings Auction, March 12, 2009 at Cowan’s Auctions.

Jane West: The Movable Cowgirl

I have a mild interest in the Johnny West toys by Louis Marx & Co.. Like so many retro toys, it’s really rare to find them with their original boxes; so when I saw Jane West with her box in a display case at a local antique mall I had to take a closer look…

Is it just me, or does the wording on the box, “Jane West The Movable Cowgirl” and “She Will Pose For You 1001 Different Ways”, sound erotic?

Hubby says it’s just that Marx marketed their toys differently than most. They weren’t dolls and they weren’t action figures. What he said next rather removed them from the toys category too: “If Marx were making things today, they’d be seen as made for the collector market.” So, if they aren’t for kids to play with, they’re adult toys.

Which intriguingly brings me back to Jane “posing for me” in 1001 ways…

Johnny West may have been a fighter, but he was a lover too. At least my Johnny was (and I couldn’t have been the only one doing this) so I know from personal experience of playing with Jane and Johnny that many of the poses were most unnatural. So many joints on Jane provide a flexibility that Jenna Jameson would envy.

Maybe that’s why there were so few female figures made by Marx… If you’ve got one bendy cow girl willing to pose for you in so many ways, why bother with another? Sure her face wasn’t real pretty, but how many of the poses meant you actually had to look at it?

Besides, one bendy chick — with blonde hair yet! — was already luring too many of those Indians.

The Verrry Interesting Laugh-In Lunch Box

Growing up, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was on too late for me to stay up & watch; it began airing in 1968 when I was just four. But hearing my parents talk about the show, I wanted to see it in the worst way. So eventually my whining bore fruit; mom sent me to bed with my younger sister, but as she tucked me in she whispered in my ear, “Just pretend to sleep — I’ll come back and sneak you out past your sleeping sister before the show starts.” I was so excited!

But that must have been too much excitement for me because mother found me passed-out, sound asleep, when she came back for me — but my little sis was awake and she got to watch the show! Drat! Just another reason for a little girl to dislike her little sister.

As the show ran until 1973, I eventually grew old enough to stay up and watch it — not that I understood most of it. Laugh-In was a show built on political humor and sexual innuendo; not something your average kid knows. Well, I understood enough to know there was naughty stuff… and most of the cultural comments were even further over my head. But Arte Johnson was wacky enough for me to genuinely giggle at.

All of this came flooding back when I spotted this old Laugh-In lunch box at a local antique mall this past weekend.

It was a delight to spot — but I carefully replaced it up on it’s lofty spot on a shelf when I spotted the $125 price tag. (Which, apparently, is not out of the norm for such retro Laugh-In lunch boxes.)

But what really makes this find noteworthy is the fact that Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was not a television show for kids — so why make kids’ lunch boxes?

I mean kids didn’t understand the show — and by the time they would have, wouldn’t they be too old for lunch boxes with thermoses? I can imagine the beating 16 year olds took for toting mom’s PB&J in a lunch box.

So just who were these lunch boxes with “Sock it to me” on them marketed to? Kids who, like me, wanted to watch the show because their parents thought it was cool? Parents, who wanted their kids to look cool?

Well, it seems to me that in the late 60’s to early 70’s parents didn’t push their kids to look like mini-adults like they do today… And while there weren’t the same judgments & finger pointing at parents for kids having risqué knowledge (hey, back then we kids traveled in cars without seat belts, even riding on those backseat ‘shelves’ under the rear windows, and we kept our parents company in taverns without any finger or tongue wagging), parents hadn’t yet given into the permissiveness of letting the children dictate to them, especially about adult things. We sat in taverns because parents wanted to go, we rode in the car that way because no laws yet forbade it, and we got Disney and Muppet stuff because we were kids.

It was just that sort of upbringing which makes me covet such a lunch box. It’s familiar & nostalgic, but it was never mine because I was too young — now that I’m older, I want it bad.