Friday, July 29, 2011

3... 2... 1... BLEND!!!!

Within a couple weeks of my popcorn space command module, I came across this rocket-themed blender (sorry, blendOr) at an estate sale in the Tam O Shanter subdivision in Oakville.   It was late in the morning and I was surprised to see it still sitting there at $2.  This blender was made by Waring from the late '30's through 1948 and with it's Art Decco switch and Buck Rogers lines, it looks ready to enter the space race.  Someone had long ago replaced the cord with a vaccuum cleaner cord which had deteriorated significantly.  I replaced with a brand new (well, used from an old iron) cord.  It works great, although it's only one speed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No Joking

For Christmas around 1973, I received 3 Mego action figures -- Batman, Robin, and Tarzan. I'm not sure how that combination was decided upon, Tarzan being the odd man out. Mego licensed lots of different characters in addition to DC and Marvel Superheroes. I recall getting a Zera(!) from Planet of the Apes from my brother, because that's what any 8-year-old boy wants to play with -- a female chimp doctor. I do recall having fun squishing her rubber face into different expressions.

But back to the original 3. The Batman figure had a removable cowl which was cool because you could turn him into Bruce Wayne, albeit still in his Bat suit. Oh sure, he could go commando, but that would have raised eyebrows. Tarzan was kind of odd as well. He had the standard leopard-skin, one-shoulder strap jumper, but it was painted on a skin-toned body suit. Not sure why he couldn't just wear the jumper over his bare body. Perhaps that too would have raised eyebrows. But that was Mego. They had some freaky looking action figures. In fact, I never bought Spider-man, who was my favorite character, because he just didn't look right. I recall standing in K-Mart staring at a display of them, puzzled by their poor quality. Spider-man's head had no webs painted on it and he had plain red hands that stuck out of his suit like skeleton hands.

Despite their quality, they were it if you wanted action figures of your favorite characters and over they years have built quite a following and value.
I was at a garage sale last Wednesday, stopping on my way to work, when I came across a lone Mego Joker figure.
I snatched him up and tried to contain my fervor as I asked the owner, an elderly man, how much it was. A quarter.
I asked him if they had any others and he said they had gotten rid of them a long time ago.

That's when it struck me. I think I was standing at the same house where I had experienced one of my greatest garage sale regrets years ago. It was back in the early 90's (yes, I remember all of the garage sales I go to. I know it's weird, but I can't help it). This sale had a huge garbage bag full of Mego characters, vehicles and playsets like the Batcave. It was marked at $5. I was newly married and unemployed at the time, and being this was pre-eBay, I passed on it, regretting it ever since. I think I may have managed to pick up the lone character left out of that original sale.

I didn't hang on to the Joker very long. I listed it on eBay and sold it for $30. If I'd still had my original Batman and Robin, I may have had to keep it just to finally provide the villain I'd wanted all of those years ago.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Caution! Inflammable!!!!

I've said in the past how I'll find something unusual or something I've never seen before at a garage sale, only to see it again within a few weeks.  It happened again.

I wrote a few weeks back about the "Your Man in Service" record.  I came across another self-recording at an estate sale (well, actually a friend spotted it).  This Voice-O-Graph was made on the S.S. Admiral steamboat here in St. Louis.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

3... 2... 1... Popcorn!!!!!

I've always been somewhat of a popcorn afficienado, a connoisseur of the buttered and salted manna that is the popped kernel.  I've tried many methods over the years: stovetop, electric popper with and without stirrer, air popped (choke!), fireplace, microwave and commercial popper.  I've eaten it at home, at the theater, and even department stores such as K-Mart, Venture and Target.  I've never met a popper I didn't like (well, maybe a little displeased with the hot air popper.  Just too darn dry!)

So when I came across this rocket-shaped Duracrest electric popper that looked ready to blast right off,  all priced at a dollar, I had to have it.

It's aluminum with a plastic dome.  There's a glass jewel eye that lights up orange when the element is on, a feature I've seen on toasters as well.  I haven't been able to find any like it on the internet, nor much about the company.  I would place it in the 1950's or 60's.

We've made a few batches of corn with it already, and it does a respectable job.  The only challenges with it are  it has a concave bottom which allows the oil to pool rather than spread evenly and there's no stirrer built in, so there's a whole lotta shakin' goin' on.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Transformers! More than Meets the Eye!

Well, maybe not in this case.  It is exactly what it looks like, a toy train transformer. 

I picked this up at an estate sale for a $1 last week. The seller cautioned me, "Don't plug it in!" Of course I did, but I used a really long extension cord. As it turns out, it works fine.  The label on the transformer describes the various voltages you can achieve (all ac/dc, by the way) by connecting to different combinations of the 4 contacts.  Funny thing is, it's wrong.  It states that 1 and R achieve 17 1/2 to 22 1/2 volts while 3 and R result in 5 1/2 to 10 1/2 volts.  It actually opposite of this.  Not sure if the label was wrong or it's just my particular tranformer that was wired incorrectly.  Here's a 1928 ad for the transformer:

When Christmas comes, I'll be trying out this transformer on my Lionel train.

Get a Grip!

Whenever I go to estate sales, I always take a moment to look through the kitchen utensils bin.  They generally sell from a dime to a dollar per piece.  I'm always keeping an eye out for the unusual ones.  I came across this last week:

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