Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Seems We Just Get Started and Before You Know It...

Sorry, two Carol Burnett references in one week.  But as I was saying, Christmas is already here!  Those 25 days went quick.  Welcome to Day 25 and a Merry Christmas!

I found these animatronic Mr. and Mrs. Claus last summer at the annual Gramond Street sale in Affton, Missouri. It was the same sale where I previously found this Harold Gale piece.

They weren't as cheap as the Harold Gale I bought there (I only paid $5 for that).  The seller was asking $50 a piece, but I got them for $75 for the pair.  They were part of a department store display in Ohio made by the Creegan company. In speaking with the seller (who turned out to be one of the largest collectors of animated Christmas figures in the St. Louis area), he had purchased them as part of the closing of the Creegan company in 2010.

Like husband and wife team Harold and Viola Gale, George Creegan and his wife JoAnn started their own company that manufactured puppets and animatronic figures which were used in department stores around the world.  George Creegan even starred in a local Steubenville, Ohio children's show called "Creegan and Crow".

Creegan also provided the animatronics to the Mr. Rogers attraction at Idlewild Park in Pennsylvania.

A large number of animatronics were lost when The Creegan Company warehouse burned in December of 2013.

JoAnn passed away in 2003. George passed away in January of this year.

A couple of their designs, along with a Harold Gale Santa opening a treasure chest I picked up at the same sale, are now on display in my front window.

Merry Christmas and thanks for following me this month.  See you in the New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Here Comes Santa Claus

It's Christmas Eve and Santa is frantically preparing his sleigh and packing all the toys for good girls and boys.  This Christmas chime demonstrates how fast a plump, jolly old elf can run.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

I'm So Glad We Had These Stockings Together

If there'd been a "Vicki" stocking, I'd have sworn these were the Christmas stockings of the surviving members of The Carol Burnett Show. (Okay, as Joe pointed out in the comments, Tim Conway is still with us. Sorry, Tim.)

Somebody really blinged out these stockings.  It seems to have been a popular practice in the 1960's.  They remind me of this Santa mail holder I found years ago.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Reader's Digest Condensed - December 1968

It's time for the December edition of Reader's Digest Condensed, which of course means, just the ads.  But as a bonus in honor of Christmas, I'm including "St. Nicholas: The People's Saint" for a bit of history on the jolly fat man in red.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Sunken Treasure

Milton Bradley's "Sunken Treasure" game is another spin (pun intended) on "Operation".

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Pine Cone Elves

These pine cone elves I found at one sale look right at home with this log cabin I found at another. The cabin needs a few repairs. It's a good thing elves are handy with hammers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mall Memories -- Day of Christmas

During the late '70's and early '80's, there was an annual event celebrated in my family.  One weekday in December my mother would call my sister and me in sick at school. Then along with my other sister, we would head off to the "big" mall. We had our own local shopping mall, but there was another, larger and more grand, with more shopping and dining options: Crestwood Mall in South St. Louis County, Missouri.

Crestwood Mall 1986

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Magic Memories

Yesterday's blog about Christmas memories reminded me of something that happened this past year. Something magical, you might say.

Way back in 2012, I posted about some magic sets I'd found at sales over the years. One of the sets was one I'd picked up even earlier, probably in the early 2000's: the Remco Sneaky Pete's Professional Magic Show.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Santa and Me

The arrival of Santa Claus at malls across America used to be the kickoff to the Christmas season and was often a grandiose affair involving helicopter landings and high school bands. These photos with Santa harken back to those days when children waited in long lines expectantly, if a little nervous and unsure. They chronicle one little girl's (Judy Sutter's) visits to the man in red through the 1950's and '60's. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas Ad Templates

Time for this season's dose of the newspaper ad templates I found this past summer. These date from December 1968 and '69.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Holly Bells

I used to find the plastic Christmas decorations made in Hong Kong to be tacky.  They've grown on me over the years. And I've amassed quite a collection. These plastic bell-shaped holly decorations are the latest additions.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Sugar Candles

These crystallized "sugar candles" are gaining in popularity.  I recall these from the '70's.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Santa Light Cover

I found these ginormous Santa light covers in the basement of an estate sale a couple years ago. They measure 18" x 18". I would guess they date from the 1960's.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Masticated Memories

I had one of these red velvet Dakin Reindeer when I was a kid.  I found this one at a garage sale over the summer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I saw Grandma Kissing Santa Claus

Well, I guess actually it's supposed to be Mrs. Claus.

I've written before of my love for those tacky '70's Hong Kong produced plastic Christmas decorations.  This is another addition to my collection.

These haven't quite made it to collectible status yet, but I suspect as older Christmas items price out of most collectors' range, these will find a market.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Uncanny Finds -- Sweet Christmas Memories

It's odd what things stand out in our memories.  I remember my father receiving a can of these every Christmas from his employer.  But this is no "jelly of the month club" story.  He also received chocolates, and a huge fruit basket not to mention a sizable monetary bonus. But as a kid, I was more interested in the candy.  Except for these...

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Oh, Christmas Tree

This little tree is the aluminum equivalent of Charlie Brown's tree.  It's a little pathetic, but "I never thought it was such a bad little tree".

Saturday, December 8, 2018

No Cardholder Lefton Behind

I found these Lefton Christmas card holders at separate garage sales, but they go well together.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Christmas Greetings

These days, most people turn to online services like Shutterfly to create custom Christmas cards to send to friends and family.  In 1977, you could order personalized cards out of book like this.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Merry Christmas Adele. STOP

I have no idea who "Adele" was, but I'm assuming she was employed by Western Union and perhaps received this as a gag.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

What a Bunch of Crepe

I gasped when I saw this batch of vintage Dennison Christmas crepe paper in a pile of other plain wrapping paper at a garage sale this summer.  It's rare to find vintage items at garage sales these days.  Especially marked as cheap as these were at a quarter a piece.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Lenticular Santa

This lenticular Christmas wall plaque probably dates from the 1950's.   From one angle we see Jolly Old St. Nick.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Merry Chris-mouse

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Mouse were made by Royalty Industries in 1970 and were made to be banks.

They are clearly inspired by the popular puppet of the time, "Topo Gigio".

"Topo  Gigio" debuted on Italian television in 1959.  In 1963, he began appearing on "The Ed Sullivan Show". "Topo Gigio" (translated from the Italian for "Louis Mouse") was operated by 4 puppeteers, 3 for various articulation and a fourth to voice "Topo".  The puppeteers all dressed in black and used a black back drop to conceal themselves.  "Topo" was known for his stereotypical Italian accent, always saying to Ed when he would depart: "Keesa me goo'night!".  "Topo" continued as a regular throughout the show's run and even closed out the final show in 1971.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Good Day and Welcome to Day 1

There's a war on Christmas, my friends.  I'm not talking about "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays". I'm talking about Christmas vs. Halloween.  It seems to be popular thought as of late that you're either a Halloween person or a Christmas person.  I'm here to tell you that's not true, because I'm both.

Historically, I've blogged a lot more during October than in December, particularly the last few years. So, I'm here this month to attempt to make up for it with my "25 Days of Christmas".  That's right, once again I will attempt to post something every day in December leading up to Christmas.  And while I admit, my Halloween-related finds tend to be a little more interesting, I hope you'll enjoy my Christmas tidings this month as well.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018

Garage Sales Finds Unbottled

"Unbottled" is an extension of my "Uncanny Finds" series, but since it's a bottle--well, you get it.

With temperatures dipping into the teens and the first snowfall of the season, it's far from an "Indian Summer" here in St. Louis, but at least the imagery on this bottle brings that to mind.

I'm not sure why they felt the need to make grape flavored apple cider.  I might allow a grape juice and apple cider mix, but adding artificial grape flavoring (not to mention artificial color) seems a little unnecessary.

Despite the olde-tymey look of the bottle (I would have guessed '60's), the UPC code gives it up for probably the mid to late 1970's.

At $1.89, this jug of cider would run anywhere from $6 to $8.50 in today's dollar.

Friday, November 9, 2018

It's a Jungle Out There

"Where Humans are Caged and MONKEYS RUN WILD!".  That sounds like an old Yakov Smirnoff line. "In Soviet Russia..."

Monkey Jungle is still around and thriving.  In 1933, Joseph Demond released 6 Java (Macaque) monkeys into the wild.  Probably not the smartest thing to do, but they survived and now number 80 (according to Monkey Jungle's website or 130 according to RoadsideAmerica. Who are you gonna believe?) along with 300 other various primates that roam the forest.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Halloween 2018 Post Mortem

I don't have to tell you, but Halloween has come and gone once again. In fact, it was a week ago today.  I usually take a few moments to summarize the month and this year is no exception.

Once again, I surprised myself and was able to post every day of the month with something new.

I saw a few new names in the comments (thanks and welcome Bohemian, BJB, Pecor, Richard S. and Holli)  and the return of a couple I haven't seen in a while (Brother Herbert and Alexis Treasures).  And of course, don't think I don't appreciate the usual gang: FrankO, Bob Johns, Lady M, top_cat_james, Erick, Caffeinated Joe, Mr. Karswell, and Ewen Kirk.  If I missed someone, I apologize, but you're still appreciated.

Stats for the month were up; no big surprise there.  Halloween has traditionally been my biggest month.  I had 9,863 hits in October compared to 6,533 in September.  Last October I had 15,278, but that was about the time some French-based spambot started pinging my site for some unknown reason.  I was able to stop that, but it really threw my stats for a loop.

My top 5 posts for the month were:

Movie Monster Memories
On the Twelfth Day of Halloween
Reader's Digest Condensed - October 1975 - A Special Treat
Today's Halloween Pails in Comparison
Reader's Digest Condensed - October 1972

Google was still the top-referring site for my blog with 799 redirects, proving once again that people who stumble upon my site are still my biggest customers. Facebook (yes, I do have a page) was second with 99 redirects, our Google neighbors to the north (Google.ca. C'mon, Canada, do you need your own Google?) was third with 82, followed by Bing (who uses that?) and finally The Countdown.

A few of the key words that lead to my site: "fun halloween reflections", "ripley's believe it or not true ghost stories", "1978 tv guide listings",  and the oddly-worded "dolgins stores closed".

And that wraps up another Halloween Season.

Until next year...

p.s. That doesn't mean I won't be writing November through September, just not as frequently. Check back.  And thanks again for dropping by.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Today's Halloween Pails in Comparison

You've probably noticed, these posts come with a heavy does of nostalgia; my own.  Having grown up in the '70's and early '80's, I sometimes feel like I closed out the years when being a kid was magical, particularly around Halloween. It was a time when parents let their children run out alone into the night, enter strangers' homes, eat their homemade treats, and explore unknown paths -- as long as they were home by the time the moon was overhead in the sky.  My memories of Halloween have followed me throughout the years. And it all started with this.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Reader's Digest Condensed - October 1975 - A Special Treat

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "He's already done a Reader's Digest Condensed this month".  Or maybe not. At any rate, this is indeed the second "Reader's Digest Condensed" this month, but it's here for a reason -- and a treat just for you.  But, you'll have to wade through ads first. Unless you want to cheat and just scroll on down to the bottom.

Monday, October 29, 2018

ESPecially Yours

I'm a sucker for paranormal shows. Ghosts, UFO's, Bigfoot, Chupacabras, you name it, I'm in, especially this time of year.  I'm sure it dates back to my childhood spent watching Leonard Nimoy's "In Search Of...", Jack Palance's "Believe It or Not!" and Robert Stack's "Unsolved Mysteries". Back then, I fell for everything hook, line and Gellar. I like to believe I'm a little more skeptical these days, but reality aside, it's just fun to believe something undiscovered still exists.

Gordon Hoener did too. So much so that he started St. Louis' first "Ghost Busters" group "Haunt Hunters" in 1965.  This brochure I found oddly blends his two passions: Investments and the paranormal; in this case ESP. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

A Happy Time of Year

This book from 1958 doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know.  Halloween is a happy time of year.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Mr. Blinky

I found this Mr. Blinky glow lamp a few years ago. I don't believe I've posted on it before, but if I have, here's a refresher.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Movie Monster Memories

In the Second Grade, I stole a book.  Yes, my life of crime has been well documented.  I stole it from the classroom library.  I was the only person that ever checked it out and I couldn't find it anywhere else. At least, so I justified. So around the last day of school, I just swiped it.  I'm not proud of it.  But as karma will be, a few years later, another kid stole it from me. And I've been looking for it ever since.

So I was ecstatic when I found this beat up copy at a garage sale over the summer.

Thursday, October 25, 2018


I found these Rosbro candy containers on the back shelf in the basement of an estate sale.  They must have been hidden well, because no one had grabbed them earlier in the day.  Always dig, people!

Pete the Clown

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Ripley's True Ghost Stories

It's time once to again to expose explore a Ripley's Believe It or Not! comic book. Like last year, I'll discuss the validity of each story and link it to actual legends or events. Unlike last year's, this issue contains no ads. Sorry kids.

This 1966 issue has a cover featuring one of Ripley's most famous characters, Liu Ch'ung (despite not appearing anywhere in the book itself).

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


One stormy night, long ago, six people, dressed in masquerade costumes were coming home from a party. They took shelter in an old house and haven't been heard from since. Unfortunately, their ghosts are still haunting the place! Once upon a moonlight night Alfred Hitchcock saw the six Ghosts, still in costume, and some Weapons that probably were used to eliminate them.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Mystic Weather Forecaster

I found this "Mystic Weather Forecaster" in the basement of an estate sale recently, passed over by everyone else.  I thought it was cute and kitschy.  The pink screams 1950's, but it could be later.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Amscan Spider Honeycomb Die Cut

This honeycomb spider die cut is made by Amscan and is probably dates from the 1970's to '80's, given its "Made in Taiwan" marking.

Amscan's corporate site hasn't been updated much in the way of history since the last time I wrote about it, however, I found additional information on the company and its founder from other sites.

Despite the corporate site's "About Us" stating "Our founders were American and Scandinavian…hence AMSCAN", the only founder I was able to identify was Elvera Svenningsen who started the business with $1,000 out of the family garage.  Elvera was married to Anders Svenningsen, clearly a Scandinavian name. Maybe Elvera was "American", although no mention is made of Anders playing a role in the company.  Elvera was an importer of honeycomb party decorations and "expendable turkeys"; I'm assuming the paper kind.

Amscan was eventually taken over by Elvera's son John who operated it until his passing in 1996.  John's children were not interested in the company, so it was taken over by employees who took the company public.  It has since expanded and even purchased Party City in 2005, the company that was once it's biggest customer.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Disco, Disco Die Cut

I found these well-worn die cuts in the basement of an estate sale marked at 50 cents each.  

Friday, October 19, 2018

Halloween Straw Toppers

These 3 hollow plastic decorations had me scratching my head when I first found them.  I couldn't think of what they would be from. Posting them to a Halloween collector Facebook group I belong two identified them as "straw toppers".  These would have been the top of straws full of bead-like candy and given out as treats at Halloween.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Peck Skeleton Die Cut

It was hard finding an example of this flocked skeleton die cut by Peck.  The only way I was able to identify it as Peck was by the head which was available as a separate die cut.  I believe it dates from the 1980's, so I wouldn't expect it to be very scarce.

I found it at a garage sale for $1 which goes to show there's still some great stuff out there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Sketch Book

Knowing I'm the fan of Halloween that I am, it should come as no surprise I'm also a fan of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".  Growing up, I only knew the story through the Disney short (which is still a favorite of mine) and the various television adaptions such as the 1980 version starring Jeff Goldblum.  It wasn't until I was an adult that I read the actual story.  This recent-years collection features the headless horseman on its cover.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Scaring Up Some Sales

You may recall the debut of the grocery sale templates on this site last month. Or you may not. Either way, you're getting some more of them.  This time, it's Halloween-themed ads, of course.

First up, these "Monster Sale!" ads from October of 1968 feature some pretty neat art.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Witch Head Candy Container

I'm churning out these posts this month, so please forgive the unimaginative titles I've given them.  This is indeed a Witch Head Candy Container. I bought it in a bag lot of newer decorations, but I think this one is older. It measures 3" tall and has googly eyes.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Inkybod Pen

Avon may have been stretching a tie-in with this Inkybod of Spooky Hollow pen from the 1980's.

I would have thought "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" would have been in the public domain by now, but maybe Disney owns the rights. In any case, we all know "Spooky Hollow" is just a substitute for "Sleepy Hollow" and "Inkybod" is just a play on "Ichabod" of the Crane family. But why a tree? I guess because it was the most pen-friendly shape that could be used from the story?

"Every Hallow's Eve at the stroke of midnight, Inkybod lets out a shrill cry so loud he actually turns purple! No one knows why he does this..."  Possibly because he knows he'll be sealed in that suffocating bag the rest of his days which is the real reason he's turning purple.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Halloween Ads

These ads are the remainders from going through various October issues of vintage 1960's magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, and Better Homes and Gardens.  As a bonus, I'm including "Halloween Party Shari Lewis Style".  You're welcome.

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