Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Toast to 2020

I make no excuses for my toaster obsession.  I don't know what it is.  Something about the comfort and civility of just eating some toast with a cup of coffee.

I picked up this GE toaster at an estate sale about a month ago.  It's getting to the point where I need to sneak these things into our home.  As I've mentioned before, there's really no good way to photograph chrome appliances.  They always look worse than in person.  This toaster displays very well in person.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas (in Ads)

While the above "00" was meant to be a place holder for the ad, it's appropriate today.  Wow, that went quick.  And while I didn't get anywhere near the number of posts out I wanted to, please accept my Christmas wishes and this minor offering of more vintage advertising from the slicks I bought a couple years ago.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Slides In: The Office Christmas Party

I found time (a little) for one more post this season.  From a slide lot I bought a year or so ago comes this look into an office Christmas party circa 1966.  I have no time to provide commentary so make up your own captions.

Merry Christmas!

Cool Toys I Never Got for Christmas

As kids, we know Christmas is all about the toys.  What did you get, what did your siblings get, what did your friends get? The anticipation to present opening was overwhelming to me. Fortunately, my family opened presents on Christmas Eve, so I didn't have to spend a sleepless night, although it made for an anxious day.  Occasionally, my mom would break down and let us open one present early.

But let's take a step back from the actual day (or eve).  Christmas really started for me around September when the Sears and J.C. Penney's catalogs arrived in the mail.

I immediately perused their contents, flipping quickly to the back where all the treasures awaited.  With pen in hand, I began circling what I wanted, never considering the price, size or age-appropriateness.  I'll admit, I aimed high, many times knowing I wouldn't get my circled desires.  There was always the largest slot car set, a train, or the latest electronic gadget.  But Christmas is about dreams, right?

I hit a sale this summer that didn't show much promise and to be honest, I almost didn't go in. But I know "you never know", so I committed to it.  I found a few things of passing interest before heading to the basement.  It was a cluttered, dark space, but there was enough down there to pique my interest.

At the end of the basement, I found a closet door. Opening it, I was stunned to see stacks of vintage games and toys.  Among those were some I recalled circling in a catalog long ago.  I built my pile and took it to the owner.  He charged me $2 a piece and I was delighted to pay.

I've paired up some of the toys from that sale along with their catalog entry that I had once circled.

Shoot Out in Space:

Monday, December 23, 2019

E.T. Will Be Home for Christmas

I found this ornament over the Summer.  It seems odd to me, but shows the breadth of the marketing push behind E.T. in the early '80's.  I decided to bring him home.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Alpine Village Electrified Ginger House

I've long been a fan of the kitschy plastic 70's Christmas decorations.  Of course, they were what I knew in my formative Christmas years.  They were all over the Woolworth's I shopped at every Christmas.  This plastic Alpine Ginger Bread house is a great example of how Christmas decorations began changing in the '70's from the traditional paper and cardboard houses (Putz) into the more (then) modern plastic versions. I've had this one for years, a dollar find at a long ago garage sale.

Friday, December 20, 2019

What was on TV December 6 through 12th, 1980

After a long hiatus of TV Guide (not to mention regular) posts, I'm back with a look into television 1980-style.  The Guide had yet to make the leap to the square-bound, cable-thick version.  Sorry, it's still only 3 networks for you. Choose your television viewing wisely.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Christmas Is...Wondering What's on Television

My childhood revolved around the television set.  What was on tonight?  What was on this coming weekend?  Who's on Fantasy Island this week? What's on now?!

The holidays ramped up my television obsession.  When is "Rudolph" going to be on?  What about Charlie Brown? Will this be the year without "The Year Without a Santa Claus?!"

It all started on Thanksgiving Day with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  This was generally followed by an afternoon of odd assorted animated specials.  Sometimes they were those "Famous Classic Tales" like "The Mysterious Island" and "Gulliver's Travels", sometimes the similarly-themed "The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo" with Magoo playing the main character of classic literature, and sometimes it was those oddball Lutheran Television cartoons like "Christmas Is..." featuring "Benji" and his dog "Waldo".  This flex-disc mail giveaway promoted its appearance on local St. Louis television station KSD, channel 5 at noon on Christmas Day.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know what you're thinking: "You disappear after Halloween and now you come crawling back with a measly Thanksgiving offering of old newpaper ads."  And you'd be right.  These come from the ad "slicks" (I believe that is the term) I found several years ago.

 I hope you'll enjoy them and remember, save me the drumstick!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Halloween 2019 Post-Mortem

Well, another Halloween has come and gone.  From the outset on October 1st, Halloween seemed so far away and publishing a post a day seemed such a formidable task, but both happened nonetheless.

I always take a little time after the hectic posting schedule to review how my blog did throughout the month, and it's that time again.

I don't pay much attention to statistics, but they do provide a little insight.  The way I measure this blog's success is if I see new commenters, of which there were a few.  Joining the usual crowd this month was Guillaume from the UK, Matthew Schmeer from Kansas, Pik-Cor from Canada, Mason from parts unknown, and CraveCute from Minnesota. Thanks for stopping by all!

I had the most site hits since May of 2017, even beating last October by a nearly 2,000-hit margin.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Deck the Halls with Bowels of Ghoulies

Well, the big night is here, or "the big dance" as we in the know call it. Okay, nobody calls it that.

I hope you've enjoyed the past 31 days of Stranger Finds.  I leave you with Halloween wishes for a magical night along with some pictures of my decorations this year featuring all of my Halloween finds.  I wasn't able to get outside pictures this year due to the weather (rain, high winds, rain, freezing temperatures, rain).

Mighty Men & Monster Making

While this Tomy "Mighty Men & Monster Maker" drawing set came out in 1978 and should have been right in my wheelhouse, I somehow missed it and my vague memories of the commercial place it in the early '80's when it wouldn't have been on my wish list, having migrated to the Atari 2600 and handheld electronic games.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Scooby Doo Lunchbox, Where Are You?

In grade school, much of your personality could be summed up by the lunch box you carried, if you could afford the luxury.  It was also a status symbol.  Lunchbox kids looked down on the brown baggers, at least it felt that way to me.

I had a lunch box in First Grade.  It was a plastic Snoopy's doghouse lunch box.  One day after school, I absentmindedly tossed it on the ground after school and the lid broke off.  That was end of my lunch box days.  I was a brown bagger there on out.

During lunch I would covet the other kids' lunchboxes, particularly those that featured cartoons, TV shows or movies I liked.  There were Marvel Superheroes, Peanuts, Batman and Robin, Happy Days, Superman the Movie, and numerous others.  But one that always stood out to me was the 1973 Scooby Doo lunch box, both for the artwork and the theme: it featured The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow on the front, and a Haunted House on the back.  How can you get better than that?

Like Disney's The Haunted Mansion from yesterday, "Scooby Doo, Where are You" turned 50 this year.  It took me almost as long to find his lunchbox. I believe it was an estate sale find and I'm sure I paid up for it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Happy 50th Disney's Haunted Mansion

This 1970 promotional item published by Disney and Gulf Oil celebrates the opening on August 9th, 1969 of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion attraction which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.  I've been fascinated with Haunted Mansion since I was a kid, checking out books like this from my elementary school library.  I've never been to Disneyland, but I finally got to visit the Haunted Mansion when I was in the 5th grade.  I've been back with my own kids numerous times in the past 20 years and it's still my favorite attraction there.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Witch Candle Company is Which?

I found this Gurley witch at a garage sale this year. It's nice to find these vintage items still, particularly at garage sale prices.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Bony Tony

I found this MPC "Bony Tony" figure among some small toys priced at a quarter each at a recent sale. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Witch and Cauldron

I went to an estate sale in Webster Groves, Missouri that heavily advertised Halloween collectibles.  I know "heavily advertised" equals "high priced", but I decided to go anyway to check out the prices and the house which was a turn-of-the-century home.

While the selection of Halloween items was impressive (mainly vintage die cuts), they were priced at and mostly above eBay prices.  That didn't stop people from grabbing them up which of course doesn't discourage the estate sale companies from pricing them that way, and I don't blame them.

However, they did have a quarter box of items in which I saw this.

Friday, October 25, 2019

A Halloween (F)Renzi

This Jack O' Lantern is pretty unassuming and common looking from the front...

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Paranormal Reading

Though it's a huge time consumer, I always review the shelves and boxes of books at estate and garage sales.  You can usually get a pretty good sense of what you'll find by looking through a row of them.  If you see a lot of religious, self-help or psychiatry books, you're probably not going to find any treasures (unless you need those books, of course).

I hit a gold mine of paranormal books at one particular sale this summer.  They were all from the first year of printing, however, they were the less desirable Book Club versions, though they still sell for more than the $1 each I paid.

First up is William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist".  The movie version of this freaked me out when I was a kid, and I didn't even go see it.  The descriptions I heard were more than enough to make me start wearing the Popsicle stick and soda straw rosary I made in PSR*.

*PSR is Catholic Parish School of Religion, although we just called it "Instructions".

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

House of Secrets (The Secret is, It's Not Very Scary)

It's time once again for a Comics Code Authority-approved horror comic which means not really horror, but as much as we can get away with without being accused of seducing the innocents. From July 1974, it's DC Comics' "The House of Secrets" #121.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Jack O' Lantern and Cat Blow Mold

I picked up this blow mold earlier this year.  I "paid up" for it.  I think I spent $12 for it.  While that's probably cheaper than you'd pay on eBay (plus shipping), I used to get blow molds like this for $1.

Monday, October 21, 2019


I found this Eveready Black Cat bank years ago at a garage sale.  While it's not strictly Halloween, hey, Black Cat. And I do use him to decorate for Halloween.

This plastic cat bank was a 1981 promotion by Eveready. You had your choice of the bank or 50 cents.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Topstone Wrinkled Forehead Mask

I'm not gonna lie. This is going to be a short one.  Only because I don't have much information on this mask.  It's made by Topstone and marked "Taiwan"  which probably dates it to the early 1980's. The only name I've found for this mask is "Wrinkled Forehead Character" which I guess is accurate.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Friday, October 18, 2019

My Crowning Jack O' Lantern Find

Every year, inevitably, I lament that garage sales just aren't what they used to be.  The people of the era I like have aged out (a nice way of saying they've died or already sold off everything) and people are more savvy about the collectability and value of items, particularly Halloween collectibles.

And every year, inevitably, I run into a sale that proves me wrong.

A few weeks ago, while out on my usual travels, I saw an unassuming sale.  I almost didn't stop, but I've learned if there are things you can't see in the garage, go in.

Most of the items were modern and utilitarian, those impulse buys at Walmart that never get used, but on a shelf, I saw this little crowned guy (or gal).

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Claws for Alarm

I found these claws inside one of the many Jack O' Lantern pails I picked up over the summer (I can't help it, it's an addiction).  

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tip Top Skeleton Hand

To go along with yesterday's peeping skeleton, I offer this "Tip Top Skeleton Hand". I'd like to point out there are two hands included, so technically, the label is one hand short.  Like the Peeping Skeleton from yesterday, I've blogged about a set of these previously. I found this pair still in the packaging.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Jeepers Peepers

I found this peeping skeleton along with some friends of his at a recent sale.  He fits into your pocket with his hands hanging out, giving the illusion a tiny skeleton is climbing out of your shirt or pants. He also looks like he needs to get a toothbrush in his Halloween bag.  His friends behind him are rings which I assume to be gumball prizes.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Won't You Be My Frankenstein?

Today being the 14th and the season of Halloween makes for the pefect day to show this oddball Valentine.  Marked "Valentine No. 37" and copyrighted by "CVC", I'd never seen one like it before.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

We'll Take a Cup of Horror Yet

Welcome to Sunday the 13th!  Mwah ha ha haaaa.... Ehhhh.  Doesn't have the same effect as Friday, does it?

These Halloween party cups were meant to be used and disposed of -- the definition of "ephemera".  They managed to survive and I'm glad of it.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Friday, October 11, 2019

Creepy Crispy Critter

One of the things I enjoy about picking up items from garage or estate sales is they may require some fixing up. I feel like I'm preserving the past when I restore something to its former glory.  In fact, I've written here of my many restoration projects.

Today I'm going to share a failure.

I found this 1980's Topstone mask at an estate sale marked for $1.  It was hardened stiff, as these old rubber masks tend to do, but I thought for a buck, I'd give a shot at restoring it.  The pictures below show the form it was hardened in.  It doesn't appear that way because it's laying flat. You could pick it up and it retained this shape.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Rattle Me Bones

I almost didn't pick up this 1970's Bayshore skull rattle when I first saw it in the basement of a home I was perusing at an estate sale.  I pegged it for something more modern, but I liked the look of it, so I picked it up anyway. It was only $1, so how could I pass?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Carbarlick Acid Rag

I frequently see old sheet music at sales, but rarely see a piece that catches my eye.  These devils dancing around a bottle of poison did.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


This 1940's Syco-Slate Pocket Fortune Teller was a product of Alabe Crafts of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Grass Isn't Always Greener

This child's drawing, obviously for the Halloween season, was stuck in with the Witch die cut I posted yesterday. It's hard to say if it was made as a school art project, or just fun at home, but I love it.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Eureka Witch on Broom

This Witch on Broom (with Ghost) die cut was made by Eureka in the 1970's.  It's large (36") and has several jointed parts that allows it to be folded up smaller for storage.

It shows the witch riding her broom, bedecked in a star-covered black robe and hat.  Her broom has the optional bulb horn to warn Sunday drivers to get out of the way.  A ghost, probably drunken, based on his nose, has hitched a ride.  Remember, friends don't let friends drive drunk. Not even ones that are already dead.

I found a few other items in the same bag which I'll post at a later date (how's that for suspense?).

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Witch Bendy

While rooting around in the basement of a home at an estate sale, my daughter pulled this out of box of toys.  I'm so proud of her (my daughter, not the witch, although she's cool too).

Friday, October 4, 2019

You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Blog is About You

I found this print at an estate sale a couple weeks ago for $1.  I've seen the image before, but never knew much about it. The title is "All is Vanity" and it's by Charles Allan Gilbert.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A Honey of a Dagger

Comic books ads have always been a fascination of mine.  I would peruse those ads in my comic books as a kid, dreaming of ordering a pair of X-Ray Specs (for scientific purposes, of course), that voice-throwing gadget (fool your parents and your teachers!) or a life-sized Frankenstein's monster (because who wouln't want one?!) Sadly, I never ordered anything as my mom told me they were a ripoff. Who knew moms were so smart?

I don't recall ever seeing this pin-on dagger in a comic book, but I would venture a guess it was marketed similarly.  I found this in a box lot of magic tricks over the summer.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Halloween 6 -- It's My Bag Baby: Electric Boogaloo

That's right! It's October 1st and I'm back for my sixth round with the Countdown to Halloween.  For the month of October "Garage Sale Finds" becomes "Stranger Finds" with every day showcasing a Halloween or Horror/Spooky related find.

As in previous years, I found myself doubting I could fill all 31 days, but reviewing my stock, I think I can do it.  Considering I've done this five previous times, I also thought it would be fun to throw in some old posts as well, so I plan on doing a new and a classic post daily (see right of this post).  You can thank me later.

Now that that's out of the way, here's the first bag of the season.  This bag combines two of my loves: Halloween and Burger Chef.  Unfortunately, this bag is from the post- Burger Chef & Jeff era that I fondly recall when the logo was changed from the smiley-faced, bow-tied chef you see in my avatar to the generic chef's hat logo.  You'll notice this freckle-faced Ginger is holding his own bag which shows him holding his own bag which shows him... Well you get it.  It's an example of the Droste Effect.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Dormeyer Toaster

By now you should all be familiar with my toaster obsession.  I've tried to scale back my collecting of these to odd or interesting and the "just so cheap I can't pass it up" variety.  This 1950's Dormeyer toaster I found a couple weeks ago met all three categories.

 The model number on this toaster is 6303 and was produced in 1962. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Brady Lunch

I have to admit, I've been enjoying "A Very Brady Renovation" on HGTV and I will not apologize for that.

I found this Whitman frame tray puzzle over the summer.  The artwork actually has very good likenesses of the cast with the exception of "Tiger" who has now become an English Sheepdog.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

What was on TV September 18th through 24th, 1976 -- Fall Preview Edition

Hang onto your hats and get out your reading glasses. It's time for the Fall Preview issue of TV Guide.  This time from September of 1976.  I wasn't quite in my prime yet as  a TV watcher at this time, but soon would be.  I was still sharing Saturday mornings with my sister and prime time with my brothers. But soon, soon I would rule the TV roost.  In America, we were on the downside of the Bicentennial and headed straight for the Disco era. Let's take a look at what exciting offerings were made by the big 3 in 1976.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Tea for Totem

I jumped the gun  this past weekend expecting the annual Canterbury Place subdivision garage sale in Affton, Missouri to be in full swing.  Normally, it's the first weekend after Labor Day, but as it turns out, this year it's this coming weekend.

But fortunately, there were a number of garage sales in the area anyway and at one I picked up this Totem Tea set.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

We're Through the Looking Glass Here, People

This "Through the Looking Glass" pamphlet should have been subtitled "How to Fat-Shame Your Teenage Daughter".  Look at her. SHE'S IN TEARS!!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Rule the School

With school back in session, it's a good time to review some common sense rules you can apply in your daily life, even if you're not in school.  This ruler lays down the rules.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Back to School

It's back to school time once again. These days, kids go packed off literally packed.  Even the youngest carry book bags nearly as big as themselves.

When I was a kid, I was lucky to start off with a box of Crayolas (the 16-pack, not even the 48 or heaven forbid the 64) and a pencil.  If you were really fortunate (and I never was), you got to start off with one of these.

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