Tuesday, August 25, 2020

More Stuff From The Box

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's time for "more stuff from the box". What box? I'll never tell.

This brass Junior "G" Man badge  is one of variety of toy badges tied to a 1936 radio program hosted by Melvin Purvis, who was an FBI agent famous for leading the manhunts for Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger, and Baby Face Nelson. If you were a Melvin Purvis fan, you could have a badge for a "roving operative", a "chief operative", and then various ranks of "secret operator" including "lieutenant" and "chief". There was also a "girl's division".

Next are two badges from McDonald's featuring the Grimace and Mayor McCheese, denizens of McDonaldland. I don't remember how I got these, and assume that there are other badges featuring other beloved characters. The Hamburglar! Officer Big Mac! Captain Crook! Birdie! Or maybe not. 

Here's something different! Three tiny pieces of amber - roughly 1/2" in length - with insects preserved in them. I believe these are Burmese amber (as opposed to Baltic)... Burma has a LOT of amber, and a lot of tiny gnats and other critters got stuck in the resinous goo, so you can get pieces like these for pretty cheap. I took this photo on my light table, it came out pretty good!

The rest of today's items are from various World's Fairs, for better or worse. How about this lovely enameled (painted, really) brass bookmark from the 1939 New York World's Fair? It's in great shape, somebody didn't like to read much.

This pin is from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. "A Century of Progress"! The hanging badge shows the Travel and Transport Building, an Art Deco edifice that, at the time, had the "world's largest unobstructed room" for exhibits. A much-heralded feature was the "breathing dome" that could expand and contract with changes in temperature. As you can see, much of the support was on the outside of the building, with the load carried by cables attached to 12 towers.

And finally, a cheap souvenir pin and ribbon from the 1964/65 World's Fair, they probably sold hundreds of thousands of these at the time. I always find that blue and orange color combo to be very pleasing. If you happen to wear one of these to a job interview, you will get hired.

There's lots more stuff in the box!


Nanook said...


This is quite the motley collection of 'stuff', I must say. In spite of some wonderful trinkets here (the bookmark, fer instance), I have a soft spot in my heart for Mayor McCheese. He should have a contest with the Mayor from The Nightmare Before Christmas to see who can be more disingenuous.

THanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yay! More fun stuff from "The Box." I love all three World's Fair items!

I remember trying to collect some of the McDonaldland character items as they were released. This was in the days before they added Birdie to the cast. It was also in the days before "Happy Meals" were sold. The merchandise/toys could just be purchased individually.

Are there any mosquitoes in your amber? If so, we can extract the DNA and grow some dinosaurs.

K. Martinez said...

The Mayor McCheese metal badge is super cool, but my favorite this round is the blue and orange NYWF pin and ribbon. Geat color combo and iconic graphics. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic!, I was thinking the exact same thing about Dino DNA being in the amber.

Andrew said...

I like these posts, Major - it feels like we're in an antique shop seeing just the best stuff!

The McDonaldland characters always intrigued me because I really had no idea who they were. There was a playset in my preschool with figures, and I was always curious about the purple splat guy. Now I have an Officer Big Mac glass that I use all the time.

I used to paint things blue and orange in elementary school since they were two of my favorite colors, but I eventually stopped because I thought that they didn't look good together. I guess that I was wrong. ;-)

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, you mentioned Baby Face Nelson...he was a childhood friend of my grandfather's. Thankfully, they went separate ways, later in life.

TM! and Ken: Speaking of Jurassic Park, I'm going off on a tangent now...
When I first saw the movie and they said the line, "All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!"- I cringed. Did anyone else, at the time?

Major, you do have a fun collection of stuff - thanks for sharing! The book marker is my favorite, today.

zach said...

They didn't use the bookmark because they used their Kindle. These posts remind me of MY box. It's time to look at my stuff again.

Thanks, Major


Melissa said...

I used to be scared to death of the Haumburglar. I would run from the room whenever he came on the TV.

All groovy treasures in this lot! I think my favorite is the Trylon/Perisphere bookmark.

Kathy! said...

Neat things today. I like the amber and the bookmark best, though the latter looks like it could be used as a weapon. Pointy!

Melissa said...

There’s a spot in Amahl and the Night Visitors where one of the three kings shows Amahl his box of treasures and sings, “This is my box! This is my box! I never travel without my box!” I always think of that with the treasure box posts.

Melissa said...

TokyoMagic!, my high school French teacher used to wear an amber pendant with a little fly trapped in it.

DrGoat said...

The more box stuff, the better. really cool Junior "G" Man badge. I'm sure my Dad listened to that show. He would have been about 25 or so in 1936.
Wish you could visit the Gem and Mineral show in January here in Tucson. One of the biggest shows and there's literally tons of amber. You have some very desirable pieces there Major. Really clean, visible insects. Like Tokyo said, you could grow your own Velociraptor. Or better yet, one of the friendly green ones like in The Good Dinosaur.
Thanks Major

JC Shannon said...

Dino DNA, it's what's for dinner. I still have a Worlds Fair tumbler in orange and blue that I treasure. I remember thinking as a kid, that the colors were so modern and tomorrow-looking. I guess a lot of us here at GDB are collectors of some sort. I personally suffer from Justonemoreitis. Thanks for sharing yours, Major.

JG said...

Fun stuff, Major.

I vote for the amber and the 1939 bookmark. Mom and Dad went to a Worlds Fair in San Francisco in that year.

Was it a requirement that Worlds Fair items feature blue and orange?

You have inspired me to dig out my box of treasures, I found some nice things that I had forgotten.


Chuck said...

Major, you must have a super-high-end light table. I've used them to look at pictures but never seen one that can take pictures, Or am I willfully misunderstanding you?

Andrew, orange and blue are complimentary colors on the pigment color wheel. You were employing advanced art theory and didn't even know it!

Melissa, I haven't heard anyone reference Amahl and the Night Visitors in forever, One of my childhood churches used to put on a wonderful production of it every year. Granted, I was a kid, but we had season tickets to the Muny in St. Louis and my tastes were honed by professional productions. My theater-trained mom agreed that the church's show had great production values.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, Mayor McCheese was tough on crime, and wanted to make our schools better for kids! Truly a burger of the people.

TokyoMagic!, I have a friend who has only recently become aware of the McDonaldland characters, and now she’s kind of obsessed. I’ve bought some items on eBay for her (birthday and Christmas presents), her favorite is the Grimace, and his Irish counterpart Uncle O’Grimacey! I think all I have in amber is some crummy gnats, sadly. One time I spent more money and got a tiny little cricket, not sure where that went.

K. Martinez, yes, that 1964 New York World’s Fair pin and ribbon is very strong, graphically. There’s something about that blue and orange combo that seems so optimistic - not sure why!

Andrew, I don’t know about the “best stuff”, it’s just stuff I like! “The purple splat guy”, ha ha. Why don’t they make elegant stemware with Officer Big Mac printed on the bowl? I would want to drink champagne out of something like that. Blue and orange were the colors of the 1939 NYWF too. I think you have to use the right kind of blue and the right kind of orange for them to look good together.

Lou and Sue, whoa, that’s a crazy bit of family lore! I hardly know any bank robbers. And YES, when they say “1956” in Jurassic Park, my brain explodes. Such a blunder! I almost think it was done to troll Disneyland fans, knowing it would drive them crazy.

zach, their Kindle was made of Bakelite and had vacuum tubes that glowed a pleasing orange. Let’s see what you have in your box!

Melissa, even now when you hear the sound “Robble robble”, you get chills! Seems like the bookmark is winning the popularity contest so far.

Kathy!, they made a lot of bookmarks for the 1939 Fair, I guess it was an easy way to make a cheap souvenir. This one is my best though.

Melissa, I had to look up Amahl and the Night Visitors. The first opera for television, 1951! Do you watch a kinescope of the original telecast, or is Amahl something that is performed regularly?

Melissa, I once gave pieces of amber with insects, very similar to the ones in today’s photo, to my niece and nephews as stocking stuffers. They probably lost them or swallowed them.

DrGoat, at this point I have so much little junk that I feel like I’ll never run out! Boxes and boxes. My mom used to go to the Tucson gem and mineral show every year! She once bought me a small (about the size of a squashed golf ball) meteorite, which I still have of course. I would love to go, though I would want to spend so much money. Even now I like to look at auction catalogs for gems, minerals, and fossils. “The Good Dinosaur”… I actually kind of like that movie, though the consensus seems to be that it is terrible. I just wish the dinosaur designs weren’t so squishy.

Jonathan, I wonder if your World’s Fair tumbler is the same kind as mine? I never use it because I don’t want the paint to fade, so it just sits in my cupboard. Part of me wishes I didn’t have the collecting bug, but I do love my stuff!

JG, as I said to Andrew, the 1939 NYWF also had blue and orange as the theme colors, maybe those became synonymous with “New York”. I forget what the official colors of the 1933/34 Chicago Fair were (if any). I have some stuff from just a few other Fairs, such as Brussels 1958, Seattle 1962, and Montreal 1967.

Chuck, I took the photo ON my light table, not WITH my light table! Preposition trouble. I know that orange and blue are complimentary colors, but somehow other complimentary colors (purple and yellow, green and red) wouldn’t have the same effect for Fair items. I still have a knee-jerk negative reaction to purple! But I’m not crazy!! As I said to Melissa, I’d never even heard of Amahl and the Night Visitors, but the title sounds very Christmasy. Imagine the idea of a network commissioning an opera these days!

Melissa said...

Preposition trouble got me yelled at in Sunday School when I didn’t think walking on the water was such a big deal because I did it at the lake every summer. It was only after I got home that Mom explained the difference between “on the water” and “in the water.”

I’ve seen the TV version of Amahl, but I mostly know it from local theater groups. Seen it, been in it, co-directed it.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, being from Chicago, I could bore you with gangster stories for a couple hours. My dad’s older sister drove the getaway car for gangsters during the depression. Am serious.

Melissa said...

So your Grandpa knew Baby Face Nelson when he was just Baby Nelson.

Chuck said...

Oh, so that's what you meant, Major. ;-)

I just realized that Mayor McCheese is the Burgermeister von Hamburg...er.

I think I remember an interview in a movie magazine around the time Jurassic Park came out explaining that John Hammond's "1956" reference was an intentional error to show that he wasn't as well-informed or competent as he believed himself or wanted other to believe.

zach said...

The closest I can come to infamous is the Secret Sauce Agent, hidden in my box since the 70s with the other Jack in the Box 'Bendable Buddies' (unbelievably not their stripper name). Remember Small Fry and Onion Ring Thing? Rumor was they could kick butt.


dennis said...

Blue & orange are the colors of the City of New York flag. Inspired by the Dutch,remember New York was originally "New Amsterdam". These colors can be found in the uniforms of the Ny Mets, NY Knicks, even Nassau County's NY Islanders. Dennis, Levittown, NY

Andrew said...

Very cool connection, thanks dennis.

Melissa said...

Huh, I wonder if that’s why Syracuse has the Orangemen.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, maybe you really did walk ON the water, but your mom wasn’t looking at the time. Try it the next time you’re at the lake. They need to remake Amahl and have all of the hottest stars from the 1990s in it.

Lou and Sue, wow, I suddenly realize how boring my family is.

Melissa, he was just known as “Todd” Nelson back then.

Chuck, I had to clear it up for you! It seems like they should have established that John Hammond was not well-informed about something a little more significant than the date that Disneyland opened, especially since a large percentage of the people who saw that movie probably had no idea what the correct year was anyway. Richard Attenborough was so cuddly, maybe they should have made him a little more despicable. Like in the book.

zach, gosh, I don’t remember those Jack In The Box toys at all! As a kid I loved JITB, ordering from the clown was the best. There is a local museum (the “Valley Relics Museum”) that has a vintage clown, with the menu (and prices), maybe from the early 1970s, I need one of those in my man cave.

dennis, interesting! Thank you for that information, I had no idea.

Andrew, I think I should be given some of the credit, even though I didn’t contribute a darn thing ;-)

Melissa, are the Orangemen Irish? I also always wondered why New Jersey had an Orange County. Did they have a booming citrus industry??

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, you replied back to Melissa, "Melissa, maybe you really did walk ON the water, but your mom wasn’t looking at the time. Try it the next time you’re at the lake.
The beginning of March, before the coronavirus shut-downs started, one of my cousins and his wife were visiting from southern California. We drove up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and they were thrilled to walk ON the [frozen] water on Geneva Lake. We snapped pictures with their cell phones so they could show their family, back home. It was fun to see winter, through their eyes!

Major, you said, "I think all I have in amber is some crummy gnats, sadly. One time I spent more money and got a tiny little cricket, not sure where that went."
Maybe YOU swallowed IT.

Major, you also said, "Lou and Sue, wow, I suddenly realize how boring my family is.
Your family may be boring, but YOU sure aren't!

Thank you, everyone, for all the laughs - I really enjoyed today! Great commentary from all!