Monday, January 18, 2021

Stuff From The Box - More World's Fair Items

It's time for more Stuff From the Box, but this is all World's Fair stuff. So... I apologize in advance if you think it's boring! 

First up is this tiny brass pin (about one inch from top to bottom) from the 1933/34 Chicago World's Fair. "A Century of Progress" was that Fair's slogan. The pin is from the natural gas pavilion - I don't know if this would have been worn by a person working at that pavilion, or if the pins were sold to fairgoers - my guess would be the former. 

If you're curious, there is a short film with some very nice color footage of that Fair, see it here (sorry, my HTML link doesn't seem to work):

The 1939/40 New York World's Fair got a ton of publicity, but San Francisco held the Golden Gate International Exposition - "Pageant of the Pacific" was its theme. It was sort of a "sister fair" to the one in New York, and some people traveled from coast to coast to see both. Let's all go to "Sally Rand's Nude Ranch" in the amusement zone! 

Planter's Peanuts had a presence at both fairs, and wooden pins like the one below were given out each; as you can see, this example has Mr. Peanut leaning on the Tower of the Sun, while the New York version has him leaning on the Trylon and Perisphere.

Here's an odd medal from the 1939 New York World's Fair, celebrating the Order of the Easter Star. I knew that the Order had something to do with freemasonry, but I had to go to Wikipedia for a little more info: The Order of the Eastern Star is a Masonic appendant body open to both men and women. It was established in 1850 by lawyer and educator Rob Morris, a noted Freemason, but was only adopted and approved as an appendant body of the Masonic Fraternity in 1873. The order is based on some teachings from the Bible,[1] but is open to people of all religious beliefs. It has approximately 10,000 chapters in twenty countries and approximately 500,000 members under its General Grand Chapter.

I have lots and lots of pins from the New York World's Fair, and the example below is pretty common - a nice shiny pin with orange and blue paint and a classic Trylon and Perisphere design. But this one is extra nice because it's still on the original card on which it was sold. It has a pleasing, bold graphic design.

And here's another tiny pin, around 1 inch in size, on its water-damaged backing card. 

Here's a strange souvenir; a sturdy brass Social Security card with a fantastic enameled (painted) design. I know nothing about how these were issued; did a guest buy the blank card, take it home, and engrave the relevant information on it themselves? Or did somebody do the engraving at the Fair? I've seen two other brass cards with a completely different designs, so guests could apparently choose their favorite.

That's it for now! The next Stuff From the Box post will be World's Fair free.


TokyoMagic! said...

Ooooh, these are all very nice. But since you always FORCE each of us to choose one or two of our favorites, I'll say that my favorites are the S.S. card and the orange, blue, and silver pin, still mounted on it's original card.

It's so grandparents went to the Golden Gate International Expo in S.F., and my great-grandmother went to the World's Fair in N.Y., but our family doesn't have any souvenirs or photographs from either fair. The only thing my grandmother could tell me about the one in S.F., is that she wished she had brought a heavier coat, because she was freezing the entire time she was there, and she really wasn't able to enjoy it.

Stu29573 said...

Good stuff as always!
I like the first and second ones the best. The first looks all classy and stuff, and the second has The Peanut That Ate San Francisco. What's not to like?
The next two are ok, but don't really stand out to me. That final SS card IS weird. I'm betting you got it engraved there. Social Security was only signed into law the year before, and the money had yet to come out of people's paychecks (that was 1937) so I guess they were trying to drum up support. Although it's a given today, it wasn't a wildly popular law when it was introduced.
By the way, three years later, Sally Rand and the girls ended up in Ft Worth for the Texas Centennial. Dallas had the official celebration (and Fair Park still has some of the most striking art deco buildings in the world- the State Fair of Texas is still held there every year) but little sister Ft. Worth decided to go slightly lower brow with its entertainment. It was a cattle town, complete with rowdy cowboys, after all...
Good stuff, Major!

DrGoat said...

Major, I'm beginning to think that box may be too small a word for that treasure chest of yours. A walk-in closet maybe?
Beautiful items. At first glance, I thought that amazing colossal Mr. Peanut was leaning against an Atlas rocket. Very cool wooden pin.
That masonic medal has that aura of anything masonic.
I agree with Stu, that social security card is weird, and might be my favorite. Just an odd thing to see.
Sally Rand sounded very familiar, but after looking her up, I have to thank you Stu. What a gal, and what a story. So sad that she passed away in debt, but Sammy came to the rescue.
Thanks Major, super neat stuff.

JC Shannon said...

TM, "The coldest winter I ever experienced, was the summer I spent in San Francisco." Words to live by. Major, I gotta go with the '39 on the card as well, as my favorite. I have some stuff from the '64 Fair I have collected over the years. In antique stores, I frequently get the hairy eyeball from my wife when I pull out my wallet for yet another collectable. We collectors are a misunderstood lot. Thanks for sharing your very cool collections with us.

K. Martinez said...

My parents went to the Golden Gate International Expo when they were kids. They told me it was one of the most beautiful things they saw as a kid.

My favorite today is the brass Social Security card. Always enjoy your Stuff From The Box series. Thanks, Major.

zach said...

I had my appendant body removed when I was younger. I'm much more comfortable at the beach now.

Who doesn't like Mr Peanut? ('They call me MR. Peanut')

The brass SS card goes well with my brass American Express card. Don't be jealous.

I enjoy these forays into your bottomless cigar boxes, Major.

Speaking of Windy, its very windy here today.


Chuck said...

I know it's weird, but that Planter's Peanut pin makes me think of It Came From Beneath the Sea. I know the sextapus pulls down the clock tower of the Ferry Building rather than attacking Treasure Island, but that's just how my mind works - if there's an easy connection to Ray Harryhausen, it will find it.

Stu, I had a chance to see the Texas State Fair back in '95 with a high school friend and his wife who were living in Arlington at the time, and you aren't kidding - that place is an Art Deco dream. When my friend and I walked into the Great Hall of the Hall of State, I remember him remarking "It's like a Texas throne room!"

And in another connection that I know you'll appreciate, Stu, Sally Rand always makes me think of the space program thanks to The Right Stuff.

dennis said...

The only 1939 Worlds Fair pin that I have is a Heinz Pickle!

Nanook said...

I refuse to indicate a preference. The pressure is too great, and I may break out in a cold sweat. It's just like kids... 'they're all my favorites'. (Even little Joey).

Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

My dad has an engraved SS card - I’ll have to look at it more closely to see if anything’s pictured on it, too.

The Chicago fair pin is my favorite for obvious reasons - plus it looks like it’s glowing.

Zach, I’m still chuckling about all the Windy stuff!

Thanks, Major!

Chuck said...

Zach & Sue, the "Windy" discussion led me to watch a 2011 documentary on the Lennon Sisters as well as a 1994 appearance on The Vicki Lawrence Show. Was one of my favorite songs as a kid, and I got to know it from easy listening covers that fit perfectly with their style of music. I know I'm an oddity for my age group, but I really miss easy listening stations.

Chuck said...

i might add that The Lawrence Welk Show was our family program from my earliest memories though at least 1976 (although I missed the Lennon Sisters' tenure by a few years). It was on right before or right after Marlin Perkins' Wild Kingdom.

Stu29573 said...

Very true! I had forgotten about the scene witj LBJ and the fan dance!

Kathy! said...

Scrolling on my phone, the first one looked like a tombstone. What a souvenir that would be, just like from the Haunted Mansion! I think I like giant Mr. Peanut best; he’ll devour us all. Thanks for sharing some more treasures today, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, yes, you HAVE to pick at least one of your favorites. It’s like going to an art show. You can only have one… which will it be? The orange/blue/silver pin is possibly one of the most common 1939 World’s Fair pins, but finding one on its original card is not easy. It sounds like the San Francisco cold probably kept your poor great grandmother from enjoying that Fair… and when you’re not having fun, you probably aren’t taking many pictures or buying many souvenirs. Such a shame!

Stu, my photo of the Natural Gas pin turned out a little weird, but it’s a scarce pin, so I had to include it. And I do like Mr. Peanut, he’s so snooty. I’m also fascinated by fraternal organizations, so the Eastern Star medallion is neat just because it is so odd. I knew that Social Security began in the 1930’s, but did not know that it began so close to the Fair. Sally Rand and her girls performed at many World’s Fairs and Expositions, she knew what men wanted to see! Very cool that Fair Park in Dallas still has those wonderful buildings, I feel like they would have been torn down long ago if they were in SoCal. There’s nothing wrong with a nice local rodeo!

DrGoat, remember, this isn’t the initial cigar box… I’m well into a second, larger box at this point. And you’d be amazed at how many little items you can cram into one of those if you stack them carefully. Think “Tetris”. I would love to find one of those Mr. Peanut pins on the original card, but whenever they come up, they go for more than I am willing to pay. I don’t really know much about Sally Rand’s life. When my dad and I watched “The Right Stuff” on TV, there’s a scene where the Mercury 7 go to an event where Ms. Rand performed her famous “fan dance”. My dad said, “My God, how old was she at that point?!”. That’s the first I’d ever heard of her.

Jonathan, my sister lives in San Luis Obispo, pretty close to the ocean, and we always joke that they must have San Francisco weather, because summers can be cold and foggy. Curiously, winters are often clear and glorious though. There’s a part of me that wishes I was not a collector, like my sister, but then I wind up deciding that I get enough joy out of my stuff that it’s all worth it.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, very neat that your parents went toe the GGIE! I can’t remember if you’ve mentioned that before. Do you remember if they had any mementos from that event?

zach, when my dad had his gallbladder removed, they took out his appendant body while they were in there, I thought that was interesting. I was hospitalized long ago to get my appendix removed. They really should make American Express cards out of various metals, so that they can shame their less-wealthy customers. “ALUMINUM??”. Glad you like these posts!

Chuck, ha ha, I like your “giant monster” take on Mr. Peanut. It reminds me of that “Treehouse of Horror” Simpsons episode where all of the giant mascots come to life and terrorize Springfield. I don’t have any photos of the Texas State Fair, but stay tuned for some neat photos of the Tulsa State Fair, circa 1953. Now I have to look for photos of the Great Hall that you referred to. And hey, “The Right Stuff”, I mentioned that to DrGoat!

dennis, those are classics! I love them; I believe that Heinz participated in a number of fairs, and the pickle pins were always popular with guests.

Nanook, what about Cousin Oliver?

Chuck, I used to have a vintage slide showing the Lennon Sisters performing at the Los Angeles County Fair, but I don’t think I own in anymore. If only I could have foreseen the Lawrence Welk love! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying easy-listening, you love what you love.

Chuck, I definitely watched “Marlin Perkins’ Wild Kingdom”. with Jim Fowler doing something dangerous while Marlin narrated. I wonder if Marlin had a son named “Nemo”? I mostly remember Mr. Welk from the home of my grandparents; they also loved reruns of “Bonanza”. I still remember my grandmother happily announcing, “This is one with Adam!”.

Stu29573, there is a series based on The Right Stuff on Amazon Prime, I haven’t heard anything about it. I wonder if it’s good?

Kathy, you're right, that little pin does look like a tombstone! A tiny, golden tombstone. Stay tuned for more treasures!

"Lou and Sue" said...


Chuck said...

Major, The Right Stuff miniseries is on Disney+, under their "National Geographic" category. It's pretty good, and in some places it's a bit more historically accurate than the 1983 movie; in others, not so much. There are some casting choices that have me scratching my head, and they either don't have a military advisor or they just aren't listening to him or her. Literally every single Air Force uniform worn in the series is wrong, and there are issues with uniforms worn by the other services as well.

There are a few other incongruities that pop up now and again that take me out of the show, like Al Shepard's dad - who was retired from the Army National Guard - wearing an Army Class A uniform to Thanksgiving dinner 1959 or 60 (how many times did your dad wear his Navy dress blues to a family holiday dinner?), but despite the flaws I can't wait for the second season.

I met Marlin Perkins once as a kid. We had season tickets to the Muny, a huge, outdoor amphitheater in St. Louis' Forest Park where they stage musicals every summer, and we were far enough back that we always brought binoculars so we could see what was going on on stage. We always arrived early for a picnic dinner and then got to our seats at least an hour in advance of show time to beat the lines.

One evening, during that hour of fidgety waiting for the show to start, I was scanning around and noticed a white-haired guy in probably the 20th row or so on the aisle. I did a double-take and realized it was Marlin Perkins, who by that time had retired as the director of the St. Louis Zoo (this would have been in 1980) but was still living in the area. I grabbed my little sister and we went down to get his autograph.

I think we said something like "excuse me, sir, but could we have your autograph?" He smiled, and his wife good-naturedly asked "do you know who this is?" I said, "of course! He's Marlin Perkins, star of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom!" They both laughed. I was 11 and my sister was 8.

Nanook said...

We never speak of Cousin Oliver-!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, "....yes, you HAVE to pick at least one of your favorites. It’s like going to an art show. You can only have one… which will it be?"

That makes me think of how Joan Crawford would make her children choose their favorite birthday gift, because the rest of the gifts were going to be given away.

JC Shannon, I have a collection of souvenirs from the 1962 Seattle and the 1964/65 New York World's Fairs. I always tell myself that I'm going to do a "World's Fair" post and include them, but for some reason, I've been dragging my feet on that for years. I only have one souvenir from the 1939 NYWF, and one from the 1932 Chicago Fair, and those are both "pictorial souvenirs." Most of my items also came from antique stores, but I think I have now finally stopped buying World's Fair souvenirs.

Chuck and Major, I also remember being at my grandparents house and watching Marlin Perkins' Wild Kingdom prior to the Lawrence Welk Show coming on.

Chuck, so was it really Marlin Perkins and they were just laughing because they were surprised that you actually recognized him?

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I apologize for accidentally skipping you! It was not intentional. Yes, please look to see if Lou’s Social Security card is something cool. I thought you might like the Chicago pin. While New York fairs are the bulk of my World’s Fair collection, I do have some good Chicago stuff.

Chuck, that is very disappointing that the Right Stuff series can’t even get the uniforms right - that seems like something that is relatively low cost. You’re right, maybe they dispensed with a military expert or advisor… there must be PLENTY of people who could spot the errors. Ha ha, my dad NEVER wore his uniform to anything but Navy events. He looked sharp in those uniforms too! But, you know, sometimes it wasn’t appropriate. That seems like such a clumsy shorthand for “Al Shepard’s father was also a military man”. I looked up info about Marlin Perkins, because I wondered how that man, who didn’t have a lot of onscreen personality, was chosen for that TV show. Turns out he was an actual zoologist. Did you know he accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary in the Himalayas to look for the Yeti? He should have gone to Anaheim. I’ll bet Marlin was delighted that you asked for his autograph and knew who he was!! Such a great story.

Nanook, I guess it’s like Fight Club. Oops, I blew it again!

TokyoMagic!, my sister is not a meanie like Joan Crawford was, but when her kids were younger, she would pile up all their loot and ask them if they really wanted any of it, otherwise she was going to give it “to poor children”. Otherwise they would have had a house full of plush animals and toys that they didn’t really play with (which happened anyway). I didn’t know you collected any World’s Fair stuff. It’s easy to start with one thing, and the next thing you know, you have 50 things. That’s my experience anyway. I don’t think that Lawrence Welk followed Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom on our local station, which is probably why I didn’t see more episodes. Maybe Chuck thought Boris Karloff was Marlin Perkins! ;-)

Chuck said...

Major, I was aware of the yeti connection. Too bad he didn't go to Anaheim and discover Harold.

He had a huge impact at the St. Louis Zoo, and they continue to honor him today. His office was on the second floor of the Primate House, and while they don't keep it like they keep Walt's apartment, they do commemorate the fact that it was his office. There is a display on him in the Zoo's museum, and a bust of him is the focal point of Marlin Perkins Plaza, located across from one of the Zooliner stations. Here's a photo of his wife at the dedication in 1987.

TM!, yes, it really was Marlin Perkins. I think they were surprised because I picked him out of the crowd and laughed because of how I referred to him as the star of the show. They seemed like pretty down-to-earth people. My mother met his wife when she came to speak at the Scott AFB Officers' Wives' Club, and she said she was very open, approachable, and easy to talk to.

Wish I could find that autograph. It was on the show program of whatever musical was being performed that night. If I still have it, I think I know which box it's in, but it's a big box full of paper stuff that will take forever to go through, and there are so many other important demands on my time like watching cartoons and, well, what could be more important than that?

Out of curiosity, where did your grandparents live? We were living between SF and Sacramento in the early '70s. Just curious to see if we were watching the same broadcast.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the video. The narration is just something else. I was wondering what it would sound like if the same narration style was applied to GDB:

[Read in the style of the 1934 Chicago World's Fair film]
Gorillas Don't Blog - A fantastic miracle of man's imagination presented for the weary soul as startling and fanciful images from the past flash before the eyes! Here a castle in all its majesty. There a river boat - powerful reminder of the commerce that built our country, and look there!...a trip to the moon where the mysterious questions of our solar system are answered! Gorillas Don't Blog - Beautiful and strange visions and pictures cascade across our minds, each one a delight! A treasure! And perhaps even a fond mental awakening of a misty childhood memory. And here is freedom! Freedom to let the creative minds of all visitors participate in a vast theater of good will and communication! Education, poetry, entertainment! A virtual Town Hall of delight! And presented each day by its benevolent yet modest founder, Major Pepperidge. Do not hesitate to visit Gorillas Don't Blog!!

JG said...

A memorabilia SS card is the weirdest thing considering today’s identity theft paranoia, but my Dad carried his paper one in his wallet since it was issued. I still have it in one of my boxes. That has to be my favorite today.

We watched Wild Kingdom before Lawrence Welk, my wife’s family were fans of both too.

Chuck, so great you got Marlins autograph. Thanks for the info on The Right Stuff, I will watch and try to ignore the uniforms. After 14 years of inspecting Eagle Scouts, uniform accuracy is very important to me. You might appreciate, in the 1983 movie, my good friend and our Scoutmaster of my sons and my troop was the helo pilot. His voice is heard in the film as the pilot on the radio in the recovery scene. He got no screen credit or pay as he was the helo pilot on duty when the film crew requested a pilot. A helo is 50,000 separate parts and not one wants to fly. Every year we did a little film festival for first-years so they could hear him in the film.

Great post Major, thank you.


Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I would be proud to have a Primate House named after me! Given the name of this blog and everything, you know. Hey, that sculpture of Marlin Perkins is a pretty good likeness. I’m sure that Marlin and his Wife were famous-“ish” - that is, they could go many places and not be recognized, but would still get the occasional stare (“They recognize me!”), or cute request for an autograph. That box full of paper stuff sounds like fun to me, but maybe it’s a lot of dry financial records. Still, I hope you find your autographed program!

Anonymous (mysterious!), I can almost hear that rapid-fire, clipped delivery over grainy black and white footage, and the occasional footage of people laughing and smiling at the camera. Maybe “Hooray for Hollywood” will be playing in the background, or “Happy Days Are Here Again” in the best tinny sound. Thanks for the fun and creative comment!

JG, yes, I have had various people tell me to always have my Social Security card on my person (animation was one of those jobs where I was constantly moving on to new employment), and other people told me to NEVER have it on me. Who to believe? I was too shy to ask people for autographs, even though I sometimes saw famous people in SoCal. My grandma pointed out Esther Williams at a restaurant, and this was right after we’d seen “That’s Entertainment!” at the theater. She looked glamorous and radiant, there was no way I was going to approach her! And I’ve mentioned seeing Ross Martin (“Artemus Gordon”) at the Farmer’s Market in L.A. - he was already signing an autograph for somebody else. Very cool that your friend was a helicopter pilot for “The Right Stuff”!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, at the Farmer's Market, was Ross Martin signing an orange?

TokyoMagic! said...

"Maybe Chuck thought Boris Karloff was Marlin Perkins!" HA, HA! I have seen interviews with different celebrities over the years, who say that people come up to them, and know they are famous, but confuse them for some other celebrity. It's always interesting to hear whether or not they tell the person. Some of them will say that they just go ahead and sign the name of the person who they think they are. I'm just picturing Chuck with a "Marlin Perkins" autograph, signed by Boris Karloff!

Chuck, my grandparents lived in Torrance. I have so many fond memories of that city, just from my grandparents living there and also from the places they would take us.....the city's multiple malls, the beach, the pier, and when I was very young, there was a "kiddie land" type of amusement park in Torrance. Plus there were things nearby that we would also go see, like Ports O' Call, Marineland, and the Goodyear Blimp.

Sue, all the Major would need to go with a Ross Martin signed orange, is a Richard Widmark-signed grapefruit. Oh, what a fruit salad that would be!

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, he signed an orange, all right. And he dotted the "i" in his last name with a heart.

TokyoMagic!, I've heard stories like that as well... I wish I could remember specific examples. "I'm not Chuck Connors, I'm Jack Lord!". Something like that. It would be pretty tempting to just admit that you're the other actor and sign an autograph. No disrespect to Marlin Perkins, but I would treasure a Boris Karloff signature like it was made of gold!

Anonymous said...

I read about a kid who asked Roger Moore for his autograph, he signed it as James Bond and told the kid he was undercover tracking Blofeld.

I think i have this all wrong, but it was a great story.


Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I read the same story somewhere, and forget the details except that Roger Moore came off as very cool and charming.