Monday, April 19, 2021

More Stuff From the Box

More! Stuff! From! The! Box!

Let's begin with this fun radio premium, a brass pin for Eddie Cantor's Magic Club (from sometime in the 1930s). Eddie Cantor was a hugely popular star in the '20s and '30s (though his career continued for decades afterwards), and had a radio program sponsored by Pebeco toothpaste. Fans could also get an envelope with the paraphernalia that would enable them to perform some simple magic tricks to astound their friends.

I picked up this plastic Smokey Bear item in an antiques store many years ago. Just seeing Smokey's calm and intelligent face makes me want to set 40% fewer forest fires.

As you can see, Smokey says, "Snuff it"! Seems kind of rude, but he wanted you to put out your lit cigarette in the hole in his hat instead of throwing it out the window. I'll do it for you, Smokey.

A handy magnet (hidden behind that paper label) would help Smokey stay put on your solid steel dashboard.

Speaking of cigarettes, my mom found this fancy cigarette holder in my grandmother's desk after she passed away. Grandma liked to play bridge with "the girls", and she smoked for decades before giving the habit up in the early 1980s. I'm not sure she ever actually used this holder, since it looks very pristine.

How many of you have heard of the comic strip character, "Happy Hooligan"? Happy was a well-meaning hobo, his strip debuted in Hearst papers in 1900 and it ran for about three decades. This brass thing is a pin that was presumably to be worn on a lapel. Notice the hole in the nose; I assume that a long-missing rubber bladder enabled the wearer to squirt his or her friends for laughs aplenty.

I've always loved the Mobil Oil flying Pegasus, which has been in use since the 1930s. I have one old "Mobilgas" pin that predates the Pegasus and uses a dragon instead! This tiny keychain might have been given out at a World's Fair, though it is also possible that customers might have been able to pick them up at their local gas station while they were getting directions to Rock City.

Here's an interesting old tin litho badge (likely from the 1950s) for Aunt Jemima's Pancake Club. Auntie J. wasn't featured, which is unusual. Instead we have a man playing a big bass drum, because "Pancake Days are here again!". Why didn't anybody tell me? Such an important holiday, and I'm walking around in my velour jumpsuit as usual. 

Well, that does it for this installment, but there's always more Stuff in the Box!


Nanook said...

I definitely want to have that Smokey ashtray as part of my collection. In fact, I may just have to take up smoking to fully appreciate it.

Add my name to those who've heard of Happy Hooligan. Don't ask me why, though.

I've heard of the Aunt Jemima Breakfast Club - "Eat a Better Breakfast"; but am not familiar with her 'Pancake Club'. (I'm curious how Pancake Days compares with National Hardware Week).

Thanks, Major.


That Happy Hooligan “bladder” is disturbing. I too have heard of Happy Hooligan - in one of the Carousel of Progress Demo recordings the radio announcer announces “ Happy Hooligan and ( Bud)? In the 1920’s act.

If you remove the paper of that magnet the Earth will spin widely of its axis!!

K. Martinez said...

I quit smoking long ago, but I do love that "Smokey the Bear" cigarette extinguisher. Of course I love just about anything "Smokey the Bear". The Mobile Oil flying Pegasus comes in a close second. Thanks for sharing more of your "Stuff From The Box" treasures with us, Major. Great stuff!


Correction : the two kids in the early version “Sam McKim” Carousel of Progress are rare looking at a newspaper comic as the older boy reads the Happy Hooligan comic aloud .....

The radio announcer says “and now it’s time for Stoopnagel and Bud”

Chuck said...

I love Smokey! The first full-size comic book I ever received was this Smokey Bear comic passed out at school when I was in the first grade. I also had an inflatable Smokey when I was younger than that.

As much as I love the characters from Bambi (which the Forest Service was allowed to use for one year, 1943-44), I think the creation of a dedicated character for the ongoing campaign was more effective in the long run. I think he makes a better ashtray, too.

The South Dakota Air National Guard's 119th Wing calls themselves the "Happy Hooligans," a nickname that goes back to the 1950s. I always assumed there was some sort of backstory inspiration, but I had no idea it was a comic strip.

Thanks to Aunt Jemima and cutting edge, space-age technology, nowadays Pancake Days are always here! (Note to self - make pancakes for first time in at least six months.)

TokyoMagic! said...

Ooooh, it's hard to pick a favorite, but I think it would have to be the Smokey the Bear snuffer. When you snuff a cigarette out in his hat, does smoke come out of his mouth? And is Smokey the Bear friends with Woodsy Owl?

Thanks for sharing more "stuff" with us, Major!

Stu29573 said...

I'll put in another vote for Smokey. Imagine how disillusioned I was when I found out that most forest fires are caused by lightning. My childhood was a lie! Still, doing our part to not get crazy with fire can't hurt, I guess.
I, too, have heard of Happy Hooligan, but I couldn't tell you why. I guess it's just floating around in the collective zeitgeist, much like Pixie Sticks or Shinola (which my wife frequently says I'm full of, if you know what I mean)
The Eddie Cantor pin looks kind of creepy to me. It looks like something Eddie might have conjured up on stage. A lost soul in a weird top hat. How tragic!
The playing card cigarette holder is really cool! I'd combine it with a top hat and monocle (although I doubt your grandmother ever did).
The Mobile Pegasus is cool, mainly because here in Dallas it used to dominate the skyline. In fact, it's probably the most iconic piece of neon in Dallas history!
I like pancakes, but prefer waffles.

Melissa said...

Maybe it’s my overactive imagination, but it kind a looks to me like old Smokey has a little blood dripping from his jaws there. Only you can prevent forest fires and gum disease!

I wonder If the Mobil Pegasus would beat the Richfield eagle in a cross-country race.

Great treasures from The Box today!

Andrew said...

Very cool! There's a Smokey sign at the entrance to our local park that gauges the day's fire danger risk, and for years it had a green "LOW" sign, until one day, it startlingly changed to a red "HIGH" sign. It made me think that maybe it wasn't being kept up with... :-)

zach said...

Count me as one who has heard of Happy Hooligan. It's because I'm old. That looks like the Stephen King version of Happy.

TM!, I'm sure the smoke comes out of his ears after he breathes fire! Who knew smoking could be such fun. So, Smoky is my favorite. Snuff it, Danno, said Jack Lord more than once.

Andrew, our fire danger sign coming into the neighborhood has stayed at HIGH for a year now.

Thanks, Major, for sharing your Bottomless Box™ with us.


Grant said...

MSFTB on GDB = a fun morning... :)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, vintage ads have taught me that 4 out of 5 doctors recommend Luckies! And doctors are never wrong. Aunt Jemima’s Pancake Club was very exclusive, you had to be an A-lister to join.

Mike Cozart, it’s the grotesqueness of that Happy Hooligan thing that I found so appealing! Wow, I did not know that Happy’s name appeared in the Carousel of Progress, amazing. And it’s true, removing that paper is even worse than removing the tag from your mattress!

K. Martinez, I have a few Smokey Bear pins, but that’s about it besides this item. I do like Smokey, though! I know someone who has an enormous Mobil Oil Pegasus in his backyard (from an old sign), it is really cool!

Mike Cozart, of all the old comic strips they could have referred to in the Carousel of Progress… I would almost expect the Katzenjammer Kids or Moon Mullins.

Chuck, Smokey would have had better comic books if he fought giant robots and/or aliens. I saw a giant statue of Smokey (and his cubs) in International Falls, Minnesota. Right near the Bronko Nagurski Museum, in case you are thinking of going. I didn’t know Bambi’s characters were ever used by the Forest Service, but it makes sense of course. The South Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Wing picked a comic character who was pretty obsolete even in the 1950s. Why didn’t they use Winnie Winkle instead??

TokyoMagic!, I have seen figurative ashtrays in which smoke came out of a character’s ears or nose or mouth, but unfortunately, Smokey is not that fancy. Maybe because he’s only 1.5” tall. Smokey does not care for Woodsy Owl, but he tolerates him out of professional courtesy.

Stu29573, I knew that *some* forest fires were caused by lightning, but I didn’t know that most of them were. Sadly, many of the brush fires that are so common here in California seem to be the result of whacko arsonists who look forward to extremely windy days. I do remember Pixie Sticks, but Shinola is one of those things you just hear about. I credit Warner Bros. cartoons for many vintage references. “Turn out that light!”. “Is this trip really necessary?”. “So round, so firm, so fully packed!”. Eddie Cantor sort of looks like Peter Lorre, that’s why he’s creepy! Is the Pegasus still there? You say it “used to” dominate. Maybe all the buildings around it have just gotten much taller.

Melissa, Smokey just came from the nearby river, where he was feasting on salmon. It’s much better than picanic baskets. I’d like to think that the Pegasus and Richfield Eagle would end their race in a tie.

Andrew, has Pennsylvania been experiencing a drought? I always think of everything as being so lush and green there, especially in April.

zach, ha ha, Happy Hooligan is under your bed, waiting to eat you! And everyone knows that smoking is the best habit, and it makes you instantly cool. Let’s all start smoking TODAY. We always have fire danger around here, no signs necessary - it’s just a matter of time before we have to start thinking about evacuating the area. I’ve just set up my lights and photo stuff for more pictures of stuff from a NEW box!

Major Pepperidge said...

Grant, I told you that a "Stuff From the Box" post was coming up, but even I didn't know it would be so soon!

Stu29573 said...

Major, the Pegasus was first put on the tallest building in Dallas (at the time) in 1934. It stayed there until 1999, when it became so rusty that it needed to be replaced. A bright shiny new one was unveiled in 2000. The original was kept in storage until 2015, when it was placed in front of the Omni Hotel at ground level. There are plenty of taller buildings now, so you actually kind of have to look for either of them. By the way, Dallas entered into an agreement with Exxon to use the Pegasus as a symbol for the city, which it still is.

Kathy! said...

A Box day! I’ve only seen Eddie Cantor in old Warner Bros cartoons, with big googly eyes. Smokey is fun, goes great with the heart cigarette holder. Now I’ll be humming Pancake Days Are Here Again all day. Is Happy Hooligan wearing a fez or an old bean can on his head? Fun Stuff, Major.

Anonymous said...

Like Kathy, I only know Eddie Cantor from cartoons.

I remember Mom and Dad talking about Happy Hooligan, but he was before my time.

The Smokey Bear thing looks familiar, I have definitely seen it, but no smokers in our family, so must have been in someone car or maybe at the fair.

My vote goes to Pegasus. There was an old Mobil station in the town where I grew up, he was a familiar sight in youth.

Major, I have a terrible problem with cat hair sticking to my velour jumpsuits, do you have a solution for this that doesn't involve getting rid of my cats?


Sunday Night said...

Speaking of Stoopnagle and Bud, if you want to actually see them, check out the film "International House" (1933) starring W.C. Fields. There is a very short, and weird segment where they appear.

Major Pepperidge said...

Stu29573, I’ve always liked the Mobil Pegasus, and have wanted to own a vintage porcelain enamel sign, but nice ones (without big rust spots and flaked enamel) can go for a pretty penny. I’ll look for photos of the one in Dallas! Interesting that Exxon agreed to let the city continue to use the Pegasus.

Kathy! My dad used to play a Christmas song by Eddie Cantor, something like, “The Only Thing I Want for Christmas”, and since I’ve known it since childhood, I am very fond of it! And then there’s the song “Making Whoopie”, a classic! I’m pretty sure that’s a fez on ol’ Happy Hooligan’s head!

JG, gosh, it seems like everybody on this blog has heard of Happy Hooligan! Maybe he was a lot more popular than I thought. You’re lucky to have had no smokers in your family, my brother took cigarettes up as a teenager, and can’t kick the habit (he hasn’t tried very hard, admittedly). Just the idea of thousands of dollars a year on that stupid habit is enough to make me glad I never got into it. JG, you need to get one of those special brushes for cat hair! Or get one of those sticky rolls of “tape”, they have them at the dollar store.

Sunday Night, I have heard of Stoopnagle and Bud, but know absolutely nothing about them. I wonder if “International House” is on YouTube?

Andrew said...

No drought, Major... Smokey has been back to "LOW" again for years now. I'm sorry if that was taken as an offhand comment to those out west.

Chuck said...

Major, I thought they had a giant statue of Rocky & Bullwinkle, but maybe I'm thinking of a different Falls.

They had a Smokey Bear hot air balloon at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree on display with a classic, restored USFS truck. The truck reminded me of Lassie's days with the Forest Service, and poor Corey, who was disfigured in a forest fire at the end of one season, never to return.

JG, my recommendation is to either shave your cats or your velour. Or both, although I think that's a bit of overkill.

DBenson said...

We had a Smokey Bear Snuffit on the dashboard when I was a kid (early 60s). It was on a white base labeled SQUAW VALLEY; if you look it up on eBay you'll several with different tourist destinations on the base. One of those things I'd get and put in my car now if I could get one cheap, even though I never smoked.

Squaw Valley once had a Smokey Bear Trading Post, packed with Smokey merchandise. I got a T-shirt. If you sent away to the Department of Agriculture you could get a membership kit for the Smokey Bear Junior Forest Rangers containing shiny tin badge, membership card, an autographed postcard (of the real Smokey in the National zoo), lyrics to the Smokey the Bear song and a few other goodies. My younger brother managed to bend my badge in two; decades later he repented and found me a plastic version.

Around the turn of the century he gifted me with a Smokey the Bear teddy bear (the then-current version). A few years later, after a community theater production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", cast members were presented with teddy bears in Roman togas and laurels. I found a little tree ornament violin and attached it to my Roman bear, then set him next to Smokey. Dramatic tension!

Back in the 60s Rankin-Bass did a stop-motion special on the life of Smokey the Bear, with James Cagney voicing Smokey's older brother, telling the tale to his cubs. It was an oddball affair, with funny animals, a lot of songs, and an escaped zoo gorilla bringing man's careless ways to the forest (where the animals already wear clothes and play instruments, by the way). The same studio also did a Saturday morning cartoon based on Smokey, making him a sort of Sheriff Taylor in a funny animal town in the redwoods. Neither the special nor the series became perennials.

There was a 60s TV spot using forest fire scenes from Bambi, but not highlighting the characters. New animation of Smokey -- not by Disney? -- opened and closed. Instead of the original score they had familiar cheap cartoon stock music.

I still have my original Junior Forest Ranger membership card, having had the sense to laminate it in my teens. It those days I carried in my wallet and flashed it for comic effect. Once a classmate was going on about scuba diving and displayed a card identifying him as member of a diving club. I responded by showing my Smokey Bear card. He laughed, but I don't remember him showing off his diving club card again.


When I was little if my sister and I were being silly or doing something stupid my mom called us “stoopnagels” ...... so long before I knew of Stoopnagel as a performer I was already familiar with the name. My mom still uses sayings and phrases that are pretty out dated .... my friends used to think was so funny - and that my mom sounded like one of Mary Stone’s teenage friends on the Donna Reed Show ......using phrases still like “get outta town” , “blast off!!” , “that’s a bunch of hooey!” “ yer a wet blanket!”

Chuck said...

DBenson, that's awesome. If only Smokey had lived in Nero's time, history might have been different.

My wife just reminded me I bought her a Smokey doll when I went backpacking in the Smokies a couple of years ago. Amazing what a cultural impact an ad campaign can have.

"Lou and Sue" said...

For the fun of it, I glanced to see how many of you/us call him "Smokey Bear" and how many call him "Smokey the Bear." A number of wise Jr. Gorillas played it smart and just called him "Smokey." I remember some ad (commercial?) that said, "You don't say 'Easter the bunny!" I still say 'Smokey the Bear," anyway.

My favorite is Smokey [the] Bear Snuff It! Never saw one of those before - it's creative!

Thanks, Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

I'm just now remembering that I have a Smokey the Bear item from childhood. It's a View-Master packet, from the seventies. I need to look for that.

Anyone remember the 1970s TV show, "Smokey and the Bear"? Oh, wait....that was "B.J. and the Bear." Or was it "Max and the Baer"?

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, I thought it was "Smokey and the Bandit".

Chuck said...

Ken, wasn't that show about the adventures of Smokey and Ranger Rick?