Tuesday, June 29, 2021

More Stuff From the Box!

It's time for another selection of STUFF FROM THE BOX! All the kids are digging it.

Let's start with this impressive Lone Ranger "saddle" ring - a Cheerios premium from 1951. The Lone Ranger was fancy and liked tooled leather.

The brass seat of the saddle slides away. Normally that window would just have a blank glow-in-the-dark rectangle (you'll see why in a minute), but someone has placed a photo of a serviceman in it, which is a really wonderful touch. I wonder if the kid that owned this ring carried a picture of his father around while he was serving in Korea? 

This next photo shows the small film strip (often lost) with four images of the Lone Ranger, his faithful friend Tonto, and of course his magnificent steed, Silver. Once you exposed the glow portion of the ring to light, you could feed this film strip through the ring and get a tiny slideshow.

Next are two tiny celluloid charms featuring a familiar mouse and duck. These are about an inch tall, and were made in Japan. Many rare and beautiful celluloid toys came from Japan, and cost a fortune today - celluloid was fragile, and incredibly flammable too. Fortunately these little charms are pretty easy to find and don't cost that much.

Here's an interesting artifact; it's a metal "blank" that would normally be stamped into a pinback button, but this one somehow survived in its unstamped, uncut form. Captain Marvel first appeared in "Whiz Comics #2" in 1940. Most of you know that Marvel Comics has its own Captain Marvel... what gives? During the time Captain Marvel was out of publication, Marvel Comics snapped up the trademark for the name “Captain Marvel.” So any books DC Comics published with their character now became titled “Shazam!”, though he was still called Captain Marvel up until 2012, when his name officially became Shazam. 

I found this image of a tin-litho Captain Marvel pin online. There's a celluloid pin as well (for those of you keeping track)!

Here's a fun plastic charm featuring the Warner Bros. cartoon character "Sniffles". Chuck Jones created Sniffles in 1939, though he was designed by artist Charles Thorson, who was well-known for his ability to draw cute characters when he worked on Disney's "Silly Symphonies". Jones' Sniffles cartoons are much more gentle and whimsical ("Disneyesque") when compared to his later, mature short films.

I'm sure many of you remember "Funny Face" powdered drink mix, from Pillsbury. It was introduced in 1964 and featured various flavors and characters, including "Rootin' Tootin' Raspberry", "Goofy Grape", "Freckle-face Strawberry", "Injun Orange", and "Chinese Cherry". The last two were offensive stereotypes (they really were pretty bad), so they were changed to "Jolly-Olly Orange" and "Choo Choo Cherry". I only have one character badge featuring Goofy Grape, but I'd love to find the others.

And finally, here's a 1938/39 Dick Tracy "Air Detective Wing Bracelet", a premium from Quaker Puffed Wheat or Puffed Rice. Just mail in five boxtops! I don't know how many girls were fans of the square-jawed Tracy, but there are a few other Dick Tracy premiums aimed at young females, so... perhaps more than I would imagine! This example is in very bright, crisp condition. It's considered somewhat scarce.

That's it for today! If all of these items were falling off a cliff, and you could only save one, which would it be?


Nanook said...

This is the first time featuring 'Stuff from the Box' that it's easy to pick a winner. It has to be the Lone Ranger "Saddle" Ring. Beautiful, functional, and very cool.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I would also choose the Lone Ranger saddle ring. Having the original film strip, plus someone's personal photo that they kept inside the ring, are wonderful bonuses.

I remember watching the kid's show, Shazam in the seventies.

Also in the seventies, I sent away for several of the Funny Face drink cups. Regrettably, I never sent away for the Goofy Grape drink pitcher. There was a newer character/drink added, called "With-It Watermelon." It must not have been too popular, because it wasn't around very long.

Chuck said...

If I could only save one? That’s easy. PEZ - cherry-flavored PEZ. Who’ll stand by me on this? Wait - what was the question again? I was only half-listening. I was a little distracted by the Lone Ranger Ring.

Speaking of the Lone Ranger, for our 25th wedding anniversary I gave my wife a framed photo of Clayton Moore in costume with his trusty horse. The intent was to have our portrait taken and put in the silver frame, but she enjoyed the gag so much she’s never switched out the picture. It’s proudly displayed in our living room.

Anonymous said...

Yep, the Lone Ranger ring is probably the coolest premium I've ever seen! A glow in the dark strip for a light table? Wacky AND brilliant!
The Captain Marvel pin reminded me that I have a large reproduction of Whiz Comics No. 1. I bought it in 1974, when it was released, and have somehow kept up with it ever since. The ironic thing is that now the reproduction is considered a collectible too!
By the way, the comic was a vehicle for lanching seven new super heroes. Only the Cap caught on, I guess. The others were Ibis the Invincible, Golden Arrow, Spy Smasher, Scoop Smith, Lance O'Casey and Dan Dare.

Chuck said...

Stu, I actually have heard of Spy Smasher. I think I first became aware of the character in the 1985 DC crossover spectacular Crisis On Infinite Earths. The rest of those Whiz kids…not so much.

Cool that you have hung onto that reprint all these years. Has it ever made an appearance at Stu’s Attic (which I just notice you’ve reactivated)?

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-
Mrs. Chuck strikes again. Your story of the Lone Ranger and frame reminds me of a friend who displayed a number of family pictures (framed) on the counter in the powder room. Hiding in the collection was a small, rectangular frame, surrounding a series of six, oval openings, designed for holding six, tiny pictures. However, the frame came with six (repetitive) images of a rather distinguished-looking gentleman, with full mustache and beard. Needless to say, that ‘unknown’ fella remained in the frame for all to enjoy - “hidden” among the family members.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it has.
The reactivation is a bit hit and miss, I'm afraid. I'll try to do better, I promise!

Anonymous said...

Well, apparently I'm locked out of my own blog. I hate Blogger.

zach said...

I can't believe someone would give up a ring with maybe their grandfathers or fathers photo in it. I will believe that it was misplaced or lost. Is someone out there looking for it or lamenting it's loss? Daveland had a poignant photo awhile back of a Grandfather and Granddaughter at DL (I think) that stayed with me for days. They seemed to have a connection and it haunts me to think that photo is lost to them or their relatives. I can't help but wonder what the story is behind these photos and rings, etc that end up just out there. Thanks to Major P, Dave DeCaro et al that save these 'lost' photos and things.


Bu said...

I want one of those Lone Ranger rings. I could rock wearing that. I wasn't even a fan, but I'm a fan of the ring! Glow in the dark stuff was my favorite. I had a "Green Ghost" and "Kabala" games...both were played in complete darkness...weird and wonderful. FUNNY FACE drinks! Collect them all! We sent away for the mugs...which were so stinking groovy...I also had this Funny Face drinks machine...and if anyone knows or has even SEEN one, please let me know...it was the coolest thing...it was a square container that hung around your neck...you put plain water in the container...and then the top had 4 or six little containers that you would put the Funny Face drink powdered drink mixes in. When you turned the little handle on top of the flavor you wanted, and drank through the straw coming from the container it would mix the powder with the water. So, you had any flavor that you wanted! It was sooo cool and I have never seen one since I was a kid and had it around my neck happily drinking "Rootin Tootin Raspberry" or another flavor.

DrGoat said...

Too many cool items at once. They are all very cool, but the ring is obvious to everyone, the coolest thing there. Did you acquire that on Ebay? What a find. The photo of the serviceman is a hidden gem. Makes me think of that kid who owned it and the story of his family.
As far as Goofy Grape, you have the ringleader. It was always Goofy Grape when things went south. I do remember when they changed the names of those two ill-named flavors. Choo Choo Cherry worked for me. It was my favorite flavor anyway.
Stuff really wasn't much better than Kool Aid, but the they had a good marketing idea and it worked. I don't remember that groovy cup, but I can certainly imagine that thing. I also had a Jones for those little wax bottles with a too small amount of juice inside.
Thanks Major. Superb stuff.

JG said...

I would make a diving catch for the Lone Ranger ring. Certainly one of the more oddly functional treasures from the box. I would wear it with pride at my periodic White House visits, with my lime green velour tuxedo and white silk top hat.

Like Zach, I wonder about the original owner and what combination of events led to the ring’s inclusion in the Major’s treasures. That toy should have gone to the next generation and not to eBay. I’m glad it was saved.

I do remember Funny Face drinks, and both the regrettable replaced versions. Goofy Grape seems to be the one I recall most. The spare graphic look is surprising.

Dr. Goat, let’s meet up for some wax bottle juices later.

Thanks Major, visiting the Box is always fun.


Melissa said...

I can’t disagree with the others; the Lone Ranger saddle ring, especially with its sentimental customization, is the pick of the crop this time.

We never got the Funny Face drink mix. Mom always bought the cheaper multipacks of Flavor Aid. (Contrary to popular belief, it was Flavor Aid and not Kool-Aid that was used in the Jonestown Massacre.) We’d go through all of the flavors except the green lime; nobody liked that one. Mom couldn’t stand the waste of that several whole cents’ worth of powder, and one day she decided that the only reason we wouldn’t drink it was the color. So she made it up and added a bunch of food coloring to it. Now, not only did it taste awful, but was a particularly unappetizing shade of purplish-brown. It sat untouched in the fridge for days, and after that she gave up trying to sell us on it.

Melissa said...

Chuck, your story of the Lone Ranger picture is so sweet! In s similar vein, a few years ago I went to a Dark Shadows fan convention in Tarrytown, NY. I brought back a bunch of souvenirs, but I was so pleased with the autographed 8x10 of actor David Selby that I put it on my desk at work for a while. Every single person who saw it assumed it was my husband. Like, on the one hand I was flattered because he was still a very handsome man in his late seventies. But he is clearly of my parents’ generation, and how many husbands autograph a picture for their wives with their first AND last names?

Chuck said...

Melissa, my dad did something like that once. I can't remember the details, but it was something like he had sent her a birthday card - maybe from Vietnam - and absentmindedly signed it with his first and last name. And then realizing what he had done, he sent it anyway beacause he didn't want to waste the card.

Chuck said...

The "her" in the previous anecdote was my mom.

Warren Nielsen said...

It looks like the Lone Ranger ring is the clear cut winner for everyone here.

Zach, believe it. A couple years ago I was tossing paper into a recycle bin and spotted some black and white photos already in the bin. Managed to salvage the ones I could reach, they were pics of some Army unit training, and were dated just prior to the Normandy landings. They looked like they had been pulled out of some photo album/scrapbook. I have no idea who owned them, or who was in the pics. Family history just tossed out as trash.

They are here somewhere in my desk. I guess I am just too much of a sentimentalist.


Anonymous said...

For the inevitable Disney tie-in, here is a recording of Paul Frees (Haunted Mansion Ghost Host) singing the Jolly Olly Orange theme song...

(apologies for the offensive illustration of the prior version of the drink)


K. Martinez said...

Yep! The Lone Ranger "saddle" ring is the winner. I especially like that the saddle slides off and you can place a small photo of a loved one inside.

Also love the "Sniffle's plastic charm.

Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...

@ DrGoat-
I guess Pillsbury Funny Face Drinks were doomed from the start. [Even "back then"], they had to quickly back-pedal those two offensive names, and ultimately couldn't compete with Kool-Aid. The product was a melding of W.R. Grace & Company and Pillsbury - with Grace [presumably] providing the Cyclamate. It really was a great improvement over straight Saccharin, but was ultimately banned by the FDA in 1969.

Bottoms up-!

@ Melissa-
Love stories like this-!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, are you telling me that Sniffles isn’t your favorite?!? ;-)

TokyoMagic!, finding that personal photo inside was really a great surprise, especially since the man is in uniform. It adds a whole backstory (though I have to make it up) to this artifact. I remember that Saturday morning Shazam show! Those Funny Face mugs are plentiful on eBay, though harder to come by in good condition. There were actually a lot more Funny Face flavors later in the product’s existence - I know there was a “dark cherry”, and something like “Lefty Lemon”, among others. I would not have wanted the watermelon flavor, yuck.

Chuck, as a kid I was always disappointed by the flavor of PEZ candies, as much as I wanted to like them. Not sure I ever had the cherry flavor, but I generally love candies that are cherry flavored. Love the story of the Clayton Moore photo for your anniversary! Your wife sounds like fun.

Stu29573, there were a lot of cool premiums out there, most of them beyond my means, but if I was willing to drop thousands, there are truly some amazing rings and decoders featuring Superman, Orphan Annie, Sky King, and others. Cool that you have that Whiz Comics repro, and that it has become a collectible! I’ve heard of some of those other characters (Dan Dare, for instance), but am not much of a comic book guy - as a kid I was more into monster stuff.

Chuck, I have a Spy Smasher pinback button that is pretty old, though I never really knew anything about the characters. I sure have heard of “Crisis On Infinite Earths” a lot, it must have been an extremely influential comic book (or series of comic books). Thanks for the note about Stu’s Attic!

Nanook, I am assuming that only one of those six images of the distinguished-looking gentleman remained in its tiny frame? It would be weird to have multiple images of a stranger!

Stu29573, believe me, I know it can be hard to get motivated. You just have to ask yourself, “What would Frank SInatra do?”.

Stu29573, locked out?! What in the world!

zach, I agree! Like so many Disneyland photos, I wonder, “Why would somebody let this go?”. I can imagine a number of scenarios in which the ring could have wound up “on the market”, but even so, it’s sad to think that nobody wanted it. Maybe the man in the photo was killed in action, and the grandkids (or great-grandkids) had no real knowledge of who he was. We have boxes of family photos of relatives that I never met, and I suppose someday we’re going to have to disperse them somehow.

Major Pepperidge said...

Bu, I am a fan of things that light up, or glow in the dark as well! I remember that Green Ghost game, and always wanted it. I think it’s quite the collectible today. I know exactly what you are referring to regarding that Funny Face drink machine - it’s another thing that I would see ads for, and then I’d tell my mom that I wanted one, only to be told “No”! My mean parents. :-D I admit that I have never seen one on the collector’s market, but then again, I haven’t really looked for one either.

DrGoat, I probably did get the ring on eBay, though it sometimes gets hard to remember where I acquired many of those items. I used to go to an antiques mall in Pasadena to buy my Orphan Annie decoders, and I also used to haunt many collector’s shows in the general L.A. area. But eBay seems likely in this case. Cherry was always my favorite Funny Face flavor - I actually didn’t really care for the grape flavor, as much as I liked the Goofy Grape character. And I loved those Nik L Nip bottles with the sweet stuff inside!

Melissa, ha ha, the Flavor Aid/ Jonestown factoid is pretty gruesome! But good to know. I’m sure the Kool-Aid people wished they could let everyone know that their product wasn’t involved in that nightmare. Funny about your mom being unwilling to waste the lime flavor, that sounds like something my mom would have done!

Melissa, I love that people assumed that David Selby was your husband! Nobody ever assumed Farrah Fawcett was my wife, for some reason. Maybe your coworkers just assumed that your husband gave you that picture when you first met?

Chuck, ha ha, I’ve done a similar thing, signing a heartfelt letter as if it was a job application. It’s good for a laugh, at least!

Chuck, I thought you meant Farrah Fawcett!

Warren Nielsen, yes, I’m kind of surprised that nobody picked the Dick Tracy item, but there is just something about the Lone Ranger, I suppose. I think you might have mentioned finding those photos once before - as inconceivable as it might be to us, I go through periods where I just want to “get rid of everything”. As you can imagine, I have a LOT of stuff. But I admit that the things with actual family connections would probably be the last things to go.

Anon, wow, Paul Frees really sounds unhinged in that recording! Hard to believe that it’s the same guy who voices the Ghost Host. Thanks for the link.

K. Martinez, hooray, somebody finally loves Sniffles! There’s a famous Captain Midnight decoder that had a black and white photo of the brave captain inserted inside, and kids were encouraged to replace it with their own pictures. While collectors want the examples with the Captian, I admit that the ones with random kid photos are kind of fun too.

Nanook, I thought that they got rid of the offensive characters pretty quickly? In my memory, Funny Face drink mix was around for a long time. I do remember the Cyclamate issue - not sure if Kool-Aid also used Cyclamates. There were versions where you were supposed to add your own sugar, which, as a dumb kid, I didn’t realize. That first sip sure was a sour surprise!

Chuck said...

Major, Crisis on Infinite Earths was a big enough deal that it made mainstream news publications, particularly the death of a familiar comic book character.

“Lefty Lemon”…? No wonder they went out of business. You should never mix powdered beverages and politics (see “Jonestown” above).

I made the same mistake of not adding sugar to the first batch of Kool-Aid I ever made. The only difference was I was 20 years old and in my first apartment.

Anonymous said...

Major, I had Green Ghost as a kid, so when I started collecting as an adult, it was one of my first buys. I played it with my daughter and found out that even though the game pieces are fantastic, the game is pretty much a snoozer. Huge letdown from what you'd expect!

Melissa said...

IIRC, I made the mistake of adding twice the required amount of sugar to the first batch of Kook-Aid I ever made.

Nanook said...

Where to begin... (I know "The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step").
-Of course I L O V E Sniffles. It's everyone's fav-! It merely goes without saying-!
-Oh, no - all SIX of the little ovals contained the same image of that 'dapper gentleman'-! That's what made it so wonderful - plus the fact he had no relation to anyone in that family-!
-Yes, those 'offensive' names were dropped fairly quickly. From a "FOOD 52" article, in 2016... It didn't take very long for Pillsbury to change the characters. Mere months after releasing the Funny Face flavors, Pillsbury was inundated with a flurry of complaints. It began with spores of fury from Chinese grocers in Sacramento, California, who objected to the drink mixes being sold in their stores. In July of 1965, Pillsbury recognized error and amended accordingly, transforming the two into 'Choo Choo Cherry', a pleasant train engineer, and the daft, gleeful 'Jolly Olly Orange'. “We admit guilt all over the lot,” the unnamed Pillsbury spokesman told The New York Times in February of 1966. “It was in poor taste. We quickly saw our fault.”

As Funny face Drinks were introduced some time in 1964 - the name changes did occur rather rapidly - as you pointed out. The original flavors, and their names, were: Goofy Grape, Rootin' Tootin' Raspberry, Loud-Mouth Lime, Freckle-Face Strawberry, Injun Orange, and Chinese Cherry. These last two were soon renamed to Jolly-Olly Orange and Choo Choo Cherry. Then in 1965, Lefty Lemon was added. In 1967 more flavors were added, including Captain Black Cherry, Loud-Mouth Punch replaced Loud-Mouth Lime (who temporarily merged with Lefty Lemon) for the short-lived Lefty Lemon Lime. Whew-!

And then - also in 1967... "In an effort to reach more mature consumers, Pillsbury tested the waters with Tart N’ Tangy Lemon and Tart N’ Tangy Orange. The Thirst Fighters premiered this year with Baron Von Lemon, Crash Orange, and Sir Reginald Lime Lime — three drink mixes aimed at adults that used more sophisticated humor in the advertising". And who the hell remembers these, he asks rhetorically-?? And now you know.

Nanook said...

And also, Major...
I forgot - in 1974 you could buy Rudy Tutti Frutti, With-It Watermelon and Pistol Pink Lemonade. The mind reels.

Anonymous said...

Got it fixed! New post!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I’ll have to look up “Crisis (etc)” to see what the story is about, I really have no idea! Looking on Wikipedia, there were a LOT of flavors that we’ve forgotten. “Top Banana” (yuck!), “Chilly Cherry Cola”, “Rudi Tutti_Frutti”, “Pistol Pink Lemonade”, “Tart Lil’ Imitation Lemonade”, “Tart ’N Tangy Lemon” (that’s four different lemonades), “Chug-a-lug-a-Chocolate” (??), L”oud Mouth Lime”, and “With-It Watermelon. WHO KNEW! Ha ha, I’d love to have seen the look on your face when you first sipped that unsweetened drink.

Stu29573, I actually don’t remember how the game was played, it was enough that it had glow-in-the-dark ghosts. Too bad it’s lame!

Melissa, yikes! Did your teeth fall out the minute you drank some??

Nanook, I actually really do like those Sniffles cartoons a lot. They are very charming and of their time. Funny that your friend left such a tribute to that distinguished mystery man. “Spores of fury” from Chinese grocers? That’s an interesting way to put it. As if they were fungi. Hey, I give the company some credit for acting quickly and admitting their error. I forgot about Freckle-Face Strawberry. I wish I’d seen your comment before doing the research for my reply to Chuck, ha ha! I have some little Funny Face plastic “walkers” that I love, and there is a website where a guy made custom versions of all the characters that were never actually represented. They’re pretty cool! I especially like “Baron Von Lemon”.

Nanook, as a life-long watermelon disliker (“hater” is too strong a word), I would pass. “Give me plain water, please”.

Stu29573, hooray! I’ll go take a look right now!