Thursday, December 09, 2021

More Stuff From the Box

Major Pepperidge knows what you need today - you need some STUFF FROM THE BOX! The Major is always happy to oblige.

First up is this cool Dick Tracy "Good Luck Secret Compartment Ring", a Quaker Oats premium from 1938. There's the square-jawed Tracy, looking like he just swallowed a bug. Notice the traditional good luck symbols, such as a horseshoe, a four-leaf clover, and then... well, some less-traditional symbols. A sun, a crescent moon, some stars, and whatever that thing is in the upper left corner (probably a steering wheel). "But wait, Major, you said there is a secret compartment. What gives?".

Don't worry, I didn't forget. The front of the ring is held on by some small springy brass clips, which resulted in this part being lost often. You could definitely fit some microfilm, or a micro map, or some other "micro" thing, in that little space.

I've always loved the Mobil Oil Pegasus, and here's a sweet plastic medallion that you can use as a key ring. I believe that this is from the 1950s.

The L.A. County Fair's mascot is a jaunty pig named "Thummer", and he looks just like the fellow on the badge pictured below. It's possible that Thummer was used for other events as well, I suppose. Or somebody just stole the image, because this pig's suitcase says "The State Fair". Which State Fair? I like it no matter what. There is a version of this badge that is less crudely rendered that does say "Los Angeles County Fair" in the suitcase.

Here's a metal charm from the 1939 New York World's Fair, featuring the ubiquitous Trylon and Perisphere, as well as the Fair's Administration Building.

Here's the Administration Building, in case you were curious.

Next is a very worn and beat-up brass Orphan Annie "good luck" medallion, from Ovaltine. Are YOU a member of her secret society? The obverse feature's Annie's smiling face, along with a wishbone and little four-leaf clovers. The reverse has the phrase "good luck" in seven languages. Of course I speak all of those languages fluently, I just don't like to show off.

Next is an plastic Tom Mix arrowhead, circa 1946 - a premium from General Mills. It has a compass, so that you could theoretically sail around the world with nothing but this item. It glows in the dark, too! On an earlier post, I shared a photo of a similar item from 1939.

With this magnifying glass, you can look at little stuff (have you ever looked at an ant through a magnifying glass? Yuck!), or even start a fire when you have no matches. I'm telling you, when the next disaster strikes, I'm going to be sitting pretty.

See? I knew you needed more Stuff From the Box!


TokyoMagic! said...

That's some cool stuff, Major! My favorite would have to be the Dick Tracy ring. You could also store some itching or sneezing powder in that ring!

I love little Thummer! But I only know him from the L.A. County Fair. I didn't realize that he might have been used for other fairs. I went to the L.A. County Fair a few years ago, and was happy to see that he was still being used on directional signage, on the streets around the fair grounds. I can't remember if I saw his image anywhere inside the fair, though. I don't think I did, but he used to be used throughout the fair, including on the trash cans.

I know you must be posting the Little Orphan Annie coin, because of the airing of "Annie Live!" last week. I know you watched it! I watched it, but I was disappointed to see that all of the actors had eyeballs.

Thanks for sharing more of your "stuff," Major!

- Thistle Magic! (As in, sister Susie sitting on a....)

JB said...

Hmm. Are you sure the Dick Tracy ring came in Quaker Oats? With the crescent moon, stars, and four-leaf clover, I would expect to find it at the bottom of a box of Lucky Charms. ;-)
That "thing in the upper left corner" might be a Celtic symbol, for good luck, I presume.

Major, My favorite today is the 1939 World's Fair charm. It oozes Art Deco design. I almost missed the Trylon; it's hiding on the left edge. (Why do they spell it with a "Y"? I'm guessing because it looks cooler than "Trilon".) The silvery metal makes it that much cooler.

Since you're fluent in so many languages: Qapla'! (I don't see that one on the back of the Annie medallion.) Not sure what the Klingon word for Ovaltine is.

On the Tom Mix arrowhead, I like the stylized TM done in pieces of rope.

Yay, for more stuff from the box! Thanks Major.

Thistle Magic!, I thought Sister Susie sold seashells by the seashore.

- Jerkface Blitzen (and Comet, and all of the other reindeer for not letting Rudolph play in any of the reindeer games. From what I hear, he didn't miss much.)

TokyoMagic! said...

Jerkface Blitzen (I love that name!), you are right! It was actually "Thister Thusie," who was doing the thitting on that thistle!

We can even see a bit of the "Helicline" on that World's Fair charm.

I'm fluent in Latin, in case anyone's interested! "Oodgay Ucklay!"

- Thistle M.!

TokyoMagic! said...

FYI, that was "Thummer Latin."

JB said...

Thistle M!, are you sure that wasn't Practical Latin? Or maybe Fiddler Latin; I always get them mixed up.

Chuck said...

That cross and circle emblem reminds me of the Santa Fe RR logo, which I think was derived from or inspired by a Native American symbol. There may be a connection.

A childhood friend had a magnifying chamber, which was a clear container with a large magnifying glass on one end. I remember us catching ants and putting them inside to see them up close. Really interesting. They looked like some sort of alien, although we all inhabit the same planet. We also put 1/72 scale figures in it and discovered that the figures made by Airfix were much better sculpted - better proportions and more realistic details - than the ones made by Atlantic, or even the ones made by MPC, which were licensed copies of Airfix figures.

Stu29573 said...

My favorite is the Dick Tracy ring, although the Tom Mix charm is probably more practical. I remember reading somewhere that Mix had "TM's" molded into his tire treads so that wherever he drive there was a trail of monograms. It seems like he would have had monogramed horseshoes instead, but who am I to judge?
As far as the Dick Tracy ring goes, I would keep pound cake in it, because what's luckier that that? Nothing, I tell you, Nothing at all! The circle with the cross is probably the symbol for the Four Sacred Directions from Native American culture. Several tribes recognized them, and used this symbol. Interestingly enough, the Cherokee (to whom I'm related thank to my maternal grandmother) have Seven Sacred Directions: North, South, East, West, Up, Down, and Center (think "You are here"). While more complete, I'm not sure if they are any more useful and four would have probably covered it. Now that I've angered countless generations of distant ancestors, I shall bid you adieu.

Stefano said...

A bonanza of cool items, Major. Kids then were way cooler with their decoding rings, X-Ray goggles and burlesque playing cards. Cool is now dead, killed off by the cellphone and other modern gadgets.

Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday on the Small World meltdown. Given the superb symmetry of most of the facade, I can't believe it was intentional.

Nanook said...

"Ovaltine 3 times a day"-??!! Boy, there's no shame here. Just keep drinking and drinking it. I do have a jar of it on a high shelf in the pantry. I guess I better stock up if I'm gonna be guzzling-down such copious amounts. Personally, I prefer the original Swiss name: Ovomaltine

Another vote for the Dick Tracy ring.

Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

If you wore that 1939 NYWF charm, it would hang upside down.

Stefano, you sure do have an eagle-eye and are very observant of details. I’m looking forward to your sharing more discoveries with us.

Thanks, Major.

JG said...

I’m going for Tom Mix today, so I can sail around the world, look at ants, and start fires on every continent.

Stu, we visited in American Indian Museum in Washington DC in 2019. There were displays for the Major tribes, with various cultural highlights, including comparative religions. Just a fascinating place. I think you are right about the circle and cross design, although similar symbols are associated with Celtic pre-Christian beliefs as well. I have seen the symbol in petroglyphs in New Mexico too.

Stefano, “What Sue Said.”


Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I can see that you are experienced in the ways of secret compartments; only the most advanced users would think to use itching or sneezing powder. The generic (?) “Thummer” badge is kind of a mystery, but I have had it for a long time. I didn’t watch “Annie Live”, but I read a surprisingly glowing review of it. I admit that it would have been great if all the actors wore white contact lenses.

JB, I’m sure the Dick Tracy ring was one of those “mail in 10 cents plus five box tops” kind of prizes, though you’re right, Lucky Charms (one of my favorites!) would make more sense. I assume “Trylon” is sort of like the word “pylon”, but... I wasn’t there when they figured it all out. OR WAS I?? I used to be fluent in Klingon, but you know how it is, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. Now I mostly use Elvish.

TokyoMagic!, have you ever felt like you don’t know what the heck is going on? I can’t use the word “He*icline” because it has a bad word hidden in it.

TokyoMagic!, Worf spoke Thummer Latin, strangely.

JB, (in Jack Benny’s voice) “Now stop that!”.

Chuck, interesting, I did not think of the Santa Fe RR logo, though I am of course familiar with it. Your friend who had the magnifying chamber eventually invented a machine that could transport matter from one place to the other. I think his last name was “Brundle”?

Stu29573, Tom Mix was a huge star in his day, but I remember reading an account from John Wayne, who was just a lowly extra at the time, and how disappointed he was at the way Tom Mix treated his underlings. Wayne was more of a Buck Jones guy! Is pound cake lucky? It’s delicious, and that’s good enough for me. Thanks for the info about the info about the circle and cross symbol, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Santa Fe RR knew about it and that’s why they used it for their logo. Very interesting!

Stefano, it does seem like kids had access to a lot of cool and fun items back then. Maybe they do today as well, but I am just too out of touch? You could be right though, maybe the cell phone, tablet, and laptop have killed off things like secret compartment rings and naughty playing cards. Thanks for the “meltdown”, that was a fun thing to talk about!

Nanook, I drink Ovaltine six times a day, so I am healthier than most. I keep gaining a lot of weight, but it’s probably all muscle. Is “Ovomaltine” really the original Swiss name??

Lou and Sue, wearing that charm upside down summons Satan! Don’t do it!

JG, I love how often vintage premiums included a magnifying glass, and often a mirror to be used to that you could flash Morse code messages to your friends on the other side of the Grand Canyon. Now all I have to do is learn Morse code. I suppose that a basic symbol such as a circle with a cross in it could very well have been used by cultures all over the globe, sort of related to Joseph Campbell’s “monomyth”. Or something!!

Nanook said...

Yes, Ovomaltine really was the original name for Ovaltine.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it makes me think of "saxomophone"!

Chuck said...

Major, that’s the guy! Boy, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that experiment…

Dean Finder said...

Was that Little Orphan Annie coin the original "challenge coin?" Would you have to buy your pals a round of Ov(om)altine if you didn't have yours on you?

Also, I always thought Good Luck was "Viel Glueck" auf Deutsch. "Glueck Auf" is a new one to me. Maybe it's regional.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, maybe in that case it's just as well that you weren't the fly on the wall.

Dean Finder, I've never heard of a "challenge coin" until now. Listen, I could go on and on about the variations in regional German, but I would bore everyone!

JG said...

Major, a challenge coin is a military tradition. Units and sometimes officers have custom brass or bronze coins to commemorat
the unit or specific tours or actions. Each member gets a coin and is expected to carry it on their person.

The “challenge” occurs the next time one meets a companion, you challenge each other, the one who can’t produce his coin buys the drinks.

I have several from Scouting activities where the custom crosses over from ex-officers in Scouts. These are precious and filled with good memories.


DBenson said...

Is there a technical name for those little metal-bead chains? I remember seeing them around in key-ring, bracelet and necklace length, usually with toy dog tags for some reason.

Major Pepperidge said...

DBenson, I have always called them "ball chains", though there may be another term for them.