Tuesday, December 13, 2022

1950 Hopalong Cassidy Badges

It's time for yet another GDB Digression! As you are well aware, I am fond of old stuff, especially pop-culture ephemera. And at some point I acquired a number of little tin-litho badges that I knew nothing about. They rattled around in a cigar box for years, until I discovered that they were part of a set of 12 Hopalong Cassidy badges, released in boxes of Post's Raisin Bran way back in 1950. Neat! 

I have a thing for "complete sets", it doesn't have to be something important, I just want "all of them". I'm not proud of it. But I decided to acquire the other badges (I think I needed 9 of them). They aren't terribly rare, or even very expensive,  though I wanted the little tabs to be unbent, and wanted the lithography to be in pretty good condition.

First up is the RODEO TRICK RIDER. The "rope" decorative edging is a nice touch. Hey, Bub, don't stand up on your horse, you could fall and have an owie. You have been warned.

Strangely, this Hopalong Cassidy badge is one of the hardest to find. "Hoppy" was portrayed by actor William Boyd, who became a matinee idol, making $100,000 a year in 1925.

Just in case you were wondering, here's the back of Hoppy's badge.

RANCH BOSS! "I'm the man in charge 'round here". 

ANNIE OAKELY, the famous sharpshooter who gained fame with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Her nickname was "Little Sure Shot".

"CHIEF SITTING BULL" was a Hunkpapa Lakota leader who led his people during years of resistance against United States government policies. The portrait here is loosely based on a photo of the real man.

ROPING CHAMP, git that dogie!

WILD BILL HICKOCK was a folk hero of the American Old West known for his life on the frontier as a soldier, scout, lawman, gambler, showman, and actor, and for his involvement in many famous gunfights. He earned a great deal of notoriety in his own time, much of it bolstered by the many outlandish and often fabricated tales he told about himself.

BULL DOGGING CHAMP. Bulldogging is a rodeo event in which a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestles the steer to the ground by grabbing its horns and pulling it off-balance so that it falls to the ground.

GENERAL CUSTER; he fought in the Civil War, and gained fame in the Indian Wars. Wikipedia says: His dramatic end was as controversial as the rest of his career, and reaction to his life and career remains deeply divided. His legend was partly of his own fabrication through his extensive journalism, and perhaps more through the energetic lobbying of his widow.

CALAMITY JANE; Martha Jane Cannary was an American frontierswoman, sharpshooter, and raconteur. In addition to many exploits she was known for being an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok. Late in her life, she appeared in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show and at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. She is said to have exhibited compassion to others, especially to the sick and needy.

If I wasn't so worried about condition, I would wear this Sheriff badge everywhere!

BUFFALO BILL; bison hunter and showman. One of the most famous and well-known figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill's legend began to spread when he was only 23. Shortly thereafter he started performing in shows that displayed cowboy themes and episodes from the frontier and Indian Wars. He founded Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1883, taking his large company on tours in the United States and, beginning in 1887, in Great Britain and continental Europe.

Here are the graphics from a vintage box of Post's Raisin Bran. Hey Partners! "You'll want every badge!". Truer words were never spoken.

And here's a vintage newspaper ad. 

Don't they look great as a set? I'm not crazy!!

I love the way these simple tin badges evoke America's obsession with the Wild West, and think they are fun artifacts from the golden age of cereal giveaways. I hope you have enjoyed these Hopalong Cassidy Badges!


Nanook said...

What a fine collection-! There's some lovely detailing on each badge in spite of the relative simplicity of design.

Thanks, Major, for sharing these 'swell' badges.

JB said...

Wow, that magenta text at the top just about burned my eyes out!

Hey! the Hopalong Cassidy badge says to "Fold Down" the tab. YOU HAVEN'T DONE IT YET! Get crackin'!

In the reverse view, you could fold down the tab in the opposite direction and have a nice "Post's Raisin Bran" badge!

I wonder if any kids actually collected all these badges? Would they wear them all at the same time? A 'full metal' jacket.

Wild Bill Hickok looks like Father Guido Sarducci... Just sayin'.

I guess my favorite today is the last picture, with all the badges arranged as a set. It makes them look more elegant and important. And the colors look great!

Thanks for sharing your complete set of Hoppy badges, Major. (And I thought I was a little obsessive compulsive.) ;-)

Chuck said...

These are way cool. Three points to Hufflepuff for arranging the badges in the “family portrait” in the same pattern as they are shown in the vintage box art. It didn’t set off my CDO.

I remember eating lunch in a cafeteria at Yosemite National Park in 1976 and noticing a picture of a cowboy printed on the milk carton. I showed it to my mother, who said “That’s Hopalong Cassidy.” I had to ask who that was. To this day, I have never seen or heard a Hopalong Cassidy film, TV show, or radio program. To be honest, I’m surprised I haven’t been subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Calamity Jane is buried next to Wild Bill in Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, SD. When we visited, the tour guide told us that Bill couldn't stand her and was probably rolling over in his grave. Just curious - when that happens, is it just the Earthly remains or does the entire casket rotate?

Anonymous said...

Strangely, my favorite part of the collection is having the advertising that goes with it! Ok, I'm weird.
Chuck, I've never been to Wild Bill's grave, but I've been to Kit Carson's. Not really the same kind of deal. He was a frontiersman more than a cowboy and lived a generation before these guys, but hey, it was a western guy's grave, so there. By the way, Carson's current grave is in Taos, New Mexico. It started out in Colorado. Long story.
By the way, grave spinning is strictly a "corpse spins in box" situation, as any magician worth his salt can tell you.

K. Martinez said...

These badges are all so great tht I can't pick a favorite. I'd want it as a complete set too. I too can be a completist when it comes to collecting. Did you purchase these badges one at a time or in clusters?

Great stuff! Thanks, Major.

JC Shannon said...

When you hit up the antique store, does a loved one say things like "Step away from the display case?" Or "Look Major, it's an alien ship of some kind!" I should know, I have a thing for mid century sci fi, and my wife has tried everything. "I think you already have that one, dear." Or, "Would you like to start collecting divorce papers?" It's a losing battle I tell ya! Thanks for sharing your collection Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, those cereal companies really knew how to make appealing premiums! I have some other sets of things that I have already photographed, so you’ll see those one of these days.

JB, I’m sorry about the magenta text, I hope you are laying on a divan with a cucumber slice over each eye. Right after you read this, I mean. I actually have seen at least one of those badges bent the wrong way so that the “Raisin Bran” text was on the outside. Kids are dumb? Somehow I doubt that many kids managed to get the whole set of badges, they have short attention spans, and there’s always “the next thing”. It’s more of a thing that weirdos like myself do, 70+ years after the fact. Hey, what ever happened to Father Guido Sarducci anyway? Why didn’t he become a big movie star?

Chuck, when I had to arrange these badges, I definitely had to copy the order in which they were shown on the vintage box. If I didn’t do it that way, I would go to heck! Like you, I have never seen any Hopalong Cassidy movies or TV shows; for all of his fame in the 1950s, he’s mostly forgotten today. I knew an older gentleman who had a beautiful Hopalong Cassidy bicycle hanging in his garage, it was like new. Is Calamity Jane buried next to Wild Bill as if she was his wife? Like, right next to him? Or just one grave over? “Let’s put them side by side so that people don’t have to walk very far”.

Stu29573, you like the advertising more than the badges? I’ll sue you! You’ll be hearing from my agent! Or lawyer! Or mother! Kit Carson, you don’t meet many men named “Kit” these days. Although Kit Harrington was on “Game of Thrones” I guess. Kit Carson’s body has been to more places than my living one.

K. Martinez, I think I mostly acquired these one at a time, though I think that I sometimes bought a lot of two, but only wanted the one that was in good shape. You know how that goes.

Jonathan, nowadays it’s mostly eBay that’s to blame, though for many years I sure loved to go to dusty old junk stores, especially when we travelled in the midwest. I still remember stuffing my suitcase with a large Michelin Man figure, only to get home to find him shattered into pieces. Old plastic gets brittle, hey hey. I kept his head! Just like when I killed Dracula.

JG said...

Major, these are neat little artifacts. Very impressive to have the whole set and the ads.

I’m more of a one-off collector and the items generally have some sentimental connection. A lot of my stuff isn’t even my collection, so to speak, just things that came to me from Mom and Dad that I treasure for that alone.

I think you should wear these all at once, on a khaki uniform tunic, you could be a North Korean general.

Chuck, this may explain those odd pops and clicks on your telephone connection.

Hopalong was on Saturday mornings, but after Bugs Bunny and Thunderbirds, by that time, I was outside on my bike.

Thanks for this post.


Bu said...

I don't know much about Hop a Long...but an interesting diversion this AM. I do know that that have "two scoops of raisins, in Kellogs raisin bran". Now, I will be singing that tune all day long. I took a non-Disneyland person, knows really nothing about Disneyland, other than it "kind of existed".... "oh...is that the one they built after Disney World?"...(yes that green)...to the Tiki Room last night, and she was whistling the tune for hours. The stars somehow aligned yesterday, and an impromptu visit magically appeared. Yes, it is possible today still to be somewhat spontaneous...but I think it is rare....more on the whole experience later, but wanted to share this AM that if you ever have the opportunity to take someone who isn't as this TRE-Jaded as this grumpy old man to Disneyland, I highly recommend it. The wide eyed look of shock and awe entering a Christmas decorated Town Square twinkling at night was amazing to witness. Everything was "OMG...IS THIS FOR REAL?"or "ARE YOUUUUU KIDDDINGGG MEEEE?" For a short 5 hours, and 11 rides, I forgot about work, the outside world...and thought...in the midst of mind blowing crowds (truly) "well...THIS was Walt's intent 70 years ago."....the night ended with a Monorail trip over to the hotel, where I indulgently valet'd my car earlier. Not cheap by any means, but the best $$$ I ever spent on myself in a long time.

Melissa said...

Dadgum it, them badges is right purty! I can practically smell the raisin bran!

Weird to think that all those midcentury TV Westerns were on the air less than a hundred years after the events they depicted.

In my mind General Custer will always look like Errol Flynn and Calamity Jane will always be Doris Day.

Bu, re: the Tiki Room song, I like to call the Sherman Brothers "The Earworm Brothers."

DrGoat said...

Gorgeous set of badges Major. That was the year I was born so I never ended up with any. I did prefer Hopalong Cassidy over the Lone Ranger, if that holds any weight. The Lone Ranger got boring after a few dozen episodes.
I think my favorite is Chief Sitting Bull.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, what kind of thing would qualify as a “one-off” collectible? Maybe a Swarovski-covered Millennium Falcon? “Treasures” are in the eye of the beholder, I have friends who scratch their heads at my stuff, and others who think it’s fun/cool. It’s all good. I can never bend those tabs, it would be like putting bamboo skewers under my fingernails. My guess is that some Hopalong Cassidy stuff can probably be viewed on YouTube for free, but I haven’t looked yet.

Bu, I think that 1950 was way before they thought of the “two scoops” idea, though I can still recall the jingle all these years later. So fun that you took a non-Disneyland person to the park, and that they loved it so much! I always wonder, if I had not gone as a child, and then went as a grown adult, would I be baffled by its appeal? I took my niece and nephew to the park many years ago, and my niece was so astonished, it was one of my best trips because I could see things through her eyes, so to speak. TREAT YO’ SELF!

Melissa, yes, a box of raisin bran has that particular aroma, including the cardboard container! I saw “Little Big Man” when I was pretty young, and now I think of a crazy Richard Mulligan as General Custer. As for Calamity Jane, did you ever see the HBO series “Deadwood”??

DrGoat, I have to admit that I never loved the Lone Ranger. I liked the idea of him, with his horse Silver, and the silver bullets, and all that jazz. But I enjoyed other westerns a lot more. I wish you liked General Custer, I have an extra one sitting right in front of me, I would happily send it to you.

Melissa said...

Major, I was a huge Deadwood fan. When the sequel movie came out a few years back, I blubbered through it like a watering can. While I loved their take on Calamity Jane, it's still Doris singing "Secret Love" that pops into my head unbidden.

Chuck said...

Major, she's buried one grave over. There are two stories - one is that it was her dying wish "to be buried near old Bill" and the other is that the men who planned her funeral buried her there as a final prank on Wild Bill.

Anonymous said...

Major, I think the Falcon's engines run on Swarovski crystals, not dilithium. I know where you can get a crystal-covered Millenium Falcon, if you need one.

"One-off" collectibles are things I have collected that are kind of open-ended, like swizzle sticks or beer mats. There isn't any way to have the "whole set", just a big mug full from all the tiki bars I've visited. Same with the little paper beer coasters. I have a bunch of shot glasses that my Mom mostly collected, maybe five are ones I bought. Same with pocket knives and matchbook covers, my Dad collected those and I added a few to each. The only things I can think of that I have collected on my own are tiki mugs, beer coasters and swizzle sticks. I've stopped collecting the mugs due to lack of space, and because it seemed kind of silly. I use the mugs now and then, so they aren't entirely wasted space.


"Lou and Sue" said...

"...this TRE-Jaded as this grumpy old man to Disneyland...."

Bu, anyone who would spend the time making fun Disneyland memories for others, is pretty special, in my book. NOT a grumpy old man. That gal will have wonderful memories forever.

Major, thank you for sharing more from your collection.

DBenson said...

There was an early series of Hopalong Cassidy double feature DVDs featuring his first eight films from the 30s. Later DVD collections offered the rest of them in bulk and out of sequence. A total of 66 theatrical features were made. They're decently made with the best of them boasting above-average location work, and most DVD releases look pretty good. The only real caveat is that in 1944 Boyd personally produced the final theatrical features, and did so on the cheap.

The Hopalong Cassidy films were successful when first made, but the real success story began when the franchise was winding down and TV was killing off the Saturday matinee. Boyd staked everything he had on buying up the films and the rights. He took the films to NBC where they ran as a series, and were wildly successful (they may have looked lavish next to cheaper B pix and made-for-TV oaters). Boyd became a bigger star than he ever was in the 30s and 40s, and far richer thanks to all the merchandise deals. He made a Hopalong TV series and dutifully honored his role model status, retiring when the mania finally cooled off.

Singing cowboys Gene Autry and Roy Rogers followed Boyd to television stardom. Like the Three Stooges they didn't actually own the old films that were booming on TV, but they did have merchandising and record deals, and they starred in new TV series (ironically competing with their younger selves). Autry became an actual tycoon, probably richer than Boyd, and managed to buy his own films from Republic in 1960.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, I regret that I never saw the HBO “movie” that supposedly wrapped up the Deadwood show. Hopefully someday….?

Chuck, ha ha, poor Wild Bill, even in the grave he couldn’t get a break!

JG, I need TWO crystal-covered Millennium Falcons, but I can’t explain why. Your “one off” collectibles sound fun, and they all have meaning to you. It reminds me of the things I kept from my first trip to Europe. Similar to things you mentioned; paper coasters, ticket stubs to various places (the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower), the wrapper from a sugar packet, and so on. Now when I look in my box with those items, each one holds a little bit of magic. Only for me, though! Swizzle sticks are something that I’m sure you could collect for years, I’m sure there are thousands of varieties.

Lou and Sue, I’ve said similar things to a friend of mine who has taken his grandkids to Disneyland. He has complained of the price, but the experience will be remembered by those kids for the rest of their lives, and of course HE wound up having the time of his life sharing his favorite place with his grandkids!