Saturday, 31 December 2011

Random Victorian Greetings of the Season

I don't know much about Victorian greeting cards, but some of the ones I've collected seem to indicate that the Victorians were much less conventional than one might think. Let's look at a couple of Christmas cards from my collection. The one above shows lush tropical greenery and a pink parrot, the one below has roses and a butterfly. Not exactly traditional English Christmas scenes.
I think the answer to this is that the cards were generic and various greeting were overprinted on the cards. So they could be used for birthdays, Easter or Christmas.

However, this next one, showing medieval boys playing with quoits(?)  must have been intended as a Christmas card, as you can see that the quoit the boy is about to pick up has 'A Merry Xmas' written on it. This one is dated 1880 on the back.
This next one is very odd. Presumably the message of  'A Merry Christmas' on a picture of boys fighting was meant to be ironic? Or are they meant to be dancing rowdily? Either way, I'm sure it'll end in tears...
 The New Year cards are less spectacularly random. Summer flowers seem pretty normal by comparison.
I'm pretty sure this next one was meant to be a Valentine's card. Again, the overprinting made use of whatever cards they happened to have at hand.
This last one is also overprinted, but could make sense - it could be interpreted as pulling the curtain down on the Old Year, or the New Year making an entrance, maybe. Or maybe it is just completely random...

 Happy New Year!

Friday, 23 December 2011

A Lovely Christmas Card from me to you

Merry Christmas from the dog, the pink teddy and the bizarre cat-pig! I hope you all find something as wonderful as this under your Christmas tree!
Taking a Christmas break now - see you in the New Year! x

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Mecki, Micki, Macki, Mucki

I want to keep up the Christmas theme this week, so I thought I would share this postcard. It depicts a typical alpine Christmas scene with hedgehogs. Yes, hedgehogs who go skiing (on cardboard mountains) and drive a sleigh. And on the subject of the sleigh  - is that a teeny tiny deer, or are the hedgehogs enormous?

So can I even be sure they are hedgehogs? Yes, because I recognise them as Mecki and his friends.
Apparently, Mecki the hedgehog was a very popular character in Germany. Micki was his wife, and Macki and Mucki were their children.

I think they appeared on TV, but I know there were dolls, because I had this one not so long ago. Obviously, this is Macki, not Mecki, and most definitely not Micki or Mucki.
So now you know.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Santa's Old Jalopy

I wrote yesterday about the 1960s fashion for old cars. Santa was not immune to that trend, and he seems to have gone crazy for veteran cars for a while, leaving poor old Rudolph, Prancer and co at home.

I apologise for the quality of these scans, but the top pic is a tiny little label, and the next two are from rather creased vintage wrapping paper.

 I'm not too sure how those holly-covered tyres above are going to work out...

But in this next one, the holly seems to have taken over, and is driving the cars by itself.
Beep! beep! It's Christmas!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Time On My Hands

What was the deal with 'olde-worlde' cars in the 1960s? And pink trouser suits? And kooky hats?

Naturally, the series of photos on this LP makes no reference to the music. The photos hover somewhere between mail-order catalogue poses and a filmed sequence in The Anita Harris Show, where the Young Generation run about trying to look 'with-it', on a cloudy day at Beaulieu House.

I miss The Young Generation....

Monday, 19 December 2011

Ugly Santas

Jolly Old St Nick!  
 The Beard That Ate Santa
 I'm getting out the Olay Regenerist, but I think I may be too late.
 Years of alcoholic poisoning have taken their toll...
But they all enjoy their karaoke night.
"Last Christmas, I gave you my heart..."

Friday, 16 December 2011

Postcard Friday - A Time for Children

Christmas is a time for the children, isn't it? These two are so overwhelmed by happiness and excitement, they can hardly raise a smile. I imagine if he keeps making a noise with that plastic clarinet (??), she'll hit him over the head with that too-solid-looking tiger.
 If you look closely, you'll see that's actually a birthday present in the card above (with some cute wrapping paper of ducks with umbrellas). However, the giving of presents with the whole family in nightwear just looks like Christmas to me, so I'm including it anyway. The father puts me in mind of Victor Mature. He looks very suave in his dressing gown, and I like the fact that he's gone to the trouble of putting a towel like a scarf around his neck. Very proper.
Crikey! Look at those eyes! And the mouth! Under her calm exterior, this little girl is a seething inferno of resentment, waiting and plotting for the time when she can take her revenge on the world.
(Cue the theme from 'The Omen'.)
Yes, Raggedy Ann, you can smile now, but just you wait...

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Pray for World Peace

I'm somewhat baffled by this plate. 'Pregate per la Pace del Mondo' apparently means 'Pray for World Peace'. But who should you be praying to? The Virgin Mary, the Pope, Bobby Kennedy or JFK?

I've done a little interweb checking and there are a few variations of this plate about, with the Pope and the Kennedys. But why? I can only guess that, for American Catholics in the 1960s, the Kennedys were second only to the Pope as heroes/role models/God's representatives on Earth and so they deserved equal souvenir plate space.

Pope John XXIII died in June 1963, so was this produced when they were all still alive? To further confuse things, although the words are in Italian, the plate was made in Bavaria. And although I keep referring to it as a plate, it's actually a saucer. Maybe there was a whole tea service?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Star Trek Stick-Ons

What the hell are these things? There's no explanation on the packet, other than 'Stick-ons' (doesn't sound very savoury, does it?). It's possible they were car air fresheners. Mr Kitsch got them in a fit of Trekkie collecting, and mostly because they were cheap. (He didn't keep them and this photo is from when I ebayed them. )

Ghastly mini-busts of McCoy and.. well yes, I know it's meant to be Captain Kirk, but now I'm looking at them again, I'm seeing Michael Buerk.
See what I mean?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Beat Boy

By jingo, it's one of those comical, long-haired young popsters! Just like those young fellas who make that frightful noise in their so-called beat combos. They should all have a spell in the army - that'd sort 'em out!

1960s plastic doll about 6" tall with cardboard guitar.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Palmolive - Building Record Sales

 At first, I thought this odd LP record from Palmolive Soap was some sort of promotional item you would send in packet tops for.
But no. When you open the gatefold sleeve, you discover it is aimed at the shop owners, to tell them how Palmolive are going to 'realign product perception' and provide 'competitive range pre-pricing', whatever that is.
I think what it boils down to, is that they redesigned the packet.
 Look! Palmolive will 'build record sales for you'. Ah, do you see what they did there? Clever stuff!

And to prove how modern and innovative they are, Palmolive have provided a long-playing record album with all these smash hits from cutting-edge, groovy groups like The Nolans, Sailor, and The Dooleys.

Even back in 1980, this was pretty dull stuff, and a lot of these tracks were a good few years old. I daresay Palmolive were correct in assuming that soap retailers were not going to be devotees of Joy Division, or Siouxsie and the Banshees, or even Blondie.

So git down with your bad self and boogie with Palmolive!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Postcard Friday - Teddies

My suggestion of Postcard Friday last week was received with overwhelming support. Well, nobody objected at any rate. Or indeed, mentioned it all. So here we go.

You can't beat a good teddy postcard. Or, come to that a bad one. I'm not sure why I love them so much. Because they're very silly, certainly, and they take a lot of time and trouble over it. Just look at these set-ups - the 'beauty products' in the top one, and the ridiculously large bar of soap in the one below.
I'm not altogether happy about Teddy being in the bathtub. I think he'll need more than a stripey towel to get dry, won't he? A few turns in the tumble dryer at least, I should think.

Have you noticed anything odd about these teddies? They have open mouths. I've been collecting these for years, but it was only when I got these new ones recently, that I realised that these open mouths must have been created by the photographer. In some horrible Frankenstein experiment, they have cut open an ordinary teddy's mouth and sewn in a gusset to make them 'speak'. You probably wish I hadn't pointed that out. It's very disturbing. 
 Moving on, the one above is just brilliant. Teddies and a mangle! Uh oh!

And this last one is from Holland and is very strange. You see, when I first saw it, I thought it was a soldier's uniform, and the bird on the gun was a poignant reminder of peace.
A heartfelt anti-war message from the 1960s, in fact. But... looking at it again, he might be a hunter, and the bird is just taking the piss.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Pamela the Bendable Doll

Poor Pamela! She welcomes the world with arms outstretched, but somehow, she just looks a bit odd. She is what a doll collector would call a 'clone' - a copy of a popular doll. The popular dolls in question are 'Flatsy' dolls.

These are curious in themselves - flat dolls in cute outfits, they appeared in 1969. I think they were more popular in the US than in Britain, and they have been recently revived (here)
nostalgic--but not one of my favorite disco dolls--Flatsy girls
(picture from JapaneseSweetShop)
Odd, for sure, but you can see that they might have some appeal.

However, in trying to copy the dolls closely, but not too closely (in case they get sued), the creators of 'Pamela' have just missed the mark.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Bristolian Giraffo-Cat

A very old souvenir of Bristol. Obviously, my home town of Bristol is well-known for its cat-giraffe hybrids, and this one has been immortalised in crested china.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Percy Thrower's Guide to Good Gardening

This is an LP.
A gardening LP. (Looks into camera, puzzled, shakes head and shrugs shoulders.)
I... suppose... gardening was popular  on the radio, and so people might want to listen to a record of Percy Thrower giving you his tips. But 'month by month advice'?? You listen to track one in January, then wait until February to listen to track two?

I picked this up in a charity shop, and to the best of my knowledge, I have never listened to it, but it's bound to be good. So, assuming it was successful, did Percy get to make that always-difficult second album? Did the fans like it? I will probably never know.

But hasn't Percy got a nice garden? And a nice dog.
(Brown patches on his lawn, though....)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Squeaky Bunny

A true story - friend of mine once ate so many carrots, she started to turn orange. Honestly. So is that what happened to this guy? Or has he been 'tangoed'? Whichever it is, those dilated pupils in those mad eyes are a dead giveaway that he's all hopped- up on cabbage leaves and dandelions as well.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Turkish Delights

I think I might make Fridays a regular day for postcards. Is that too much? Right now, I just can't get enough of them. I've been rediscovering my collection, and it's inspired me to buy more.

These are some that arrived today from Turkey. They had been listed on (in US dollars), and it took over a week before the seller dispatched them. This made me a bit concerned, as it can be difficult to resolve problems with someone whose first language is not English, and I have no experience of the efficiency (or inefficiency) of the Turkish post office. But I was prepared to be patient.

My patience was rewarded, as, on top of the 6 cards I was expecting, the seller had sent an extra 15 wonderfully kitsch postcards! It made my day!

They are mostly happy couples, some with babies and some without. (I love the ultra-realistic moon in that first one.)

The guys in these two postcards are a bit creepy. It's like they hired glamorous female models, but then just got whatever man they could find to accompany them.
This next one is kind of sweet.
 But this one is a bit bizarre...
(That blonde doesn't look very Turkish, does she?)
And this one is even weirder, with hearts, a chequebook, letters and a fabulous mid-century vase. Mr Kitsch suggested it depicted someone paying off a blackmailer for those bundles of incriminating letters. However, I have turned again to Google Translate to discover that the words on the chequebook mean 'kiss a million'. Not 'a million kisses', mark you, but 'kiss a million'.
I'm still trying to work out who would send these cards, and on what occasion?
(Answers, on a postcard,....)

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Advent Calendars

OK, my loyal blog followers, I apologise that this is a bit of a rerun, as I am featuring the truly awful advent calendar I got last year, and showed you on my other blog. But it is 1st December, and I have some slightly different photos in order to demonstrate the depths to which modern manufacture can plummet. So, let's experience painfully bad drawing again. What are those brown creatures on the right in the pic below? Cats? Squirrels?
The girl/elf in green...words fail me. Why does the woodwork of the clock apparently bulge out in random shapes? Why is there a Christmas Frog? And who or what is the strange figure in blue hiding in the pic below? 
And now another advent calendar, which is not curious because of its design (which is super-cute), but because I found it at a car boot sale last year. It was in a box with various greeting cards, and it's the first time I've ever found a vintage advent calendar at a car boot sale. And do I know it's vintage? Well, yes, because I had this advent calendar as a child. The picture is warmly ensconced in my memory, and it was such a delight to see it again! What are the chances?
Hope you're all enjoying your own advent calendars!