Saturday, January 27, 2018


Last Hallowe'en season I posted some scans of some Li'l Abner related Bazooka ads that I would, frankly, probably kill for if they came up for auction. Al Capp did some ad illustration work for Topps in the late 40's and again in the 50's and while Li'l Abner is easily identifiable as his, not all of his work featured Dogpatch's finest.

Check out this 1948 Sunday Newspaper comics section with a killer Tatoo ad:

The main character at left is, to my eye, clearly drawn by Capp. The other illustrations are not by the same hand though.  This ad could easily have been adapted for subway and buses and I suspect that's what Capp was employed, i,.e. to quickly have his character grab your attention.  While his Li'l Abner themed ad work for Bazooka would have required a licensing fee, the youth above would have been a commissioned job.

We know it's the 1948 Tatoo issue because of the spot display shown at bottom right. I believe this was the only Topps novelty product sold this way (this was their first novelty) as they flipped to a box for their next release, Hocus Focus ( which is commonly known as Magic Photo to avoid confusion with the similar 1955 issue):

The colored bubble gum of Tatoo was also carried through to Magic Photo, as the ad copy shows.

The Tatoo spot display is rare.  I have one and have never seen another. Tatoo was quickly reissued in a slightly different size and multiple configurations in 1949 so I don't think a ton of product came out in '48.

The canister follow the "circus" theme Topps used in some of its 1948-49 ad campaigns and product designs:

Here's that sideshow strongman, check out those muscles LOL:

The bottom of the display shows how paper was "pulped" (we call it recycled now).  You can see two letters "sa" peeking through:

Topps had the goods when it came to artists thanks to their "inside out" art agency Solomon & Gelman.  A staggering amount of talent did work for them over the years but Al Capp looks like he was the first big name to do so.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Funny Flash Fraction

It's been a little while since I posted about an obscure, never-issued set that has been dubbed Funny Flash Cards (an unofficial title but so-named for very obvious reasons).  Attribution to 1968 as the year based upon an old auction description, the artwork, mainly by Wally Wood from what I can see, generally supports that year as well.

I pulled the trigger on one of these last year  and they measure 4 11/16" x 2 1/2", which is the same as many other similar "large" Topps cards of the day.  As we have previously seen, the front looks innocent enough:

While the back has the gag and related illustration:

The card looks finished in every way and in addition to the 33 card finished proof sheet I featured previously, one showing markups has now appeared:

It features the same 33 cards as the finished proof sheet so either the other 22 cards were not proofed (unlikely but if this was a test it's possible they were waiting to see results) or they are presently MIA. As has been seen countless times with obscure Topps sets, the remaining subjects could easily pop up someday. In fact, if they were testing the product, it would not be out of character for the other 22 to have been to test subjects.  Topps often reduced the number of cards when testing from what would appear if the set made it to retail.

I've managed to put together a checklist of the 33 known subjects. A few numbers are missing as they are too fuzzy to read on either sheet, but it has all the questions and gags in case you were thinking of giving someone an IQ test.

The checklist follows the sheet positions for the Answers on the Reverse as that's where the cards are numbered.  Rows are tagged A thru I and Columns from 1-3:

No. Category Front (Question) Reverse (Answer) Position (Reverse)
Nature Studies What Animal Is Hairy & Can't See? A Baboon With His Eyes Closed! A1 (33)
38 History What Was Sewards' Folly? Mrs. Seward! A2 (33)
15 Mathematics If John And Sam Share 6 Apples, And Sam Gets 2, What Does John Get? A Punch In The Eye From Sam! A3 (33)
Grammar What's Wrong With This Sentence: "On My Vacation In Philadelphia I Had An Exciting Time." Nobody In Philadelphia Has An Exciting Time! B1 (33)
17 Science If Your Friend Had 14 Marbles And You Took Half, What Would You Have? A Black Eye! B2 (33)
26 Mathematics What Never Strikes Twice In The Same Place? A Mets Baseball Pitcher! B3 (33)
9 Mathematics Can You Draw A Straight Line From New York To Chicago? Yes, If You Have A Very Long Pencil! C1 (33)
18 Science What Is Whale Oil Used For? For Oiling Whales! C2 (33)
52 History When Did The Civil War Come To An End? When The Last Shot Was Fired! C3 (33)
21 History Why Did George Washington Cross The Delaware? It Was Too Cold Standing In The Middle! D1 (33)
44 History Why Were They Called "Rough Riders?" No Talcum Powder! D2 (33)
54 History Why Did People Before Columbus Think The World Was Flat? In Those Days It Was Flat! D3 (33)
History Who Was The 10th President Of The United States? Who Cares! E1 (33)
30 Nature Studies What Is A Hippo? A Fat Hippie! E2 (33)
16 Mathematics How Much Dirt Is In A Hole  3 Ft. x 3 Ft. x 5 Ft. Deep! None, You Idiot! It's a Hole! E3 (33)
History Between Whom Was The Battle Of Bunker Hill Fought? Between A Fellow And A Girl In A Parked Car! F1 (33)
Grammar Form A Sentence With The Word Paradox. On Our Farm We Have Four Chickens, Six Geese and a Paradox! F2 (33)
8 Literature Out Of The Mouths Of Babes, Oftimes Comes What? Drool! F3 (33)
5 Science What Shouldn't People In Glass Houses Throw? Wild Parties! G1 (33)
40 History During The Boston Tea Party, What Did The Colonists heave Overboard? Their Dinners! G2 (33)
12 Nature Studies How Can A Charging Rhino Be Stopped? Take Away His Credit Card! G3 (33)
Social Studies What Do You Call A Man Who Takes Apart Live Bombs For A Living? An Idiot! H1 (33)
History Why Was General Lee Buried At Arlington National Cemetery? Because He Was Dead! H2 (33)
Mathematics If Mrs. Smith Makes 10 Spinach Cookies, And Gives One To Each Of Her 6 Children, How Many Will Be Left? Ten!  Who Would Eat A Spinach Cookie! H3 (33)
History In The War Of 1812, Who Said "Don't Give Up The Ship?" Someone Who Wasn't On It! I1 (33)
Science Scientists Get Oil By Drilling Oil Wells, How Do They Get Gas? By Drinking Beer! I2 (33)
Mathematics If Two's Company And Three's A Crowd, What Are Four And Five? Nine! I3 (33)
History When Did Nathan Hale Say "I Regret That I Have But One Life To Give For My Country?" When It Was Too Late! J1 (33)
Mathematics If You Had 18 Apples And You Ate 12, What Would You Have? One Heckuva Stomach Ache! J2 (33)
36 Mathematics 2 Pints Make A Quart; 4 Quarts Make A Gallon. What Does A Gallon Make? A Drunken Brawl! J3 (33)
Mathematics If You Had 6 Packs Of Cigarettes With 20 Cigarettes In A Pack And You Smoked 2 1/2 Packs In One Day, What Would You Have The Next Day? Such A Cough! K1 (33)
Science What Did Isaac Newton Learn When The Apple Fell on His Head? He Should Change His Seat K2 (33)
4 History Why Did Our Forefathers Leave England? To Get Away From Our Foremothers! K3 (33)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Young Canada's Rarest

Well buccos, I managed to end 2017 on a bang with the purchase of a 1971 O-Pee-Chee Bazooka CFL card off the ol' 'bay. I mentioned it previously here but it's a set that very few people know exist.

Much like the 1971 Bazooka Baseball and Football package design sets that were issued in the States (not to mention the mysterious but reasonably plentiful--and larger in number--Baseball proof set), O-Pee-Chee issued Hockey and Canadian Football League sets in Canada.  Unlike their US counterparts, these mirrored the designs of the regular issue sets from each sport that year, just miniaturized and blank backed.

If cut correctly, the Bazooka's should measure 1 7/8 x 2 3/4".  However, things being what they are, a proper cut is not something that can be counted upon here:

To compare, here is my example next to a standard sized (2 1/2" x 3 1/2") CFL card from that year: 

I thought the Alouettes name had turned from green to blue but it's Fairholm that is the anomaly. Two other cards from the set have been seen by me, at least in scanned form.  This one is in private hands now and is easily the best of the three:

A third has tape on the end, typical for the end card of a Bazooka panel and is still out there for purchase I believe:

The cuts are a little close on the vertical edges but these three would be found together on panel #3.  The thing is, only three other subjects are checklisted, in the only place I have ever seen mention of these cards, namely Andy Malycky's Collecting Canadian Football, Vol. 1.  In fact, the three cards shown above are the same ones used to illustrate the set in Andy's guide. The other three checklisted are, from what would be panel #8:

# 22 Dick Weslowski (Hamilton)
# 23 Silas McKinnie (Saskatchewan)
# 24 John Lagrone (Edmonton)

There's not much else known about these.  Not the whereabouts of the other 18 cards, pictures of the three players on panel #8 above, nor a box, nor any idea how they were distributed or why they are so rare. It's possible they were a test issue but that's not certain at all. All I know is, there are six possible cards known and I have one of them.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Blind Date

Well another year has gone and come, seemingly in record time!  It's hard to believe but this blog will turn 10 years old in September and there's still a ton of Topps I intend to cover.  Today though, I'll turn again to a past post, namely one covering the still somewhat mysterious True Fact Mini Comics.

Previously your intrepid blogger was able to narrow down the date of issue for this 5 booklet set to 1966-77.  However, a recent bit of luck has given me the means to whittle that range down and come up with a possible means of distribution.

Without getting too maudlin, my late father was a junior high school teacher for almost 40 years and we have been clearing his massive amount of collectibles out of the family home these past several months.  During that stretch, exactly one Topps items has turned up, which is not unexpected as he was not a card or sports collector. However, the one item he had was a No. 5 True Fact Mini Comic.  The kicker is that is was inscribed to my dad by two of his students back in the day.  This being the internet I've obscured parts of names but this is what presented itself:

So a little name matching with the school district on the ol' Google machine led me to a wedding announcement (and age at the time) for one of these young ladies.  Working backwards and knowing the school covered grades 6, 7  & 8, I was able to get a date range of 1967-69 for the set.

What I am now leaning toward as a theory of distribution, is that Topps somehow had these introduced to various schools at the time as a teaching aid.  This makes some sense as:

1) a teenage girl had to get a copy of an extremely obscure and hard-to-find issue;
2) no wrapper or box is known, and
3) the set covers historical subjects.

Why Topps would do this, I do not (yet) know.

Just for fun I've scanned a few more pages of what is a pretty far out comic:

Van Buren is my favorite lesser known president.  This is primarily due to watching a lot of "Seinfeld" where the Van Buren Boys would regularly harass Kramer and George but I have to say his being known as a "dude" is hilarious!

Chester A. Arthur, represent:

Nice square cut on these babies.....

I can't really say I've ever thought of the Boxer Rebellion as a notable US victory but there you are.  On the other hand, Benjamin Harrison seems like he was a real wuss:

The separate beds are a hoot!

We're in for a fun year kids, stay tuned........