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.

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