Saturday, February 11, 2023

South American Soiree

Maybe it's the Caribbean World Series just concluding, or just some random luck but there's more to report on some Venezuelan issues, circa 1960-61, this time on the non-sports side.

The recently discovered batch of 1960 Baseball Tattoos out of Venezuela were not the only tattoo issues licensed by Topps (and possibly another entity) down there. Thanks to Friend o'the Archive Josh Alpert, we now know that Woody Woodpecker and Superman were also subjects of local interest and marketing, although there is a bit of a twist with ol' Supe.  Check out the three wrappers shown here:

These are in addition to a Popeye Tattoo that's I've known about for quite some time, thanks to Lonnie Cummins:

We've seen the Baseball Tattoo wrappers a few times recently but today I want to focus on the application instructions and indicia these various issues sported. The "floating image" version on the Baseball and Woody Woodpecker tattoos, although obviously in English, first popped up on the 1949 Topps Tatoo wrappers and was used into the 1970's, when this style of packaging was finally eliminated. This would be the preferred style going forward in the U.S., although the 1955 Davy Crockett Tatoo wrapper had no instructions, presumably as Topps was trying to pull a fast one with the release, which capitalized on the Disney TV series and movies without actually using any copyrighted or trademarked material. And this after issuing two licensed Crockett card sets! 

The 1959 U.S. release of the Woody Woodpecker Tattoos (a tough set BTW), used the floating images,  so it was redesigned here for some reason, which is kinda weird. Woody and Popeye both reference the licensor and indicate Topps in the indicia, making it clear they were produced in Venezuela.

The really interesting one to me though is the Superman Tattoo wrapper. It clearly uses the U.S> release's graphics but unlike the other two wrappers, there is no Topps copyright.  Instead, it indicates manufacture in Venezuela by La Corona Y Sport, a local confectionery company who either produced or advertised on the album intended to house the 1968 Topps Venezuelan Baseball cards and may have produced some of the prior albums (which have no attribution on them). Topps clearly had a relationship with them and the vagaries of marketing Superman in a foreign country must have led to this odd partnership.

Here's the U.S. Superman Tattoo wrapper:

It's a little hard to read but National Periodical Publications, which issued the Superman Comics, shared a copyright with Topps.  I'm sure there's a long, convoluted story there.  Here's some tattoos from the set:

I wonder what kids made of that dress shop image with what must be Supergirl in the lower right?!

Let's not forget Woody, here's a batch of his from Venezuela to boot:

I'm not sure what there's an anchor in this set but there is! Perhaps it was a mistake carried over from Popeye.

I am very much wondering what other tattoo sets were licensed by Topps for issue in Venezuela and suspect some more will surface.

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