Saturday, October 30, 2021

Witch Switch

With Hallowe'en literally just around the calendar corner it's an apropos time to look at some mid-60's Topps spookiness, don't you think? I'll point out that while I've posted some of these images previously, I've never undertaken such a comprehensive look

Topps started themed Hallowe'en products in 1950 I believe, when they introduced a very early Fun Pack:

Those were all 1949 gum tab issues and it's certainly possible the "College Pennants" (Varsity Football, a.k.a. Felt Backs) could have made the Hallowe'en cut in '49 as my research indicates they were really timed to the Rose Bowl and the Holiday/New Year's period. So I make it a 1950 "repack" (the ad is identified as being from 1950 in any event) but allow such a configuration could also have existed the year prior, perhaps without Varsity being included. I have to believe most of the packs in here were languishing as Topps had already slightly jumbo-ized three of them (Tatoo, Flags and License Plates) by 1950 and some were even in a primordial 1949 Fun Pack (more on that next time out). Either way, you can see that Fun Packs had already been branded by the time the Hallowe'en theme was added to the topper.

That's taken from a 1950 brochure that Topps put out advertising their Hallowe'en-oriented products, here's the full page:

Time to bulk up on some Bazooka too! 

Now, a question-is Trick or Treat Bubble Gum just repackaged Bazooka or something else?

The Candy Division, which was "all in" on lollipops at the time, also had their own fun planned:

I like this configuration, which seems to suggest a counter display but it doesn't asnwer the Trick or Treat question....aaargh!!!!:

I'm not sure when this box was marketed but, as per some solid research by Friend o'the Archive Lonnie Cummins, it probably contains 1956 Jets cards, so 1957 feels right:

Lonnie has deduced this as the ad copy reads just like the verbiage used to hawk Jets:

By the late 50's L'il Abner was getting into the act but even Dogpatch's finest denizen couldn't answer the Bazooka/Trick or Treat question either!

In 1959 Topps seems to have finally figured out that you could theme card sets to various holidays; witness Funny Valentines and You'll Die Laughing, both of which debuted that year and that holiday-skewed theme became somewhat perennial in one form or another until the 70's.

As we progress into the 60's, Topps was still well-oiled on the Hallowe'en promotional and advertising front:

Here's what I believe is the full 1965 Hallowe'en brochure:

That's a rather optimistically sized Bazooka roll, given what I recall being in my treat bag around that time! My haul was considrably more prosaic when it came to gum, much of it resembling what came in these:

The "Trick or Treat" theme from the 50's lived on but was being refined by '65, as you can see in the top two panels.  Bazooka seems to have survived while the themed Trick or Treat Bubble Gum did not.

Fun Packs had also been rejiggered by 1965, although the newly-styled "Trading Card' packs below have at least one antecedent from the year prior:

I do recall getting Bozo "fivers" in later years and they were a big favorite.  

Now here's a nice display setup for the bigger outlets:

It's the 60's, so bubble gum ciggies were still quite in vogue and were a staple of my trick-or-treating years for sure:

For 1966 we get this little Billboard story, from the July 2nd issue, showing just how far in advance Hallowe'en commenced in the confectionery trade (Topps content is in the middle of the last column):

That is a very competitive playing field! The Chicago dateline makes me think this news came out of a trade convention, as does the blurb in the lower left.

Here's a selection from the 1967 Hallowe'en brochure, which will be our landing spot today:

I guess the "door-knobber" was designed for apartment buildings and the curmudgeons who always hid in a darkened house every October 31st, despite that fact you could often hear them milling around inside or see their TV's emitting a ghostly light from the den:
Finally, we get this magnificent piece of fun, which included 1966 Batman cards and 1967 Baseball among the Bazooka and --upping the ante considerably from two years prior,--bubble gum cigars!  

Holy cow!!


Anonymous said...

I actually have the box that says trick or treat that you attribute to about 1957. It would be the one with the cat and the witch that says 60 one cent packs. It's not in perfect shape but I can send you pictures if you are interested.


toppcat said...

Jeff, yes please send scans thru e-mail link, thank you!