Saturday, September 10, 2022

Asta Mysto

About four years ago I posted about some concept design cards that seem linked to the 1948/49 Topps Magic Photos set.  These were created by a firm in Chicago, known by a few different names near as I can tell, but helmed by a real outside-the-box-thinker named Sam Gold.  Sam, and later his son Gordon, were responsible for, among many, many, other things, creating many of the in-pack toy and send-away premiums found in cereal boxes across the continent (and the globe, really) from the 1940's well into the 1970's.  There's a whole book or three waiting and needing to be written about the Gold's (I am being 100% serious) but today it's just this li'l ol' blog post.

Click this link for my previous post which covered what was dubbed Quiz-o-Rama and offered by Hake's Auctions, happily won by me. This was part of the lot:

Well, Hake's recently concluded selling a similar batch, which I did not bid on, dubbed Mysto Sports Quiz, which is the focus today. Like the Quiz-O-Rama "cards" which I now think may have been earlier design models, these came with an affixed piece of special tissue paper that, when moistened and rubbed on the obverse of the card, revealed the answer, in a simple line drawing, to a question posed on the reverse. Quiz-O-Rama was bereft of any producer details, whereas Mysto was not. Here, check it out, quiz side first:

We now have a 1951 copyright by Premium Specialties, Chicago which was indeed Sam Gold's company at the time.  Here's some undeveloped frontage:


OK, let's face it-no kid was going to know a great polo player unless they were Richie Rich or knew someone who owned a string of poloponies. In fact, all three of these subjects would be pretty foreign to the average kid of the day, except perhaps for Jones.  Alice Marble, which is a spectacular name by the way, was an excellent tennis player and a bona fide celebrity in the pre-TV era, and who may or may not have had a very adventurous time duringWorld War 2.

However, there was at least one big sports name in the "set" and it belonged to a subject clearly missing from the Quiz-O-Rama lot I won, namely Lou Gehrig, who can be seen on the banner above.  Here is the Iron Horse:

I have to think that image could also have been the one from Quiz-O-Rama as it's a portrait from the waist vs. the very similar portrait from shoulders seen on the banner. The quiz was, well, a piece of cake for Gehrig:

Here's what the affixed tissue looked like:

Some additional concluding observations are in order:

1) Mysto was sports focused, unlike Quiz-O-Rama, which included general subjects. I'm not sure if that means anything but it could indicate Gold was pitching to a company that made a breakfast cereal resembling Wheaties. Perhaps he wanted in on the sports premium market or even Wheaties itself, which had focused heavily on professional sports and fitness almost from the time they were introduced around 1926 and debuted their motto "Breakfast of Champions" from the mid 30's in some minor league ballpark advertising.  It was then allegedly popularized thanks to Red Barber ad-libbing a commercial during the first ever televised baseball game but since there were only about 500 TV sets in use when the game was broadcast in 1939, I doubt it; my money's on relentless marketing by General Mills. It is worth noting however, the Dodgers game was shown at the New York World's Fair that day at the RCA pavilion.

2) I don't believe either Quiz-O-Rama or Mysto Sports Quiz ever made it into a cereal box or any other kind of product, and certainly not in the format where the tissue developing paper was attached to the card.

3) My earlier theory that Sam Gold may have pitched Quiz-O-Rama to Topps, or they just copped his idea, may or may not still be correct.  Instead, it may have been just the opposite, with Gold copying Topps and the Magic Photos issue. Or, perhaps he did pitch it to Topps and this was a revamped, or refined idea.

Now, let's go play a chukka or two of polo! Just need to find a horse...

No comments: