Friday, June 21, 2024

Bubble Gum Bank

When I was a kid I had my own cool bubble gum vending machine bank that was clear-shaped to resemble Popeye's head. I loved that goofy thing and still see them around occasionally (same with a Fred Flintstone, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse etc...) One I don't really remember though was produced by Craig-Henry Toys in the 70's in Stoneham Mass. and in the typical round style, and simply called, what else, Bubble Gum Bank. The machine / bank itself is somewhat cheap and underwhelming looking, but what it definitely has going for it is the truly groovy, very colorful box art featuring bubble blowin' kids and even 'ol Whistler's Mother on each side. I'm also assuming the machine came in a variety of colors, per these illustrations.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Time for a fun superhero oddity from 1950's Glasgow-- it's the Sensational Acromaid in her one and only ever appearance, fighting evil in her crimson pirate boots and lovely, long red locks! This fanzine style comic book was originally published by Cartoon Art, who existed from the mid 40's to the mid 50's, and produced original material mixed with various reprints from more well known UK / US publishers. She's a really interesting character with a crude but wonderfully amatuer, old timey meets 70's underground comic vibe. I wish there were more Acromaid adventures!

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Nude Book Ends

A few photos of the lovely art deco bookend twins that I picked up the other day, likely created by Frankart in the 20's or early 30's, and sculpted in the very popular, superbly simplified Max le Verrier cast bronze design and cold painted color style. It's weird, when viewed separately they feel like they're identical, but when you put them together side by side they suddenly appear to have differences that are oddly hard to pin-point. Also note, these are the pix I took in my car the day I found them, and they somehow still look better than the ones I took after I got 'em home and cleaned off all the antique mall dust they're covered in. It's all about the subtle details in proper lighting...

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Tuna Time

While out and about the other day, I spotted this cute, 5-sided Charlie Tuna cube clock from the 70's. I remember these cubes being everywhere when I was a kid, each with a multitude of different imagery (we even had a couple in our house filled with family photos.) But boy, did I ever love the hilarious StarKist commercials, brilliantly animated by DePatie-Freleng who were of course most famous to the world for the original classic Pink Panther cartoon series. And while I totally remember Charlie's little yellow fish chum, errr friend I mean (he was the one constantly explaining to Charlie that just because you had "good taste" didn't mean you'd make a good tasting tuna fish sandwich lol-- sorry, Charlie!), I don't really remember any of the other characters featured below on the clock. So CLICK HERE for a great youtube channel featuring nearly 30 of the Charlie Tuna tv spots, and see if you spot any of them!

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Three Sheik (30's)

Found this interesting (empty) box of 1930's Three Sheik prophylactics the other day, and after researching Julius Schmid Inc., I realized there was an equally interesting story about Julius himself. A paralytic German immigrant who came to America in the late 1800's, he found his mark on (and in) society while working at a sausage-casing plant when he began selling the casings on the side for an equally practical, sausagey purpose! The rest, as they say, is history, --but there's definitely more to it than just that-- CLICK HERE and HERE to read all about it! 

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Curse of the Inkwell 2

Some of you may recall my "Curse of the Inkwell" post back in March 2023, HERE! You may also remember that the inkwell I found was way out of my price range too. Well, never fear, my antique hunting skills and patience have once again paid off and I found another one much closer to my worrisome wallet requirements. Alas, it is missing a bit more paint on the snout than I would like, but for the bargain price and the fact that it also includes the late 1800's nouveau-wild, "skinned" designed back paws / tail base tray (which is commonly missing from so many that you see online), well-- no brainer. Mine. I really love all the hairy detail of the mane, claws, and paws though, and the fact that since he's actually mounted that he looks sort of like a bat from the back thanks to the curvy folds of the tray, haha. We can still debate on whether it's a lion, a tiger, a wolf, a demon-- or some crazy hybrid mix of a few different man-eaters --but say, you do remember that I also have a match safe HERE painted like a tiger with this same exact head too, dont'cha?

Thursday, June 6, 2024

The Fortune Teller

I have some incredibly talented people within my immediate inner circle of midwest associates, all of whom can apparently build amazing things from scratch. Take for example my new fortune teller machine, a 100% uniquely constructed animatronic prop made by my friend Brad about 10 years ago. Brad felt it was time to part ways with her, mainly because he's building another one that won't take up as much space in his own library. But here she is now at Karswell Manor, taking up as much glorious space in my office as she pleases. Do you have a question to ask her? Is there good news on the horizon, or bad? Hmmm, sometimes its better not to know-- and yes, we can clearly see how beautiful she is so please do not try flirting with her! The fortune teller herself is merely the top half of a vintage midcentury department store mannequin (possibly a Decter), with an electric animatronic xmas Santa motor tucked inside of her creating the movement (see last image in this post below.) Her Victorian fashion sense is 100% authentic: clothing, hat, jewelry, hairdo, everything. Also of late 1800's significance is the gorgeous lamp, the fortune teller playing cards spread out before her, and the red curtains hanging in the back of the box. Does the coin slot work and actually produce a fortune? No. It is a prop after all, but one that Brad brilliantly assembled with the help of his grandfather who is also equally some kind of mad scientist mastermind.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Exquisite Magic Lady

Here's another exquisite example of 1960's packaging design found in the ultra cute illustrations and sea-foam green / gold color combinations of an Exquisite Form Magic Lady underwear brief bag. And I might add, she's definitely working her magic on me in that terrific turban and capelet! As if that ain't enough, the insert booklet inside contains even more delicious artwork and gorgeous pink / gold colors. And yes, yes, yes-- like you even have to ask-- I am absolutely working "fabricadabra" into my lingo whenever possible!