Monday, December 3, 2012

Cheerful Card Company can help you earn extra money for the holidays

  • "It costs you nothing to try."
  • "$100.00 IS YOURS for selling only 100 boxes of our new Crystal Fantasy Christmas Card box assortment."
  • "You make $1.00 for selling 1 box, $2.00 for 2 boxes, $10.00 for 10 boxes, etc."
  • "You can make a few dollars or hundreds of dollars."
  • "All you do is call on neighbors, friends and relatives anywhere in your spare time."
  • "Everyone needs and buys Christmas cards."
  • "No experience necessary."
The above image and excerpts are from the top half of the glossy advertisement that appeared on the back cover of the November 1971 issue of Marvel Tales comics.1 The Cheerful Card Company could help you make EXTRA MONEY by selling boxes of Crystal Fantasy Christmas cards. The cards, which came in boxes of 20, were described as "really deluxe cards" and "excitingly different."2

I'm not making that up. Look:


I'm not sure what the difference was between "deluxe" and "really deluxe." And, based on the illustration, "excitingly different" apparently involved some candles with what looks like Easter eggs in front of them. Somehow, I don't think these Cheerful cards approached the quality of Hawthorne-Sommerfield greeting cards.

Other products offered by Cheerful (which had a 96-page color catalog) included:
  • Pastel Pets: "10 heart warming giant size cards of unusual appeal."
  • Correspondence Circles stationery: "24 large sheets, each almost 8" in diameter. Bright colors, pink envelopes. Latest vogue."
  • Deluxe Christmas Gift Wrapping: "15 gay, colorful large sheets. Terrific."
Cheerful Card Company, a division of Bevis Industries3, was surely a top-notch business that made lots of money for comic-book readers by offering wonderful commissions and dandy products. I mean, anything that has a "Dept. Z-28" must be on the up and up, right?

In fact, the company hoped that getting you to sell Christmas cards on its behalf would be the start of a long and fruitful relationship. Elsewhere in the advertisement, it states:
"As a Cheerful Dealer I will also be privileged to receive additional FREE money-making literature, catalogs, special offers and seasonal samples on approval as they become available."
Privileged, eh?

Yes, you were certainly privileged to become their next sucker, I'm sure.

(UPDATE: Oh, how wrong-wrong-wrong I was with my flippant opinions in this post. To see how wrong, check out all the comments below and also see this January 2016 post for some vintage samples of their cards.)

Footnotes
1. Marvel Tales featured reprints of stories previously published by Marvel Comics. This issue features past tales involving Spider-Man and Iron Man. In one of the stories, Spider-Man finds himself battling Rhino (aka Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich). If you're interested in the history of Marvel Comics during this time period, you might want to check out the recently published "Marvel Comics: The Untold Story" by Sean Howe. To get a taste of the book, you can read a lengthy excerpt that was posted on Grantland.
2. Note that nowhere in the advertisement does it tell you the price of the box of 20 Christmas cards. That's a fairly important omission.
3. Oh look, here's a 1970 court case involving Bevis Industries, fraud and "certain unfair selling practices." Surprised?


20 comments:

  1. i remember when i was a youngster seeing the above add in a magizine and sending for the kit to sell greeting cards. i do not remember how much i earned. that had to be 50 years ago. i am now going to be 66. what a happy memory.

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  2. How funny. I am 66 and was just telling my wife how I use to dress up and carry my brief case with me.....I was 11 or 12.....knock on the door and say "I represent the Cheerful Card Company of (somewhere) New York and I would like to show you our line of Christmas Cards." I didn't always make a sale but I did score milk and cookies on numerous occasions. I remember making enough one Christmas to shock my Dad and he wasn't shocked easily. What a fun read.

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    1. Somewhere? I remember Larchmont, N.Y.

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  3. I remember seeing the adverts in the back of the comic books I read in the early 1960's. I sold Cheerful Cards to neighbors and on my mothers job. I am now 61. What an experience. I wish I had those comics now!

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  4. Selling door-to-door for the Cheerful Card Company was my first job. I was nine years old. Tons of sales, plenty of money. I am sure this experience had propelled me into an after-school newspaper route by the time I was eleven (child labor laws were easily flouted in those days), and another better-paying job by the time I was sixteen. All in all, I look back on my days with the Cheerful Card Company as the beginning of a lifetime of enjoying running my own company. Children should not be prevented from working!

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  5. I'm 74 years and sold cheerful cards and sold them as a young mother with children. I just thought it was fun and I loved the knickknacks, cards, etc. The products were so easy to sell. does anyone know if they're still in business?

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  6. I was 11 years old and I remember it well. I have never forgotten the kit I recd. It was a cardboard box that folded up like a briefcase with a handle. I was so proud to go to the neighbors and sell. It was awesome. It was my first job.
    fw-alpharetta ga

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  7. I am 82 years old and remember selling 100 Cheerful Cards when I was 16 years old and earned a beautiful green coat with a black velvet collar. I remember putting it on and thinking I looked more beautiful than Elizabeth Taylor!

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  8. I am 58 and sold these cards for many years when I was younger and had regular customers who wanted imprinted cards. When I stopped selling them I still had people calling me back for years hoping I would start again. Great memories!

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  9. I am 68 (almost 69) and Cheerfully sold my cards from the Cheerful card company to friends and relatives. My mother was shocked when the box came to our door with my "first business venture" enclosed. I was very proud to won my own business. Fond memories.

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  10. I sold 'em too! I am 55 now...did this door to door til I was old enuf to make money babysitting. Loved it!!

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  11. I am almost 69 and remember selling them for several years in my early and pre-teen years. I enjoyed selling them and enjoyed the money although I never sold 100 boxex in a year.

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  12. I earned the money to buy my first bicycle this way, I think I had saved $19.50, the guy wanted $25 but my dad talked to his dad and I got it for $22.50 and my dad loaned me the $3. Schwinn Stingray, about 1971. It was a good experience, and I probably wouldn't have gotten a bike for Christmas as a neighbor kid had bonked his head on the pavement, (no helmets then)

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  13. I am 87 years old and this was my second job. My first was selling Cloverine white salve from the same type of ad.

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  14. I sold these as a child back in the 1950's. They were beautiful cards. You could even have your name printed on the cards. This company was a legitimate company.

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  15. Absolutely NOT a sucker gimmick. I am 70 and sold the cards when I was eight and nine. I made $25 the first year, which paid all but $5.00 of my mother's monthly mortgage payment! It was my first success in life and I look back at it fondly. I still have a set of folders with cards attached.

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    1. I was looking for info. I have an empty box that was my mother's, I want to frame it and give it to my daughter but I have no info on the company and/or who the illustrator was. I thought if you still have stuff from that you might find some information for me. Thanks

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  16. I sold Cheerful house cards to order things for myself with the profit when I was around 9 or 10 years old. Not sure how I did it, as I was extremely shy. I remember ordering 2 "surprise boxes" filled with random items, and then doing my Christmas shopping out of the boxes. I was so proud to mail my grandparents a Christmas package one year, as they use to do that for us, but we never sent them anything. I mailed my grandpa a "silent night" music box made of plastic. It was an angel playing an organ. Grandpa played the piano. And I mailed grandma egg & custard cups. They held your boiled egg or turn it upside down and it was a custard cup.

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  17. I recently went through a box from my grandparents home and found 11 Salesman samples folders that have these cards in them. They look to be from the mid 50's. I love the suggestions on how to personalize your cards "Mr. and Mrs. J. Bell and their little "Chimes" is one of the suggestions. Love them! Not sure what to do with them, but so cool.

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  18. I sent in the ad from the back of a comic when I was 8. I sold Cheerful Cards to all of my family, friends and neighbors. It was my first job, first money of my own and a strong lesson on meeting and dealing with different kinds of people, including some difficult cases. I would not take anything for the experience now and I am just retiring at 66! Wonderful, vivid delightful memories! You are simply uninformed if you think we were all "suckers"!

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