Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hurry and get this old-fashioned ice skating party for just $1


This advertisement is featured in the December 1964 issue of The Workbasket and Home Arts Magazine — an issue that also includes some recipes and crafts that I wrote about last weekend.

It offers, from the Melton Company, a 30-piece, old-fashioned ice skating party for just $1, as part of a "special pre-Christmas sale." (You also had to include 25¢ for postage and handling.)

The set is described as "life-like" and "a whirling, colorful wonderland." Here's some more of the advertising copy:
"So realistic, they almost spring to life. Ma and Pa sit bundled in their sleigh as their snowball flinging lads and lasses frolic and gay villages whirl across the ice. Authentic Mid-Eighties costume design, in true, bright, rich colors. ... You and friends will enjoy this rare bit of Holiday Charm that sends you on a sentimental journey back through many Christmases. Use year after year — on mantel, table, near tree. Durably constructed of dimensional plastic."1
To its credit, the advertisement clearly states in two separate places that these life-like figures are only 2½ inches tall. I'm sure Melton wanted to avoid angry letters from purchasers who believed they had been hoodwinked.

The 2½-inch figures included with the set were:
  • 2 horse-drawn sleighs
  • 3 lady carolers
  • 3 children throwing snowballs
  • groups of 2, 3 and 4 skaters
  • 4 musicians
  • 2 snowmen
  • 3 evergreen trees
  • 3 lamp posts
  • man pushing sleigh
  • 3 single skaters
  • man falling on ice2
  • wind-blown lady
  • child pushing sleigh

But the small black-and-white illustration with the magazine advertisement makes it hard to envision what this "rare bit of Holiday Charm" was really like, which is a shame.


But wait. There's more!

I always go the extra mile for you, the reader(s), here on Papergreat. I have discovered an original Ice Skating Party for sale on eBay.3 It could be YOURS for as low as $12.50, plus $5 shipping, if you place a bid by December 21.

Thanks to the eBay item listing, we can get a much better look at what this Ice Skating Party was all about. Here are some pictures:




The instructions provide some additional insight into how this $1 decoration was to be set up:
  • "To avoid breakage through the mails, we have shipped you this Ice Skating Party in its compact form, ready to push out. Important — Each figure fits into a slot in the 30 snow-like styrofoam bases. Simply separate bases with your fingers."
  • "If you want more elaborate scene to cover a larger area, you can create your own ... [by] surrounding the ice pond with a large piece of aluminum foil. Then, surround with Tide or any similar soap powder to have a snow effect. Then place your figures in a setting of your own creation."

Honestly, it doesn't look too shoddy, considering it only cost $1. The plastic figures look a bit like Shrinky Dinks. I think I'll have to give this a thumbs up and say that I wouldn't have been disappointed if I had made this $1 purchase a half-century ago.

Footnotes
1. I have no idea what "dimensional plastic" means. Is the alternative non-dimensional plastic?
2. That would represent me.
3. If that link doesn't work for you, just search eBay for the listing "1967 Clear Acetate Ice Skating Party Display un-punched Melton Company."

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