Wednesday, December 21, 2016

1945 magazine advertisement for Strathmore Magic Toys

I get a little bit bummed when a cool piece of ephemera is too large to fit on our home scanner. This Christmas-themed advertisement appears on the back cover of an oversized magazine titled "Children's Activities for Home and School."1 The magazine — this issue is from December 1945 — was a whopping 9½ inches by 12½ inches.

The whole cover wouldn't fit on the scanner, so I snapped a smartphone picture, which appears at right but won't have the same level of resolution as an image from the scanner.

The advertisement touts Strathmore Magic Toys, which are pitched as "educational fun for millions of ... boys and girls." Three of the products involved "Magic Slate Blackboards" — a fancy precursor to those gray pads that were cheap and ubiquitous in the 1970s and 1980s. You write on the board with a stylus and then lift off the covering sheet of plastic to erase whatever you were working on and start fresh. Strathmore offered a standard Magic Slate, a Mickey Mouse version and a deluxe Mother Goose Color Magic board that was 20 inches wide and 15 inches tall. That last item cost $1.50 (the equivalent of $20 today) and promoted the fact that it encouraged neatness.

This was the other item offered by Strathmore in the advertisement:
Full parlor magic outfit and beautiful full color Storybook BOTH in one Gift! Mystify family and friends. Put on shows. Book tells Peter's Life Story ... also how to do each trick. Complete with Wand and all Tricks in 4-color Gift Box, only $1.
If you look closely, the box touts "Mrs. Rabbit's Mystery Knife" as being one of the parlor tricks. I'm sure it was completely safe.

Here is a look at the full back-page advertisement, cobbled together from two different scans and, unfortunately, sitting a little bit askew.

1. This magazine, which was published by Child Training Association Inc., is worth its own post, which I'll get to another day. Fiddle-dee-dee!

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