Monday, December 31, 2018

Colorful Soviet-era Happy New Year postcards

1. С новым годом! "Happy New Year!" in Russian. This card, featuring a rocket, a parachuting cosmonaut and a tree, was published and mailed in 1982.

2. С новым годом! "Happy New Year!" in Russian. This card, featuring a boy with a matching outfit, peace doves and a science book, was published and mailed in 1962. The cursive handwriting on the back is lovely and is shown in the second photo below.

3. з новим роком! "Happy New Year!" in Ukrainian. This card, featuring adorable Ded Moroz and bear figures alongside a pastel-colored rocket in a cottonball forest, was published in 1979.

4. С новым годом! "Happy New Year!" in Russian. This card, featuring a letter-delivering young cosmonaut in a rocket ship with a Christmas tree and bunny rabbit, was published in 1981, the year before Samantha Smith's letter to Yuri Andropov.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

"Fröhliches Neujahr!" vintage German postcard

Switching now from Christmas to New Year's, I have some vintage Happy New Year postcards to share over the next few days. I'm trying to post this one while Monkey (aka Moose, aka Monkers Chunkers1, aka Orange) sits on my lap. I think he's jealous because he's the only cat that hasn't been featured yet as a Papergreat model.

Anyway, this is a German postcard — Fröhliches Neujahr! means Happy New Year — that appears to have been sent in late December 1928. The publisher's logo is shown at right. There is no further information about the publisher on the back. The word Ingersoll is written in large letters on the back, but that's not, to my knowledge, the name of a place in Germany. It's more common as a surname, so perhap it's the family this card was sent to.

In Germany, the four-leaf clover is considered a symbol of good luck for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, which explains its prominence on this postcard. Other lucky charms include mushrooms, ladybugs and little chocolate pigs.

German traditions for this holiday also include putting a carp scale in one's wallet for prosperity throughout the year, melting a small piece of lead as a way to predict the future, watching "Dinner for One," having a midnight toast, sharing cheese, and eating a dish of herring served with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes.

1. Google says I shall be the second...

"Crazy Otto's Back in Town"

Although I should perhaps resent the correct implication that I'm crazy, I was thrilled to receive this groovy Christmas gift — sent through the U.S. Postal Service!1 It's the 60-year-old vinyl sleeve to the 1958 album Crazy Otto's Back In Town. On it, Crazy Otto is dangling from a rope ladder, dressed like he's on his way to Passamaquoddy. The Decca Records cover (DL 8627) proclaims, "43 Favorite Songs 43 Honkytonk Piano."

I don't believe I'm any relation to Crazy Otto, though I suspect an ninth-cousin situation2 is always possible. But who was he?

His real name was Fritz Schulz-Reichel, and he was a German musician who lived from 1912 to 1990. Here's an excerpt from his biography by Bruce Eder on
"He became a light jazz performer known for his unusual, often comical improvisations built on popular melodies, and began building a reputation akin to Victor Borge3 ... but anchored in popular, as opposed to classical, music. ... In 1953, Schulz-Reichel took on the performing identity of Crazy Otto and made records for Deutsche Grammophon, either solo or with a small rhythm group backing him up, consisting of originals and improvisations on established popular tunes."
Discogs appears to have the most complete discography for Schulz-Reichel/Crazy Otto that I could find. Here are some notes from the back cover of Crazy Otto's Back in Town:
"This fascinating album displays the extraordinary talent of Crazy Otto in a collection of well known tunes ... some, old beloved standards like 'Cruising Down The River', 'Bill Bailey', and 'Auf Weidersehen' ... others, current favorites such as 'Dungaree Doll'.4 Old or new, however, they are interpreted in the infectious style that has made the name Crazy Otto synonymous with great piano entertainment. ... The 'tipsy wire box', with which he creates the unusual 'beer hall piano' sound, is his own secret invention."
To complicate matters, there was (sort of) more than one Crazy Otto. Wikipedia states that "in 1955, American musician Johnny Maddox played a medley of his songs, entitled 'The Crazy Otto Medley'; this went to #2 on the U.S. charts, and in the U.S. both Reichel and Maddox were subsequently known as 'Crazy Otto', to some confusion."

Here's a fun illustration from the back of the LP...

And here's a closer look at Schulz-Reichel/Crazy Otto, who was clearly in disguise. Most other photos show him clean-shaven.

1. I am told the postal workers were a little grumpy about processing it.
2. Google says: No results found for "ninth-cousin situation".
3. My mother, grandmother and I loved watching Victor Borge performances on TV. Later, Ashar got a kick out of some of his YouTube videos.
4. "Dungaree Doll" was sung by Eddie Fisher, the father of Princess Leia.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Staged shelfie just for the halibut

(You can't do this with eBooks, can you?)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Book cover: "Peace"

This novel is on my to-read list, though it's alongside several hundred other books in that regard. I hope I'm not spoiling too much for myself with this standard summary, but odds are that I'll forget all of this, anyway, before I get around to reading the book.

  • Title: Peace
  • Author: Gene Wolfe (1931-present)
  • Cover artist: Gahan Wilson (1930-present)
  • Publisher: Berkley Books
  • Cover price: $2.25
  • Original publication date of novel: 1975
  • Publication date of this edition: 1982
  • Pages: 246
  • Format: Paperback
  • Back-cover excerpt: "PEACE is the life story of Alden Dennis Weer, an eccentric old man living out his last days and fantasies in an obscure Midwestern town. It is also much more — an extraordinary combination of the mythic vision of fantasy and the thrilling disquieting suspense of a mastercrafted ghost story."
  • First sentence: The elm tree planted by Eleanor Bold, the judge's daughter, fell last night.
  • Last sentence: My aunt's voice on the intercom says, "Den, darling, are you awake in there?"
  • Random sentence from middle: And it has just struck me that that sky must be the only thing left unchanged since by childhood.
  • Goodreads rating: 4.04 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2015, DeAnna Knippling wrote: "Wolfe's story structure goes like this: you have to read the book, and then you have to read the book at least one more time. It's just not possible to sort everything out the first time, sorry. A Wolfe story is meant to be savored and pondered — there are actually (at least) two different stories going on at all times: the surface-level story, and the plot-twist story that you can only have a hope of getting once you pass the ending."
  • Amazon rating: 4.0 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon review excerpt: Responding to a two-star review, Robert G. Buice wrote: "The interesting and clever thing about this book is what is going on in the narrator's past that he doesn't directly tell you. The second time I read the book, I found it to be a totally different story."
  • Notes: Full disclosure: A year or so ago, I started and then abandoned Wolfe's 2010 novel The Sorcerer's House. So that, in and of itself, will give me some reservations when I eventually try Peace. I'm also not thrilled at the idea, advanced by so many, that this is a novel you have to read twice to truly "get." There are too many books on the waiting list for me to have to read one twice. So we shall see. If you want some other thoughts on the book, check out Mordicai Knode's 2012 essay urging everyone to read the book and Joan Gordon's 2013 "We Read Things Differently" at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!
Boldog Karácsonyt!
Nadolig Llawen!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Happy Christmas Eve,
J.R.R. Tolkien style

This postcard reprints one of the many amazing illustrations from J.R.R. Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas.

The letters are a series of illustrated stories that Tolkien wrote for his four children each Christmas between 1920 and 1942. (He wrote the first one on Christmas Eve, 98 years ago today.) They are epistolary tales, from the perspective of either Father Christmas or his secretary. There are adventures in the North Pole, pesky goblins, mysterious caves to explore, and bumbling polar bear sidekicks. According to Wikipedia, "each letter was delivered in an envelope, including North Pole stamps and postage marks as designed by Tolkien." (It's amazing what people could do when they had to be creative and couldn't just order their Christmas presents with one click.)

The letters were later collected, edited and published in 1976 by Allen and Unwin and Houghton Mifflin. This edition has, in my opinion, the best cover. But it apparently doesn't contain every Father Christmas letter and illustration. Various editions have been published since, some with different amounts of content.

Of Tolkien's artwork, the states:
"As for the illustrations, JRRT had a wonderful sense of color and line. He was very good at drawing stylized landscapes and interiors. Who wouldn't want someplace like Cliff House? He was less successful at drawing people and animals, probably because he knew very little about anatomy. Still, the portrait of Father Christmas wrapping a package is very fine; his features look somewhat Asiatic. I don't know if it is because JRRT had trouble drawing European round eyes, or if the Tolkein children were old enough to have seen pictures of Lapps and Eskimos and would have felt that such features would be appropriate to a man who lived at the North Pole. Also, the picture of the Polar Bear battling the Goblins to save the Good Children's presents was full of movement and spirit enough that one didn't mind the questionable anatomy; the same could be said of the illustration of the accidental flooding of the English Deliveries room."
If you're already working ahead on your Christmas 2019 gift lists, this might be a nice one to consider for a loved one.

Christmas-themed booklet from Hochschild Kohn's

Shown above is the Santa-riffic back cover of a staplebound booklet that was distributed decades ago at Hochschild Kohn's, a Baltimore area department store chain. The front cover is shown at right.

The 12-page booklet measures about 6⅝ inches by 7⅞ inches and is split equally between full-color pages and black-and-white pages. The front cover features a stoic cow and the printing information "No. 725 AH Made in U.S.A. © THE P. & M. CO., INC." There is no date, but I'm guessing the 1930s would be a reasonable guess.

Hochschild Kohn's, according to Wikipedia, "started in 1897 as a partnership between Max Hochschild, Benno Kohn, and his brother Louis B. Kohn. Hochschild-Kohn & Company opened that year with a downtown-Baltimore store on the northwest corner of Howard and Lexington Streets."

It later spread out from the city and became one of the pioneers in launching suburban department stores. The company opened a store here in York, Pennsylvania, in 1968. (Ask Joan says it was along Market Street in Springettsbury Township, in the general location where Burlington Coat Factory is now located.) Hochschild Kohn's, which had been purchased by Supermarkets General in 1969, went out of business in 1984.

Read more about the department store's history at this website and share any memories you have of Hochschild Kohn's in the comments section!

In the meantime, here are some more of the dandy interior illustrations, starting with a cat anticipating the decades-later launch of the #CatsOfInstagram era.

Vintage postcard in Swedish: "Lycklig Jul" is Merry Christmas

To get things started on Christmas Eve, here's a colorful postcard with the Swedish caption of "Lycklig Jul," which translates to Merry Christmas. It's another tree adorned with candles; there have been many of those in recent days on Papergreat. We have a bit more diversity of toys for these children than some of the other cards. I especially like the white bear riding the elephant. There are also a doll, a book and more for this trio. I would, of course, be the kid in the foreground with his nose buried in the book.

This postcard was made in Germany and published by Frederik Peterson, 36 Bromfield Street, in Boston, Massaschusetts. In 2009, the Postcardy blog1 featured three other Frederik Peterson Christmas postcards, all very much like this one. (And all beautiful.)

This postcard was mailed in December 1912 from Rockford, Illinois, to Grand Rapids, Michigan. The short cursive message states: "Lycka till en Glad Jul från Mr. and Mrs. Johnson," which translates to Good luck and Merry Christmas from Mr. and Mrs. Johnson.

1. Postcardy's L.F. Appel has commented on previous Papergreat posts. Postcardy ran from 2006 to 2017 and has been followed by Postcardy 2.0, which had many great posts from October 2015 to October 2018 but currently appears to be on hiatus. Another related blog is Postcard Gems. All of these are superb websites to check out if you want to learn more about postcards

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Mystery Christmas group photo from 102 years ago

This AZO real photo postcard has only this caption on the back: "Taken Christmas day Dec. 25 1916."

So that's 102 years ago. It's a mystery, though, who these people are. Or where the photograph was taken.

Here's a closer look at everyone, to help you assign amazing backstories to all of these interesting folks from a century ago. (And the little dog, too.) Given the date of this photo, the oldest people in it were probably born around 1840, well before the invention of pasteurization, dynamite, the telephone, the phonograph, the light bulb, the bicycle and the ballpoint pen. All those things came to the world during their lifetimes.

Christmas greetings from
author Edna Albert

My, how time flies. It's been almost four years since I discussed Edna Albert (1878-1960), an author who was born and died in Adams County, Pennsylvania, but in between spent part of her life in Lancaster County. I first wrote about her in February 2015 and have a small stash of postcards, mostly sent to her.

This appears to be an unsent Christmas postcard from Edna. The other side reveals a Thomas Jefferson one-cent stamp pre-printed onto the card. But the card was never addressed or postmarked. The Jefferson postcards were in production from about 1914 to 1950.

On the blank side, as you can see, Edna has affixed a colorful illustration of a candle surrounded by holly. In precise, small printing, she has written:

Goodman weary, wife pain worn,
And a little babe new born!

Strength and love and helplessness
wait a stable poor to bless.

Set your heart's door open wide
That Son of Man may step inside.

A Merry Xmas
Edna Albert

I tried searching Google for many of the key phrases in that verse, and nothing came up. So it's possible, perhaps even likely, that those lines were penned by Edna herself and aren't from any poetry of the day.

Two postcard views of a mystery living room at Christmas

These postcards seem to represent two attempts by someone, decades ago, to get the perfect real photo postcard of their well-decorated living room for Christmas. There is nothing at all written on the back of either postcard. The design of the Kodak stamp box tells us only that the cards were printed in 1950 or after.

The first shot is the better one, I think. We can see the fireplace decorations and tree. As a bonus, the family dog makes a cameo appearance. We used to have a side table like the one next to the chair at our house on Oak Crest Lane.

The second photo was an attempt to show everything lit up, from the fireplace to the lamps to the blazing Christmas tree. It's nice, but perhaps a bit too high on the contrast.

I think my biggest question involves the painting/picture over the fireplace. Is that Machu Picchu? If so, who puts a picture of Machu Picchu over their fireplace?

Martin St-Amant (S23678) [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Vintage Christmas postcard and bad news for bunnies

Today's vintage "Christmas Greetings" postcard features a Father Christmas figure, in a sensible brown robe, distributing items from his bagful of toys to happy children who are running around in the snow. The child on the left is about to receive a colorful mannikin. Other toys in the bag include a doll, a drum, a book and a hobby horse. We can only assume that Daddy C. has a Bag of Holding, in order to carry all of the gifts he'll need.

I believe that this German-made card was mailed in November 1911, if I'm reading the blurred postmark correctly. It was sent from Parkersburg, West Virginia1, to Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, with the following cursive message:
Say Old Man,
come dow[n] and have a rabbit hunt with me got five rabbits and two quail yesterday am going tomorrow again

1. Parkersburg is the birthplace of 90-year-old actor Paul Dooley, who played Wimpy in Popeye and Molly Ringwald's dad in Sixteen Candles. He was interviewed on an entertaining episode of the I Was There Too podcast this past summer.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Get the kids a Think-A-Tron for Christmas 1961

I had so much fun delving into for the Charlie Brown post that I thought I'd do it again.

Fifty-seven years ago, the Think-A-Tron was advertised as a Christmas present in the December 18, 1961, issue of the Statesman Journal of Salem, Oregon. It was part of a four-day sale at Pay Less Drug Store.1 According to the advertisement, the Think-A-Tron was an electronic question and answer computer game. "The machine that thinks like a man — feed it questions and it answers them."


So, in addition to being sexist and thinking "like a man", it was kind of like Google. But without the SEO drama. The $10 price was discounted all the way down to $6.44 a week before Christmas. But that was still the equivalent of more than $53 today, according to the trusty old Inflation Calculator, so it was a pricey gadget!

According to the System Source Computer Museum, which has a nice photo of the Think-A-Tron, it came out in 1960 and required two D batteries. Users would "pick a punched computer card with the multiple-choice question (A,B,C, T or F) to be answered. Then feed it to the machine, push the button and the computer starts whirring. Wheels turn, lights flash and within seconds the correct answer appears on the screen!" So the thinking and remembering parts might have been a little oversold. HAL 9000, it wasn't.

There are some additional good closeups of the machine, which was offered by Hasbro, on the website Flashbak. It seems to have more knobs and dials than were actually needed for something that's just reading a punch card. But that was, of course, part of the thrill and magic.

On Flashbak, one commenter stated: "I was trying to think of one of my all-time favorite Christmas presents from when I was a little kid in the early 1960's. It was Think-a-Tron... I thought it was such an awesome gift. Thanks for taking me back to better times."

Here's a dandy YouTube demonstration of the toy...

I checked eBay and there are some original Think-A-Trons available for prices ranging from $30 to $100, if you have a hankering for a bit of computer history.

1. Other toys included in the Pay Less Drug Store sale were: Matey and Sister Bell talking dolls; the Horsman "Butter-Cup" doll (drinks, wets, cries real tears); the Bridge and Turnpike Building Set (605 pieces); the Fantastic Sno-Cone Machine; Magi-Cutter Outfits; and the Shark Racer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Vintage Polish Christmas card

Today's vintage postcard, as the 2018 Christmas countdown continues, features another family around a candle-adorned Christmas tree. In this case, it's Mom, Dad and three little girls. Toys include dolls, trucks and a train. The family is dressed to the nines, but the tree, sitting on a table, is fairly modest. Almost Charlie Brown level modest.

This postcard, which was never written on or mailed, was printed in France but features a Polish caption on the front:

Wesołych Świąt
Bożego Narodzenia!

The first line translates to Merry Christmas. The second line, I believe, translates to Christmas Day or on Christmas Day. I see both phrases paired together, as they are on this postcard, quite often. Perhaps someone familiar with the Polish language can explain their combined usage better than I can.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

It's a "fierce rock 'n' roll dance sequence," Charlie Brown

Clipping from The Gaffney Ledger (Gaffney, South Carolina) on November 26, 1965.
(Why does it look like Charlie Brown is holding a hand grenade?)

It was 53 years ago this month that "A Charlie Brown Christmas" made its television debut. Just for fun, I did some searching through and sampled some of the coverage before and after that first broadcast. Here's the snapshot, for your holiday amusement...

Before the broadcast

  • "Charlie, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and all the rest of the Charlie Brown gang now are being put onto film for an outing called 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.' ... The only advance word on the story of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' is that it will tell how Charlie and friends learn there's much more to Christmas than a git list, as opposed to a give list. They get involved with a Christmas play, and that helps further their understanding." (Will Jones, (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, November 7, 1965)
  • "Here are some more details on that Dec. 9 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' session on CBS-TV, from a guy who has seen about 12 minutes of the show in rough-cut form: 'It will be the first half-hour special in TV history, totally animated except for a brief moment at the end of the show when Charlie Schulz himself appears on camera. ... [There is] a Christmas play directed by Charlie Brown in which Lucy is to be the Christmas queen; a fierce rock 'n' roll dance sequence; [and] a great deal of search on Charlie's part for an appropriate Christmas tree. ... It is, in effect, an animated documentary.'" (Will Jones, (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, November 14, 1965)
  • "If the Christmas special is successful, there will be more television efforts starring Charlie Brown, the little character who is destined to grow up and live on Coffee Lane or some similarly named street. But the transition from newsprint to television will not be an easy one. True, Charlie Brown and friends have appeared on television before, acting and talking in some very commercial commercials for a motor car company. Or is it automobile? ... In an entertainment, rather than a commercial world, Charlie Brown will have a chance to say 'aaugh.' But how would an entertaining Charlie Brown say 'aaugh?' 'GOOD GRIEF' is relatively easy, but 'aaugh' is something else again." (Bernie McGovern, The Tampa Tribune, November 19, 1965)

The day after the broadcast

  • "Worried Charlie Brown, aggressive Lucy, musical Schroeder, insecure Linus — all the inhabitants of the delightful, satiric comic strip by cartoonist Charles Schulz were participants in a Christmas special on CBS last night. And by some reverse magic, the moment the little penline characters were animated, moved off the printed page and acquired voices, they lost most of the special, piquant charm. Thus 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' became an explicit demonstration of the sad truth that some good things are better left alone — particularly in cases when about half their charm is in the eye and imagination of the beholder. ... Anyway, Charlie Brown and his friends fell on their little round faces as television stars last night, and maybe it is a pity. Maybe it's just for the best — we have enough TV stars now." (Cynthia Lowry, Associated Press, in The Miami News, December 10, 1965. Headline pictured above.)
  • "The comic strip known as 'Peanuts' stake [sic] out a claim to a major television future Thursday night on CBS-TV with a half-hour animated special about the commercialization of Christmas. ... In brief, Thursday night's offering tried, with humor and gentle world-weariness, to recall the real meaning of Christmas. ... Needless to say, Charlie Brown finally gets his message across. But, as might be expected, that crazy-silly-wonderful dog Snoopy was the scene-stealer every time he appeared — playing the guitar, mocking Lucy or dancing like a swinger. His doghouse, by the way, was wildly decorated with all those ugly lights and blinking designs that human beings also have been known to use on their homes at Christmas time. ... Finally, a few words should be said about jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi's lovely, gentle, mood-setting score, which — uniquely — helped give the half-hour an unexpected and attractive contemporary tone, mature in an almost eerie yet enticing way, weaving a spell half-way between that of a Chicago pub and an asylum playground." (Rick Du Brow, UPI, in the Leader-Times of Kittanning, Pennsylvania, December 10, 1965)
  • "There wasn't much rhyme or reason to the basic story of 'Charley Brown's Christmas' Thursday night, but I imagine children of all ages got a kick out of it. ... You see, Charlie is concerned because Christmas is too commercial (but you'll notice his program was sponsored) but finally finds involvement by becoming the director of a neighborhood pageant. ... And that's about it. The dialogue was clear and cute, but I notice that the voices have changed since they were selling Fords not so long ago." (Percy Shain, The Boston Globe, December 10, 1965)
  • "Most Christmas programs for children have all the rich, imaginative appeal of the message on a box top. Whether it's puppets, animated cartoons or one of those musical specials jazzing up a Grimm fairy tale we must perforce endure the angels with the four inch beaded lashes and the reindeer with the rolling glass eyes and avalances of sequinned snow. But there was none of that rubbish in 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.' As shown last night on CBS, this animated half hour in color featured all the regulars from the Charles Schulz cartoon strip. Schulz wrote the scenario, too, and the voices were those of real children. Sweet, simple, untutored voices, not character actresses of 50 giggling in wee, excited tones. If you missed Charlie Brown's first date on TV I am sorry for you. Write to CBS and say that all you want to Christmas is to see that Charlie Brown show — preferably next week. A repeat next Christmas is very likely, of course." (Harriet Van Horne, Scripps-Howard, in The Pittsburgh Press, December 10, 1965)

* * *


Now let's skip ahead 53 years and check out the holiday headlines of 2018...

Or maybe let's don't.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Blair family's 1942 Christmas postcard

Holiday cards and postcards that are personalized with family photos are a big thing in the 21st century, thanks to the likes of Shutterfly and a zillion other cheap and easy print-on-demand online services. I'm not sure how much rigamarole the Blair family had to go through 76 years ago, in 1942, to get "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" family-photo postcards in the middle of World War II, but this card is evidence that it could be done. And the eight family members pictured took a great photo.

All I know about the Blairs is that this card was postmarked on December 22, 1942, in Jackson, Michigan, and mailed across town to Mary and Elton Heglund.

Fun useless fact: In March 1973, Elton Heglund won a "Super Special Sale" of a Knapp's $300 charge account at the Westwood Mall, according to The State Journal of Lansing, Michigan.

Christmastime advertisement for a year of Pack-O-Fun

This Rudolph-adorned advertisement was, back in the day, stapled into the center of the November 1971 issue of Pack-O-Fun, a crafting magazine. I've written a bunch about Pack-O-Fun over the years, mostly from 1970-71 issues, so you can check out more about the magazine's history at the links below.

This offer represented a good value for the magazine. A one-year gift subscription of 10 issues cost just $4. Even adjusted for inflation, that's just a little over $24 and represented a 20 percent discount for the holidays. The advertisement anticipates today's online shoppers by touting the idea that Pack-O-Fun gift-givers didn't have to bother with shopping malls ... or even leaving the house:
"Shop from your easy chair! No crowds. No waiting in line. And no parking worries either. Give Pack-O-Fun and your favorite people are reminded of your thoughtfulness ten times during the year instead of just once. To make your 'shopping' even easier, we've reduced the price $1.00 during this special offer. So be sure to include a subscription for yourself, too."
The advertisement further suggests that subscriptions could be given to teachers, Sunday School leaders, Cub Scout and Webelos den mothers, Brownie and Blue Bird leaders and others.

On the inside flap, the advertising copy adds: "The first issue will arrive by Christmas in a special gift envelope — with a gay gift card hand-signed in your name. Can you think of an easier way to do your Christmas shopping than this?"

Other Pack-O-Fun posts

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas postcard printed in Germany for Leo Uhlfelder Co.

This vintage, hand-colored postcard features Father Christmas bringing dolls and drums to a pair of happy children. Does anyone known what he's holding in his hand? Is it some sort of brass instrument? A lightsaber?

Embossed across the bottom of the postcard is: "MADE IN GERMANY FOR LEO UHLFELDER, NEW YORK." That company was around for a long time, but I'm not sure if it's still in business today. It was founded in 1895 in Mount Vernon, New York, and marketed gold, silver and imitation leaf, plus other art supplies for gilding. This 2005 website,, is the last internet presence that I can find for the company. I also see that still sells Luco products that are co-branded Leo Uhlfelder Co.

On the front of this old postcard, there is also a circular logo with the initials N.P.G., for Neue Photograpische Gesellschaft AG of Berlin.

Turning to the back, the card was never mailed. The only thing written there, in lovely cursive writing in black ink, is "From Floy Locke."

There was a Floy Locke who lived from 1918 to 2008, spending almost all of her life in Oklahoma.

There was also a Floy Locke who lived from 1934 to 2014 and died in Columbus, Mississippi.

There was also a Floy Locke who might or might not have received shares of railroad stock following the ajudication of a series of wills circa 1900.

So I guess we'll never know for sure which Floy Locke this is.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Old postcard: Two children having a Herzliche Weihnachtsgrüße

On the heels of yesterday's postcard of children at a candle-adorned Christmas tree enjoying their gifts, here's a similar old postcard.

This one has the caption Herzliche Weihnachtsgrüße, which is German for Merry Christmas. The girls seem to have a teddy bear, a miniature bowling (skittles?) set with soldier-shaped wooden pins, and a nice book. No Lite-Brite or Holly Hobbie Oven for them!

This postcard was never mailed or written on. Here's the logo that appears in the stamp box.

On The Postcard Album, a website run by Helmfried Luers of Germany, the complicated history of the NBC logo is explained. In August 1909 the cartel "Neue Bromsilber Convention" (NBC) was established to help guarantee postcard prices and keep a group of German and Austrian companies from driving each other out of business. Luers writes: "The logo imprint proves that the card was produced by a member of the P.R.A. and/or a company accepting the NBC price convention terms. It does not identify the individual manufacturer." Check out his site for more information.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Vintage postcard: A happy moment under the Christmas tree

Today's crinkled and worn vintage Christmas postcard features two children sitting next to a modest (and candle-adorned) Christmas tree with their gifts. There's a teddy bear, a wooden horse and a full-color book. It does not appear that they received Yars' Revenge or the Vincent Price Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture kit from their wish lists. Maybe next year.

It is not apparent what company manufactured this card, but it was printed in Germany.

It is postmarked December 18, 1912, in Flint, Michigan. It was mailed to Master Dave Morse, Corner of Page and North St., Flint, Michigan. The note says simply "A Merry Christmas From Mrs. Curtis."