Saturday, March 31, 2018

Pink flamingos tucked away inside a Dirk Pitt tome

Today's ephemera is a reader submission from Wendyvee of the Wendyvee's Roadside Wonders ("Big, Weird, Fabulous, and Funky Roadside Finds").

It is a pink postcard of the "graceful flamingos" at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. They are lounging in their Flamingo Lagoon and probably gossiping. I mean, I might just be projecting, but it kind of looks like they're gossiping. It's probably something snarky about the ostriches. But I digress.

These gossiping pink flamingos, and their postcard, have taken the following path over the past half century...

  • The round-cornered, oversized postcard was created by Dexter Press of West Nyack, New York, and has a copyright date of 1972. (The copyright might refer to the photograph and not when the card was actually printed.)
  • It was published by Busch Gardens.
  • Wendyvee says the postcard was likely purchased during a family trip to Florida in 1981.
  • Many years later, at the family cabin, someone tucked the still-unused postcard inside a copy of the 1994 Clive Cussler novel Inca Gold. Wendyvee's dad was a big fan of Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventures, but he probably wasn't the one to place the postcard inside the book, since "he didn't use bookmarks."
  • In a clean-out before the cabin was sold, Wendyvee saved Inca Gold for herself. "I nicked it out of sentimentality," she says.
  • And then — surprise! — she found the pink flamingos postcard inside...
  • ...and mailed it to me, continuing the life cycle of a cool piece of ephemera.
  • "I had no idea about the postcard until last weekend when I moved some things on my shelf," Wendyvee writes. "Even weirder is that Dad (like me) never used bookmarks ... we just always know/knew where we were in the book."

Friday, March 30, 2018

Lost Corners of the Internet:
Magic Carpet Burn (a blog)

While I was researching the recent post about Frankenstein socks, I came across an "old" horror-themed blog that seems to be worth noting for the historical record. It was called Magic Carpet Burn, it was authored by "Prof. Grewbeard," and it ran for 413 posts between September 2008 and November 2011.

Horror, ephemera, and nostalgia were the main themes of the blog. The first post featured a vintage Halloween costume catalog (pictured at right), and Grewbeard wrote: "To get this bit of folly off to a rousing start, here's the front cover of the 1966 Collegeville Costume catalog. I am planning on posting the entire catalog, but might stretch it out a bit. Since this is the coolest thing I own, it may also be the only thing I ever post."

Of course, 412 more posts followed, so Grewbeard had a lot to share and a loyal following, based upon the number of comments on the posts I read.

Some of those spooktacular posts included 8mm Japanese Monster Movie Boxes, the Weeny Witch Halloween Party Book, a record titled Scary Tales featuring John Zacherley, and loads of scans from monster magazines and comic books. If the history of horror entertainment in the 1950s through 1970s is your cup of tea, you'll lose hours on this blog. Which is what still makes it so valuable, 6½ years after it closed up shop.

Another interesting resource is Prof. Grewbeard's profile page, which includes links to the zillions of blogs (most of them horror-themed) that he/she followed back in the heyday of the early 2010s. I'm sure there are many additional great candidates there for Lost Corners of the Internet. Here are just a few of the blog titles: A Patchwork Of Flesh, Black Goat of Doom, Blood Curdling Blog of Monster Masks, Cosmic Hearse, Diversions of the Groovy Kind, Funky Frolic, Jukeboxmafia, Killer Kittens From Beyond The Grave, My Pretty Baby Cried She Was a Bird, SpaceAgeSquirrel, and Ye Gods! He Collects Dick Tracy!

Some of those blogs are still around and kicking serious butt. Some of them never got off the ground. Yes, I'm looking at you, Black Goat of Doom.

1914 booklet for the touting of Glover's Imperial Mange Medicine

This handsome 16-page booklet was published in 1914 by H. Clay Glover Company of New York City. It measures 4⅛ inches by 5⅜ inches. The booklet is titled A Treatise on the Scalp and Hair, with the subtitle "Describing the Nature of Both and Advising How to Prevent Dandruff and Baldness."

But it's truly just a thinly disguised advertisement for Glover's Imperial Mange Medicine, which is shown on the back cover.

This booklet was distributed at Aker's Market Square Pharmacy in Albany, New York, as you can see from the handy spot on the cover for specific-store branding. While the inside pages do present a generic overview of the human scalp, hair and unfortunate conditions such as alopecia and dandruff, they're really just a platform for 50 ebullient testimonials about the wonders of Glover's Imperial Mange Medicine. Here's a selection:

  • Joe Dahmen of Hattiesburg, Mississippi: "I feel it my duty to inform you that your mange medicine cured me after about eight applications of an awful case of skin trouble which had caused me awful suffering for two years."
  • Mrs. W. Ely of Camden, New Jersey: "Every remedy of yours has been successful, even to your Mange Medicine on my own hair. My hair was falling out and I saw how quickly it made it grow on the dog, so I tried it myself, and my hair is improving wonderfully."
  • Percy W. Keltie of Collingwood, Ontario: "We have just learned of your medicines through a Brooklyn lady who met my mother in Muskoka. She had grown a splendid head of hair with your Mange Medicine after everything else failed, and has dispensed with a large 'rat,' the hair being so thick."
  • W.P. Cloyd of Dallas, Texas: "I have been using your Imperial Mange Medicine for loss of hair from the human head, and find it a very effective medicine, only objection being the odor, which is very confusing to me as I am employed in an office where several other people work."
  • John S. Williams of Newark, New Jersey: "Two months ago my hair began falling out. I tried many medicines, but everything failed. I was told to use your Mange Medicine; I got a bottle and my hair stopped falling out, I continued to use it and now my hair is fine and soft. Druggists claim it is only for dogs; I know better, it has done me so much good."
  • Miss L.M. Holley of Keokuk, Iowa: "When I first began using it, my hair was coming out, my scalp full of dandruff, and itched terribly. But now the dandruff has gone and hair has grown two inches in length. Enclosed please find 35 cents in silver, for which price send me one cake of your Imperial Kennel and Stable Soap."
  • Henry G. Dial of Cleveland, Ohio: "I wish to tell you how successfully I have used your medicine in my barber shop for shampooing and dandruff medicine. But the only objection is the odor after the shampoo, which so many seem to object to, and would be very thankful to you if you could suggest anything that could be used after the shampoo, or put right in the medicine without hurting the ingredients."

The price of Glover's Imperial Mange Medicine was 65 cents per bottle in 1914. That would be about $16.15 today!

In 1924, H. Clay Glover Co. paid a $25 fine with regard to its Mange Medicine being a "misbranded insecticide." Here's the summary of the case:

Fun addendum

H. Clay Glover went on, decades later, to publish (in conjunction with Chesler Publications, I believe) a handful of mid-1940s comic books titled Major Victory Comics. According to Public Domain Super Heroes: "This nameless American soldier was a night sentry at eastern Army post Camp Courage. Noticing a light on in the armory, he went to investigate only to have a saboteur throw a lantern in his face, setting him on fire and blinding him. Searching blindly for the bomb, he was able to find it but not defuse it before it exploded, killing him. Spirits take his remains to Father Patriot, who restores his body and brings him back to life with the ringing of the Liberty Bell. He continues to fight for America as Major Victory." Major Victory has no actual superhero powers, but Father Patriot gives him a mountain hideout, a powerful radio receiver and an airplane. Not bad!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Miscellaneous snaps from the family shoebox, Part 4

And here's the final batch of interesting (but non-essential) snapshots that I'm sharing for posterity before they head off (probably) to The Great Unknown. Baby steps in sorting and pruning and sorting and pruning and...

#15: Dick & Dicky Weiss, 1943. I have no idea who these people are or how they knew the family. This print was made by RENÉ S. LUND of Chicago.

#16: Mina Pregg. A University of Delaware classmate of my grandmother, Helen Chandler Adams Ingham. Circa 1940.

#17: Jane King. Another classmate. She has been mentioned previously in this short series. And she's about to come up again...

#18: Jane King's cottage, June 1940. There's a lot of great detail if you zoom in on in this four-inch-wide snapshot, which wasn't printed until a year later, in June 1941, at Kirstein's Photo Service (unless the year is wrong in the provided caption and it was printed the same month in which it was taken).

Here's a closer look at the gang in the above photo.

#19: Mildred Griffith. University of Delaware student. Note the "Welcome to Germany" poster on the wall.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Miscellaneous snaps from the family shoebox, Part 3

Here's the third batch of interesting (but non-essential) snapshots that I'm sharing for posterity before they head off (maybe) to The Great Unknown. Check back tomorrow for the riveting final installment!

#10: Beach party. The note that I wrote on the back, while assessing this picture with Mom, perhaps as long as a decade ago, was: "Weekend beach party at Jane King's cottage, Rehoboth, May 21, 1938." This is a "Guaranteed Zepp Non-Fade" photograph.

#11: Unnamed relative (but I think I figured it out). The cursive caption on the back states: "Jack Ingham cousin. Dtr [daughter] of Gordon Standifer." Jack Gordon Ingham was my grandfather on Mom's side. Jack's mother was Imogene Standifer Hefner (1895-1976). One of Imogene's brothers was Gordon Anderson Standifer (1900-1971). And Gordon had a daughter named Juanita, who is probably the woman in this photo. I believe this photo is from the late 1940s.

#12: Three mystery women. The printed date on the front is September 1943. The caption states: "I look as tho' I had been out on a binge the nite before. Whoes [sic] peeking out of the window?"

#13: Jean Pratt, Fall 1937. She was a college classmate of my grandmother, Helen Chandler Adams Ingham, and is shown here reading in a dorm room at the University of Delaware. (Update: I love the light and shadow and peacefulness of this photo, so I'm going to keep it, after all.)

#14: No date or caption. But I think the woman on the left might be the aforementioned Juanita, and the man on the right might be Jack Ingham. Late 1940s again.

Book cover: "The Valdmere Mystery, or The Atomic Ray"

  • Title: The Valdmere Mystery, or The Atomic Ray
  • Author: Milo Milton Oblinger (1890-1963), writing under the pseudonym Milton Richards
  • About the author: Oblinger lived most of his life in Minnesota. He authored the Dick Kent Series, also known as The Boys of the Royal Mounted Police Series, which was published between 1927 and 1934. The Valdmere Mystery, or The Atomic Ray is noted for its science-fiction element.
  • Cover illustrator: Chris Schaare (1893-1980)
  • About the illustrator: Christian Richard "Dick" Schaare Jr., also known as C.R. Schaare, was born in Ohio in 1893 and was the son of German immigrants. After his service in World War I, his career as an illustrator began to blossom. He did much work on Wild West themed books for children and sports- and military-themed pulp magazine covers. According to an in-depth biography by David Saunders on, "between 1932 until 1941 [Schaare] painted a remarkable series of eighty-two covers for the boxing periodical, The Ring."
  • Publication year: 1929
  • Publisher: A.L. Burt Company, New York (There is at least one other edition of this book, by Saalfield Publishing Company.)
  • Original price: Unknown
  • Pages: 250
  • Format: Hardcover
  • First paragraph: It was the largest influx of people that Brownsville had ever known. From all parts of the world, thousands were flocking into the little western town to be on hand for the great event of tomorrow, to view with their own eyes what promised to be — in the language of the press — "the most unusual and far-reaching scientific demonstration of modern times." Professor Valdmere, America's most distinguished scientist, had invited the public to come here and witness the wonders of his newly discovered Atomic Ray.
  • Last sentence: "Another thing — something I've wanted to do all my life — you're going to teach me how to fly."
  • Random sentence from middle: The Russian's leering half-smile vanished and in its place there leaped a dangerous look.
  • Goodreads rating: There's only one. In 2012, Bob Jackson gave it three stars (out of five) and wrote: "This is a boy's adventure written in 1929. Very corny, but I enjoyed it."
  • Dust jacket notes: Other juvenile-fiction adventure books that are advertised include In the Camp of the Black Rider by Capwell Wyckoff, The Flight of the Mystic Owls by Philip Hart, The Boys Scouts Under Secret Orders by Howard Payson, and The Grizzly Trail by Cave Leddy.

Here's a look at the back cover of the dust jacket...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Miscellaneous snaps from the family shoebox, Part 2

Following on the heels of yesterday's Part 1, here's a second batch of interesting (but inconsequential to my family history) snapshots that I'm sharing for posterity before they head off to The Great Unknown.

#5: Mildred Griffiths, circa 1939. This is from a collection of photographs presumably taken by my grandmother (Helen Adams Ingham) when she was a student at the University of Delaware. See more of them here.

#6: Mystery woman sitting near a body of water. No date, no name, no nothing.

#7: July 1944. This photograph was probably taken in Texas. The cursive caption states: "Joan Rash, Bobby Rash (in background) and Jack's famous Scarlette. Joanie saying — "Poor little sore foot." The Jack mentioned is surely my grandfather, Jack Gordon Ingham.

#8: Jane King (left) and Jean Pratt. This is the U. of Delaware again, I believe.

#9: Ann Harrison: The cursive caption on the back states: "Helen, please remember me as being much gayer and madder than this. Love, Ann. Feb. 1940."

Monday, March 26, 2018

Miscellaneous snaps from the family shoebox, Part 1

As I mentioned yesterday, I did a bunch of family photograph sorting and purging over the weekend. But I saved, temporarily, from the purge pile some interesting snapshots that are either mysteries (no caption on the back) or that feature folks who are too tangentially related to the clan for me to justify keeping them.

I should get through them all in three or four batches this week, so here's Part 1.

#1: Hermoine Fisher Young and Peggy Lettieri at Bushnell Army Hospital in Brigham City, Utah. My grandmother (Helen Adams Ingham) worked here for a time during World War II. Bushnell Army Hospital later became the Intermountain Indian School, and rumors of hauntings now surround the site. This 2016 obituary might be the same Peggy from this photo.

#2: Mrs. Ewert and Hank, June 1970

#3: Unknown woman. A cursive and cryptic caption on the back states: "Think I could be seen here by a spy glass. It's not clear so thine [?] can't see how many freckles me has on my face but now I hear the wind blowing and they mostly go way in winter time."

#4 George Welsh [?]

Peering inside the 1941 textbook "Man and the Motor Car"

Man and the Motor Car (Revised) is a high school textbook that was published in 1941 by Pennsylvania's Highway Safety Council.

According to the preface, it was first published in 1936, and went through 30 printings before the 1941 revision, which was undertaken "not because of the of any great changes either in the automobile itself or in the conditions that affect its use, but because there have been very considerable developments in the field of driver education."

The textbook was used in "several thousand high schools," according to the preface. This was an era when public schools began placing a greater emphasis on driver education. Penn State University professor Amos Neyhart had taught the first high school driver's education course in 1934 at State College Area High School.

Here's an excerpt from the National Museum of American History's web page on driver-education history:
"The American Automobile Association (AAA) ... encouraged the development of driving classes at public high schools and established training programs for driving instructors at colleges and universities. A growing number of high schools added special courses in an effort to improve driver skill and behavior and reduce the number of accidents. In many high schools, there were not enough teachers for one-on-one experience behind the wheel of a car. Driving simulators filled this gap by the 1950s."
One of those simulators was called the Aetna Drivotrainer. It's pretty amazing, and you can see a photo of it here.

Chapter titles in Man and the Motor Car include "A Nation on Wheels," "The Driver — Mental and Emotional Qualities," "The Art of Driving," "Rules of the Road," "Skills on the Highway," "Maintaining Your Car," "The Bicyclist," and "Paying for Accidents."

Here's a look at some of the things inside the copy of the book that I came across...

Inside front cover
A former owner of this book pasted a bit of a collage here. It includes a pair of American flags and a Mack Trucks sticker.

First page
Opposite the inside front cover, there is a pasted label for Autocar Trucks, then of Ardmore, Pennsylvania. And then the handwritten name of someone who once used this book — Jacob R. Echternach. There have been a few men with that name in Lancaster County, including Jacob "Jack" R. Echternach III of Ephrata, who died at age 62 in 2015. My best guess is that it was his father who used this textbook. Leacock, meanwhile, is a census-designated place in Lancaster County, though there is also a Leacock Township and an Upper Leacock Township.

Message from the governor
Arthur Horace James was the 31st governor of Pennsylvania, serving from 1939 to 1943. He was among the candidates for President of the United States at the 1940 Republican National Convention.

Photo illustration
"The driver who is too tense wastes nervous energy."

Photo illustration
"Preoccupied with other things, this lady is getting into her car right in the path of moving traffic."

Harrowing informational graphic

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Spice, part of the family's cat history

I spent some time last night on the sorely needed task of sorting through family photos dating from 2017 back to the late 1800s. I battled my way through two packed shoeboxes, forcing myself — for my own remaining sanity — to do a severe pruning of the many, many snapshots. Nobody needs doubles or triplicates of their grandmother's obscure family friend from the 1950s. Or zillions of blurry baby photos. News flash: All babies look the same.

Some photos will be sent off to other relatives; a curated few went to Ashar, who is very interested in his late grandmother's world travels; some were added to a now-overflowing ephemera giveaway from last summer that I'm still hoping someone will take me up on; and the remaining pictures were sorted into thematic piles for the next round (sigh).

And, of course, a handful of photos were set aside for Papergreat posts. I hope to do those posts this week, so that I don't come across these little piles six months from now and wonder why the heck I set them aside in the first place.

All of which bring us to this cat.

The artsy snapshot at the top of this rambling post features Spice, who was one of my mother's cats when she was growing up. I'd heard Spice mentioned a few times over the years, but this undated snapshot (probably from between 1955 and 1965) was new to me. What a cool-looking cat, sitting in a sunbeam on an Oriental rug.

While my time didn't overlap with Spice, here's a list of the cats I've lived with, starting in the late 1970s: Buddy, Cyrano, Buckeye, Scoop, Maya, Salem, Sammy, Huggles, Mr. Bill, Mitts, Floyd and Mr. Angelino.

1964 ad for "Gory Green on Ghost White" Frankenstein socks

NOW YOU CAN WEAR FRANKENSTEIN! screams this advertisement from the back pages of the Winter 1964-65 issue of Horrors Monsters, a quarterly magazine that was issued by Charlton Publications (1945-1986) back in the day. The topics touted on the cover included The Curse of Frankenstein, Black Sabbath, The Frozen Ghost, a short story titled "The Monster in the Tomb," and a tribute to Vincent Price.

But all of this, I think, pales in comparison to ... Frankenstein socks! Victor Specialties of Derby, Connecticut, was offering the socks, described as "gory green on ghost white" in all sizes for just $2. (That's the equivalent of about $16 today, so I think they were making a tidy profit on these.)

The advertisement further touts: "You'll cause a panic everytime you wear these socks and the gals will shudder and shriek whenever you offer them your hanky. Great fun."

That's right, there was also a $1 Frankenstein handkerchief. And the dubious notion that "gals" would "shudder."

But let's stay focused on the socks. Obviously, there's a surfeit of Frankenstein and classic-monster socks available today, as they're made in every factory from Kathmandu to Bucharest and sold at novelty stores near you, right alongside the endless Funko Pop! figures featuring the entire cast of Head of the Class (excluding Jawaharlal, who wouldn't sign over his rights).

Unfortunately, numerous online searches — a highly productive use of my time and something that's definitely recommended as a way to procrastinate on taxes — failed to yield any images of the 1960s Victor Specialties socks offered in this advertisement. Yes, hard as it is to believe, there might not be anyone out there who held onto a pair of cheap socks for a half-century just so they could take a photo of them and upload it to the Internet in the 21st century. So this might be the only image we have for the historical record...

* * *

Somewhat related...

(Link to this tweet.)

Note for posterity
  • This is the 2,500th Papergreat post.