Sunday, December 25, 2011


This Polaroid was shot during the holiday season of 2009.  It's not a great photo but I like the simplicity of the neon tree.  If you look close, you'll notice some spots.  It was sleeting and snowing when I took the photo.  The spots are melted snowflakes!

Thanks to everyone who has visited our little town during the 12 Days of Christmas.  We wish you a merry cool Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


The Rankin/Bass TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has been a television viewing tradition since it first aired on NBC in 1964.  I don't remember the first time I watched it, but as a kid it was never to be missed.  In the days before DVDs and DVRs, it was a long wait until it aired again.  I remember crying big ol' Bumble tears when our television went on the fritz right before Rudolph was to start.  I think I was five and all we had on the screen was static.  Back then I thought my Christmas was ruined because I missed Rudolph.  

The above image is a Polaroid photo that I snapped a couple of years ago, during the last days of Polaroid.  I didn't have to travel to the North Pole, I just took a photo of my TV screen.  It is one of my favorite 'roids, because it reminds me of how much I anticipated the TV special and the fun I had watching it.  The white border kinda reminds me of a television set and there's Rudolph forever on the screen.

As a bonus!  Here's some TV Guide ad scans of three different Rudolph specials.  

1976 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 

 1978 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

1976 Rudolph's Shiny New Year

1979 Rudolph's Shiny New Year

 1979 Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July

Friday, December 23, 2011



"I'll buy that for a dollar!"  I hit the tacky Christmas record lottery when I recently found these albums.  All but two were from the same collection and all were a buck each!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


My Mom surprised me the other day with an artifact from my childhood.  She ran across my letter to Santa Claus when I was four.  Check it out, I could write pretty good for a four year old!

No, I'm afraid I wasn't a savant at penmanship.  The letter was written by my personal secretary before I could write, my Grandma.  She jotted down the letter from my dictation. Let's break down this letter and analyze this childhood artifact.  We'll be using a 1974 Sears Wish Book because this was always my go to catalog to make my Christmas list.  Most everything listed in the letter came from this catalog.

1.  Red Nosed Reindeer Bank - I'm assuming Rudolph was the red nosed reindeer I was asking for and not a knock off like a Randolph or a Randy.  Now as to the bank...I have no clue? There's not a Red Nosed Reindeer bank listed in the '74 Wish Book.  I did a google search and the only Red Nosed Reindeer bank I spotted is a metal one from the 1950's.  Apparently, Santa wasn't able to come up with one because I never owned a Red Nosed Reindeer bank!

2.  Christmas Tree - Um...that was an easy one for Santa.  Why did I ask for a Christmas tree?  I guess I was worried we would not have one that year.  Remember I was still a Christmas newbie and was trying to learn about all these crazy traditions.

3.  Planet of the Apes - I was crazy about the POTA TV show and even though my Grandma wasn't specific (or maybe it was me) on what type of Apes I wanted, I'm sure I was asking for the Mego action figures.  At that time, I had a Spider-Man Mego (my first action figure) and these Apes figures looked too awesome not to ask for.  Unfortunately, Santa didn't bring any Apes figures.      

4.  Play-Dough Fire Truck - I like that my Grandma spelled Play-Doh, Play-Dough.  (She was an amazing cook and I'm sure she was thinking about cookie dough for all the Christmas cookies she needed to bake.)  From the list, this was my main Santa gift in 1974.  At age four, I wanted to grow up and become a fireman.  Playing with the Play-Doh Pumper No. 9 was the closest I ever came to that career choice.  I had so much fun playing with this toy.      

5.  Clothes - Really?  OK, I have a hard time believing I asked for clothes.  I betcha my Grandma asked me, "You would probably like to ask Santa for some clothes, right?"  She baited me to say clothes, I know it!  Anyway, if I had to pick, I'm sure I went for the Toughskins!

6.  Trap - It's a trap! A trap? this is an odd thing to ask for.  Santa actually came through with this gift and I'm sure it had my parents laughing that I asked for it, especially my Dad.  He enjoyed hunting and fishing, but not trapping.  I don't know why I wanted a trap.  I think I wanted to trap a squirrel or a rabbit for a pet.  I do have memories of spending hours outside waiting for something to crawl inside my trap.  I never trapped any critters and that was probably a good thing.

7.  Toy Chair - Another odd choice, but at least not as odd as a trap.  Apparently I wanted a chair that fit my little size.  Something I could sit in and watch TV with the rest of the family. Santa came through with a toddler sized rocking chair.  This was a great rocker until I outgrew it a couple of years later.

8.  Giant Paint Box with Brush - Drawing, coloring, painting.  These were my favorite things to do as a kid and even though I'm not sure if this was the set I got from Santa, I usually got crayons and paint sets each Christmas.

9.  New Snoopy Tooth Brush -  I guess I wore out my old Snoopy tooth brush and needed a new one.  Glad I was concerned with dental hygiene as a child.  

10.  Cowboy Hat - The hat I got was more of a straw cowboy hat, but it worked.  I ran around the house with my trusty broom steed, cap guns and my brand new cowboy hat.  I loved cowboy and western stuff until I saw Star Wars.

11.  Soldiers/Army Men - Plastic army men were the best!  Even though they were a no frills type of toy, they were lots of fun and gave me hours of play.  Hundreds of times I waged war on the shag carpet.  They were even more fun when I became a teenager.  The perfect accessory for fireworks and bb guns!

12.  A Big Box of Crayons - See number eight.

13.  A Robot Toy -  I flipped through the Sears Wish Book and didn't see any robot toys.  Not sure what kind of robot toy I was asking for.  I was crazy for robots at the young age of four, so I guess I just wanted my own robot.  Santa didn't find a robot for me, so I was robotless that year.

I hope Santa enjoyed the plate of cookies and milk we left for him next to the fireplace.

Thanks for helping me analyze my letter to Santa.  Even though I didn't get everything on the list, I think Santa did OK for me back during the Christmas of 1974.  Don't tell Santa, but I still kind of wish he would have had a Mego Planet of the Apes figure in his bag.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Came across this Kenner Toys coupon booklet in a 1979 TV Guide.  I really wanted that Alien figure in the worst way back then.  I didn't get one, but was happy enough with my Star Wars Droid Factory from that year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


From the 1950's comes this Christmas stencil kit featuring everyone's favorite freckled marionette, Howdy Doody.  Most of the times these sets were free when you purchased a can of Spray Snow.  Apparently you could buy extras and this example cost someone a shiny dime.  

I'll need to remember to use these stencils for next year's Halloween Jack-o'-lanterns.  It's always fun to mix-up the holidays!

I really dig this illustration of the spray snow can kid with his classic Jughead style beanie.

He looks so happy spraying his can of snow into the face of Howdy.  Or second thought, maybe he's simply a grafitti artist painting Howdy Doody on a wall.  Hmm...I guess there's not too many street artists painting Howdy Doody these days.  That's kinda sad.  

Below is the can with the stencils offer and the image comes from that great auction place with all the cool stuff, Hake's Collectibles.   

Monday, December 19, 2011


I feel sorry for the poor kid who got a box of Cold Power laundry detergent under the tree. C'mon, Santa, you can give better gifts than this.  That being said, the fantastic artwork on this 1971 ad is a good enough gift for today's post.  Anyone have a clue on the artist for this?

Sunday, December 18, 2011


This guy is pleased with the creation of his little Christmas village.  Way to go unidentified hairy arm man - you are a Christmas crafter master!

Not sure, but this might be the little Christmas village for the following year. I guess the hairy arm man didn't want to pose with this village. 

I really dig that cool Christmas star in the hallway.  Hmm... it kinda looks like baby Superman's spaceship in Superman: The Movie from 1978.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I just ran across these Christmas radio spots by Weird Al Yankovic on YouTube.  These spots will put you in that classic Christmas spirit!  

Friday, December 16, 2011



One of my favorite artists is Jim Flora and I've never been lucky enough to find anything with his artwork in the wilds of antique stores or flea markets.  Last week I was lucky and struck a Flora piece of gold in the form of a 1953 Columbia Records calendar!  From the 1940s to the 1970s Flora's whimsical artwork graced countless record album covers, children's books and magazine covers.  My introduction to Flora was from one of my favorite books as a child, The Great Green Turkey Creek Monster.  Now I have the pleasure of adding this gem to my Flora collection that is now two.  For more info on Jim Flora, visit the official Jim Flora website.  Enjoy the calendar scans! 

Click here to see a large version of the Columbia Records building by Jim Flora that I reconstructed from the calendar front and the first two pages.