Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You Never Had It So Good

Sometimes you never realize what came before something iconic.  Take Bazooka Joe for instance; foisted upon an unsuspecting world in 1954, he ushered forth a never ending stream of bad puns and corny jokes all the while tempting us with premium offers and offering us our fortune in one simple line.  But before there was Joe, there was a long trail of lesser strips.  I'm slowly unraveling the various pre-Joe strips with the massive help of BFF o'the Archive Jeff Shepherd (who is helping along a Bazooka Joe book due out next year) and there will be much ado about these at a later date but for now, take a gander at this early 50's production:

Licensed from DC Comics, this type of strip makes you realize how good the bubblegum was, since I have to think most kids who opened up their foil wrapped chews to find that square jawed lunk staring at them would have given up buying the product if it was not "Young America's Favorite"!

For the record, here's what the outer wrapper looked like:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Full Disclosure

After winning the bidding war for Ted Williams in 1954, Topps wasted no time in promoting their catch-Williams led off the 1954 Baseball issue with card #1 (he would later close out the set at #250 as well).

While compelling Bowman to pull their own card of Teddy Ballgame, Topps featured Williams on their box design in 1954:

That is the Canadian version of the box. Many unopened packs and surviving boxes emanate from up North-you have to be vigilant when buying or bidding on Topps items from the 1950's as many sellers do not alert consumers to this fact. Thanks to Friend o'the Archive Ken Meyer, who provided scans for the Archive today, an interesting "extra" has been uncovered as well.  Check out this empty one-cent box:

Your get twice the expected Splendid Splinter on the topper! I really love the way Topps extended the artwork on this one-totally unnecessary but very, very cool.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Benn-Hubb Hubbub

I found a few scans of old Bennett-Hubbard products poking around what's left of eBay the other day. Benn-Hubb (that's what all the cool kids call it) you may recall, was a Chattanooga candy company purchased by Topps in 1943 and closed down around 1951.  Bennett-Hubbard also produced a few items other than candy though, as this little picture show will reveal.

Table syrup (think pancake syrup without the maple) was a big line for Benn-Hubb, as this industrial size can shows:

You can never be too sanitary! I would say this pre-dates the table syrup can above and is probably from the 1920's:

Also on the menu, peanut butter:

There are a variety of peanut butter jars but that one is the most descriptive.  I suspect Topps may have sold off some non-confectionery lines when they bought the company but that's just a guess. There's a fair selection of Benn-Hubb containers out there if you choose to pursue such things.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Like Father, Like Son

Well, I've shown his father and his son (although I thought it was he until corrected) but to date nothing of Joseph Shorin proper.  Joe Shorin, you may recall was the President of Topps Chewing Gum from its inception in 1938 until his death in 1959. Prior to that he had run American Gas Stations for the Shorin family  and today would be the equivalent of a gregarious CEO I think, as he appeared frequently in photo ops and acted as a panelist on things like radio game shows. His childhood antics were also the inspiration for Bazooka Joe.

I have some grainy photos of him but finally managed to snag an original press photo, dating I assume from 1959 when it was issued to accompany his obituary in the papers:

That is the face that launched a billion pieces of bubble gum folks!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Comic Relief

Up until they switched over fully to wax wrappers in the 1956-57 time frame (and sporadically thereafter) Topps used to insert a premium offer and comic in their gum card packs.  These inserts mostly appeared in five cent packs but in earlier times could occasionally be found in the penny versions. Many of the early wrappers were made of glassine, which is similar to wax paper it that it preserves and contains air and liquids such as grease but is not as durable.  Glassine is also subject to staining, making it less than ideal for selling things such as baseball cards and gum.  So an inner layer to assist the outer layer makes sense if you are selling gum cards. It makes even more sense to use it to sell some stuff.

Topps would use one-panels for the comics, as opposed to the panel by panel action of their earlier strips and of course Bazooka Joe.  Here is one called Li'l Pat:

Sometimes the insert was blank and I'm not sure if that was just due to ink running out on a run or cost saving measures.  Earlier penny wraps were really just premium offers but interesting nonetheless:

The best of the bunch though is one shown here previously that features Roy Campanella and has Roogie himself endorsing Bazooka in way of a movie starring some Brooklyn Dodgers called Roogie's Bump.  The Bazooka Joe Comic is pretty  nice too!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

On Golden Bond

You fearless webmaster managed to snag, amidst all the hoopla of the past two weeks, the partial remains of a 1956 O-Pee-Chee Golden Coin package of eBay the other day. Golden Coin has been blogged on here before but remains a slippery issue as there are questions as to the exact contents of the 1948-49 issue compared to 1956's, the correlation with various Meet The Presidents games, the oddity of a Canadian issue for a set of US Presidents, the lack of an identifiable 1952 issue and even the composition of the 1956 coins (as in chemical composition-metallic or plastic?) but my purchase answered none of these!  Rather I wanted to investigate the inner sleeve that held the coin and gum.

Redesigned from 1949, the inner sleeve is made of a thick cardboard with yellow and blue highlights:


Measuring exactly two inches by four, the sleeve advertises 33 coins, even though Grover Cleveland's kangaroo straight made it 34 in actuality.  The back shows the checklist and a glued down flap:

I even took a side view-it measures about 3/8" even though its distorted here:

The coins were numbered in 1956 but I can't find a Cleveland to see if he has 22 and 24. Here is our fifth President, James Monroe, to illustrate:

The number is clear, as is the shield--the 49's had a text back, as do all game pieces from Meet The Presidents no matter which year the latter were marketed:

The coins look metallic but are made of a hard plastic, unlike the brass ones from 1949.  Mine is warped a little and there is a seam on the rim.  If I get another I'll dissect it to see what's what. These are larger than the 49's, which were an inch in diameter.  These are 1 1/8".  The coins may have been in a cello wrapper as well; I am unsure about that at present.

Here is the wrapper that held the above:

As mentioned, it appears to be a Canadian issue:

The flipside held a It Happened To A President Comic, which have been looked at previously. These are red, the earlier version is not and is more of a brown/rust color. That though is fodder for another day.

ACC numbers are:

1948-49 Golden Coin PX14
1956 Golden Coin PX15
1948-49 It Happened To A President R711-5
1956 It Happened To A President (none)

I am very much interested in information on Golden Coin.  If you have something new or different, drop me a line.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I got a real interesting bunch of scans and information over the mojo wire recently from Friend o'the Archive Ken Meyer. I'll post bits and pieces here and right now want to focus on the one of the more interesting tidbits, a 1952 Topps high number pack that held a big surprise.

You may recall the 1952 "second" series of high numbers had it's own color scheme, which was discussed here yonks ago. Well Mr. Meyer has opened a pack that held six 1954 Topps baseball cards within (plus gum, plus the ad insert.  The pack had the 1952 copyright so I have to wonder if this was a very early rewrap by Topps (assuming the pack was untampered with, which I am leaning towards based upon the other, drool-worthy scans he sent). Here is the opened pack:

I'm working on getting a scan of the contents, which I will post when received.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy Not Dandy

Well, the Main Topps Archives Research Complex has weathered Hurricane Sandy but is presently without juice.  We'll be back as soon as the power comes back on but in the meantime, here is a better Sandy for you all to contemplate: