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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Saucy "Crosswords" Postcards

CTPA03.15. "Crosswords," artist signed Donald McGill
I've been thinking about sharing these postcards for a while now, but I couldn't figure out why they were printed. Some of the questions I asked myself were, how did crossword puzzle postcards become a thing? was it when the crossword puzzle craze came in the 1920s? And, where does it fit in the world of crossword puzzles? The intended direction of this post was the history of crossword puzzle postcards. I found nothing. (Please help if you know of any books, articles, general information about crossword puzzle postcards).

Next, I researched the history of crossword puzzles. But, it always came back to, where do postcards fit in? I couldn't figure out how to tie it together.

So instead, I’m focusing on a crossword puzzle postcard cartoon artist named Donald McGill.

Donald McGill: January 28, 1875 - October 13, 1962.
He was a saucy man...a saucy man who drew saucy people.  He was an English graphic artist, best known for his saucy seaside postcards. His illustrations of attractive women, fat old ladies, drunken middle-aged men, honeymoon couples, and vicars awarded him the “Kind of Saucy Postcards.” (please visit Wikipedia for more information). These postcards were sold at souvenir shops near the English seaside…hence the name!

These postcards however are not saucy seaside postcards, but saucy "crosswords" postcards. They depict attractive young women, drunks, angry wives, silly kids, and dumb fat men. They were drawn by Donald McGill, sometime in the 1920s (based on post marks) and printed by the Inter-Art Company publishing house in London, England.  Please enjoy!

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Rugged and Flashy Side of Western-Themed Postcards


By: Corinne Court, Registrar at Curt Teich Postcard Archives
I began this blog post hoping to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music. Steve came up with the idea to find a way to incorporate the imagery of Salzburg, Austria and other postcards to celebrate this anniversary.  I took on the task and failed the mission. This postcard is the best I could do. 
4CK700, Cor Unum, The home of the Von Trapp Family Singers, situated on
Luce Hill in the shadow of Mt. Mansfield, near Stowe, VT. 

During my Sound of Music research, I came across postcards of Western film actors.  My plan is not to tell the history of Western-themed films; It's a story too long to be told. The basic formula is, you have rugged cowboys, outlaws, lawmen, "Native Americans," and soldiers chasing each other on a movie set that looks like 19th-century Western America (I put Native American in quotes, because the actors portraying them were of other races).

Western films were very popular during the silent-film era (1894-1929).  The postcards below were some of the top-grossing actors during that time.

One of Western film's first star was William S. Hart (December 6,1864 - June 23, 1946): He started as a stage actor, but transitioned to film after seeing a cheesy nickelodeon Western sometime in 1913. He wanted people to see the real west and by 1914 he was a Western movie actor. His style of Westerns were known as gritty realism, with plain clothes, dusty sets, and run-down buildings, with all characters being flawed, but changed in the end. This trend of realism fell in and out of style throughout movie history. 
G4004, Wm. S. Hart, 
G4003, William Hart with his iconic pinto pony Fritz. Fritz was the first horse to be named in the credits as a costar. Fun fact: He received his own fan mail, which sometimes included sugar cubes. 

Next came Tom Mix (January 6, 1880 - October 12, 1940): By the early 1920s, the gritty realism ran its cources in favor of Tom Mix's style: flashier costumes and the faster-paced movies with action. The movie plots had distinct good and bad guys, and the clean-cut cowboy always saved the day. Again, this trend also fell in and out of style throughout movie history.
G4017, Tom Mix with his famous horse Tony.
Tony was the first horse given equal billing with his human costars.
Fun fact: Tony's hoof prints were placed alongside Mix's hand prints outside Grumman's Chinese Theater
G4018, Tom Mix
Buck Jones (December 12, 1891 - November 30, 1942) and Hoot Gibson (August 6, 1892 - August 23, 1962) joined Tom Mix in the mid 1920s as the top cowboy actors. Buck Jones was known for his rugged baritone voice and it recorded well once films moved to the talkies.  Hoot Gibson, originally a rodeo cowboy, became a film attraction and transitioned successfully to talkies too. 
G4010, Buck Jones
G4000, Hoot Gibson
Gary Cooper (May 7, 1901 - May 13, 1961): He is probably one of the most well-known actors in film history. His career began in the silent-film era and spanned through the golden age of Classical Hollywood (1930-1963). He grew up in Montana and at one time worked as a full-time cowboy. This trade helped him begin his career as a silent-film Westerner. He worked hard to venture out of Westerns and develop into the star he is known as today.
G3993, Gary Cooper
Other Western Actors:
G4007, Newton House
G4014, Leo Maloney in
"Yellow Contraband" (1928)
G4032, Tim McCoy as "The Masked Stranger"
in Beyond the Sierras (1928)
G4031, Tedd Wells in
"A Made to Order Hero" (1927)

G4029, Ted Wells in "The Fearless Ride" (1928)
G4001, Fred Gilman in
"Wolves of the Range" (1928) 
G3995, Howard Davis in
"Return of the Riddle Rider" (1924) 

G3990, Buffalo Bill, Jr. in "Roaring Broncs" (1927)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chocolate is Melting Away, But Not on Postcards

A69816, Chocolates in the 1910s
There is a rumor spreading that there is a chocolate shortage...SAY IT AIN'T SO!! (tears streaming down my face). The question is, who's fault is it?

In November of 2014, a wide range of sources from newspaper articles to bloggers informed us that there will be a chocolate shortage. To sum it up, we eat too much chocolate. The demand is there, but the supply isn't there at this moment, however it's not entirely our fault. In West Africa (where 70 percent of the world's cocoa is produced) there is a drought, some sort of fungal disease is on the rampage, and China is buying more and more chocolate each year. According to the Washington Post, "...because of all this, cocoa farming has proven a particularly tough business, and many farmers have shifted to more profitable crops, like corn, as a result." I don't blame them!

Furthermore, dark chocolate has become very popular, almost a trendy option. I hopped on this bandwagon a few years ago. The main problem is dark chocolate contains way more cocoa by volume than traditional chocolate bars. An average chocolate bar contains 10% cocoa, whereas darker chocolates contain 70% or more. So, let's start a new bandwagon. Let's go old school...milk chocolate.

 I feel that this chocolate shortage has made our chocolate bars taste waxy. In some ways, chocolate manufactures are trying to keep up with the demand by using additives. Chocolate should melt in your mouth and not leave a waxy aftertaste. 

If you would like to read more about this topic, check out these links:

1. Your Dark Chocolate Addiction Is Driving Up the Price of Chocolate, by Roberto A. Ferdman
2. The Washington Post, "The World's Biggest Chocolate-Maker Says We're Running Out of Chocolate," by Roberto A. Ferdman (I'm seeing a pattern here)
3. That Great Chocolate Shortage; Of Course It's Bad Policy, Why Do You Ask?, by Tim Worstall

Here are a few of our chocolate/candy postcards. I wonder where they got their cocoa in the first half of the 20th century?

1920s-1940s Chocolate Advertisements:
D261, 1920s Advertisement for Hoefler's Centennial Chocolates.
A wide variety of Caramels, Nougats, Chews, Nuts, and etc. in milk and vanilla chocolate.
Vanilla Chocolate?
6AH907, 1930s advertisement for Societe Red Stripe Chocolate Bars. 
9AH1676, King's Chocolates
9AH1677, King's Chocolates 
9AH1909, King's Chocolates

9AH1678, King's Chocolates

4BH961, Interior view of a 1940s Candy Shop in Rochester, NY

Misc. Candy Advertisements:
4BH321, Reymers' Fine Candies
4BH1525, Reymers' Fine Candies

9AH564, Wrigley's Gum, Times Square

6AH442, Wrigley's Gum, Times Square

4BH1321, Florida Orange Candy. I like this Advertisement.
It says, "For Health's Sake, Eat More Fruit Sugar Candies."
I think this doesn't apply to today's health standards :)

4AH589, The Old Virginia Apple Candy

1BH1893, Salt Water Taffy. This artist was trying too hard to be ironic :)