Cards Of Few Words

With the large
varieties of
available designs
on the market,
picking out the
perfect postcard
back in the
1900’s for an
occasion or message
was often a very
daunting task –

– anyone who’s had
to pick out just the
right Valentines Day
card probably knows
exactly what I mean.

But, even more so
in the case of a
turn-of-the-century
postcard –

– there were strict
postal service rules
that regulated the
size, not to mention
where and how
much space was
left for a personalized
message by the sender.

( of course, users were
free to write all over
the design, and they
frequently did. )

So, while cramming
a lot into the display
area on the card
might be one
approach for a
publisher, while
another might be to
keep the selling point
of the card –
– the joke, or subject –
as generic and simple
as possible.

By doing that,
the seller had
an opportunity
to appeal to a
wider market –

– buyers could get
creative and choose
to send a particular
design under a
variety of different
circumstances.

But, in order for that
to work, the punch line
has to make sense and
match the art, it has to
have eye appeal, and it
has to tell a story.

There were thousands
of possible themes to
work with..

.. and could be drawn
from everyday life,
art, theatre, history,
even gardening, and
of course, LOVE. 

I’ve seen a lot of
great early-20th-century
cards like that, and
today, we’ll feature
a few of the more
interesting ones.

I’m not at all sure
some of the
one-liners
would sell today,
but they are all
charming in their
own way.

!! HOY !!

.

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Not Krakatoa, Karaktus

Keeping up appearances
was a very important
cultural imperative to
folks in the early 1900’s.

It may seem,
today,
that any artist
would shudder
at the thought
of creating hundreds
of pieces without the
ability to take credit
for them…..

But, we can certainly
understand why an
artist back then might
be very careful …

The clearest
example that
I can point to,
is in the case of
“King of Saucy
Postcards ” Donald
McGill, whose very
funny double-entendre
postcards generated
an awful lot of drama
and aggravation for him,
up to and including
an obscenity prosecution
(more like persecution)
in his native country
of Britain.

So, many artists chose
to veil their identities
behind pseudonyms,
which have kept things
calm on the home front,
but makes identification
of their work very
difficult for today’s
collectors.

Today, I offer a
prime illustration
( if you will…. )
of this principle —
the postcard creations
of one ” Karaktus “,
an artist doing work
for the Crown Publishing
Company in St. Albans,
England around the
turn of the century.

I have known several
individuals who insist
that Karaktus was a
well known illustrator
who also did cards
under his own name —
Fred Spurgin.

I’m a fan of his work,
and Karaktus’s, as well.

I just don’t see enough
similarities to say the
two people were one
and the same.

And nobody else has
been able to find out
just who Karaktus was.

( If you’d like to compare
the work of the two
yourself, see one of my
posts featuring Fred
Spurgin art here

It’s a mystery that
probably never
will be solved.

But, at least we can
enjoy his cards,
remembering,
of course,
that being an artist
isn’t always as easy
as it seems.

!!! HOY !!!

Baseball Cards Been Very Very Good To Me

It’s true.

Most of the boys
of my generation
collected baseball
cards at one
time or another…..

They were invaluable
to a grammar school
kid as a form of currency,
and as the main
playing piece of
a game we called ‘flip’.

Basically, we would
throw (flip) a card
against a wall about
10 yards away, and
it would land on the
sidewalk –

– then guys would
take turns flipping
until their card
landed on top of
another’s-
which now
became theirs.

Another variation
had the cards leaning
up against the wall
and the object was
to knock it down with
your own.

It sounds simple,
and I guess it was,
but there was an art
to it, I think….

Let’s just say I lost
one helluva
lotta baseball
cards in that way;

– I did learn a lot
about professional
baseball players, and
also about human
nature, and
that’s for sure.

But, I’ll bet
it’s been a while
since you’ve seen
any baseball cards
quite like these…………..

These were Goudey
“Heads-Up” cards,
produced before
World War II, in 1938.

They’re quite different
looking than the ones
we usually see —

there’s a head shot,
and then any body
parts/action shown
are cartooned in.

Goudey had been
making cards to sell
with their packs of gum
since 1933 – and they
were the first American
company to do that.

And it might seem
strange to us today,
but most of the
company’s now-would
-be-valuable printing
plates, records, archives
and unreleased cards
were destroyed in
the early 1960’s as
fuel to warm the
factory building
in the waning days
of the company.

But in the 30’s
and 40’s, the
Goudey Gum Company
did a great business in
these gum-cards over
two full decades, and
they didn’t just do
baseball themed
cards —

some of their other 
subjects included:

Indians
(1933-1940, 1947-1948)
Boy Scouts
(1933)
Sea Raiders
(1933)
World War (I) Gum
(1933)
Majik Fold Pictures
(1935)
Auto License Plates
(1936-1939)
The History Of Aviation
(1936)
Jungle Gum
(1948)
Our Gang Gum Puzzles
(1935)
Soldier Boys
(1942)

I hope you
enjoyed these !

.

!!! HOY !!!

She’s Good With Tools

Collections can be
a wonderful thing…

Even when
they run you
out of house
and garage
for storage space.

It’s one of those
weird manias
that never really
goes away —

— in the back
of your head,
you’ve always
got that
collectible that
might just
complete things,

and make you
feel like you’re
all done
searchin’
and collectin’ –

but
naaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaah —

— it’ll never happen.

I saw a nice card in
this set the other day –

and knowing I had
several of them already-

I spent the rest
of the semi-annual
card and stamp show
looking for the ones
I still didn’t have.

As luck
would have it-

no,

I didn’t find them.

Although some very
nice pin-up style
Mutoscope cards
also made my
acquaintance…..

So,
anyhoo:

I filled in today’s set
with ones from online.

That inter-webs thing
can really be magic
(occasionally) .

The set dates
from the
very early 1900’s –
(1910)

— when female carpenters
were about as rare as
talking ducks without
speech impediments.

I dunno–
you just might want
to give that one
a minute.

Yep…
Another sixty seconds
you’ll never get back.

Ahem.

As I was sayin –

They show various
trades-hotties getting
busy with their tools.

I love a little glimpse
of stocking when I’m
in the workshop,

— who doesn’t?

And where would we be-
-I ask you –
without the cute-sie pie
flirtatious captions
to go with them ?

I love a good pun,
anyway.

They’re pure vintage,
pure harmless fun
from another age.

Despite having the
fore-knowledge that
I’m going to get raving
emails about how
women plumbers,
mechanics, tanners,
tailors, coopers, and
machinists are getting a
raw deal by being portrayed
in such a ham-handed
sexist, misogynist
manner –

— even if the cards are
over a hundred years old.

To which,
I will give the
fore-answer as :

Bullshit.

Now, it’s a big set,
and,
since it’s Christmas,
I didn’t want to be a
Grinch about it and
cut them into two or
three posts, cause I
especially hate that
when people do
that with gifts.

Consequently,
the jibber-jabber
that usually represents
the ‘blog’ part of the
picture-blog concept
is a bit more jibbery
and jabbery on today’s
post than is standard,
and the reader may
well take comfort in the
fact that the writer’s
fucking hand is about
to fall off from all this
spurious word typing,
I can tell you.

Some day I’m really
going to have to learn
to type with more than
one finger, man.

Let me assure you
that,
just as soon —

I mean
at the very moment,
that each and every
one of these
wonderful pics
are safely ensconced
in the required
accompanying
puerile blurbage
that qualifies it as a
proper Muscleheaded
blog post,

you will be the first to
be spared any further
mindless tomfoolery.

Because
we take our
responsibi..

! HOY !
.