Chasin’ The Gloom

atomicI love the vintage
Exhibit Card
sets from the
early 1940’s….

There were good number
of different ones released,

and I’ve posted several of them
on the Muscleheaded Blog in the past.

One of the things that strikes me just a little bit strange is that, despite the popularity of the sets, you very rarely see them around today.

Especially the color inserts
like the one at top left.

(It was also produced
in black and white,vend
to match the mono-color process
used on many of the cards. )

The example above
was a poster size print

that was intended to be used
in one of Exhibit Supply Company
of Chicago’s penny card vendors.

Here’s what the
vending package
would have looked
like in the arcade.

The aesthetic quality
of the cards themselves
might somewhat explain
why more people1
didn’t tend to keep them
after their 1940’s boom —

As one would expect
for war-time,

the paper was of
lower quality
than would
normally be used
for a postcard,

the print-work
was marginal,

and the quality of
the art was not
always up to the 6
highest standards.

It can be pretty
surprising, at times,
just how amateurishly
several of them seem
to have been drawn.

War time means
lean times 3for talent
and raw materials
in every industry,
and you can see that
principle at work
quite clearly
in these cards.

Indeed, I would
guess that most
of them ended
being thrown away –

– by the majority of
mothers and wives
who found them
in a serviceman’s
souvenirs after the war.

— if I only had
a nickle, man)

Despite that,
or perhaps
because of it,

they are fun and interesting
to look at today…..

And of course,
there’s a wonderfully
racy but naive quality
to many of them
which I particularly enjoy.



Ah well…

Say what you will….

I’m not one of
those leopards
who changes
his spots, man.

This particular set,
” Atomic Laugh Bombs
– Gloom Chasers ”
was issued near the
end of the war,
and featured 32
different cards.

If you enjoyed these,
you can check the
Muscleheaded archives
for more Exhibit Cards,
or related posts about them,

Mutoscope Cards

I hope you have a
groovy week, y’all !!!!


HOY !!!!!!!



Low Art Exhibition

1945jestcardsYou might have seen
my very elaborately
lavishly illustrated,
and beautifully written
post all about the
Mutoscope Company…

what a
great post
that was.

It soared far above the trite pablum usually found on this blog.

Sorry you missed it, and all.

Ok, so,
maybe it wasn’t all that beautifully written,
I’ll grant you.cooke

But whatdaya expect when you tune in to this channel —

High ART ?

but we couldn’t
get Alistair Cooke .

I frankly wouldn’t
understand his reticence to appear,

— except for the fact
that he has gone on
to that great ascot
store in the sky…..cookie

we couldn’t even get Alistair Cookie !

here’s the link to that post,

If you got nothing
else better to do,

…… including a thorough
clean out of that smelly
gym bag of yours, that is.

But, barrel1
the idea that I was dancing around today has to do
with the Mutoscope Company’s main competition
for penny pin ups and nickel novelties in the 1930’s and 1940’s —

Exhibit Supply Company,
of Chicago, Illinois.

These guys were really, really big–
especially during World War II. kisscard

They made a lot of different arcade products,

… including mechanical pin-ball style games,
and various kinds of amusement machines,

—- but we’ll be talking
about their art cards.

At first glance,
a lot of their stuff
looks almost indistinguishable
from Mutoscope’s —kisscards

So much so,
that their cards are often grouped in together at
collector shows,

— under a general heading like:

“Mutoscope Cards”,
“Display Cards”
or “Exhibit Cards”.

They’re generally the same size,
and shape, too —

because they were
meant to be interchangeable
in the various display and
vending machines
in which they were used.

And like Mutoscope,
they developed cards in
many different genres
and subjects….
—– to cover just about any interest.

Movie Stars,
Palm Reading,
Knot Tying,
Cars of the World,
G.I. Humor,
Sports Stars,
Animals of the World,
Magic Tricks,
Future Spouses,
Dating Tips,
Joke Books,
Goofy Cartoons,
Novelty ‘Permits’,
Kiss Cards,
Predict Your Future,
Bathing Suit Models,
Half Dressed Cuties,
and even Naughty
Nudies, too…..permits

usually, though —

The Exhibit Supply cards are clearly marked
with something like:
” Ex. Sup. Co.. CHGO. ”

You’ll start to notice that
there’s definitely a different approach to much of their art,
once you get used to looking at them.

One of their most interesting set of cards were joke permit cards–

that would supposedly
entitle the holder to do
something naughty —

There were cards for men
that would give them license to be:

A.W.O.L. ( Away from your
military post without leave )1a1a
A Keyhole Peeper
A Garter Snapper
A Buck Passer
A Cheater
A Heavy Petter
A Halitosis Sufferer
A Drunk

Some of the things girls
could get a ‘permit’ to
do included :a1a1a

Develop Their Bust
Chew Gum
Sling Mud
Pass Out
Two Time
or be a Blonde Bombshell.

back during wartime,
one needed a permit to
buy gas, meat, all kinds of stuff — rationcards

So, this genre played off on that to great effect,

— and there was a mess of these issued.

Another very popular ‘permit’ titles was called:

“Jack Ass Ration Permits”

During the difficult time of limited supplies,
and black market profiteering,

….. one could just imagine
who might become the lucky recipient
of one of these sarcastic little bomblets.


Exhibit Supply also issued
a book of quick witted insults,stingeroos
with my favorite cover of all time…….

It was called:
” Stingeroos for Everybody “.

come on, man…..

How could you resist buying a set of cards with THAT cover,
I ask you ????

Actually, the ‘Exhibit’ art work is far superior
to the competition on several items like this…..

Another card set had to do
with picking up guys, and gals…

“Go Catch ‘Em” cards were
so popular, they ran into 12 editions.

catchemAnd you can see why —

The art is very unusual,
and spectacular.

Check it out.

The humor, well,

it was nothing special,
I guess….

not unlike this blog,
come to think of it.


There were a variety of erotic,
and semi-erotic (dirty) cards
that would be loaded
into card dispensers and viewers —a1a

—- ranging from your
typical era pin ups,
to ‘adult’ shifted humor,
sexy puns and captions,
and up to more exotic
‘French’ style cards, too….

What you would see
would be very dependent
on how tight-assed a place
you were in —

Since the local market determined
what was considered acceptable.

And in a more wide open ‘service’ town,

— you might find this charming lady.


All in all,

looking back
at the products of the
Exhibit Supply Company 1956
can be a fun, interesting,
and even educational way to spend an evening —

I found some very cool stuff….

and I know I learned a little, too.


There might even be a part two to this post,
— who knows.