This web page contains information and photos on the following toy and book topics:
1.) Vintage 12-Inch Action Figures (other than Marx and GI Joe)
2.) GI Joe Mysteries - "21 Movable Parts" and "15 Different Uniforms"
3.) The 1967 Pan-American Games (Winnipeg) "Pepsi-Cola Premium" Plastic Sports Figures
4.) Reliable Toy Company of Canada's 1960's Plastic Toy Soldiers
5.) Canadian Cereal Premiums (plus Toy Soldiers & Playset Figures, too)
6.) The Vintage 1970's Archie Comics Digest Series
7.) Great 1960's Children's Hardcover Books
8.) Grosset & Dunlap "Tempo" Brand T-Series Paperback Books
1.) Vintage 12-Inch Action Figures (other than Marx and GI Joe)
Although Louis Marx & Co., Inc., with their prolific line-up of "The Best of the West" action figures, and Hasbro (Hassenfeld Bros., Inc.), with their innovative and ever expansive G.I. Joe line-up, jointly dominated the 12-inch action figure market from 1964-1976, there were other players in the market, too. Albeit for much briefer periods of time, they still managed to add some extra "spice" to the decision-making process that youngsters had to undergo to determine where their allowance moneys would be spent.
Pictured below are a number of the more memorable characters from these "alternate" action figure series.
Pictured in the center of the photo is the action figure that likely represented the biggest threat to Marx and Hasbro's oligopoly. He was, of course, Ideal's "Captain Action."
After making his debut in 1966, the Captain was soon to be aided by his trusty sidekick, Action Boy (who appears to the immediate left in the photo) in 1967. The Ideal line-up was expanded yet again in 1968 with the appearance of the Captain's blue-skinned arch enemy, Dr. Evil (on the right). Unfortunately, this great action figure series did not last much longer than its 3-year spot in the sun, as it disappeared from retail toy shelves all together by 1969.
It is unfortunate, too, since Ideal's "Captain Action" series offered us our sole chance to experience our favorite super-heroes in a 12-inch format (thanks to Captain Action and Action Boy's ability to morph into DC, Marvel, King Features Syndicate and other comic book stars). We would not see 12-Inch super-heroes again until the late 1970's, when Mego's Wonder Woman, Superman, the Incredible Hulk and others would make their debut.
But, no sooner did Captain Action make his exit than he would be replaced by another "Captain." Mattel's "Captain Lazer" burst onto the scene in 1968 as an over-sized member of the Major Matt Mason space adventures line-up. Although his "gigantic" 12-inch height was disproportionate to the other characters in the Matt Mason series, he was the perfect height to interact with GI Joe and other action figures. His "hard plastic" body was molded from a styrene (model kit) plastic, which made him a bit less attractive as an action figure, but still, his fully articulated arms, legs, head and knees, along with his other special attributes (ray gun attachments, etc.), more than made up for this shortcoming. Captain Lazer appears on the far left in the above photo.
(Side note: It is truly unfortunate, too, that no one, back in the day, saw fit to inform Mattel that a ray gun that shot out a light beam was also known as a "Laser" (an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) and not a "Lazer." The true definition of a "lazer" is one who passes time in idleness or relaxation. Sorry, Cap!)
In 1965, right around the same time that Marx was unveiling its first Johnny West series characters, the A. C. Gilbert Company also decided to enter the 12-inch fray when they ran TV commercials for their new "James Bond" and "Odd Job" action figures. The A. C. Gilbert Company was then better known for its toy trains and Erector sets, but they also wanted to cash in on the 12-inch craze that GI Joe had started.
With the sales success of the Bond and Odd Job figures, Gilbert expanded their line-up in 1966 with two Man from U.N.C.L.E. characters, a "Honey West" doll and a "Moon McDare" action figure. The "U.N.C.L.E." figures were Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, and it is "Illya" that appears on the far right of the above photo.
Although the six different Gilbert characters did sell well, and, for collectors today, they are sought-after figures, they had limited articulation and fairly cheap hollow plastic molded bodies, which make them rather "poor brothers" to GI Joe and Johnny West.
The back row contains a Princess Grace Toy's (Mego) Johnny Canuck figure (who we have already featured in greater detail under the "Vintage Action Figures" menu tab) and a Hasbro "Defenders" figure. Although the Defenders figure is also a Hasbro product, he is technically not a member of the GI Joe action figure line-up. The Defenders figure first debuted in 1975.
So, for GI Joe collectors and Marx "Best of the West" collectors, these figures may hold little appeal. But, for other vintage 12-inch action figure collectors, these Mego, Mattel, Gilbert and Ideal action figures are welcome additions to any well-rounded collection.
2.) GI Joe Mysteries - "21 Movable Parts" and "15 Different Uniforms"
Mystery #1 - 21 Movable Parts
In the 1964 GI Joe Salesman's Catalog, one of the ads contained therein states that "GI Joe has 21 Movable Parts." But, does he? Pictured below is the 1964 ad, alongside of a naked GI Joe action figure. Can you name the "21 Movable Parts?"
What is confusing about this ad is the fact that the text and the "red dots" pictured in the GI Joe diagram do not correlate.
If you look at the position of the "red dots," they seem to be situated as follows: 1 on the Head, 2 on the top Upper Arms, 2 on the lower Upper Arms, 2 on the Forearms, 2 on the Hands, 2 on the Wrists, 1 on the Torso, 1 at the Waist, 2 at the Hips, 2 at the Thighs, 2 on the Lower Legs, and 2 on the Feet - for a total of 21 parts.
Other than for the fact that the 2 wrists are shown as being separate and distinct from each hand, these "red dots" correlate fairly well to the nude GI Joe figure on the left. His actual distinct body parts being: 2 feet, 2 lower legs, 2 thighs, 2 ball joints for the hips, 1 lower torso/waist, 1 upper torso, 2 hands, 2 forearms, 2 lower-upper arms, 2 upper shoulders, 1 PVC head and 1 head pin - for a total of 20 unique, individual plastic body parts.
If we combine the PVC head and the head pin as one part, then there are 19 parts on the figure versus 21 listed in the ad and, thus, we are only out due to the method of counting the hands and wrists as separate items.
But, if we read the "text" of the ad, we will quickly see that the 21 "red dot" areas are NOT the 21 movable parts referred to. The ad states that the 21 movable parts are: 1 head, 2 shoulders, 2 hips, 2 upper arms, 2 forearms, 2 hands, 2 thighs, 2 knees, 2 lower legs, 2 ankles, and 2 feet - for a total of 21 parts.
Yet, the "ankles" are not pictured with red dots on them; the "wrists" are not listed as being separate from the "hands" (but both the wrists and hands are pictured with dots on them, nonetheless); the "knees" are identified as being separate and distinct movable parts from both the "thighs" and the "lower legs," but red dots do not appear at the knee joints; and there is no mention of the "waist" or the "upper torso" anywhere in the text, only the two hips (ball joints) are mentioned, but red dots are clearly evident on the two torso components in the diagram.
If the original intent was not to list the separate body parts, but to list the individual points of articulation, one would assume that the "shoulders" reference implies simply the shoulder "joints," and that the "upper arms" reference includes both the top upper arm and the lower upper arm, with no identification being made of the central swivel joint. Likewise, the reference to the "knees" obviously means the knee "joints." But, if this is the case, why are the "elbows" not listed? And, why is there no mention of the fact that the "waist" and the upper "torso" move independently of one another?
Clearly, this is a mystery that is destined to continue.
Mystery #2 - 15 Uniforms (Andy and George)
In the September 1966 issues of D.C. comics, a GI Joe "Andy and George" ad appears under the title of "Combat Squad Gets Decorations." The photo below depicts this ad.
In the body of the text, it states that there were "fifteen" different GI Joe uniforms that could be purchased at that time. (Note further that this ad precedes the release of the six GI Joe Foreign Soldiers of the World, the GI Joe Green Beret and the GI Joe Astronaut and, therefore, these figures' uniforms are not part of the fifteen uniforms being referred to.)
Pictured below is a close-up of the first frame of the cartoon ad, along with a photo of a number of actual GI Joes dressed in the same uniforms (but note that our "scuba diver" is lacking his black wet suit).
The third frame in the cartoon reveals a couple more of the GI Joe uniforms that Andy and George have in their collection. The photo below provides a close-up of this frame, along with another photo of the uniforms shown in the ad on actual GI Joes.
The sixth frame of the cartoon features the four "dress uniforms" that Andy and George are missing from their collection. The photos below show a close-up of this frame with the four dressed figures beneath it.
And, finally, the balloon caption at the bottom of the ad reiterates that there are "fifteen" different uniforms available for the GI Joe Soldier, Sailor, Pilot and Marine. The close-up photo below illustrates this.
So, the one question that now remains is: "What were the fifteen different uniforms that Andy and George were referring to?"
From the cartoon text and pictures, we know that Andy and George were missing the four dress uniforms, namely: the Dress Pilot, the Dress Marine, the Army M.P., and the Navy Shore Patrol. Deducting these four uniforms from the total of fifteen, we are left with eleven unidentified GI Joe uniforms.
Andy and George state that they already have "nine" of the GI Joe uniforms and, clearly, the third frame does show nine GI Joes; but here's the problem. One of the nine is a sailor dressed in his "basics" uniform consisting of dungaree pants, cotton chambray shirt and white gob hat. If the standard sailor outfit is considered to be a GI Joe "uniform" set, then, if we add the soldier in his olive-drab uniform, the Marine in his camouflage outfit, and the pilot in his orange jumpsuit, we will already exceed the "fifteen" uniform total. Clearly then, the standard uniformed sailor is not one of the "nine" uniforms that Andy and George have counted and we only know "eight" of the uniforms that they have.
The eight uniforms are: 1.) Combat Soldier in his combat field jacket, 2.) Navy Attack Sailor in his orange life jacket and blue attack helmet, 3.) Air Force Scramble Pilot, 4.) Navy Scuba Diver, 5.) Army Alpine Snow Troops, 6.) Deep Sea Diver, 7.) Communications Marine in his camouflage poncho, 8.) Marine Medic in medic helmet and arm bands.
So, after deducting the eight Andy & George outfits, we are still left with three unidentified GI Joe uniforms.
One of these missing uniforms is likely the Communications Soldier in his olive-drab poncho. But, what are the final two uniforms?
If we are to consider all of the large carded Hasbro sets from this era, by branch of service, we will discover the following:
1.) Set #7602 - Navy Frogman - equates to the Navy Frogman figure illustrated above.
2.) Set #7612 - Shore Patrol - equates to the Navy Shore Patrol figure illustrated above.
3.) Set #7620 - Deep Sea Diver - equates to the Deep Sea Diver figure illustrated above.
4.) Set #7606 - Navy Attack Set - equates to the Navy Attack figure illustrated above.
5.) Set #7601 - Sea Rescue Set - this was not a "uniform" set as the yellow life raft and accessories were "equipment" items.
Since this Andy and George ad was prior to the release of the Landing Signal Officer, no other Navy uniform sets were yet available.
1.) Set #7803 - Dress Uniform - equates to the Air Force Dress Pilot figure illustrated above.
2.) Set #7807 - Scramble Set - equates to the Air Force Scramble Pilot figure illustrated above.
3.) Set #7801 - Survival Set - this was not a "uniform" set as the yellow life raft and accessories were "equipment" items.
Since this Andy and George ad was prior to the release of the Crash Crew Firefighter, no other Air Force uniform sets were yet available.
1.) Set #7501 - Combat Field Jacket Set - equates to the Combat Soldier figure illustrated above.
2.) Set #7517 - Command Post Poncho - equates to the Communications Soldier as referred to in the above text.
3.) Set #7521 - Military Police Set - equates to the Army M. P. figure illustrated above.
4.) Set #7531 - Ski Patrol Set - equates to the Army Alpine Snow Troops figure illustrated above.
5.) Set #7502 - Combat Field Pack Set - this was not a "uniform" set as the field pack and accessories were "equipment" items.
6.) Set #7512 - Bivouac Sleeping Bag Set - this was not a "uniform" set as the sleeping bag and accessories were "equipment" items.
7.) Set #7513 - Bivouac Tent Set - this was not a "uniform" set as the tent, machine gun and accessories were "equipment" items.
8.) Set #7530 - Mountain Troops Set - this was not a "uniform" set as the backpack and alpine accessories were "equipment" items.
Since this Andy and George ad was prior to the release of the Green Beret, no other Army uniform sets were yet available.
1.) Set #7701 - Communications Poncho - equates to the Communications Marine figure illustrated above.
2.) Set #7710 - Dress Parade Set - equates to the Dress Marine figure illustrated above.
3.) Set #7705 - Marine Paratrooper - this was not a "uniform" set as the parachute pack and accessories were "equipment" items.
4.) Set #7711 - Beachhead Tent Set - this was not a "uniform" set as the camo tent and accessories were "equipment" items.
5.) Set #7712 - Beachhead Field Pack Set - this was not a "uniform" set as the field pack, rifle and accessories were "equipment" items.
6.) Set #7719 - Marine Medic Set - equates to the Marine Medic figure illustrated above.
Since this Andy and George ad was prior to the release of the Demolition Minesweeper, no other Marine uniforms were yet available.
And, once more, we come up with a grand total of only thirteen different, unique uniforms.
Now, of course we may be wrong in our assumption that this comic book ad was "prior to" the release of the other 1966 uniform sets, but, if it wasn't, and we add the Landing Signal Officer, the Crash Crew Firefighter, the Green Beret and the Marine Minesweeper, we will, once more, exceed 15 uniforms in total; therefore, our assumption must be a valid one.
So, where did the final two GI Joe "uniform" sets go to?
We can only think of two possibilities.
The first is that we are wrong in assuming that the Action Marine Set #7705 (Marine Paratrooper) is not a uniform set. It would seem that, if the standard sailor uniform, by virtue of adding only an orange life jacket, can constitute a "Navy Attack" uniform, and, if a standard soldier uniform, by virtue of adding only an olive-drab jacket, can constitute a "Combat Soldier" uniform, then perhaps by adding a parachute pack to a standard Marine camouflage outfit, it can constitute a unique uniform, too. Having said this, we are still skeptical as both the orange life jacket and the olive-drab field jacket are "clothing" items that would help constitute a "uniform," but is a parachute pack to be considered either "clothing" or a "uniform" item?
The other possibility relates to taking a hard look at all of the "small-carded" GI Joe sets, too. Remember, to complete a Marine Medic, one actually needs the small-carded set #7721 in order to obtain the helmet, since the larger set (#7719) contains only the arm bands and shoulder bag.
But, most of the small-carded sets are either duplicates of items already found in the large carded sets, add-ons to the large carded sets (such as the Medic helmet and the Navy Attack helmet), or obvious "equipment" items. However, there would seem to be one possible exception. That being Action Pilot Set #7813, the Air Force Police Set. Although this set consists only of a helmet, carbine, bayonet and field telephone; it would seem that, perhaps, the presence of the "A. P. helmet" in the set is enough to designate this as a unique uniform set, too.
Yet our assumptions may also be totally off the mark.
If so, it would seem that the "fifteen" GI Joe uniforms that Andy and George are talking about in this ad will also continue to be a mystery for many more years to come.
3.) 1967 Pan-American Games (Winnipeg) "Pepsi-Cola Premium" Sports Figures
In 1967, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada played host to the Pan-American Games and athletes from all parts of the Western Hemisphere were invited to compete for their countries in Olympic-style competition. In honour of these Games, Pepsi-Cola of Canada offered, for a limited time, a series of ten different gold-colored plastic sports figures as a premium when purchasing certain Pepsi products.
The above photo displays the ten different figures in this series. They are (from top left to bottom right): a discus thrower, a boxer, a swimmer, a sharpshooter, a runner, a javelin thrower, a soccer player, a weightlifter, a diver (or a gymnast, take your pick) and a fencer. The figures were approximately 60mm in height.
Figures were individually attached to Pepsi bottles (one figure per bottle) and, if all ten figures were collected, one could send away for a special "green and gold" plastic wall plaque, with little ledges that each figure rested upon while on display.
The underside of each figure was simply marked "Tome, Pepsi-Cola" and we believe that "Tome" may have been the manufacturer. The photo immediately below illustrates this.
We have seen other identical vintage plastic sports figures to these, molded in different colors, and given this, we are uncertain as to whether or not these 1967 figures were the first to be produced. Be that as it may, we are confident that only the ones molded in this quasi-gold color, with the above printing under their base, are authentic "Pepsi-Cola" premium Pan-Am Games figures.
4.) Reliable Toy Company of Canada's 1960's Plastic Toy Soldiers
The Reliable Toy Company was already known as the largest doll manufacturer in Canada, well prior to the 1960's, but, in addition to dolls, they decided to diversify into a large variety of other toy products, too, thanks to their expertise with plastic "injection molding" techniques.
One of the most memorable toy items, that many boys growing up during the '60's will remember playing with, was their line of plastic toy soldiers. Pictured below is a set of nine of these figures that would have been sold in a header bag through retailers such as Woolworth's or Kresges, or, from almost any drug store's toy racks.
There were five distinct poses that these figures were produced in. They were: 1.) a grenade thrower holding a rifle, 2.) a machine gunner, 3.) a soldier wearing a gas mask and holding a rifle, 4.) a soldier shooting his rifle, 5.) a crouching figure looking through binoculars. The photo below shows each of the five different poses. Note that the color of some of these vintage figures may vary dependent upon the dye lot that each came from.
These soldiers were approximately 65mm in height. Many were marked "Reliable" with the words "Made in Canada" directly underneath it in the company's classic banner design. But, not all figures were marked. In general terms, the following poses usually had the "Reliable" crest imprinted on their backs: the soldier with the gas mask, the soldier firing his rifle and the crouching figure with binoculars. The grenade thrower and the machine gunner were normally "unmarked" figures. Having said this though, all of the various figures have been found with no markings on their backsides, too. The picture below shows the design of the "Reliable" label.
These Reliable figures were similar in most respects to "Beton" brand soldiers, which were manufactured in the identical poses. However, many of the Beton figures tended to be made from a "harder plastic," or, at minimum, had "hard plastic" bases of a different color from the soldier figure itself. The softer plastic versions, either marked or unmarked, can usually be safely identified as "Reliable" figures, and not "Beton" soldiers.
It is not surprising that the Reliable soldiers and the Beton soldiers are nearly identical. If one looks closely at Reliable's "Mary Poppins" doll, it is unmistakably a "Tammy" knock-off with dark hair and darker eye make-up. Clearly, toy companies on other sides of the border likely shared molds and designs during the 1960's; there being no competitive threat if neither company intended to enter the other's marketplace.
5.) Canadian Cereal Premiums (plus Toy Soldiers & Playset Figures, too)
For 1960's youngsters (especially boys), roaming up and down a supermarket cereal aisle was the next best thing to being in a toy store. Cereal manufacturers were constantly trying to attract the attention of children by offering a wide range of free toy premiums inside their products, thus putting pressure on parents to purchase them.
Inside local Safeway, Solo and Loblaw's stores, Canadian consumers had direct access to the full range of Kellogg's, Post, Nabisco and other cereal producers' brand products.
i.) Kellogg's Big Game Hunter's Wild Animals
One of the most memorable cereal premium offerings, found in boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, was the "Big Game Hunter's Wild Animals" series. The photo below shows a collection of these plastic premium animal figures in the wide range of colors that they came in.
Trying to collect a complete set in one matching color can be quite a challenge. As you can see, figures were produced in: bright blue, gray, green, dark brown, lighter dark brown, taupe, dark cherry red, cream, chocolate brown, light brown, silver, lighter tomato red, two shades of yellow and light green. (Note: The large rhino on the far right of the photo is not a Kellogg's Wild Animal figure, but was likely manufactured by the same company.) The two photos below provide better close-ups of these figures, and the various colors that they came in.
The photo to the left below shows the back of a Canadian (bilingual) Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal box. Note that there are 10 different figures shown that can be collected; yet there are actually 11 figures to a complete set, given that there were two different versions of the "bear" made available (a bear with a raised left arm and a much more threatening Grizzly Bear, similar to the one appearing on the back of the box). The photo on the right below shows all eleven different figures.
The photo below shows a close-up of the two different versions of the bear.
The 10 different animals in this series, as listed on the back of cereal boxes, were: 1.) bear, 2.) gorilla, 3.) bison (buffalo), 4.) camel, 5.) moose, 6.) elephant, 7.) lion, 8.) rhinoceros, 9.) giraffe, 10.) hippopotamus.
ii.) Kellogg's "Marx" Robin Hood Cereal Premium Figures
In Canadian Kellogg's cereal boxes during the 1960s, some of the plastic toy premium figures given away were made from "Marx Toys" molds. Shown below (on the left) are a number of vintage "Robin Hood" cereal premium figures. In the photo on the right, we have contrasted these Canadian figures against a batch of "Made in U.S.A." Marx Robin Hood figures that came from an original 1950's/60's Marx playset. Notice the difference in the color of the original "blue-green" U.S. figures versus the Canadian ones. Also, note that none of the Canadian cereal premiums came in a "tan" color, all of the Canadian cereal figures were green.
iii.) "Marx" Eskimo Cereal Premium Figures
At some juncture following the release of the "Marx" Robin Hood figures in Canadian cereal boxes, a series of "Marx" Eskimo figures was offered. The photo below shows a small sampling of the Eskimo cereal premiums. Like the Robin Hood figures, there was also a color variation between the Canadian figures and the original Marx playset figures. U.S. made figures are of a much lighter blue tone than the Canadian premium figures. For many more particulars on vintage Marx plastic toy figures and play sets, please visit Eric Johns' excellent and highly detailed website, "Marx Lane," at http://www.marxwildwest.com/default.html to view them.
iv.) "Ajax" Dinosaur Cereal Premiums
In the 1960's, dinosaurs were of just as much interest to kids as they are today. A series of dinosaurs based on the "Ajax" toy company molds were given away in Canadian cereal boxes and the photo below illustrates the eight different versions then available. These cereal premium figures came in assorted colors as evidenced by the photo (however, the Triceratops figure shown in bright blue is a more recent recast and not an original figure). When I was young, I had the Tyrannosaurus Rex (in gray), the Brontosaurus (in brown), and several of the Pterodactyls (which seemed to be more prevalent in Winnipeg Safeway Store cereal boxes for some reason).
v.) Kellogg's "Lido" Hockey Players
These plastic hockey players were manufactured from "Lido" toy molds and distributed as premiums in the late 1950's and early 1960's in Canadian cereal boxes. These cereal figures came in three basic colors: a dark cherry red, very dark blue and bright white. (N.B. These figures were also manufactured for other forms of distribution as well and the tip-off that they may not be 1960's Canadian cereal premium figures is if the blue and red colors are in a lighter tone, and if, when compared to the Canadian cereal premium figures, the figures are of a slightly smaller height.)
The first photo below shows a few of the original "dark blue" and "cherry red" premium figures and the second photo shows a grouping of the "bright white" cereal premiums.
vi.) Baseball Cereal Premium Figures
During the 1960's, Canadian cereal boxes also contained a series of "baseball player" plastic toy premiums, but, unfortunately, our recollections of what brand of cereal they came in, and, as to what toy manufacturer made them, are vague. Nonetheless, the photo below of some "Lido" baseball players is close to the 1960's Canadian cereal premium figures in terms of size, quality and design. (Note: The light gray pitcher in the back row is not a "Lido" figure, but a "Marx" sports character.) The Canadian cereal premium figures were molded in gray colored plastic.
vii.) Post Cereal's "Stuart Brand" Roy Rogers Figures
While we are not totally certain that these figures came inside of Canadian "Post" cereal boxes (similar to those in the United States), we are certain that these "Stuart" Roy Rogers series figures were available in Canada during the late 1950's and early 1960's. I recall having both the Roy Rogers figure, along with one of the standard buckskin-jacketed "cowboys." (I remember thinking that the "standard" cowboy figure was really "Tonto" from the Lone Ranger television series as, with his cowboy hat off, he looked suspiciously a lot like Jay Silverheels.)
Shown below are 3 Roy Rogers figures (two in white, one in dark red), 4 standard no-name "Cowboys" (one in white with a removable hat, three in red), 2 white "Bullets" (the German Shepherd dogs), and 3 "Trigger" horses (in black, palomino and silver colors). Also shown (on the far right) is a red & yellow "Lido" swivel-waist cowboy of relatively similar vintage to the Stuart figures.
viii.) Walt Disney "Spoon Sitters" and "Jungle Book" Cereal Premiums
Shown below is a set of four brightly-colored "Disney" cereal premium figures. These characters could either be used as "spoon sitters" (they had a groove located underneath each figure for a spoon's handle to slide through) or as "cereal bowl sitters" (hanging on to the edge of the bowl with their two hands). The four Disney characters in the first series were: Pluto, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy.
Following this, a second series of four additional figures, based on the Disney "Pinocchio" animated movie, were released in cereal boxes. Shown in the back row (l to r) are: Geppetto, Pinocchio and Jiminy Crickett (Figaro, the cat, is missing from our photo).
Later still, yet another series of "spoon sitter" figures was released, based on the Disney "Winnie-the-Pooh" movie. Those figures were also distributed by means of premiums inside of Canadian cereal boxes.
With the popularity of these "spoon sitters" as cereal premiums, McDonald's Restaurants also issued their own series of similar-scale "spoon sitters" as fast food premiums, based on Ronald McDonald and the other McDonald's characters.
A slightly different design of "bowl sitters" was released following the 1967 Disney "Jungle Book" movie. These premiums were similar in nature to the figures found in the then popular "Barrel of Monkeys" game, as they possessed curved appendages with which to link onto objects, or to one another. Shown below are the six figures in this series: Baloo, the Bear; the Vulture; Kaa, the Snake; Bagheera, the Panther; King Louie, the Orangutan; and Mowgli, a young boy.
ix.) Kellogg's "Soldiers of the Ages" Cereal Premium Figures
Shown below are nine Kellogg's "Soldiers of the Ages" figures in 7 different poses. These premium figures were molded in either "gold" or "silver" colors. The photo depicts (back row to front): 1 Swiss Crossbowman, 2 Foreign Legionnaires, 1 U.S. 7th Cavalryman, 1 Zulu Warrior, 1 Mexican Bandito, 1 Spanish Conquistador, 2 Vikings.
(Note: Our apologies for the background "noise," but pictured on the left is a white "Nabisco" Davy Crockett figure that was purchased in the U.S. and never offered as a premium inside a Canadian cereal box - to the best of our knowledge, that is.)
x.) Kellogg's "Lido" Cowboys and Indians
Yet another series of plastic cereal premium figures that was available on both sides of the border was the colorful Kellogg's "Cowboys and Indians" toy line. The photo below depicts seven of these figures in five different poses. The back cover of a vintage cereal box is shown next to them.
While we are not certain as to whether or not the "Lido" French Foreign Legion figures illustrated below were also cereal premiums, we are certain that these figures were available in Canada, too. Their similar size, colors and composition lead us to believe that they may well have immediately followed the "Cowboys and Indians" series as premium items.
xi,) Other Canadian Cereal Premiums
Similar to the French Foreign Legion figures shown above, we are unsure as to whether or not the yellow "Lido Indian" in the photo below was ever a cereal premium; we are only certain that this figure was available in Canada in the 1960's and that it is slightly larger in scale than the Kellogg's Lido "Cowboy and Indian" cereal premium figures.
We are certain, however, that the metallic blue "Marx" British Queen's Life Guardsman, shown next to the Indian, was a Canadian cereal premium item in the 1960s. These Marx figures came in three different colors: metallic blue (as shown), white and red.
xii.) Other Toy Soldiers and Play Set Figures sold in Canada
The following series of photos shows some more plastic toys that were available in Canada during the sixties, but that were not necessarily distributed as cereal premiums.
The photo on the left below shows a collection of "Reliable" brand farm animals in assorted colors. These well recognizable farm toys were molded from plastic and were identical in design to U.S. made "Auburn" brand figures, but the latter were made from a more "rubbery" type of material. A sampling of the Auburn farm animals is pictured on the right and it becomes immediately evident that the "hog" and the "duck" figures are exactly the same as the "Reliable" poses.
Shown in the photo below are some more "Reliable Toy" company products; these are North American wild animal figures.
The next picture depicts three "MPC" brand dinosaurs in silver and gray colors. They are, from left to right, a Trachodon, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and an Allosaurus. Pictured in front of them is a green colored "Marx" Ankylosaurus. These larger scale toy dinosaurs were a surefire hit here in Canada, too.
And, finally, Canadian Drug Store, Discount Store and Dime Store racks also carried most of the same low-cost toy soldiers and other plastic play sets that American children had access to. Shown below are a few of the most commonly purchased toy soldier sets that came in "header" bags. The first photo shows a handful of MPC "ring hand" soldiers. The second shows a variety of "Lido" brand soldiers, many of which are direct copies of earlier "Marx" brand soldier poses. The third photo shows a small collection of "Lido" knights (which may very well have been cereal premiums, too, based on their current availability in the local vintage toy marketplace).
6.) Vintage 1970's Archie Comics Digests
Publication of the Archie Comics Digest Series commenced with the appearance of the August 1973 issue of ARCHIE COMICS DIGEST, NO. 1 in June of 1973. (Note: Archie comics digests displayed an issue date that was future-dated two months ahead of each digest's actual release date onto drug store shelves and supermarket magazine racks.)
With the subsequent sales success of Archie Digest #'s 1-4, a second bi-monthly digest series soon followed with the March 1974 edition of JUGHEAD WITH ARCHIE DIGEST, NO. 1, released in January of 1974. (The actual name of the first two editions of this comic was "Jughead With Archie Plus Betty and Veronica and Reggie, too" Digest; the name was shortened to just "Jughead With Archie" digest commencing with issue number three.)
The third title in the series was originally intended to be an annual. LAUGH DIGEST, NO. 1 was released with an issue date of August, 1974. The second issue of this digest was released with an issue date of September, 1975; but, with the success of the other Archie Series digest sales, the third edition was released with an issue date of March, 1976, and, at the same time, the digest's frequency was changed to bi-monthly.
Shown below, in chronological order of their issue dates, are the first 30 digests in the ARCHIE COMICS DIGEST SERIES, commencing with ARCHIE COMICS DIGEST, NO. 1 (August, 1973) and ending with ARCHIE COMICS DIGEST, NO. 15 (December, 1975).*
*(NOTE: All of the digests pictured below have been sealed with a protective layer of polypropylene and we apologize for any distortion due to wrinkles in, or glare from, the plastic coating.)
A small handful of Archie Series Digests were released as either "annual" or "semi-annual" editions and, as such, do not display precise "issue dates" inside of them. A few of the early titles that were printed with no issue dates include: Mad House Comics Digest, Archie Annual Digest, Joke Book Digest, Little Archie Digest and Archie's Super-Hero Digest. Instead of a precise issue date, they would only contain reference to the "year" of release. In some instances, two issues were released within the same calendar year; the first issue of the year bearing only the name of the calendar year alone, such as "1976 Edition," and the second issue bearing a hyphenated date that spanned into the following year, such as "1976/77 Edition." Subsequently, the practice of using a hyphenated two-year date was dropped and both issues released in the same year would bear the exact same date indicator (e. g. "1977 Edition" inside both).
With respect to Archie Annual Digest, it is important to note that issues #1-26 of Archie Annual were printed in "regular comic book form" and that this publication only transitioned over to a digest commencing with issue #27. Thus, issue #27 of Archie Annual Digest is, for all intents and purposes, actually issue No. 1 of this particular comics digest.
Listed below, we have displayed the "annualized" issue dates that appear inside each of these "annual" or "semi-annual" digests (up until the end of 1979), with the "equivalent" issue date for each edition, had they been printed with a regular "month and year" date instead at the time (similar to the other Archie Digest series digests issued concurrent with their release).
Archie Annual Digest (Semi-Annual): Issue #27 - 1975/76 Edition - August, 1975; Issue #28 - 1976 Edition - March, 1976; Issue #29 - 1976/77 Edition - August, 1976; Issue #30 - 1977 Edition - March, 1977; Issue #31 - 1977 Edition - August, 1977; Issue #32 - 1978 Edition - March, 1978; Issue #33 - 1978 Edition - August, 1978; Issue #34 - 1979 Edition - March, 1979; Issue #35 - 1979 Edition - August, 1979.
Mad House Comics Digest (Annual): Issue #1 - 1975/76 Edition - September, 1975; Issue #2 - 1976/77 Edition - September, 1976; Issue #3 - 1977/78 Edition - September, 1977; Issue #4 - 1978/79 Edition - September, 1978; Issue #5 - 1979/80 Edition - September, 1979.
Joke Book Comics Digest Annual (Semi-Annual): - Issue #1 - 1977 Edition - October, 1977; Issue #2 - 1978 Edition - April, 1978; Issue #3 - 1978 Edition - October, 1978; Issue #4 - 1979 Edition - April, 1979; Issue #5 - 1979 Edition - October, 1979.
Little Archie Comics Digest Annual (Semi-Annual): - Issue #1 - 1977 Edition - October, 1977; Issue #2 - 1978 Edition - April, 1978; Issue #3 - 1978 Edition - October, 1978; Issue #4 - 1979 Edition - April, 1979; Issue #5 - 1979 Edition - October, 1979.
Archie's Super-Hero Comics Digest (Semi-Annual): Issue #1 - 1978 Edition - January, 1979; Issue #2 - 1979 Edition - July, 1979. (Issue #1 was titled "Archie's Super-Hero Special;" this Archie Series digest only ran for the above two issues).
Of the ten different Archie Series Digests printed during the 1970's, the following list provides the correct chronological order of their first appearances.
1.) Archie Comics Digest - August, 1973; 2.) Jughead With Archie Digest - March, 1974; 3.) Laugh Comics Digest - August, 1974; 4.) Archie Annual Digest - August, 1975; 5.) Mad House Comics Digest - September, 1975; 6.) Archie, Archie Andrews, Where Are You? Digest - February, 1977; 7.) The Jughead Jones Comics Digest - June, 1977; 8.) Joke Book Comics Digest Annual - October, 1977; 9.) Little Archie Comics Digest Annual - October, 1977; 10.) Archie's Super-Hero Comics Digest - January, 1979.
7.) Great 1960's Children's Hardcover Books
We have already extensively discussed the 1960's success of publisher, Grosset & Dunlap, in the field of children's books (with our "How & Why Wonder Book" section, and, the following "Tempo" paperback article), but there were many other players with a vested interest in this marketplace, too. One of Grosset & Dunlap's main competitors, when it came to beautifully designed and crafted hardcover books, was Random House. Ironically enough, thanks to the preponderance of book company mergers over the decades, the Grosset & Dunlap imprint is now wholly owned by Penguin Random House.
For young children with a desire to become a law enforcement officer when they grew up, the following two books would have been of immense interest. In the photo below, on the left, is a Random House book with a truly Canadian theme. It is entitled "Royal Canadian Mounted Police" and its pages are filled with numerous art illustrations. The second book shown in the photo is a Grosset & Dunlap classic from the G&D Hardy Boys series. It is "The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook" with loads of criminology tips for future sleuths. Additional details on each book are listed underneath the photo.
ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE by Richard L. Neuberger, Illustrated by Lee J, Ames, 1953, Random House, Inc; Book #W-8 in the "World Landmark Books" series.
THE HARDY BOYS' DETECTIVE HANDBOOK by Franklin W. Dixon in consultation with Captain D. A. Spina, 1959, Grosset & Dunlap. Inc.; G&D #3227.
Random House also directly target-marketed young girls' book interests with their popular line of "Barbie" series books, based on the Mattel doll. Shown below are three of the volumes in the "Barbie Roberts" series; they are books #'s 4, 5 & 6. Additional details are listed below the photo.
Book #4 - BARBIE AND KEN by Cynthia Lawrence and Bette Lou Maybee, Illustrated by Clyde Smith, 1963, Randon House, Inc.
Book #5 - BARBIE SOLVES A MYSTERY by Cynthia Lawrence, Illustrated by Clyde Smith, 1963, Randon House, Inc.
Book #6 - BARBIE'S HAWAIIAN HOLIDAY by Bette Lou Maybee, Illustrated by Clyde Smith, 1963, Randon House, Inc.
Aside from Grosset & Dunlap, and Random House, other childrens' book publishers in the 1950's and 1960's included "Scholastic Book Services," "Books Inc.," and "Whitman Publishing." A few of their titles are shown in the photo below (with additional details underneath the photo). Note: We apologize for any photo glare from camera flash, but the following books are shown wrapped in protective polypropylene covers.
TARZAN OF THE APES by Edgar Rice Burroughs, with an Official Ape-English Dictionary, Whitman Publishing, Book #1507.
THE GREEN HORNET, THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING DOCTOR by Brandon Keith, 1966, Whitman Publishing, Book #1570.
ROBIN HOOD OF SHERWOOD FOREST by Ann McGovern, Scholastic Book Services, SBS Book #TX 1346 (softcover).
ROBIN HOOD by Henry Gilbert, Books Inc., Giant Junior Classics Series, Book #79 (softcover).
8.) Grosset & Dunlap "Tempo" Brand T-Series Paperbacks
If you are looking for a true challenge in terms of putting together a "complete" collection of vintage paperback books, try this. Rather than simply collecting paperbacks of a specific genre, or a series of books based on a specific character, try collecting all versions of a given publisher's imprint.
This is a challenge that we have embarked upon with regards to Grosset & Dunlap's "Tempo" brand series of paperback books. But, in order to put this collecting challenge into perspective, and to ensure that our end goal is achievable, we have limited our collecting efforts to a specific era, that of the "T-numbered" Tempo Books.
When the Tempo brand imprint first appeared on retail books shelves in 1962, each book released had a simple "T" number assigned to it ("T" for Tempo). For example, the first twelve books in the series were:
T-1 Francie by Emily Hahn, T-2 Quest of the Snow Leopard by Roy Chapman Andrews, T-3 Moonfleet by J. Meade Falkner, T-4 Tryst by Elswyth Thane, T-5 National Velvet by Enid Bagnold, T-6 Invaders of Earth edited by Groff Conklin, T-7 Wonders of the World by Leonard Cottrell, T-8 Winning Pitcher by Mark Porter, T-9 Mystery of Satellite 7 by Charles Coombs, T-10 The Red Car by Donald Stanford, T-11 Star-Spangled Summer by Janet Lambert, T-12 Maggie by Vivian Breck
In addition to the simple "T-series" numbers (which appeared on the face of all front covers), Tempo books were also assigned a standard Grosset & Dunlap (G&D) four-digit book number. These book numbers appeared at the base of the spine of each book, underneath the classic "five-diamond" Tempo logo. For example, book #T-1, Francie, was G&D book #4701; book #T-3, Moonfleet, was G&D book #4703, and so on.
The early Tempo books were aimed directly at the youth marketplace, with many of the books released being famous children's classics (such as Anne of Green Gables; Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm; Fury, Stallion of Broken Wheel Ranch; Lassie Come Home; etc.). But, as time went by, Grosset and Dunlap added other genres to their Tempo series, such as famous Sports legends (Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Yogi Berra, the Amazing Mets, Arnold Palmer, Wilt Chamberlain, Johnny Unitas); popular TV series (The Twilight Zone, Captain Nice, Get Smart); famous people (Winston Churchill, Helen Keller, Florence Nightingale); and other diverse topics as well.
The Tempo T-Series only ran from book #T-1 to #T-199 (G&D #4701 to #4899) and, thus, there are 199 separate titles required to finish a complete collection.
Sound easy to accomplish? Hardly. Tempo paperback books have been getter harder and harder to find. Why, you ask? In the 1980's and 1990's, as paperback book prices in retail stores escalated, used book dealers were highly motivated to pass on purchasing, or taking on trade, paperbacks with 1960's cover prices, such as 50 cents, on them. They only wanted books printed in the '80's or '90's with higher cover prices, which meant that they could base their used books prices on those and sell their books for more. In addition to this, many book sellers back then looked unfavorably on "kid's books" as being much harder to sell. It wasn't until the mid-to-late 1990's that book sellers began to realize that there was money to be made on vintage kid's books, as adults were now purchasing them for "nostalgic" reasons (and paying a high dollar for them, too).
Thus, many of the early Tempo books were likely put in the garbage or the recycling bin, thought of as being "worthless" since used book dealers wouldn't look at them. Also, parents soon found that, when they tried to pass many of these books down to the next generation, the majority of topics (other than the "classics") had absolutely no appeal to modern youngsters, as their content had long since become dated and irrelevant.
So, if you run across any of the books in this series, you may have a rare find on your hands as many of the more obscure titles are elusive.
A few of our favorite Tempo "series" titles are shown below.
Shown above are: Get Smart Series: T-103 (#4803) Get Smart, T-119 (#4819) Sorry, Chief, T-121 (#4821) Get Smart Once Again, T-140 (#4840) Max Smart and the Perilous Pellets, T-154 (#4854) Missed It By That Much, T-159 (#4859) And Loving It, T-174 (#4874) Max Smart, The Spy Who Went Out to the Cold; Win Hadley Sports Series: T-8 (#4708) Winning Pitcher, T-113 (#4813) Set Point, T-145 (#4845) Duel on the Cinders; Sandy Steele Adventure Series: T-22 (#4722) Black Treasure, T-36 (#4736) Danger at Mormon Crossing, T-57 (#4757) Stormy Voyage, T-125 (#4825) Troubled Waters; Rod Serling's Twilight Zone Series: T-89 (#4789) Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, T-171 (#4871) Rod Serling's Twilight Zone Revisited; Connie Blair Mystery Series: T-99 (#4799) The Clue in Blue, T-100 (#4800) The Riddle in Red, T-101 (#4801) Puzzle in Purple, T-116 (#4816) The Yellow Warning.
(For a much more comprehensive view of the front covers of most of the Tempo T-numbered books, we encourage you to go to Bookscans.com (www.bookscans.com/Publishers/tempo/tempo1.htm) to view them. And, if you should possess any of the Tempo T-number titles missing from that web page, we would also encourage you to take a .jpeg image of the front cover of the book and send it to Bruce at Bookscans in order to help complete this very worthwhile project.)
"THANKS FOR DROPPING BY AND, PLEASE, COME BACK AGAIN SOON!"