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  #1  
Old 06-09-2013, 11:58 PM
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Default Interested In Nostalgia Articles

For roughly 30 years, starting in the mid 1970s, I wrote and submitted many nostalgia articles, and had a fairly nice number of them published. They’re about my growing up experiences from the late 1940s through the mid 1970s, covering my earliest memories up till my early 20s.

I’ve posted some of my articles on a few other forums, with good results. I hear a lot of comments about the common experience, and that my articles remind folks of their our lives, and special times and special people. Since I would just be copying them from my hard drive I thought I’d see if enough of you are interested.

Please vote, since why waste the time and effort if nobody wants to read them. Below is one of the articles, to give you an idea of my work.

Box Top Freebies, 50s Style

Growing up in the early '50s, there were fewer cereal choices than there are today. Since prepackaged cereal was still a new product category, each brand tried to find ways to build loyalty for their flakes, biscuits, or nuggets. The most popular way of doing this was to offer premiums in trade for their box tops.

Usually, for only one or two box tops, and maybe a thin dime, a youngster could send for a gadget of some sort by return mail. Among the freebies my brother and I garnered in exchange for our box tops were Captain Video Decoder Rings, assorted comic books featuring The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid, and Roy Rogers, and genuine imitation leather billfolds. A pair of plastic Ovaltine drinking mugs might have been the most useful premiums we ever got. His was blue, and mine was yellow.

Over the years, up until the mid 70s, box tops offered delights for youngsters, much like modern day fast food restaurants do today. I remember sending away for a series of magic tricks. I don’t recall if I mastered any of the tricks, but the thrill of getting something for nothing kept us pestering our parents to buy whatever cereal offered the niftiest gizmos.

Not all of our treasures came from mailing in box tops, many came from offers on the inside covers of comic books. While we sent away for key chains, streamers for our bicycle handlebar grips, and secret code wheels from comic books, quite often we’d end up disappointed. The sea horse eggs I sent for never grew into sea horses, and the magic rocks that were supposed to turn into a rainbow of colors when put in water only made a mess.

Although we often ended up wasting our allowances on gimmicks or junk, somehow we never stopped hoping for that really wonderful freebie that would make our friends envious. But probably the best premiums of all came packed inside Cracker Jack, just like today. While most of today’s Prizes Inside are simply paper or cardboard, back when I was a boy, they were plastic or pressed tin. I wonder if modern day youngsters find the toys inside as much fun as I did.

I remember acquiring an orchestra of musical toys from box tops and even comic book coupons. Besides an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Whistle, I also had a slide whistle, a kazoo, a small tin disc that you put in your mouth and could hum songs with, and a tiny, five hole harmonica. But probably the very best musical toy of all was the ocarina I once ordered from a Boy’s Life magazine. Also called a Sweet Potato, it was a heavy plastic version of a real musical instrument, with finger holes and a mouth piece. It came with an instructional booklet, complete with a dozen songs. In time I even learned to play a few of them.

Some of the greatest promotional premiums didn’t even require box tops or coupons from comic books. Kahn’s Meats, a local Cincinnati company, used to place trading cards of the Redlegs baseball players in with their hot dogs. You’d collect all the players cards during the summer, and they all smelled wonderful. And most every neighborhood shop gave away token freebies, in the hope of getting your repeat business. Six-bottle cartons of soda pop nearly always came with some kind of freebie attached. Often it was a small comic book with a story tied to whatever brand of pop you had bought, or coupons you could collect and redeem for all sorts of toys. One summer Barq’s offered a real Duncan yoyo for three coupons and a dime.

In time, possible due to higher handling and postage costs, box tops lost their mystic status. From the late 50s on, most cereal companies, as well as many other product manufacturers, began to place premiums and token gifts inside their packages. A laundry powder company included wash cloths and dish towels with their various sized boxes, recouping the cost of the free gift with the savings from providing less soap powder. One tea bag brand included plaster or bisque-like figurines in their cartons.

When the cereal companies first began placing small toys prizes inside their boxes, boys and girls often poured out the cereal onto the kitchen table, in search of the free surprise. Although the cheap plastic doodads probably settled to the bottom of the box during shipping, most mothers figured it was a plot to make the cereal go stale sooner, and sell more corn flakes.

Of course not all box top offers were box tops. Those Ovaltine mugs arrived after we had sent in some inner seals from their jar tops. Bread companies would often insert coupons or small booklets inside their packages. And several brands of candy bars and bubble gum added special offers under the colorful wrappers. Something for nothing, or nearly so, has always been a wonderful gimmack.

Art’s Candy Store would give you a sheet of tattoos with every sack of penny candy. The corner service station, besides filling the tank and washing the windshield, often gave away balloons or decorative drinking glasses. And our local bakery always offered us a free cookie, and sometimes less than perfect brownies, just for the asking. And when you bought a bag of a dozen doughnuts, somehow they always added one or two extra.

With hand-held video games and computers, it’s hard to imagine a youngster of today feeling the same thrill I did nearly fifty years ago, for just a pittance. I would imagine that a boy or girl today enjoys getting mail addressed to them, just like I did. And if that mail includes some sort of toy, the magic is all that more special. I’d like to think that kids today feel that special sort of magic in their hearts that was available to all of us all those many years ago, when the Good Old Days were still new.
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2013, 06:02 PM
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I recall tearing into a new Cracker Jack box
dumping it all over my lap just for that cool prize!
how many kids nowadays get that rush from finding a prize in a box of snax?
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:51 PM
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i like these nostalgia articles quite a bit, just as i always retain awe and curiosity for all those amazing photos at shorpys.com. please do share if it's not too much trouble!


...


yesterday i bought a very nice game for my tablet for $1 from the android play store. i don't know if it exists for ipads. it is called "pennyparlor," and contains four vintage games...


"home run!":
http://screens.latestscreens.com/and...640x960_06.png


"amazing golf game":



"touchdown frenzy!":
https://ssl.gstatic.com/android/mark...lor/ss-480-1-0


"smack 'n' whack cricket":



video:
"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suvxXY7_deM


IMO they're very nicely recreated and look beautiful on tablet. hope someone else here enjoys as much as i did.
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:37 AM
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Yessir, I do remember that good stuff. When Cracker Jack offered Real Metal Frog Clickers and Plastic Turbine Tops that spin when you blow on them. I had the Oscar Meyer Weiner Whistle. Now they don't even make the same original Oscar Meyer hot dogs anymore. They changed the recipe and Armour Dogs have long since vanished.

Free Dum-Dum Lollypops for the kids with every Sunoco fill-up.

In 1956, Milk Bone Dog Biscuits gave away A Live Meadow Moth encased in a plastic pouch containing a gas which produced hibernation. The idea was, you find the small bag with the meadow moth in it and tear it open, and when the air reached the moth, it would revive and fly off.

But the weight of the Milk Bones in the box crushed it.

In Burbank 1962 I used to stop by the local Coca-Cola Bottling Plant (Don't Drink That Stuff!) and pick up A Free Cardboard-Cross Boomerang that was made with four blades in the shape of Coca-Cola bottles, and I did this every time I lost one or had one fall into a wet gutter.

Capt. Crunch Decoder Rings in the 60's, and The King Vitamin Hologram Ring with A Real Hologram of King Vitamin in the 70's. Okay, I was 18 by then, but I just had to have that Real Working Hologram.

But you know, the main reason that the cereal companies quit offering the toys and the free cardboard records on the back of the box, or in later years, free CDs and closeout movies, is because of the charges made by certain Pressure Groups that the freebies were serving as a way of peddling kid's cereal to children...

Hell, they tried to kill both Ronald McDonald and Happy Meals just last year, but only succeeded in charging an extra $0.10 for the toy in the Happy Meal in San Francisco. Frisco outlawed free toys in Happy Meals and McDonald's then skirted the law by charging 10 cents for the toy just so it wouldn't be "a freebie".

I Hate San Francisco now. I used to love it, but with the PCs ruling the city, no more.

Last edited by sleepy; 06-11-2013 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:04 AM
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Love it tiltjlp, late to the thread but why can't I vote dammitt, are you a republican or some shit?



just kinda jokin' but let me vote?
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:22 AM
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I also remember jellies being sold in collectable 'Jellystone park' glasses we had them all
to this day my mom still has that collection as well as the tiny dinner plates that went with them!
I also own all four Burger King LOTR light up goblets but they are from a recent give away (ten years ago I think)
I can recall comic books advertising the classic' xray glasses
obviously they didn't work like a real xray then again what kid didn't pretend that they did?
sending shrieks of delight/ fear through every girl on the block!
and marbles tons of free marbles from local candy stores!
every kid always lusted after those Tiger Eye glass shooters
(marbles people not drinks!
those came later when I made drinking age)
ah the good? ol' days when we were young and foolish
now I am old and forgetful
funny what the years can bring to the table
oh Crackerjack stopped putting in toys due to choking hazards
funny we never had a problem
with choking on anything they dropped into that box
then again we never heard of a peanut allergy
or being lactose intolerant back then either!
ah being locked out of the house on hot summer days!
we ate dirt and drank from the garden hose when it got hot!
ah what fun times they were...
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPurpleHaze View Post
Love it tiltjlp, late to the thread but why can't I vote dammitt, are you a republican or some shit?



just kinda jokin' but let me vote?
No I'm not. I had the poll set to run for two weeks, but I removed that so you can vote. My mouse has been locking up on me, so I don't know when I can post more articles.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:26 PM
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if you're still using a ball mouse (unlikely, but what the hey), you can twist the little piece on the bottom, free the ball, and use a ballpoint or a chopstick or something to clean the gunk off the rollers. failing that, most drugstore chains now seem to sell decent USB mice for $20. always good to have a backup in any case!
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:50 PM
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tiltjlp, it's also too bad you're not around to comment on the commentary on your articles. would be rather cool to hear what your modern voice has to say to your younger voice and so forth. ah well, one might require a mouse for such pursuits.
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