Not All Disney Princesses Were Legal

In the 1920s through the 1940s, carnivals, state fairs, and the like gave away figurines made of plaster to those who successfully answered the calls of carnival game barkers. Because they were made of plaster or chalk, these pieces are called carnival chalkware. Given that they were made of a less-than sturdy material as well as given away to men trying to impress ladies and kids (both temporary conditions!), relatively few of the rather large number of plaster carnival prizes made and given away have survived; thus making them collectible.

The most popular of these pieces, then as now, are those depicting famous people, personalities, and icons of those times — including non-real folks, such as beloved comic and film characters. And not all of these were approved or licensed creations. Like my vintage Snow White carnival chalkware piece.

snow white knock-off chalkware

While characters such as Snow White and Cinderella (and their stories) are in the public domain, it’s pretty clear that the makers of vintage carnival chalkware pieces were ripping-off the intellectual property of Walt Disney.

Disney characters weren’t the only ones to be copied in plaster, but they seem to be among the most popular — both in terms of having been saved by original owners and in collector desirability. A true testament to the longevity of Disney.

Collecting Silent Film Stars: Annette Kellerman

Being the fan that I am (both of the collector and silent film), I couldn’t just let Mary Ann Cade go that easily after delivering her recent silent film news — I had to ask her about one of her favorite silent film stars, Annette Kellerman (also billed as Annette Kellermann and called “The Perfect Woman”).

Mary, tell us about Annette Kellerman… How did she catch your collecting fancy?

I got interested in Kellerman when I saw Esther Williams in the fictional biopic Million Dollar Mermaid, which was loosely based on Ms. Kellerman’s life. After viewing it, I started looking around to see if any of her product survived and why she is so forgotten today.

Annette Kellerman on board signed

At one time, during her heyday, she was a force to be reckoned with, kind of like Madonna or Oprah Winfrey. She was writing books, making films, doing publicity stunts, designing swimsuits, performing water ballets at the Hippodrome, performing in vaudeville type shows all over the world, making movies, and she even had her own chain of fitness clubs and a health food store.

vintage health beauty perfect figure course by silent film star annette kellermann

Sadly, she is all but forgotten today and when one looks at her swimming and diving contributions, including her discovery of what is considered synchronized swimming as well as the one piece bathing suit, it is a real shame.

antique trunk that belonged to annette kellerman

When I started the quest on Kellerman, the only known film was Venus of the South Seas, but, along with the news mentioned earlier, I have managed to locate Siren of the Sea.

vintage tobacco cards featuring silent film star annette kellerman

Kellerman is reputed to be in a cameo in the Fatty Arbuckle / Buston Keaton short Coney Island (1917) and a couple of other films that have not been confirmed as of yet. The Australian archives do hold some of her various water ballet footage as well.

Thank you, Mary, for sharing your collecting passion and information with us!

Photo Credits, in order of appearance:

Signed photo of Annette Kellerman and photo of Annette Kellerman’s trunk, from Mary Ann Cade.

Personal Course of Instruction In The Attainment Of Health, Beauty and Perfect Figure, by Annette Kellermann, 1932, via The Land of Pleasant Living;

Annette Kellerman movie photos, on a 1924 set of Henry Clay and Bock Co., Ltd. Cuban tobacco cards, courtesy of Cliff Aliperti.

“What’s in Your Collection”: Vintage Picnic Hampers

As summer unfolds, I begin to think about my “picnic entertaining”. I have always loved antique and vintage picnic hampers and would love to have a collection-but alas…no room to store yet another collection!

See on www.kathryngreeleydesigns.com

In Praise Of That 6 Degrees Thing: People & Other Flea Market Finds

This is a photo of my dad, aka the Grinnin’ half of Inherited Values own Antiquips, aka The Dean. It was taken at the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market by Urban Flea Marketer, the photo-blogger of You Bought WHAT?! From Who?.

My dad’s story from her post:

I mean, he was just cute. He was totally a hoot. I asked him what he’d grab if the market set on fire, and don’t say your wife/husband because everyone says that, usually because they are standing right there… He laughed & said I wasn’t going to! I want my clock {because} it’s expensive & my wife is cheap. LOVE!

She collects photos of people at flea markets, especially “cute old grandpas” — her love of them sounds like my thing for “old coots.” Probably the same thing; just a different name. *wink*

At that same flea market…

Tom Cerny aka “Hippie Tom” of American Pickers fame. (That’s less than six degrees between me and Frank & Mike!)

With Tom was his friend Jeff Purcell:

Now I LOVED this photo of Jeff & Tom, but it was more like a snap shot & not a portrait. What I really wanted to do was photograph Tom’s hands. All of his cuts and wounds were wrapped in duct tape… Like a true modern hippie. Jeff was such a sweet guy. He invited me up to the farm if I ever wanted. He was really truly just a happy guy. It was sweet. At 26, he is back at school, studying geology. He recently returned from a trip to I believe Switzerland, studying glaciers with a professor. I don’t know why, but I love that.

You really should check out You Bought WHAT?! From Who?.. Because this girl really gets what flea markets etc. are all about.

Vintage Film Stars Fit Swimmingly Poolside (Silent Film News)

Because I’m rather well connected to Kellerman on the Internet, I was contacted by Nick Bannikoff, a graphic designer in Sydney, Australia, who had recently worked on the refurbished Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre in Marrickville. The centre is now finished, and Bannikoff was was hoping I could help him find quality images to be used in the creation of a graphic interpreting / explaining Annette Kellerman’s life to be installed at the pool. Naturally, I connected to silent film collector Mary Ann Cade. But I also asked Bannikoff to tell me more about the project. The complete details of the beautiful ceramic tile mosaics featuring Annette Kellerman and Cecil Healy is here.

Vintage Ad For A Motel I Can’t Bear To Stay At

I love bears. A lot. So I sure would have been lured into staying at this motel promoted by an ad featuring dancing bears — especially when the ad says, “You’ll feel like doing a dance too when you Visit Your Smokies!”

But, unfortunately, this vintage advertisement was for the Bearskin Motel. Which doesn’t bode well for bears. And if I dance too, am I also performing some sort of death dance?

That’s too frightening. Too much for recommendations from Triple A and even Duncan Hines to overcome.

I’m not certain this Bearskin Motel, of Gatlinburg, is affiliated with the Bearskin Lodge in Gatlinburg. Even though it looks likely to the same same family ownership, they probably shouldn’t be condemned for the promotional sins of their fathers. But I’m not sure I can move past it… If I find myself visiting The Smokies, I don’t think I’ll be staying there. Oh, the nightmares of the poor bears!

Vintage ad found in the May 1963 issue of This Week In The Land of the Smokies and The Southern Highlands. (Yup, it’s titled “this week” but for the month.)

Antique Street Sweeper Photograph

I just wanted to share this photo of an antique street cleaner because it reminds me of one of my fondest memories. Every Forth Of July, I love watching not the parades, but my dad‘s face. He always has such joy watching the street cleaners or street sweepers clean up all the crepe paper, bullet casings, horse poo, and other stuff left behind by the parade participants.

This antique film negative is of a street cleaner in Berlin, German, dating to the 1910s; found via bondman2.

A Happy Camper At Christmas & Beyond

Christmas time always brings up toys. Now that I’m a parent, I try to remind myself that finding the perfect toy ought not to be the pressure point I make it out to be…

1971-sears-wish-bookSome of my favorite and most memorable toys were not ones I asked for. Even if my grandma would sit us down with the Sears Christmas Wish Book and have us play “pick,” by going through it page by page and picking one item we wanted from each page, she didn’t really shop off our list of picks. Instead my cousin Lisa, my sister, and myself each got the same thing — and for many years, this was the latest big ticket item in Barbie’s world. (It wasn’t until I was 16 or so that grandma deviated from this plan, or gave me any one of my picks — a manicure kit signaled the end of childhood.)

So each Christmas Eve, gathered with extended family, we three girls would open our gifts at the same time, simultaneously revealing the Barbie airplane, house, camper, etc. It made for fun with all three of us playing together — after our dads did the some-assembly-required parts. (My poor dad had to put together two of the darn things, while my Uncle Mike only had to do one before he returned to his holiday beer; the year we got Townhouses, the assembly was so intense, that I do believe all boxes remained sealed, were carried home to sit beneath the Christmas tree, and then went directly to reside in attics & basements.)

My favorite bit of Barbie property had to be the Barbie Country Camper.

cool-orange-barbie-country-camper

Not only were the campers most mobile and self-contained, but they had cool features. Features we put to use whenever the neighbor’s cat had a litter of kittens. And as a non-spayed, part-time outdoor cat, she had a litter every spring, giving us plenty of early summers to put tiny kittens into the campers and play with them rather than Babs and friends.

Once those kittens could eat crunchy kitten food, we’d filled the tiny camper sink with kitten chow, stick a lucky kitten or two in the camper, close the door, and extend the table off the back end, achieving a perfect view of kittens chowing down on the chow in the sink.

back-of-retro-1970s-barbie-country-camper

We watched them eat until they did as kittens do, and fell asleep, nose first in the chow-filled sink. Such sudden and sound sleep made us giggle — and it assured us that we could then drive the kitten-filled camper up and down the block.

When the kitties woke up and had the kitten zoomies, as kittens are want to do, we’d stop the camper and open the kit-tent (yes, we know it’s technically called a pup tent, but we couldn’t find any puppies small enough…) and watch the kittens crawl out of the orange plastic and down the vinyl ramp.

Sometimes momma cat followed the camper full of kittens; sometimes she just watched us return for another one or two of her babies, whereupon we’d start the process all over again.

Whenever I see a small kitten, I still have the urge… But I am without a retro 70’s Country Camper.

Santa, if you’re reading this, if it’s too much to ask… I’d love an old Barbie Country Camper — and a pair of kittens!

Image Credits: 1971 Sears Wish Book via Wishbook at Flickr; Barbie Country Camper photos via eBay seller goldenzelda.