Past Paper: The Mystery of the Vintage Magazine

Vintage magazine cover-The Oklahoma WhirlwindOn a recent visit to a paper ephemera store in our hometown of Oklahoma City, we came across a vintage magazine called The Oklahoma Whirlwind. Dated 1928, it was tightly sealed in plastic and the crusty proprietor of the shop wasn’t willing to let us to peek at the publication’s contents, but we found the cover illustration intriguing.

Was it even remotely possible that in 1920s Oklahoma, there was a magazine that was marketed to—or, heck, even friendly toward—the gay community? Surely not, but here was this cover, plain as day, right before our eyes.

As you’ve already guessed, we broke down and bought the vintage magazine, ripping open the plastic as soon as we stepped out of the shop. We quickly ascertained that The Oklahoma Whirlwind was a college humor magazine, published by students at the University of Oklahoma. The material is pretty typical of the era and of limited interest (though a few of the advertisements have appeal). No mention is made of the illustration of the cover.

But a closer inspection of the illustration revealed a couple of details that suggest the cover wasn’t so gay-friendly, after all. The tiny depiction of a rat chasing a mouse and a bird giving the go-by to a willing-to-be-eaten worm (see below) suggests that the point the artist is making is that a gay couple canoodling on a park (or campus, perhaps?) bench is against nature, or something along those lines. As depictions of homophobic sentiments go, this one’s pretty mild, thankfully, and perhaps even crosses over to good-natured.

A mouse chases a catA bird refuses a worm

Past Paper: Stampix

As aficionados of all things vintage and ephemeral, we love coming across items we never knew existed, products we never knew were on the market.

When our beloved mother left us a few years ago, we found this item among the big box of old photos that she’d long promised to organize, but never quite got around to.

The images are not of Mom, though, or one of her relatives; it’s Dad’s younger sister, Aunt Marilyn. Each page of these tiny images is perforated, like a book of stamps, and like a book of stamps, they have adhesive on the back.

We’ve not researched it, but we wouldn’t be a bit surprised if a similar product is available today, from companies like Zazzle or Shutterfly, but we found this booklet of images particularly charming.

Fresh, nutritious, delicious CANDY

Thank heavens for the internet.

Twenty years ago, if a motivated collector had put together a stash of 600-plus examples of any given bit of ephemera—beer cans, drive-in movie flyers, Cracker Jack prizes—only his friends and family would likely have been aware of it.

Sure, he might have inspired a little human-interest coverage in the local paper or been given a short spot on the local Eyewitness News, but his renown would have been regional at best, not extending beyond the boundaries of the county or parish he lived in.

Not so today. Today, a collector can display his prized possessions online so that they might be enjoyed by kindred spirits the world over.

The unnamed person (so far as we could ascertain) behind the Candy Wrapper Archive has devoted the past three decades indulging his (or her) interest in and appreciation of candy wrappers, and we, the denizens of the internet, are the beneficiaries of his efforts.

The oldest wrapper in his (we’re going to assume for the sake of this post that our sweets maven is male) collection, a Hershey’s chocolate bar wrapper, dates back to 1908, and he’s got 647 other items spanning the century since that bar was fresh from the factory.

From the familiar (Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Clark bar) to the obscure and arcane (Chicken Dinner, Cold Turkey, Snow Wonder—what the…??), the Candy Wrapper Archive will keep you happily browsing for hours.

Past paper, pt. 2

This foldout postcard, from the General Cigar Hall of Magic at the 1964-65 World’s Fair, originates from a bit outside our usual time frame here at Cladrite Radio, but we’re suckers for World’s Fairs:

What strikes us as odd about this postcard is how strongly it’s aimed at kids. We mean, sheesh, the tube against the hand trick? Is this hat taller or wider? That’s Weekly Reader or Highlights-level material.

Not that we’re knocking those publications, mind you. But honestly, was that the way to appeal to cigar smokers in the mid-1960s?

Unless it was true in those days, as is so often the case now, that tobacco companies were trying to rope in new smokers at an early age. It’s just hard to imagine a kid who was nine or ten years old in 1964 opting to take his first puff not from a pilfered Marlboro, but off a White Owl stogie.

Cough cough!