Sunday, September 27, 2009

Crash Pad

May 10, 1969

Dear Daddy,
I am having such a cool time. You wouldn't believe Keeper and Mary's place. It's a total crash pad. It's better than any place in BG. There are about 20 of us just hangin out. We camp in the yard and travel around to see the sites. There's a hip fish market on the pier where we buy our dinner to cook. The dude gives us fish parts and we go around the back of his place and drop them down in the ocean to feed the sea lions. It's so far out! The other day, though, Lippy, took us for a ride up the coast. He's from New York and went to college with us at BG. Anyway, he's got this freakie car. It's 1949 Buick. It's big and cool. You have to pull the brake pedal up with a rope. That's not so cool. We were going up the mountain real slow and he had to put on the brakes, I mean, pull the rope. Well, it came off the pedal, the car starts rolling backwards and we all jumped out. Man, I thought I was having a bad trip or something. The car hit the mountain and stopped. We all got back in and were laughing way too hard. It's ok, don't worry. I'm fine and didn't die or something. Maybe I have good Karma after all. Well, just checkin in. We are starting to plan our trip up to Washington, but not too much. It's really not good to plan stuff. It's more fun to just let it happen. Dig?
Love and Peace,

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Want To Be A Breck Girl!

Dr. John Breck developed one of the first liquid shampoos in 1908, in Massachusetts.
During the first years of his business, distribution was only in the New England area. Then in 1946, the shampoo was only sold in beauty salons. Advertising began in 1932, but was limited to trade publications.
In 1936, Edward Breck, son of John, took over the management of the company. He became acquainted with Charles Sheldon, a portrait painter and illustrator. He was noted for his art nouveau style, pastels and portraits of movie stars. He created his first pastel portraits for Breck in 1936, which became one of America's longest running ad campaign.
The first Breck girl was 17 year old Roma Whitney and was registered as Breck's trademark in 1951. Sheldon had created 107 oil paintings and pastels but favored "ordinary women" such as family members, neighbors and employees.
After Sheldon retired, Ralph Williams continued the Breck campaign. He used brighter colors and as women became more independent, he carefully integrated each girls personality.
These advertisements usually ran on the back covers of magazines such as Ladies Home
Journal, Seventeen, Vogue, and more. Some of these Breck girls included, Marylin Skeldon, Cheryl Tiegs, Cybill Shepherd, Jaclyn Smith, Kim Basinger, Brook Shields, and Christy Brinkley.
By the 1960's. Breck held about a 20% share of the shampoo market and the Breck girls are now in the advertising records in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wooly Willy

Introduced in 1955,Wooly Willy is a classic. "He has a magnetic personality and you can change his character with the wand."
Wooly Willy was born at the Smethport Specialty Company in Smethport, Pa. During world war two, all toy production stopped as the materials were only available for war use.
Smethport Specialty became R.W. Herzog and was a subcontractor for Sylvania Co. supplying mica insulators for radio tubes. (I bet you remember radio tubes) These tubes were used in proximity fuses, a device to control the height of a bomb explosion. Millions of these insulators were produced at the facility.
After the war, mica insulator production continued, but only for civilian use. As materials became available, toy production continued.
In 1955, James Herzog discovered that dust from magnetic grindings could be used for magnetic drawings. Thus, Willy Wooly was born. Lenonard MacKowski, an artist, designed the display cover. He often hid his name in the art.
In the beginning, there wasn't a toy buyer who would purchase this new toy. Finally, a buyer from the G.C. Murphy chain agreed to buy 6 dozen to prove it wouldn't sell. He was wrong , the toy sold out and he then ordered 12,000 more, which sold out in a few weeks.
Wooly Willy, being the toy of choice and for just twenty nine cents, you could play with one of the most popular toys made between 1950-1980.
The demand for the drawing sets exploded to include colored hair. The company then moved to Magnetic Avenue and built a new facility where it continues today.