My Vintage Dollhouses

Schoenhut Beverly Hills 1939

Sunday, December 30, 2012

In search of Pat. Pending.....

A year and a half ago....no, make that 19 months ago....no, exactly 554 days ago Lester Lurch's sister-in-law Letty Lurch and her twins Larry Lurch and Linda Lurch turned up on his doorstep.




Usually she just "visited" for 2-3 months....but this time she stayed and stayed....and stayed some more. It seems that her man, Lester's no-good brother Loxley Lurch, had disappeared....without a word to Letty and of course leaving no forwarding address. Letty was sure he wasn't in the slammer, that's where  cousin Lazarus Lurch was back in May of 2011.  So Lester and Lydia welcomed his brother's family with almost open arms.




Months passed with no sign of Loxley.  Then Lazarus was paroled from the big house and Lester, fearing that Lazarus thought he had "fingered" him,  decided he needed to go into hiding....with his family.


 
 
Lester was sure that by the time he considered it safe to come out of hiding, Letty and her kids would be gone....they weren't.  And they had made themselves quite at home.




Lester decided to hire a private detective....and hearing that Smitty, who sold him his pink Cadillac, was a man of many talents, Lester went to see him.




After some diligent hunting...and getting lucky, Smitty managed to locate Loxley Lurch in Knoxville where Loxley was using the alias Pat. Pending.  Loxley got that idea because it was stamped on the bottom of his shoe.

 
 


Now Lester has purched three one-way bus tickets to Knoxville and is seeing Letty Lurch, Larry Lurch, and Linda Lurch off at the station. Will we ever hear from Letty and her beautiful children again? Who knows? That depends on Miss Patty, the moll who has been hiding Loxley...err...Pat. Pending the last 554 days. This story may be continued.....

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wishing you JOY!



 

…Wishing  you peace,
 
love and joy...
 
throughout the new year!

 

Friday, December 7, 2012

While Visions of Sugarplums.....


 One of my fondest memories of childhood was the arrival of the annual Christmas catalog.  They had several names...Christmas Book...Wish Book....Christmas Catalog...Christmas Gift Book...but to kids they were always just THE TOY CATALOG!  They came from many sources....Sears and Roebuck, J C Penney, Montgomery Ward, Aldens, Marshall Field, and FAO Schwarz, to name a few. Many hours were spent looking at all the dolls...games...crafts...and toy sets found in these magical pages and tagging  the items we hoped that Santa would bring. Several years ago I found an FAO Schwarz Christmas catalog from 1937....and it is just as wonderous to me now as the catalogs I remember from the 1950s...when I still believed in Santa Claus. 
 
What to show you first? Expecting doll houses? I did that here...Dollhouses from 1937 FAO Schwarz Christmas Catalog, but I didn't show you the swimming pool and bath roombox that were available...
 
Both were designed and manufactured exclusively for Schwarz, and both featured running water. The swimming pool came with 3 bisque dolls and towels.....and a water slide!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 














....while the bath also featured an electric light over the mirror and came with wash cloth, towel and soap. Similar bath roomboxes are often seen on eBay.

The playsets in this catalog fascinate me...and there are quite a few! Horses seemed to be quite popular in 1937...here is the Hunt Stable, which sold for $14.95 and included 12 mounted and 4 standing figures, plus a pack of running and resting dogs.
There is also a Mount Royal Riding Stable, painted in ivory and green with a "cozy tack-room all rustically beamed" and with an electric fireplace, featuring "four lifelike skin-covered horses with removable saddle" and 2 boy and 2 girl riders, plus a stable boy...selling for $12. Both sets were also designed exclusively for Schwarz.

But before your little riders could patronize the riding stable, they had to go to riding school...and there was a playset for that too!



For $25 you could get this 40"x30" playset that included 6 pliable boys and girls, a riding master, stable boy, 6 stalls for the 6 horses, a cottage, garage and car. I think I would have wanted this one.                                         

An additional playset featured a 10" tall horse with jockey and all the stable equipment you would need to maintain it.                            
                                                                      
There was also a farm yard....

 a zoological garden ....
a dog kennel.....
 and an Indian camp.

 
 For little babies....
             there were water balls
                   and crying balls,
                        a horse shoo-fly rocker..
...and all kinds of stuffed animals...
 
  and dollies....

                            .....even Babar and a story book!
 

For little girls there are dolls galore! 

Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain was well represented....
 
 
 
 and an Anne Shirley doll (Anne of Green Gables)
...with a choice of a suitcase full of clothes.....

...or a blue metal trunk with even more clothes!
 
Babykin came with a sweet layette in her own wicker case...
 
Or little girls could choose a Dy-Dee Baby with a layette PLUS...
a Dy-Dee Mother Outfit for herself!
 

Another choice was Patsy and her wardrobe....in a trunk with tray and 4 drawers...with lots of clothes and FOUR pairs of shoes!  A Patsy nurse outfit for the little mom could also be wished-for.
 
Two other suitcase dolls were available....
       another rider doll with horse.... 
 
and two aviator dolls with their own airplanes!
These 5.5" dolls were a Schwarz original and sold for $4.75. One doll was recently auctioned on eBay and was quite popular with  bidders.


 To complete the pretend play,
              other little mommie items were available...
 
    a bathinette to bathe her dollie in....

 a "doll coach" for their outings to the park... 
a musical high chair to entertain dollie when feeding her....
 
 
a grocery stand to play store.... 
 
 
along with a grocery counter.... 
 
         a telephone....

and a soda machine for making real milk shakes and malts!

CARS and BOATS for boys??   Of course!

Did little boys wish for a Meccano motor car to assemble?
     I'm sure they did.


 
Or how about a Schuco race car with extra tires and wheels? A car just like this one..looking new in the box....just sold on eBay this week for $53. This one retailed for $2.75. 
 

Two race tracks were available....one of them electric!
      Excuse me, in 1937 they were called Speedways....




How about an auto repair shop
      or lube joint (with an attached diner) for his little cars.....
 
 
and if you had autos, you needed an auto showroom...
             ....and a parking garage....
 
 
 

...and for the road trip.....a vacation trailer!
              This one came with a radio.
 
 
And little boys always needed a few boats and submarines.....
 
 

 There were blocks to build with....
                   ...and arts and crafts for the creative child.....

   Bricky blocks....have you  ever built with a Bricky set?

 
...or a set of Lock Blocks?
 
 

And these look familiar....these are American Logs....
       but square instead of round like Lincoln Logs!   


For arts and crafts, boys and girls could hope Santa would bring.....

     a modeling clay set.......a kit to make raffia baskets....

 
...a story book cottage to build for the three bears....
                a metal designing kit...
 
...sand pictures to create....a layette to embroider for dollie....
  
 
 
...paper dolls to cut out and play with.....
 
( I have a set of these myself!)
 
 
 
  
 
....and even a lesson in horticulture!
 
 
There were lots of games to play in the days before television....
......did you play any of these as a child?
 
S.S. Van Dine Detective Game......and another electric auto race...
 
...Bargain Day....or Electric Questioner?
 
How about Balaroo, Cat and Mouse, Spell It, Darts?
 
Boys and girls also had a choice of Monday Morning Coach, Horse Race, Cavalcade Horse Race and a Combination Game Box with horse racing, poker chips and dominoes. That's 4 racing games....hmmn. Guess parents weren't worried about children learning to "follow the horses". 
 
And...did little boys and girls play dress-up  back in 1937?
All of these costumes were available for wishing.....
 
            ...from a traffic cop to a queen on a throne.... 

             
            ...a butterfly to a Canadian mounted police...
 
            ...a snow princess to an Indian chief.....
 
....and even a pirate or some cowboys!
 
 
And when they weren't dressing up,
             what books were the boys and girls reading?
Let's see what was available...and if YOU remember any of these from your childhood years!  Several titles and author's names are familiar to me...Laura Ingalls Wilder, Dr. Suess, Margaret de Angeli, Ruth Carroll, Jean de Brunhoff and the stories of Zephir, Chessie, and Silver Chief; but I was surprised to see that And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street by Dr. Suess was around in 1937!
(click on the picture if you want to read synopsis of book)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
The catalog has 3 of Disney's Donald Duck toys, but no Mickey Mouse. Was the duck more popular than the mouse in the 1930s?
 


On the left is a 15" tall plush Scotch Donald
who "played a merry tune".....
on the right is the same size Mexican Donald
who also was musical....$6.75 each.
 
They also had a 5.5" Donald that winding up
"makes him waddle, open his mouth and quack". 
Did you notice that these Donald's have the small eyes, long thin beak, and thinner feet of the early model of Donald Duck?


Castles and Forts and Soldiers, OH MY!
   Castles and army forts were well represented along with the soldiers on parade and more soldiers defending their stronghold. Here are some of them...





 
 
It looks like one could shoot off the projectile and blow up the castle!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 And there were big riding toys to wish for!
 
           a "three-wheeled speedbike....with trailer"

 
          a bouncer horse....
 (which explains this "Tommy Horse" made by Acme in the 1940s)
 
 
        a hook and ladder truck.... 
             and a glorious bicycle...
oh, a "Twinbar Airider" with an instrument panel!
 

 

 
 From Santa's Workshop
             ....and perhaps considered stocking stuffers....
 
 
Donald Duck wind-up toy, a tricky taxi, an aero pistol, a parachute set, and auto lift, a mechanical scotty dog, a Dutch violinist..drummer..and boy and girl, a rainbow soap bubble set, a turntable train....
...a miniature racing car, TootsieToy highways and skyways set of travel toys, a reversible locomotive, a trick railway....
...a command car that stops and starts by voice control (in 1937 no less!), a set of famous ocean liners, Kiddikins, a musical top, a kaleidoscope, a miniature train, a fire engine, a liberty airport, and assortment of boats....                     
...a set of clever clowns, a mechanical motorcycle, two boxers on sticks...the idea was to knock the head off the opponent, four racing cars, and an automatic picture gun.
      
 
     
          And lastly!
 

 ...and probably not items that little boys and girls wished for, two artificial Christmas trees...which I was surprised to see as early as 1937, even though I was aware of the miniature feather trees produced in Germany earlier in the century.
Doing a little research, I found that artificial Christmas trees were first produced around 1886. Here is a link to a tree that a lady in Scotland has used yearly since 1928, and also a picture of one purchased in 1886 by the family of the current owner, another Brit, Paul Parker, and still a lovely little tree!
 
 
No, I haven't shown you everything in this wonderful old toy catalog...just touched on some of the things that would have interested me....I hope you found something you would have treasured....if you had been a child of the 1930s! 
 
Best Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday Season !