Nathan Albert Headwear

Pam’s Pictorama Pin Post: I usually limit my forays into pin purchase to Felix and Krazy Kat – I have collected several of the little enamel pins of each. However this little number called my name on eBay the other day and I purchased it for a couple of dollars. I learned from the posting that most of these pins have Nathan Albert Headwear stamped on the back, although oddly this one does not. I thought that nothing would be easier than finding this haberdasher online – or at least some reference. Oddly, although the pins (which are great) exist in abundance in a variety of colors online, I can find pretty much zero about the company. Please enlighten me, any of you readers if you have info!

I wonder if there are many cases of this – a great logo living on well beyond the product it advertises, the product fading into the mists of time. I cannot think of another example, although I occasionally wonder if the Geico Geko will not somehow outlive the memory that he was tied to insurance. Meanwhile, who wouldn’t this splendid cat and fiddle appeal to? On the other hand, what did it have to do with hats? I had trouble getting a good photo of it and have ended up snatching the one off the listing.

It inspired me to dig around a bit and I grabbed up several notable buttons in our household collection, featured below. There is a Countess Aesop Fable pin that would have been sported by the doll, (I believe I purchased the pin alone before buying the doll) of course Bonzo’s Chad Valley pin which is affixed to my Bonzo, and I have (for good measure) included two versions of Kim’s Sunshine Girl pin – one original one from the Kim Deitch archive, and a splendid one that Bill Kartalopoulos had made for an exhibit a few years ago. Last but not least, I have thrown Kim’s Buck Jones Ranger pin in for good measure – certainly a collectible in its own right.


A Cuppa Felix


Pam’s Pictorama: I bought this silver plate and enamel Felix cup for next to nothing on eBay a couple of years ago. I had not seen this piece and evidently I was the only person who was biting that day. Admittedly Felix is a bit damaged by someone who tried to polish this with paste, some of the enamel in his legs is missing. This is about as good as it polishes up without using paste, some of the silver plate having worn through in places.

Wonder if it was meant as a baby cup – lucky kid! No markings and perhaps he is a kissing cousin to the enamel spoons, although the Felix looks a bit different. I use it as a catch all on my bedside table where it tends to attract earrings missing a mate and seldom worn rings.

Felix has a winning grin here. It barely reads as Felix, yet is also immediately recognizable. This is British – no surprise. The Brits seem to have incorporated Felix into all sorts of decorative and household items. I think his ubiquitous presence is hard for us to imagine now. While one thinks of Mickey Mouse having a greater impact I sometimes wonder when I see these items as I examined in my former post Living the Felix Life and Spooning with Felix which highlights a not entirely dissimilar enameled Felix spoon.

As for me, I will always be happy to decorate with a little bit more early Felix.

Handy Felix


Pam’s Pictorama Toy Post: I have done much blogging about some of my more obscure Felix items (with more to come!) and this puppet is another. There are many items I pay up for, but my constant combing occasionally pays dividends with an item that is great and that no one else seems to want. This was one of those. I have never seen another puppet exactly like this it, and I bought it for a nominal amount uncontested on eBay many years ago. It interests me that the Steiff Felix puppet goes for a fortune and this little guy didn’t even earn a nibble. My good fortune.

I assume this is mostly likely one of those East London Toy Factory Felix toys that I wrote about last year. He most definitely has a handmade, slightly less than professional appeal. He is awkward to use – I realized this when trying to take his photo on my hand – and isn’t balanced quite right for ease of movement.

He is very endearing however and he instantly became a favorite of mine. I have not found an optimum way to display him. He hangs out with the other Felix dolls on the shelves, just folded in half. I like to take him down one in a while though – he looks well loved, and despite his flaws he was clearly a much loved and well used toy, which in turn was well preserved these many, many years. Thank you British child somewhere!

Kim Deitch, Jan. 26, 2016 at 7pm

Come one and all and hear my hubby, the amazing Kim Deitch!

New York Comics &Picture-story Symposium

The 141st meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 7pm at The New School, 66 West 12th Street, Room A510 (the Klein Conference Room). PLEASE NOTE: NEW LOCATION.  Free and open to the public.

Kim Deitch on a work in progress.
Kim Deitch will discuss and show samples of the book he’s been working on for the past three years.  It’s a pseudo autobiography in that almost nothing in it is true.  The over-riding theme is reincarnation — a concept  that the author has no firm convictions about one way or the other.

Kim Deitch has a reserved place at the first table of underground cartoonists. The son of UPA and Terrytoons animator Gene Deitch, Kim was born in 1944 and grew up around the animation business. He began doing comic strips for the East Village Other in 1967…

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Merry Christmas from Seth


Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: I have said it before and I will say it again – I am a very lucky girl! This great photo booth picture was a gift from my bro’ in-law, Seth Deitch. He posted it on Facebook a while back and seeing my enthusiasm, framed it up in this fantastic setting and sent it off to me where it sat under my proverbial (only) Christmas tree, waiting for me. Yay! I was hopping up and down when I opened it up.

In an odd way this photo immediately reminded me of one already in my collection, below.

tintype 1

Kim has done wonders lightening this tintype a bit. It is in rough shape and dark in the way that poorly developed tintypes are – the fixative never full set or rinsed. Nevertheless, it was so strange and interesting I purchased it. It is like a photo of a kid from another, somewhat but not quite similar planet rather than just the past. I believe it is European. The little boy is dressed like the archetype of a wealthy child from a certain period – short pants, but expensive coat and clothes in general, the beret at a jaunty angle, carefully placed. In addition to the faux Mickey I love the bear wearing the nice straw boater.

By contrast the kids on the top photo are wonderfully brash and look like they probably wandered into this photo booth at Coney Island or some place like it. The big brother, who would give his sister a hard time often, but on this occasion was the one to whip out the needed quarters to have this snap taken, his arm casually thrown over her shoulder. How lucky that she has her Mickey with her. They aren’t clearly wealthy like this earlier kid, but man, they’ve got the world on a string, they do.

Thank you again Seth!




The ABC’s of Kitties

School scene

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: I was watching this postcard on eBay and forgot about the auction. Kim noticed it coming up for auction and scored it for me as a Christmas gift. It is of a certain genre, but I never saw one very much like it before.

All three cats look peevish, including the one sitting on the shelf behind the little girl – what project have they been gotten into now?  The one on the lap of the boy thinking, “Okay – so it’s a cat. So what?” I generally refer to that as a piss cat expression in our house.

While I am sorry for these kitties, I cannot begin to catalogue all the games I made my cat play when I was a child. I remember putting a reluctant Snoopy (patient heavy-set male, white with black spots) in a baby carriage on myriad occasions. I also distinctly remember trying to balance the cat on the back of the German Shepard – circus animals! Without success of course. (And I used to try to ride the dog like a small pony – but I guess that is a dog story.) Still, that cat slept with me and remained game for whatever I stirred up as a kid. The dog followed me around faithfully (I’m sure I was good for dropping bits of food here and there) and would have ripped anyone who tried to hurt me in two.

Kim feels strongly that I should not dress the cats up and take their picture, despite an equally strong desire on my part. I guess you never really grow up. However, I’m sure Cookie and Blackie thank Kim for saving them from that indignity.

Felix and the Gang

Felix and gang

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get more of my Felix photos onto this blog. While organizing and recording them was one of the prime motives behind starting it, I realized recently that I have barely scratched the surface of my collection in this area. I have allowed myself to travel down many tributaries, but 2016 will be the year of Felix photos!

There is something a bit homemade about the Felix doll this very lively group is posing with here. One of my never-ending fascinations with Felix toys and photos is the huge variation of the off-model Felix-es one sees. Mickey Mouse can have a similar quality but Disney sat on pikers pretty quick and hard so there is less to choose from. But Felix, hand-made in factories in England, tends to have a wide variety of expression – most often goofy, sometimes downright insane.

Each and every person in this group, shown in their period swimming togs, seems to be enjoying this photo and their day at the beach. Even the fully suited gent in the back is smiling on them. The sun is glinting in and it looks like a raucously good time at the beach today.

Belle of the Basement

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post:  Recently an unusual responsibility fell to me at work and I found myself in the basement of a large and beautiful apartment building in Manhattan, and at one point was required to wait patiently in the storage room in the sub-basement while a member of the (copious) staff looked for a storage locker which I was required to check to make sure it was empty. I was standing with my colleagues, and admiring how much nicer the storage area of this building was (as is every other aspect of the building) than my humble abode across Central Park on the other side of the island, when the photo above caught my attention.

The photo is very large, about 3/4 life size and there are small inscriptions all across it which appear to be birthday greetings. The photo is just sort of stuck up there, behind a pipe or two holding it up. I snapped a photo with my phone and was interrupted by our escort before I could get a second, better or closer picture. On the way out of the basement, James, a photographer and an equally curious member of my party, asked the building staffer what he knew about the photo. He told us that the building was constructed where a theater had stood for many years, the woman in the photo was an actress who had frequently acted on that stage. Sadly, he didn’t know anything else about her.

Based on the address, I found photos of the theater, The Century, below. It was built in 1909 and torn down in ’30. Evidently doomed from the first, it was apparent that the acoustics were terribly flawed immediately. That combined with a location that was more than a mile north of what was already dubbed the theater district, it is somewhat amazing it last as long as it did.

I am left to wonder – so, she played at the theater and then what? Rented an apartment in the building? Otherwise, why did her photo turn up there? We will probably never know. Nonetheless, she is not forgotten and enjoyed on a daily basis by the staff of the building and those residents who visit their storage in the basement.


Century Theater Stage


Century Theater Exterior

Army Cats


Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: I don’t believe that I have ever before been compelled to copy out the eBay listing for an item wholesale, but this one was quite interesting and contains information that is nowhere to be found on this card:

Original RPPC photo of a trooper of I Troop, 4th Cavalry holding two cats at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, circa 1913-1915.

Photo from Corporal Edward W. Lewis, S/N 731612. Lewis was born in 1888 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and worked as a miner there before WWI. From 1913-1915 he was in I Troop, 4th Cavalry in Hawaii. Later he was in the 6th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division in France from 1918-1919. After WWI he settled in Massillon, Ohio.

From the archives of the World War History & Art Museum (WWHAM) in Alliance, Ohio. WWHAM designs and delivers WWI and WWII exhibits to other rmuseums. Our traveling exhibits include Brushes With War, a world class collection of 325 original paintings and drawings by soldiers of WWI, and Iron Fist, an HO scale model of the German 2nd Panzer Division in 1944 with 4,000 vehicles and 15,000 men.

So it seems to be part of a de-accessioning for the above museum and of course, I love it because it fits so nicely into a Men and Cats theme which runs loosely through my blog! (These include but are not limited to: A Man and His CatMen and Cats, and Men in Hats with Cats.)

Somehow one doesn’t really think about Hawaii in WWI (as opposed to the big role it got in WWII), but of course the war was there too. I wonder what this long-ago Pennsylvania boy thought of Hawaii? Surely the army in Hawaii must have offered some advantages over the mines of Pennsylvania, although home is home and he was very far away. France followed Hawaii for him. I am glad we know he made it through and settled in Ohio – maybe keeping cats there and thinking of his army kits. These are two great scrappy kitties, barely out of kittenhood, but ready to take on the world. A striper and a tuxedo – tops in my book! Give them the enemy, Germans or mice, and let them at ’em!

Bonne Annee 2016

Girl and goose

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: The New Year celebration of 2016 continues with this unusual card. This one is a shout out to my mother, Betty, who has devoted considerable effort to the conservation and care of swans. I bought the card for her.

The swan ringing in the New Year with the good luck horse shoe could symbolize any number of things – love, beauty, and transformation to name a few that would work for New Year’s wishes. (Horse shoe is upside down, allowing the luck to run out, but perhaps the French don’t buy that part of the symbolic reading?)

This little girl has a pretty devilish look. She’s got that swan rigged up like a goat cart here, transporting her flowers. She knows stuff about the coming year – not sure we want to know what however. The card was sent, but the stamp and cancellation have been lost. On the back, written in a beautiful script is, Bons Souhaits to tous Marie Coissart (Good Wishes to you) and a lovely little sticker with a pink bow on the address side which says Mes meilleurs voeux (Best wishes).

For a bird that represents such lofty symbolism, the mute swan gets a bad rap in general. Everyone’s first reaction is to say they are mean, and the more scientific critics will mutter things about them not being indigenous. As some of you may have read in past posts, Betty spent years rescuing injured swans, but also fighting against movements to slaughter them in areas where they are not wanted.

My experience of swans is that, if not guarding a nest, they are no more or less nasty than any other wild animal – perhaps because of their beauty we hold them to a higher standard? I can think of many occasions that required my mother to handle them. (Not that I am suggesting that you try this – experienced people do take precautions such as gloves and goggles when helping an injured animal.) Meanwhile, horses aren’t indigenous to this country either and I hear no talk of the value of eradicating them.

If you want to feed a swan, use something like corn – hunks of bread are even worse for them than they are for human waistlines. Frequently my mother gets calls about swans poking around for food – often in garbage areas. Invariably it is a swan whose wings have been pinioned (to keep them from flying away from a manmade pond) but left in ponds without sufficient food to support them. Strange that some folks are killing them and others are trying to keep them in a pond they have made – yes?