The Royal Oracle of Tailors

Pam’s Pictorama Post: Although I generally keep my advertising purchases to cat related items, I tossed this onto a photo order I made on Instagram over the summer. This is an odd little bit of advertising lore which has evidently long outlasted the company. (I was unable to find any reference to the Royal Tailors online, despite their more than 57 years in business, as per the brag of this card, and an obvious love of robust advertising.)

No city of origin is mentioned in this pamphlet which might have helped as it is a phrase which brings up a lot about a Korean serial drama of the same name. Very nominal references seem to exist for it in the 1920’s out of Chicago and New York, although they boast about a presence in cities all over the country. As printed on the back, this particular item seems to have been handed out by Carl Mee, 104 E. Rockwood Avenue, Rockwood – this may be Rockwood, PA according to Ms. Google.

On the cover slightly dwarfish men labor over the handmade suits, one at the bottom presents some fabric options to a well-dressed customer. The spinner on the front lands on a variety of oracle answers which are interspersed with gems like Yes, on schedule and no disappointments and Royal Tailor suit to individual measure for $30. They claimed to be in 10,000 cities and given their advertising flair I am surprised not to find traces of old advertising for them aside from this. Perhaps someone could search it better than I have.

The idea is that you choose a question inside and then spin the arrow on the outside to have it answered. (Kim says it almost works and I would say that it is a surprisingly accurate description.) I find the sheer amount of imagination and effort wonderful. Inside we get four jolly and sartorially impressive gents going on about their well-dressed business throughout the four seasons – sporting a tennis racket for summer, an overcoat in winter and just some blowing leaves and a bird on a branch to suggest the remaining two. On the back, a less dwarfish (and less interesting) man appears to admire himself in his Royal Tailor suit.

I will also point out that inside, in a childish hand, To Viola Green is written in pencil. On the back in the same scrawl it says, Walter Heerd. A gift from Walter to Viola? As a kid I would have thought it a pretty nifty one, I admit Walter might have gotten over on me this way. Was it Viola who kept it these many years?

For me the world is a less interesting one without advertising efforts such as these, although perhaps I am just not the target audience for what does exist. As a tot my dad would bring me light up trucks from Hess Gas to my delight – dishes, mugs and whatnot wandered in the door from all sorts of vendors clamoring for our attention. Banks not only offered lollipops (a practice I would like to lobby them to consider a return to), but all sorts of enticements for opening savings accounts, checking, or (my favorite) the Christmas Club savings accounts which helped you put money away for holiday gift buying. I seem to remember getting some nice little version of a special holiday passbook for that. (Despite the seemingly political incorrectness of Christmas Clubs they evidently still exist today – online versions, but still under a Christmas moniker.)

From the same lot I will return to some cat advertising in a near future post. If you cannot wait a past cat post can be found by clicking on: Crinkle Cat.