Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: Those of us who dabble in the world of toy effigies of cartoon and comic book characters are well aware of how, contemporaneously anyway, Krazy Kat lagged a bit in the bid for toy fame and remunerative reproduction and merchandise. Even in animation, there’s appears to be a smattering of ancient silent cartoons that provide a reasonable representation of Krazy – and a mass of later cartoons which bare no resemblance to him in appearance or temperament, but which are great fun nonetheless.
And in parallel there are a very thin number of toys dedicated to or derived from the strip. There is one stuffed toy figure of Krazy from his hey day which is oddly (appropriately perhaps?) abstract and came in several different colors ranging from acid green to an equally shocking purple. (There is another which attempts a greater three dimensional reading of him. I own examples of both, shown below.)
However, all this to say that while the two dolls (yes, two, the man on the end holds one as does the girl in the middle which is harder to see) bear an interesting resemblance to those dolls they are somehow even further abstracted. Homemade versions of those already odd dolls? They look slightly demonic and the mystery as to why these folks had their photo taken with them as part of the family (while taking a mountainous hike) is a mystery lost to time indeed. (Although I do have other photos with folks featuring themselves with Krazy Kat dolls and those can be found here and here.)
This photo postcard was sold to me by someone in Massachusetts and it is unused and unmarked on the back. Without knowing definitively we can probably assume that this was taken in the United States. The older woman on the end and the young one next to her are smiling, but frankly the rest of the group is a bit grim, toys on display or not. Visually I like the contrast of the one woman in black tights and the other in white, both in plaid dresses. One doll is dark and the other light as well.
The seller identified these dolls as Felix and said he is in the process of selling off his Felix collection in retirement. I guess it’s a fair argument that these were intended to be Felix rather than Krazy as they don’t really look like either. Meanwhile, these dolls appear to have been designed to (arguably?) address us with a raised middle finger – a strange choice for a toy. Huh. The other hand points down. The simple toothy grin and the pointy ears contribute to the somewhat malevolent look which is born out more in the expression of the light one rather than the dark.
Obscene gesture or not, I would happily snatch these fellows up for the Pictorama collection should they ever turn up.