Lucky Pup?

Pam’s Pictorama Toy Post: For someone who collects cats I think there is significant evidence that I have a pretty big gushy spot for the right dog as well. This was a birthday buy and I would say, strangely, that birthdays seem to end in dog buying. I guess I can only say that if you try to shop for cats and there are dogs this is the result.

This little Steiff canine appeared at my favorite haunt, The Antique Toy Shop New York in Chelsea, still gamely doing business while several floors of that market are renovated. (A link to the site for his store can be found here.) The weekend after my birthday, Kim and I headed over to their new digs, in a space right next to the old one, but about twice as big. Below is a photo of the new space off the Instagram account since I wasn’t prescient enough to take a few photos while I was there.

Jean-Pol Ventugol, proprietor, is a like-minded toy enthusiast and his shop is the best game in town I know of for vintage toys these days. He runs heavily toward rather beautiful toy race cars and rather outstanding robot toys, but lots of lovely items of Pictorama-type interest are tucked into cabinets and corners. (He and I discussed the size of our apartment, aka Deitch Studio, and I told him the main room is about the size of his shop.)

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Speaking of dogs, check out those splendid papier mâché French bulldogs behind the counter! I had a nice chat about those fellows as I have always wanted one. (Although frankly there is a huge version which it is, of course, of the most interest to me.) I call them Growlers, which Jean-Pol clearly did not approve of. He gave me a quick history on them – if I remember correctly he said they began being made in the 1890’s and they continued to make them into the 1950’s. They are on wheels and open their mouths to growl when a chain is pulled. Small children were prone to trying to ride them which was the demise of many it seems – I do understand the inclination. Jean-Pol had several of these dogs from different periods. Tempting indeed, especially the oldest of them, but taxing beyond even a birthday budget for this year. More post-birthday purchases from The Antique Toy Shop New York will be forthcoming in the near future.

This extremely intelligent looking canine was one of two versions of similar dogs, this was the larger one and I knew he would come home with us right away. He retains the button in his ear, so tiny it is hard to see. He has the remnant of a tag behind one leg as well. In addition to the intelligent look in his eyes (something I feel like Steiff figured out somehow) there is the fine work and coloring around his snout that makes his mouth expressive as well. The rhinestone collar is a nice touch. It was a very French bulldog kind of day I would say in retrospect.

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He brought to mind a small dog toy I bought in Paris years ago and I show here as well. They are quite different, but there is something about both that spoke to me. I guess it is representative of my canine aesthetic.

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As for The Lucky Pup – it is a television show Kim remembers from childhood. The Lucky Pup and his cohorts (Foodini the Great and Pinhead?) were puppets on a CBS television show which may have morphed to ABC at some point, over the years of 1948-1951. (The opening credits for that ancient show can be found on Youtube here.) Kim recounted his memory of it – stirred to the top of consciousness by our dog today I gather. It created a brief tributary and flurry of research as I wrote this morning so I thought I would share it and tell this little fellow we have great hopes for him now that he is a denizen of Deitch Studio.

 

Scram!

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Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: This is a silly little photo and it came out of an album with several others taken in the same spot in this year – Mom, a little sister – them together. The others are just random family photos, but this one charmed me.

It speaks entirely for itself – the lawn animals are entertaining in their own right. However, the addition of the little boy, in that miniature, grown-up chair holding that splendid stuffed Scotty – that so perfectly matching the lawn ornament – is what makes it great. The fact that the lawn cat is a tuxedo does not hurt in my estimation either.

Although I collect toy cats, I am the first to say that there is a superior variety and selection of stuffed dogs in the world and sometimes I can hardly contain myself. However, there may be something a bit telling in the fact (ahem) that they also generally seem to sell for less. (While that is the cat collector in me speaking, it is an honest observation.) It must be said, and as devoted readers may remember, my own favorite toy as a child was a stuffed dog, Squeaky, who has featured in two prior posts. (For the curious, one of those can be found here at Felix on an Outing.) My only cat companions were living ones, as much as I wish I could share a photo of a tiny me with a stuffed cat toy.

I have been enticed by dog pull-toys, Bonzo (who I have given into collecting in a small way) and of course various just nice stuffed ones. And I remember being very tempted indeed by a Scotty dog much like this one, in splendid shape, being offered for a reasonable price at an antiques mall in Red Bank, NJ. Toy collectors who live in small studio apartments must be very thoughtful about expanding their sphere of collecting however. Perhaps buying this photo has satisfied that latent yen. On the other hand, much like mice, maybe the cat toys need a dog or two to keep them on their toes.

Felix on an Outing

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: Those of you who are regular readers (or among Kim’s Facebook friends) will know of my ongoing passion for photos of Felix as a prop for beach photos. It is pretty much the cornerstone of my photo collecting, and makes up the bulk of my collection. This is one of two recent acquisitions in this area and I especially like it because the Felix toy does not appear to be a prop just for the photo. Instead this seems to be a much beloved toy, taking a trip to the beach with this little boy who is grasping him firmly in his arms. (Understandable – Felix does have a tendency to run off. See my recent post, Felix on a Leash for more on this. Felix joins another family photo in Felix Family Photo.) Written on the back, Dear All – hope you are all well  having a nice time weather glorious – Best love to all Ronie. (Could also be signed Rorrie.) Oddly, there is no stamp or postmark so if it was mailed it was in an envelope. Therefore, no date either. We’ll have to assume that Ronie/Rorrie expected that everyone knew the little nipper on the front of the card and did not comment on him, or Felix, in particular.

It is of some interest to me that our parents seem to mostly take photos of us with beloved toys when the toys are new. You rarely see a photo of a child holding some really ratty old toy that he or she has been dragging around with them forever. Yet, in some ways that torn-up, faded toy with the food stains, is the one that lives on in memory. Although I guess in our mind’s eye we still see them shining and new. I offer a photo here of me with my stuffed dog, Squeaky, when he was freshly new and immediately adored. And, of course, a photo of Squeaky today. He lives a careful life on a bookshelf now, He now longer squeaks, but his long-lashed brown eyes still open and close. Squeaky saw a lot of miles early in life and we are glad that he is enjoying his retirement here in the apartment with us.

Pam w: SqueakySqueaky in 2015