Tableta Okal

Pam’s Pictorama Post: This very odd bit came up on eBay recently and it was decidedly more interesting than good. There seems to be something of an influx of Spanish related Felix items being sold be an American seller or sellers and I have dabbled a bit, but mostly watched from the sidelines. I did purchase and write about Periquito, the Spanish Felix of Chocolate Cards awhile back, and recently a different line of chocolate cards has also appeared which may eventually lure me in. There’s also a brand of very appealing and rarified off-model Felix decorated tin toys which is extremely high end. Unlikely I will add any of those to my collection, although I never say never. I have wondered if the item featured in The Strangeness of French Betty and Felix (and shown below) while purchased in Paris and wooden, not tine, wasn’t actually of this origin, but it is without maker’s mark so I cannot say for sure.

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As many of you Spanish speakers probably already realize, this card actually advertises a children’s laxative. Ick! It has employed the double whammy of invoking Mickey Mouse’s shape along with (a version of shall we say?) of Felix playing an accordion. Since children, Spanish or otherwise, don’t tend to buy their own laxative I wonder a bit at the practice.  We will assume if asked Disney and Sullivan wouldn’t have approved of it. I have devoted many posts to the various ways that Felix was pressed into service by ambitious advertisers of generations past. Meanwhile, this item is also a clear descendent of the Victorian trade cards I have written about, although clearly not so lovingly lithographed as those in Bogue’s Soap.

Gratefully I do not remember a parallel item in my childhood. I do remember bubble bath in child friendly character containers, which is clearly far more benign. By the time my brother, almost seven years younger than me, arrived on the scene advertising tie ins had graduated to child themed cereals – Count Chocula being an example and vitamins in the shape of, if I remember correctly, The Flintstones. Of course we live in a different world of advertising (well, of almost everything I sometimes think) and we now have everything from Gummy Bear Hair Vitamins and melatonin (thank you Eileen for pointing those out recently) to Choco Chimps Organic cereal, which I guess has taken the place of the aforementioned Count Chocula? Caveat emptor I say! But let the collecting continue.

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Felix Sells

Pam’s Pictorama: Today I am breaking my own blog rules to bring you a Felix post on a subject I find interesting, but unlike my usual posts, I (sadly) do not own any of the photos or items shown in this post about the brief history of the Winslow B. Felix Chevrolet dealership in Los Angeles.

Living on the other side of the country, I have never had the pleasure of seeing the neon Felix sign in person. As a collector of Felix images I have been aware of it for many years and wouldn’t mind making a pilgrimage one of these days. However, it is the early images of this advertising relationship that really provokes my interest. Shown above, an envelope (currently for sale on eBay as I write this) with an impressive Felix logo. Postmarked November 10, 1938, with two cents metered postage and addressed to the Southern California Telephone Co. (begging the question, why and how did it get saved?) it got me thinking a bit. By coincidence, Kim had just pulled the photo below off of Pinterest to show me and share on Facebook so we had just been discussing the dealership.

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This is quite curious, the woman, holding a package, is posing in front of the post office, with this wonderful Felix who not only has the Chevrolet sign across his tummy, but boasts, Order Yours from FelixI doubt the post office was planning on delivering them, but this three-way advertising bonanza remains a visually pleasing mystery to me as well.

As far as I can gather, it seems the story of the Felix Chevrolet advertising goes something along the lines of this: Winslow B. Felix was a bit of a genius at inventing advertising and selling ploys for his dealership. As the inventor of sales innovations such as the two-day trial for new cars, asking his friend Pat Sullivan for the use of Felix the Cat’s image for advertising – the deal sweetened with the gift of a new car – was a natural. Soon after Felix makes his first appearance on behalf of Chevrolet in 1923 with signs, stationary, statues and who knows what all evolved that is lost to us. Shown below is another one of his advertising tableaus snatched from the Google image file.

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Sadly, a victim of living the high life, Winslow Felix died of head injuries following a polo accident in 1923. He was only 42 years old. Clearly his marketing lives on today. Apologies for the sort of dreadful photo of him below – he deserves better – but it was the only one the internet coughed up for my use.

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