Thursday, July 29, 2021

Invaders From Planet Q!

 ...or maybe it should be Planet Corn!...or Planet Sugar!

It doesn't really matter what planet you're talking about, though, in 1965 there WAS an invasion of grocery store cereal this guy!

Yes, Quisp became the hottest cereal in the U.S.! He and his frenemy Quake proceeded to mesmerize a generation of sugary cereal eaters (kids, mainly) And I was one of them!

Quisp and Quake were produced by General Mills. The characters were by Jay Ward of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame. What did they taste like? Well, first you have to realize that the were actually the same cereal in different shapes. Quisp was little flying saucers (no, they didn't really fly...unless you flung them at your little brother) and Quake was shaped like...Qs. They were pretty much baked corn paste and sugar. Think Capn' Crunch. Still, people swear that although they were very much like the good Capn's cereal, they were slightly different. I concur that they didn't "burn" the roof of your mouth like Capn; Crunch does. 

Ok, from the get-go Quisp had the edge over poor ol' Quake. He had the flying saucers. He had the cool propeller. Heck, he was a stinkin' ALIEN! Quake was a miner that had a pick-axe..and Qs'. This edge was important because in the early 70s kids were asked to vote which character they liked better and Quisp won handily. Unfortunately this meant that Quake was discontinued (who knew kids had so much power?). They tried to bring Quake back by making him an Australian and giving him an orange kangaroo. The new cereal was called Orange Quangeroos, and it went over about as well as it sounds like it should. Quisp-2, Quake- zip.  

What happened to good ol' Quisp then? Why don't we still see him on shelves everywhere? Well, in the late 70s his popularity waned. He met the same fate as his friend (Quisp-2, Quake-1 if you're keeping track). And that was that...

Except it wasn't. The internet came along and General Mills decided to market Quisp online! The shipping kept me away (wow, it was expensive!) and I still was Quispless. They they started doing "pop-up" stores in places like Target. The stores would get a limited run of Quisp and when they sold out, they were sold out for good! (or at least until the next "pop-up." This is when I got my boxes of Quisp! I gobbled them up with the gusto of a middle aged man reliving his childhood! Was it still as good? 

Yes. Yes it was.

Anyway, they had a mail in offer for the Funko bobble head and he's been on my office shelf ever since. Taunting me really. Because there hasn't been a pop-up store in a long long time. Sigh...

Until next time Keep searching for treasure (and Quisp!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Pistol Packin' Pampers

 Ok...they aren't really Pampers. But my item for this week IS related. This is what I have:

That "gold plated" shootin' iron is only about 2 and a half inches long. The holster is made out of real leather, though. So what is the tie in? 

Yep! It came on a pair of Diaper Jeans!

Diaper Jeans were invented by Martha Treadway in the early 1950's, and in 1957 they opened a factory in my home town of Denison, Texas. What could be more Texan than jean diapers with a six gun? Not much. 

I found the ad on the ol' interwebs. I also found an example. Here they are:

As you can see, the holster was attatched with a brad to the jeans, and the loop on the gun went through a loop on the jeans. It would make it pretty tough to fast draw, but since most of the hombres were struggling to walk, it probably wasn't a big issue.

Diaper Jeans were made into the 1960s, so they and I overlap. I never had any, though. I found the gun in a little antique shop. They didn't know the history of it, and I went ahead and bought it for a couple of bucks.

I think it's pretty neat, in a weird way. It certainly speaks to the western heritage of Denison, and to the cowboy craze that swept the country in the 50s. Now, I'm sure someone would get all bent out of shape about it, but back then everyone knew it was just good fun. 

They haven't made them in quite a while, so if you want your baby packing heat, you'll have to buy a vintage pair. But, my baby girl is 31 so I just keep it on the mantle where it's nice and safe!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Hoisting the Jolly Rodger!

 As a kid, I loved all the wacky "show cars" from the 60s. Actually, the wackier, the better! Ed Roth, Tom Daniel and George Barris were my heroes. They could take a crazy idea and turn it into something insanely cool!

But what happens when someone who isn't a car designer decides to create a car? Someone who, say, oversees the model car division of a national hobby company. Like...AMT....

You might well get something like this:

Yep. The story I was told is that a boss at AMT wanted to use some existing molds to create a new model, so he picked up a car and a ship, stuck them together and said, "We'll do this!" Is that true? Heck, I don't know, but it is certainly possible.

The Jolly Rodger is a show car that never should have been. It went to the edge of credibility and plowed right over, without ever looking back. Where other models have had full size cars built of them, I'm pretty sure The Rodger never has. Why? It's kind of stupid.

Let's take another look:

Ok, that's not really any better. As you can see, the front of the car is a fairly standard rod. (An Olds touring car, actually. I'll explain how I know that later). The back is...well...a pirate ship. The ship part doesn't even seem to fit on the chassis real well. The rear wheels are almost in the middle of the...vehicle. 

Another look? Sure:

The rear of the car shows the lantern tail lights (which actually just hang on the back. No glue!). They are probably the coolest part of the ship section. You can also see the completely useless dingy, and you're looking down the twin cannon (that would, in all honesty, but fun in traffic).

What? A front view? Sure!:

Now we get to something interesting. The front of the car is actually a TV star! Yep, as it turns out, it comes from the AMT Beverly Hillbillies truck! It uses the parts Jethro added to turn it into a hot rod (you could build either version). That's how I know it's an Olds touring car. That's what George Barris used to create the truck. That also means that a car designer had at least something to do with the design. But not much.

By the way, the factory paint job on the Jolly Rodger didn't help its appearance. Here it is:

Yuck! Cream? Really? I went with a black and gold scheme that, I think, looks better. I also left off the hood because...well, it couldn't hurt. I also left off the saily bits in front because there is a limit to how stupid I was willing to go. 

So, there you go. A truly stupid car. Why did I buy and build it? I was drawn to it because it was so outlandish. Was it worth messing with? Probably not, but it was kind of fun. 

So, I guess the moral is if you like something, you can even appreciate really bad examples of it. Even this bad.

Until next time, keep searching for (buried?) treasure!

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Mars Attacks!

 When people find out that you're a collector, they sometimes just give stuff to you! Really! Case in point: this attractive fellow from the 1996 release Mars Attacks!

Mars Attacks! was a Tim Burton movie based on a trading cards. I saw it when it first came out, and I have to admit that I found it...different. It's s pretty dark comedy and satirical send up of 1950s sci-fi B movies. Upon second viewing, I found it pretty funny (especially Tom Jones).

When it came out, the market was flooded with toys and collectibles. The movie didn't do quite as well as they hoped, and the collectibles flew back to Mars pretty quickly. Except for a few. Like this guy!

A friend in my rocket club gifted him to me a few years ago. Since it was still in the blister pack, I just kept him there. He has stood on my bookcase, plotting the destruction of the word, ever since. 

Of course this begs some questions. For example, what did his button do before the batteries died? Exactly what does a Chaos Ray do? (it "shoots" apparently). If I open him and put fresh batteries in him, will I accidently bring about the end of the world? That would be a bummer. 

Well, we'll never know, because I'm not going to risk it! He can go right back on my shelf and brood all by himself. The world is safe! Yay!

As he would say, "ACK, ACK, ACK, ACK, ACK!"*

*"Keep searching for treasure!"