Sunday, January 29, 2023

Astro-Pinups!

Nothing naughty, mind you! The good Major at Gorillas Don't Blog has a feature where he goes through "Stuff From the Box." Munch of that "stuff" is pinback buttons. This inspired me to share buttons that I have on my "Rocket Flyin' Hat." These aren't all the pins I have on there, but they're the most interesting....

So, for the first (and probably only) time, I give you "Stuff From the Hat!"


First, you can't fly a TWA Moonliner without a Junior Pilot badge!


Yep, I got mine and here it goes!
The pin is probably from the 1960s. Pretty much a guess, but I think that's close.


Next, we have a large SpaceLand Ranger badge! This short lived amusement park was located in Long Island, NY. Al Hodge, of Captian Video fame was the main investor. It was a neat idea, but only lasted about two years. Therefore, this badge is pretty rare. It's from 1958.


When the Soviet Union fell, there was suddenly a whole lot of Soviet stuff on the market. This is a small pin from 1971 celebrating the first human in space, Yuti Gagarin. His ship looked pretty much nothing like the rocket on the pin...Which looks a lot like the Moonliner!


Now this Soviet pin is a bit of a mystery. It celebrates the world's first man made object in orbit, Sputnik in 1957. I assumed it was made years later, but I've found sources that insist it's actually from 1957. I'm not exactly convinced, though...


This tiny Eddie Rickenbacker "Hat in the Ring" pin came out of Kellogg's Pep Cereal from the 1940s. Mine isn't in great shape, but it's still pretty cool!


Finally, we have two modern pins that don't really go together...but they should. I bought these a couple of years apart (Snoopy first, and the the Fokker). This is a tribute to my spending my dad's quarters in the jukebox at the Denison, Texas Dairy Queen to listen to the Royal Guardsmen's masterpiece.

So there you go! I hope you enjoyed the tour of some of my hat! 

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Monday, January 23, 2023

X Marks the Spot

 In it's golden age, Disney had a host of geniuses known as "Imagineers." These were people that were called upon personally by Walt Disney to create the experiences in his new Disneyland park. They often came from an artistic background, but were pushed into areas that they never knew they could do. The results were extraordinary to say the least! Some say the reason is that they were too na├»ve to know that they weren't supposed to be able to do what they did. They played fast and loose with the "rules of amusement parks" because they simply didn't know them. 

Now there might be a good deal of truth to that, but I think the real reason is that they were simply so creative that they were able to "change lanes" into other areas without much difficulty. In short- they were just that good. 

One of my favorite Imagineers (it's not nerdy to have a favorite, is it?) Is Xavier Atencio. He was an artist that suddenly found himself writing the script for The Pirate Ride (later called Pirates of the Caribbean) with no writing experience at all. But when Walt wants you to do something- you do it!

Later, X was responsible for the writing duties on The Haunted Mansion. Yep, he wrote the words for what I consider to be the top Imagineering accomplishments ever! And all the while doubting his own abilities.

I don't have many Imagineer autographs, but I do have two from Mr. Atencio. Here they are!


This is a signed print of some artwork that almost, but not quite, made it into the Mansion. The shadow piano player survived, but the other players had to find another side gig. 

And this is a signed 4x6 photo that I got a little artistic with. I printed the custom mat with lyrics from Grim Grinning Ghosts, which he wrote, of course.

These are on my office wall, along with my 1968 Disneyland map, a sliver of wood from Walt's first California workshop, and a signed picture from one of my other favorites:

Also Haunted Mansion (or Museum of the Weird) themed!

By the way, one thing that I really like about X Atencio is that in every interview I see of him, he just seems to be so darn nice! Unfortunately, I never got to meet him. He passed away in 2017. I remember being pretty sad that day. Still, his work continues to bring joy to millions, and I have a feeling he's still feeling good about that.

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Rifling Through the Attic

 This week we have something a little different. A few months ago my step-dad, Charles, presented me with a gun that he said his dad (my Grandpa Irwin) had given him. Grandpa Irwin's across the street neighbor had given it to him earlier.

Now this isn't some huge hunting rifle, or revolver. In fact, at only 30 inches long, it looks exactly like a toy. And it was, in a way.

Here it is:


By using my excellent detective skills (I read the writing stamped on the side and Googled it), I was able to discover that this is a Hamilton No. 27 Boy's Gun. It is chambered for .22 rounds, and is a single shot rifle. It was made somewhere between 1909 and 1930 (probably) and is one of over 500,000 made. 


The writing that made my research a lot easier...


The other side. There is some pretty good pitting in the metal, but the gun is sound.

To open the breech, you simply lift the lever on the side. It will hold .22 short or long rifle. The safety is that you have to manually pull the hammer back to fire it.

So this is literally a rifle that was built as a teaching toy. The idea is that once a kid became responsible enough to handle this small gun well, he could graduate up to larger, more powerful weapons. 

In my exhaustive 10 minute research dive, I found these advertisements...


I'm not sure what's exactly "military type" about this rifle. If our military had been given these slow loading, tiny rifles, they would have been in big trouble!


Here it is in a Sears catalog. These rifles were mass produced in Michigan (home of mass manufacturing), so the prices could be lower. 

Here we see that kids could even earn them as prizes for selling! I tried selling Christmas cards once for prizes. I "won" a box of Christmas cards that no one wanted... Regardless, a gun was not an option for selling them.

So, it would seem my step-dad gifted me a real slice of American history! It would be interesting to know its story before it was given to his dad, but we'll never know. I've never fired it, but it certainly seems sound so I would like to someday. This little gun really means a lot to me- mainly because of the person that gave it to me.

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Going Coo-Coo!

 This week we're going to look at something that it seemed like every den had when I was growing up, but that now has gone the way of the dodo. I am, of course, talking about the coo-coo!

I remember as a kid waiting for that little bird to pop out of the clock and loving that coo-coo sound! I was easily amused, I guess. Still, it's such a nice memory that a few years ago I turned to eBay to get my own!

The one I got was not expensive. It only has the one bird function (no It's a Small World theatrics) and is a 24 hour clock. Oh look- here it is!


Hanging in it's place on our paneled den wall!

Most coo-coo clocks are made in the Black Forest region of Germany. They haven't changed the design in a couple of centuries. This one, however, we can date fairly easily. On the back it says, "Made in Germany- US Zone." That means it was after WWII, but before the United States had transferred authority back to Germany. That dates it between 1945 and 1955. Pretty neat!


This is on one side. I tgink the movable panel slides over the bellows to mute the sound- some. But I could be wrong.


Here's the star of the show! His beak is jointed so it moves as he goes in and out. The wire over the door can be swung down so the door won't open and the bird won't sound. Pretty nice, really. By the way, please excuse the dust! 


A closeup of the dial. The bottom of the dial reads "Made in Germany." Note that there's no "West" yet. I think that might date it to around 1946 to 1948 since Germany was split in 1949. 

By the way, if you want to know how to adjust a coo-coo clock here's how! The "leaf" on the pendulum slides up and down. Down- the clock runs slower. Up- the clock runs faster! That's all there is to it!

I've had my clock for a few years now and really enjoy it! It makes me happy and that's what stuff in your house should do.

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Lovin' a Bug!

 I mean "Volkswagen" you silly people! 

Last summer I picked up a case of small cars (mainly Matchbox, but with a couple Hot wheels and a Corgi Jr) from a lady off of Facebook Marketplace. She lived a couple of miles from my house, and although I probably overpaid a little, I was glad to get a local find!

In that case was a poor, misused little Matchbox Bug named....Hermy. You see, he couldn't be named the more famous name because no fees were paid to Disney. In fact, I made up "Hermy!" Anyway, this little car was released in 1968 right before Disney released The Love Bug and it's obviously supposed to tie into the film. However, instead of Herbie's "53," Hermy wears "137."

Anyway, Hermy was in tough shape. How tough? Well, here he is!




As you can see, Hermy had a few tough scrapes. Whatever kid played with him was not too forgiving. Hermy needed help. 

Now there are a couple of ways I could repaint him. I could drill out the rivets on the bottom and take him apart, or I could carefully used masking tape to mask off all "non-white" areas and hope for the best. I decided for option two because I wasn't sure how to take him apart. You see, even though I have drilled quite a few other cars, Hermy has a secret. It's this:


If you look closely you can see two tiny pins next to the front axel. These are a mechanism that turns the wheels when you push down on one side or the other. How does it work? Heck, I don't know. And that's why I didn't want to take him apart. I'm not sure how to get him back together!

So, I sat down with some tweezers and little bits of masking tape and went to work. How did he turn out? See for yourself!





I masked around his number so I didn't have to replace it...



Oh look! He's stopping at the church next to the bank (giggle giggle, snort!)

So, I think he turned out pretty well! Sometimes the reward after the effort you put into bringing something "back to life" is all the treasure you need!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!