The 1945 GREEN LAMA “ESCAPO” Trick kit, a glorious wartime premium!

December 16th, 2010 by Larry Zdeb
The Green Lama comic book ad

Green Lama Club comic book ad

GREEN LAMA comic book premiums are super rare, only one complete “Playing Card Trick” kit and three complete “Escapo” kits are known to exist! (I just added another known kit, an original owner wrote me telling me about his complete “Escapo” kit, with HIS name on the envelope!) Another code letter, membership card (#2993) & “Escapo” trick exists but it is missing the envelope. A handful of individual membership cards exist and another variant of the “ESCAPO” trick is known with slightly different text.

The first advertisement for the “Escapo” kit was in the “Spark Publications” comic book “Green Lama” # 2, February 1945. (It was not offered in the first issue!)

The picture seen here was a full page advertisement in “Green Lama” #4, from June of 1945. The ad begins with a code, “FTQ SDQQZ XMYM EMKE NGK IMD NAZPE MZP EFMYB RAD HUOFADK! Join the GREEN LAMA CLUB and you can read the above message – code #13. Not only do you receive the GREEN LAMA’S personal secret code, but as a member of the INNER CIRCLE, you will have the opportunity of receiving special tricks. Fill out the coupon below. Join the GREEN LAMA CLUB and learn to do the tricks that THE MAN OF STRENGTH performs. Ten cents brings you a membership card, the Green Lama Secret Code and the amazing GREEN LAMA MAGIC TRICK – ESCAPO.”

A smaller ad appeared in issue #6 from August of 1945 without the code information. Issue 6 is entitled “The Green Lama Smashes A Plot Against America.”

1945 Green Lama Escapo Trick comic book premium

1945 Green Lama Escapo Trick comic book premium

The kit consists of a Green Lama “Code” letter, membership card #7206, “Escapo” trick and light green envelope. (Four other known membership cards have numbers of 1047, 2442, 6706 and 7578.) The “Escapo” trick has cartoon images of the Axis Leaders. No other known radio or comic book premium depicts the Axis Leaders! When the “ESCAPO” trick is unfolded, the 14 inch wide card is turned over to reveal the red, white & blue word, “VICTORY.”

Since the war ended in August of 1945, this is one of the last wartime premiums!

1945 Green Lama Card Trick kit

1945 Green Lama Card Trick kit

Another postwar version of this premium exists. It includes the same membership card but with a Green Lama “Playing Card Trick” and instruction letter. The letter features a letterhead of the Green Lama with his arms extended and it is signed at the bottom, “Magically yours, Richard Foster.” (Richard Foster was the writer) The text of this letter is about the playing card how to perform the card trick. The playing card has odd writing under the image of the Green Lama. This writing is called “Sanskrit” and it says, “OM-MANI-PADME-HUM.”

In the late 1940’s there was a Green Lama radio show which was unlike the comic book character. The comic book Green Lama was a costumed super-hero. The radio version was a mysterious do-gooder (who does not carry a gun) with a sidekick, more like Mandrake The Magician than The Shadow. The radio and comic book “Green Lama’s” name was Jethro Dumont. (No, he was not on the Beverly Hillbillies!) Unlike most heroes, Jethro Dumont was publicly known as the Green Lama; it was not a secret identity.

The code message from the ad in Green Lama #4 is very patriotic! Try & figure it out. Two of the words are obvious, “GREEN LAMA.” Another hint you get is another word, “VICTORY.” By using those known letters on the other words in the code you should be able to figure it out.

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2 Responses to “The 1945 GREEN LAMA “ESCAPO” Trick kit, a glorious wartime premium!”

  1. Jon Gothold says:

    I’m happy to tell you that I too have a complete Green Lama war-time era membership kit. Mine is member # 6706, and was issued to Frank Judice. I have the matching green envelope addressed to Frank, the code letter, the membership card and the “Escapo” trick. The whole kit is in beautiful shape-Frank took really good care of his stuff. I bought the kit directly from Frank a few years back, as well as a couple of other nice premiums. I knew the kit was scarce, but I can’t believe I might have one of only three known complete kits. Made my day to read your post about it!

    best, Jon

  2. Dr. Sanford Glassman says:

    I have been collecting premiums since my first arrived in 1942. I too have a Green Lama premium, complete in its mailing envelope, with code sheet, with Escapo trick, and membership card. My number is #1047. The envelope is of course addressed to me. I would say it is in near mint condition, since I have taken care of it, these 65 years. Dr. S. Glassman

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