Scarce 1943 Punjab’s Mystic Code Translator

January 1st, 2012 by Tom
Punjabs Mystic Code Translator

Punjabs Mystic Code Translator from back cover of the 1943 Sears giveaway comic, Santa's Christmas Comic Variety Show.

One of the rarest of the vintage premium decoders is still relatively unknown even though it’s actually pictured in the Hake’s guides. It’s called Punjab’s Mystic Code Translator and it came on the back cover of a 1943 Christmas giveaway comic from Sears entitled Santa’s Christmas Comic Variety Show. It had to be cut out and then assembled which makes getting a complete one even more difficult. A real beauty from premium creators Sam and Gordon Gold. Photo courtesy of Richard Olsen.

The Premium Exchange #4 back cover

Back cover of The Premium Exchange #4 (1977) showing the back cover of the 1943 Sears giveaway.

By the way, the same decoder was featured on the back cover of the 1977 issue of The Premium Exchange #4.  I thought it was special even back then!

2011 WXYZ Studio visit, birthplace of the LONE RANGER!

August 24th, 2011 by Larry Zdeb

Hopalong Cassidy- King of ALL Merchandisers?

July 21st, 2011 by Tom
Hopalong Cassidy Wild West Trading Cards full page ad

Hopalong Cassidy Wild West Trading Cards full page Sunday comic section ad from June 10, 1951

Harry Rinker’s Hopalong Cassidy price guide suggests in its subtitle that Hoppy was the King of the Cowboy Merchandisers. This well could be true.  There’s a ton of Hoppy stuff out there.  But taking other collectible characters into consideration, was Hopalong Cassidy also King of ALL the Merchandisers?

Lone Ranger Wheaties Masks ad

Lone Ranger Wheaties Masks ad from 1955 Sunday comic section

Others to be considered for this lofty title would have to include Buck Rogers, Mickey Mouse and the Lone Ranger (I think he was short changed in the original Harry Rinker assertion), all of whose origins go way back: Buck Rogers to the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories where he first appeared in the story Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan; Mickey Mouse to 1928 when he was created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks to replace an earlier Disney animated character creation, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, that he lost to Charles Mintz at Universal Studios; and the Lone Ranger to the 1933 WXYZ radio show of the same name conceived and produced by George Trendle and developed and written by Fran Striker. Read the rest of this entry »

1938 Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Vernon Grant Prints

March 1st, 2011 by Tom

Artist Vernon Grant, probably best know for his 1930′s creation of the Kellogg’s Snap! Crackle! and Pop! gnome-like characters, also did depictions of several Mother Goose stories for Kelloggs, that were offered to the public in 1938 and 1939 as premiums, as either full color 12″ x 15 1/2″ prints or 12 7/8″ x 16 3/8″ framed versions. Read the rest of this entry »

1938 CHARLIE CHAN Radio Premiums from the Van Camp Company

December 18th, 2010 by Larry Zdeb

In 1938 the CHARLIE CHAN radio show offered at least three paper related premiums from it’s sponsor, the STOKELY / VAN CAMP Company, (makers of ketchup and other condiments.) These are so rare that you won’t find them in price guides.

All of the Charlie Chan pictures on the following premiums have a distinct resemblance to Warner Oland!

A (1.5 x 2”) FULL COLOR sticker on a grocery brokers envelope, the sticker reads, “Van Camp’s presents Charlie Chan On The Air, Free Magician Tricks.” The sticker has a beautiful painted portrait of Charlie Chan. The envelope is postmarked, “Peoria, Ill. Feb 2, 1938.” Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Doc Savage Street & Smith 1936 & 1937 pulp picture kits

December 15th, 2010 by Larry Zdeb
Doc Savage premium envelope return address

Doc Savage premium envelope return address

The beautiful Doc Savage set of two premium pictures from Street & Smith are a most desirable addition to any collection. The pictures were obtained by cutting 3 consecutive coupons from Doc Savage magazines. Curiously, the pictures were of different sizes.  Read the rest of this entry »

The first LONE RANGER Safety Scout Club & the historic 1935 Silvercup manual

December 9th, 2010 by Larry Zdeb

One of the earliest Lone Ranger premiums is the Silvercup Bread manual entitled “SECRET SESSION RULES OF THE LONE RANGER SAFETY SCOUT CLUB.” An unusual manual, apparently not sent to ordinary members but only to full-fledged Head Scouts or Club Presidents!

The 1938 King-Trendle Lone Ranger Exploitation folder listed the history of the earliest Safety Club announcements. It opens with …

October 9th – First Safety Club announcement. (Teaser Copy)
October 11th – Second Safety Club announcement. (Teaser Copy)
October 14th – Safety Club announced.
October 23rd – Announcement from Lone Ranger pertaining to great response.
October 23rd – Lone Ranger states badges are being mailed daily – asks Rangers to have patience, etc.
October 30th – First Big Safety Club Meeting.
December 4th – Neighborhood Safety Clubs (local chapters) suggested.
December 11th – Follow-up on Neighborhood Clubs.”

This undated manual had to have been issued around December 4th.

This is arguably the most important Lone Ranger premium! It lists rules and procedures for the establishment of Safety Scout Clubs for the first time!

Secret Session Rules of the Lone Ranger Safety Scout Club
Secret Session Rules of the Lone Ranger Safety Scout Club

1935 Lone Ranger Silvercup Manual

The seven page manual is held together by 2 tiny staples on the top edge, tablet style. There are 25 rules listed for members to follow & the last page is an enrollment record for the names of club members. The fact that this enrollment record page is here suggests that only one manual was issued for each club.

This was mailed in a plain brown envelope with no return address and an undated postmark of “CHICAGO, ILL.” with a 1.5 cent stamp. The typed mailing address is the name & Chicago address of the Safety Scout Club President, an important fact! Read the rest of this entry »

1940 Captain Midnight “Transition Document” to the “Secret Squadron”

December 9th, 2010 by Larry Zdeb
Captain Midnight transition document

1940 Captain Midnight transition document

A 1940 certificate exists which seems to be a “transition” document from the “Skelly Flight Patrol” to the Ovaltine “Secret Squadron.” This would logically be the last Skelly Captain Midnight premium and the precursor of the first Ovaltine sponsored premiums! This might also be a prototype of a proposed premium.

It is printed on 8.5 x 11″ unfolded yellow paper with black text and a light black background of a clock at midnight. Most Skelly premiums were obtained by a visit to the gas station & presenting your Flight Patrol Membership Card. Most were not mailed, so it is correct for this not to be folded. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to the Radio Premium Exchange

August 17th, 2010 by Tom

This site is aimed specifically at collectors of premiums from vintage radio and early TV shows. Radio shows such as Captain Midnight, Jack Armstrong, the Lone Ranger, Sky King, Dick Tracy, Radio Orphan Annie, Green Hornet, Superman, Tarzan, Tom Mix and many others offered premiums via the airways to their young listeners. Many of the above shows continued to offer premiums after the switchover to television while picking up a few new shows offering items along the way: Space Patrol, Howdy Doody, Captain Video, etc. Premium collecting extends into items offered through the comic books, pulp magazines, gas stations, cereal boxes, movie serials, candy wrappers, Dixie lids, etc. of the period. This is what makes premium collecting so exciting- the more obscure the premium, the more it’s sought after. Read the rest of this entry »