Cereal Box Toys

539925821_309f86388b_o4.0.3tic533

Remember when you went to the grocery store with your mom and you got to pick the cereal? Be honest … did you pick the most nutritious (did we even know what that meant) kind? Did you go for the sugar versions or the colorful contents? Or did you, like me, pick the cereal box that contained a prize at the bottom of the box?

To continue with the soul searching, did you ever pour out the cereal to get the toy, and then put the cereal back in the box? Be honest! Some cereal manufacturers even hid their toys underneath the bag that was in the box. What devious person decided to do that?

Premiums have been gone from cereal boxes for years. Kellogg’s was the innovator behind this genius move. Initially, they gave away books that buyers had to get through the mail after they’d sent in two box tops or other qualifying parts of the box and possibly some money. Later, actual items were put in the boxes, including things like paper dolls, squirt guns, stickers, records, and toys.

TTA3855-US-Navy-Frogmen-02-323x520imagessubtoy_300x141

My favorites included the Navy frogmen and miniature toy guns, but my absolutely most favorite of all items ever, was the little SUBMARINE that sank and floated back to the surface when you put a pinch of baking soda into its “special” compartment. The genius of the cereal companies was displayed when they offered sets of items, like the frogmen. The cereal company’s genius was our pitfall, because the rest of the set could be obtained only through mail order (Can you remember Battle Creek, Michigan?) and only after you ate the requisite number of boxes of cereal and sent in sufficient money. It always took a long time for your order to be received. In fact, I actually forgot several times that I had ordered something. If you look on eBay, some of these toys are available for a lot of money, relatively speaking. I think I might have finally outgrown the submarine, although when I went to eBay to do research for this blog entry, I actually thought, for a moment, about getting another one.

CrackerJack-retro

And then there was Cracker Jack. Somehow, moms knew instinctively that Cracker Jack wasn’t a cereal, even though those boxes also had prizes. It wasn’t a taste I ever acquired.

box938 maVusr3rdYiAxTkpiAO8nCg images-2 nabiscocerealdinopic

Baby Boomer Classic Photos

Slide1

A friend of mine, named George (last name withheld to protect the guilty), has been following the folderol I’m posting about baby boomers and their era between 1946 and 1964.

He sent me an email with lots of photographs about things each of us, as baby boomers, should immediately recognize. I’ve collated the many individual shots into a twelve image photomontage for your enjoyment. The first photo, cod liver oil, immediately caused a reflux reaction withheld for nearly sixty years.

Please feel free to comment, and share these remarkable images with your Facebook friends.

Slide01 Slide02 Slide03 Slide04 Slide05 Slide06 Slide07 Slide08 Slide09 Slide10 Slide11 Slide12

Kips Toyland Part Two

1rY01

So the reason I went to Kip’s Toyland in the first place was to discover what toys we had as baby boomers that still survive. Kip’s Toyland has been around a long time, having started the year before the baby boom officially began.

Since Don Kipper, a leading edge baby boomer himself, and the current owner of Toyland was preparing for his store’s seventieth anniversary, he had already done a lot of research. I am simply taking advantage of his knowledge, and have added other information I discovered.

Here’s a part of what he had written down. I’ll bet you will remember most of these toys. I’ll also bet it will be tougher for you to figure out whether you played with them, your children played with them or both. They’ve been around a long time. The years are when the toys were patented or first brought to market, although some, like Jacob’s ladder, have been around for thousands of years although in slightly different forms.

  • Parchesi 1867
  • Tiddlywinks 1888
  • Jacob’s Ladder 1892
  • Crayola crayons 1902
  • Erector Sets 1913
  • Tinker Toys (no longer made) 1914
  • Raggedy Ann 1915
  • Lincoln Logs 1916
  • Duncan YoYo (Patent) 1932
  • Sorry 1934
  • Monopoly 1935
  • Chutes and Ladders 1943
  • Slinky 1945
  • Scrabble 1948
  • Candyland 1949
  • Pick Up Sticks Unknown
  • Marx Fort Apache 1958

If you still have any of these classic toys in original packaging, they are worth a considerable amount of money. Today, many of them are made in China, and they cost a lot more than they did when we played with them.  Unfortunately, you can’t get chemistry sets any more.

Here is a photomontage of today’s packaging except for Fort Apache. Don has an original of Fort Apache displayed over the front counter.

Slide1 Slide2 Slide3 Slide4

If you’re ever close to Los Angeles, you’ve got to visit Kip’s Toyland.

Have you ever met a hero?

f146-Large

I just did. I hadn’t planned on it, but it happened.  That’s the best way to meet heroes.

images

I went to visit a toy store to gather material for a subsequent blog post. There are lots of toy stores all over the place, but this one was different. This toy store has been in operation for nearly 70 years and in its present location since 1956.  It might be the oldest continually operating toy store in the United States.

Kip’s Toyland is in the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market. The person who started it is Irvin “Kip” Kipper. He is the hero!

kips-homepage-right

I met with Kip’s son, Don, shortly before the toy store opened on Saturday, March 7th 2015. Don is also a leading edge baby boomer, and he now owns Kip’s Toyland that he operates with his daughter, Lily.

I was going to ask Don about the toys he carried and the store, but chose to first politely ask about his dad. Then I listened.

Irvin’s family moved from Texas to the Los Angeles area in the early 1920s. As a youngster, Kip remembers the interesting mechanized displays that were set up in the department stores during the Christmas season. The toys, that were so prominent in the windows, weren’t featured that way during the rest of the year.

image022

When America entered World War II, Kip became a B17 pilot. That airplane, a four-engine bomber with six defensive gun locations, was nicknamed the “Flying Fortress.” The B17 was unheated and unpressurized, so its crew needed oxygen and electrically heated flying suits to keep warm at altitude. B17s had a range of about thirteen hundred miles and flew at about two hundred miles per hour. B17s flew in tight group formations so that the combined firepower from all the formation’s guns might ward off the enemy fighter aircraft that regularly attacked the slow flying Fortresses. The phrase, “the whole nine yards” referred to the fifty- caliber ammunition that was linked together to be fed through its fifty caliber Browning machine guns.

On one particular bombing mission, Kip’s B17 was shot down over Italy. Kip was captured and became a Prisoner of War. He was held by the German army until being rescued and freed by soldiers commanded by General Patton.  In a curious coincidence, my father-in-law, another hero, was serving with General Patton and was the commanding officer of one of the soldiers that General Patton slapped in Sicily.  My father-in-law was seriously wounded in Italy, and he might have been nearby when Kip was rescued.

Kip told his family that he had determined to do something to make people happy when he was able.

When he returned to Los Angeles, Kip opened his store in 1945. It sold flags. The flag store was located directly across the street from where Kip’s Toyland presently stands. Following the end of WWII rationing, commodities otherwise unavailable to civilians, including rubber, permitted new products to be reintroduced, and Kip started to sell balloons. Kip’s young son, Don, tied strings to the balloons. Flags led to balloons, balloons led to toys, and the rest is history.

As I already said, Kip’s son, Don, is a leading edge baby boomer. On Don’s tenth birthday, in September 1956, Don celebrated by helping his father lay the new linoleum floor before Kip’s Toyland opened in its new location. It is still there, at 6333 W. 3rd St.

Don’s brother, Robert, brings their father to the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning to have breakfast with both sons and to meet customers. My wife and I coincidentally had eaten breakfast that morning at the Farmer’s Market with our son, daughter-in-law and grandson. I wanted my family to meet Don so we had walked back to the toy store at exactly the moment that Kip arrived.

IMG_2786-1

I got to meet a hero, shake his hand and thank him for his service.

What a great day!

IMG_2788-1