Auction Finds

Auction Finds is a running catalog of the coolest stuff I’ve found from online auctions. I’ll never be able to afford this stuff, but I can at least look at it.

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s

Vintage TV Show Trading Card Packs of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s

TV & Radio
Few things indicate that a TV show has broken through into pop culture at large like getting its own set of trading cards. Naturally, most of these programs don't really need or deserve a trading card set, but that's another topic altogether. While some shows -- particularly ones heavy on action or in the sci-fi/fantasy genres -- lend themselves to interesting cards, more often than not you just got a still photo of some cast member that says, "Remember that this was a person on our show? So do we." Regardless, let's look take a trip back to the days when you could find cards for almost any show imaginable, issued by giants of the field such as Topps, Donruss, and Fleer.
Now Playing: Vintage Movie Ads of the 1950s (Part 1)

Now Playing: Vintage Movie Ads of the 1950s (Part 1)

Advertising, Movies
Kicking off the latest series on GFS is a gallery of vintage newspaper print ads for movies. There is a specific style and charm to old movie ads that I just love. It pretty much doesn't matter what the movie even is. In fact, in digging through papers to find these ads I came across several for films I had never even heard of. So enjoy browsing through this time capsule of entertainment ads from a bygone era, and be sure to stop by the lobby for some refreshing treats!
Vintage NBC Promo Slides

Vintage NBC Promo Slides

Auction Finds, TV & Radio
Many, many years ago, when television technology was still somewhat crude, stations used still images to promote upcoming shows or events. Often they used slides that were simply projected to the screen. Of course, the need for these slides is long past but they remain a fascinating reminder of a simpler TV age. And so I was thrilled to come across a series of them for sale on eBay recently. According to the seller of these slides, they were used by NBC affiliate WRC-TV Channel 4, and were shown thanks to a piece of technology called a film chain. The film chain allows a station to convert a slide into an electronic signal and project it to a TV camera for broadcast. I'm not certain of the dates on these, but I suspect many of them are from the 1950s and '60s. I know the 1960s are in...
Club 99: Teresa Brewer, “Pickle Up A Doodle”

Club 99: Teresa Brewer, “Pickle Up A Doodle”

Music
In Club 99, I look at songs that peaked at position #99 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and help to put them into context. Together we can decide if the song deserved more success or got too much. The Song: “Pickle Up A Doodle” The Artist: Teresa Brewer #99 Chart Date: September 1, 1958 I don't know that this entry necessarily counts as a novelty song, but it sure sounds like one upon first listen. The problem with making that determination is that at this point in American music history, the definition of pop music was much broader and more inclusive than it is today. So I'll let you listen and make that call yourself: Any idea? Pop? Novelty? Traditional? A little of each? It's fun no matter what you call it, albeit somewhat inconsequential. I tracked down a liv
Outstanding Poster Art: Modern Jazz for ’56

Outstanding Poster Art: Modern Jazz for ’56

Auction Finds, Ephemera
Sometimes I see a piece of pop art and just know it's from the 1950s without knowing anything else about it. Such is the case with this phenomenal piece from 1956, advertising a concert called Modern Jazz for '56, which seems to have been a package tour. It featured artists such as Chris Connor, the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Don Shirley Duo, and Herbie Mann and was sold as "an enjoyable evening with your favorite modern jazz artists." This particular concert was held on January 27, 1956 at the Victoria Theatre in what I believe is Kansas City. Dig this beauty, man: I would frame this gem in a heartbeat if I had it. So totally mid-century and just oozing with that hep cat charm you also find on a lot of jazz album covers from the period. A concert review published on January 29th b...
Logo Evolution: Taco Bell

Logo Evolution: Taco Bell

Advertising
Taco Bell was founded in 1962 by Glen Bell, who had owned hot dog stands and other taco stands as far back as 1946. The first Taco-Tia stands opened in the early '50s and were the forerunner of Taco Bell. The first Taco Bell opened in Downey, California on March 21, 1962, and today the franchise boasts over 7,000 locations. As with any of my other logo capsules, dates may not be totally accurate. As is often the case with logos, older logos can stick around in advertising and building design for a while after their official expiration dates. 1962-72 The original Taco Bell logo design had two separate elements -- there was a colorful, blocky wordmark and a festive sombrero/bell sign. This was in widespread use for the first decade of Taco Bell's existence. Despite its first use...
Before We Was Fab: Benny Spellman, “Fortune Teller”

Before We Was Fab: Benny Spellman, “Fortune Teller”

Music
Before We Was Fab looks at some of the best songs of the pre-Beatles era, in search of great singles that have largely been forgotten. If you've heard of Benny Spellman at all, chances are it's because of his association with groups such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, The O'Jays, or The Hollies -- all of whom covered his songs. As it happens, I was listening to the iconic Who album Live at Leeds and paid particular attention to their live rendition of "Fortune Teller." The Who, as with many English rock bands of the time, had a deep love and appreciation for popular and obscure R&B, and that's where "Fortune Teller" comes in. The song was written by the great Allen Toussaint under the pseudonym Naomi Neville, and was first recorded by Spellman as the B-side of his only hit si
Happy Birthday to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Happy Birthday to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Advertising
One of the greatest television specials of all time, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, is celebrating its 50th birthday this year! Let's take a moment to recognize this essential piece of our childhoods and to pay homage to the man behind it all, Charles M. Schulz. The now-yearly tradition began on October 27, 1966, when CBS debuted the half-hour animated special -- the third such Peanuts show -- as part of its Thursday evening lineup. Here are a few newspaper ads from that day. Now as far as I can tell, the first reference to the Great Pumpkin appeared in the Peanuts comic strip almost exactly 7 years before the show, in October 1959. Here is that strip: