As a kid I was big on box top and the like offers like Ovaltine's Captain Midnight's Radio Premiums, especially Captain Midnight's Code-O-Graphs, and more specifically so the 1942-1945 Photo-Matic version that figured so prominently throughout my childhood into adulthood. Sgt. Preston, who started out on radio went big time when the program began to be sponsored by the Quaker Company, especially so after being connected with their Quaker Puffed Wheat and Quaker Puffed Rice and becoming nationally syndicated.
What I really remember about both cereals and their offers was not so much box-top related but "box" related. For quite a period of time the boxes were printed on the back and sides with full color cut-outs of buildings and stuff related to the northwest and Sgt. Preston. Even though I was getting semi up-there age-wise for those type things, there was something about those on-the-box cut outs, called Sgt. Preston's Yukon Trail, I really liked.
As for box-top offers, although there were more, I remember three, two up near my teens or just into them. One was called a Sgt. Preston Prospector's Camp Outfit which had a tent and a coffee can size camp cook stove that I had to have ($1.50 and two box-tops). The other, and probably the most infamous, was Quaker's deed to one inch square of Yukon land offered through the Klondike Big Inch Land Company. I have no idea what ever happened to the cook stove, but I still have my original deed from the Big Inch Land Company. The third box-top offer, also a Quaker cereal promotion, was called Capt. Sparks Airplane Pilot Training Cockpit. It was from my early childhood and, although I didn't have one myself, the girl next door who babysat my brothers and me had one.(see)
SGT. PRESTON OF THE YUKON: HOW HE BECAME A MOUNTIE
As can easily be seen by the above story about how Sgt. Preston Became A Mountie the period and area he operated in was the gold rush era of late 1800's and the Canadian northwest territories. The area he policed was vast, wild, and mostly not covered by official law. There was, however, what was called "The Code of the Yukon," although not written it was closely akin to the Cowboy Code of the West. It was a rule of thumb used by the prospectors and peaceful inhabitants of the territories based more-or-less on common sense, British Common Law, and the Golden Rule. As you can tell by reading the above origin story, both Sgt. Preston as a young boy through to manhood --- and his father as well before him --- although not formally mandated by the codes, nonetheless adhered to them. In 1920 the Northwest Mounted Police became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) creating it's own code of conduct they expect all of their officers to abide by.(see)
HIS HISTORY AND EVOLUTION
THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN
CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT MEETS THE SPY SMASHER
THE BATMAN AND LEONARDO DA VINCI, BATMAN COMICS, APRIL-MAY 1948 ISSUE #46
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FIREHAIR, QUEEN OF THE SAGEBRUSH FRONTIER
LOUIS L'AMOUR: STAGE WEST
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BATMAN: HIS REAL ORIGIN
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SO, DID THE WANDERLING FLY?
ON THE RAZOR'S
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
UNCLE SCROOGE FINDS A DEED TO ONE SQUARE INCH OF LAND IN A BOX OF CEREAL AND
HE AND DONALD AND HIS THREE NEPHEWS, HUEY, DEWEY, AND LOUIE GO IN SEARCH OF IT
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FOR THE COMPLETE STORY PLEASE CLICK:
UNCLE SCROOGE: FAULTY FORTUNE
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SERGEANT PRESTON PROSPECTOR'S CAMP OUTFIT WITH COOK STOVE AND TENT
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The Sgt. Preston camp outfit played a major role in my childhood growing up life. A good portion of my early to mid childhood years following my mother's death fell under the direct supervision of my Uncle. During that period the two of us had been overseen even higher up by the ever watchful eye of my Stepmother. It was she who picked up the tab on all of our expenses and adventures. It was she who gave the final yes or no to any wild scheme my uncle or I cooked up. And it was she who had the power and ability to pull the strings to get us out of anything of an undue nature we may have accidentally got caught up in. All of which came crashing down when, for reasons unknown to me, my dad and she decided to call it quits and divorce, once again me being thrown into or under the auspices of a foster couple."
A year or so passed with me living with foster couple when I decided to run away from home. I did so after hearing that my stepmother, actually my ex-stepmother by then as she and my dad had since divorced, bought a new ranch in the Mojave Desert almost as soon as she returned from her two year travels in Mexico and South America. Without approval or anybody's knowledge I took a Greyhound bus to the then little town of Palmdale hoping to come into contact with someone who might know where she was. However, not knowing how long it would take to find her or I would be "on the road," before I left I sent for the camping outfit, which included, as you can see in the photo, a one person tent and a cooking stove. The day after it arrived in the mail I took off. Again, if you haven't done so already, please click the tent image above.
TO READ ABOUT THE FLYING FRONTIERSMAN AND
HIS DA VINCI-LIKE FLYING MACHINE CLICK IMAGE.
SGT. PRESTON'S YUKON TRAIL
Although I didn't have a Capt. Sparks Airplane Pilot Training Cockpit myself as a kid, one did however, play a major role in my later adult life by justly confirming what I could or could not remember from my early childhood.
One night a couple of months into World War II while I was still a very young boy, during the early morning hours of the latter part of February 1942, a giant airborne object of an unknown nature came in off the Pacific Ocean flying over the Los Angeles area for several hours causing a basin-wide blackout. After taking over a thousand hits by anti-aircraft fire it simply disappeared back out over the ocean seemingly unharmed. I clearly saw the object that night along with my family and neighbors as it flew at a very low altitude directly over my house and I have written about it as such as found in:
THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES: 1942 UFO
One of the major historians of the battle C. Scott Littleton, even though he cites what I have to say extensively in his works (usually uncredited) he almost always adds that his source (me) as being too young to remember what I reported as well as sometimes using the word "shaky" as to what I reported. To counteract his thoughts on the subject I have presented throughout my works a whole series of things I remember from the era, of which one is the following:
"I remember a lot of things, up to and well before that period of time in my life. For example, my mother nursing my brother who was three years younger than me. Seeing barrage balloons floating in the sky tethered to the ground over the shipyards in Terminal Island where my father worked. Because metal was not available for toys during wartime, the lifesize cardboard toy fighter plane-type cockpit --- colored on one side with dials and printed only in black and white on the backside --- with a movable square cardboard joystick that the girl next door owned."
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Please notice it you have clicked the above image the newspaper advertisement that shows up promoting the Capt. Sparks Airplane Pilot Training Cockpit is in a newspaper dated November 6, 1941 almost one month to the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that ushered the U.S. officially into World War II --- and as well --- almost three months before the mysterious February 23, 1942 flyover of Los Angeles. Both of which, the toy and the flyover I remember well.
Notice also, even though I stress cardboard vs. the lack of metal toys because of the war, that both of the pilot training cockpits, the one above and the one below, albeit cardboard, was already anticipating the oncoming war and lack of metal.
Because I enjoyed the Capt. Sparks Airplane Pilot Cockpit toy so much, and played with it so often Mary Lou decided to downsize it from our or her use to my use exclusively. She did so by upgrading to a different much more sophisticated model. Where the Capt. Sparks Pilot Cockpit was a cereal box top offer, and a good one at that, the new one was a big bucks go to the store and buy it model called an Einson-Freeman Pre-Flight Trainer. She didn't actually give me the old Capt. Sparks one per se' after she got the new one, but for all practical purposes it became mine --- although she never allowed me to take it home. I remember specifically the new one because it didn't have a square joystick like the one I played with, but a circular steering wheel. I also remember she didn't allow me to use it much, leaving me relegated to the use of the old one, which I recall was fine by me.
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An example of how restrictions on the use of metals for non-essential items, once put into place, impacted things such as toys and thus then, one's childhood, I refer you to the following as found in Captain Midnight's Code-O-Graphs so sourced:
"The advent of World War II had an impact on the Code-O-Graph availability: the two previous models were made of brass, and the attack on Pearl Harbor, which propelled the United States into World War II, caused the U.S. Government to impose restrictions on manufacturing materials. Copper and brass were considered critical materials, and most of the materials were diverted to war activities. This precluded brass being used to manufacture novelties like radio premiums.
"The Photo-Matic Code-O-Graph, although not distributed until 1942, was manufactured prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. Since it, and its predecessor, were undated, the newer Code-O-Graph was used for the 1943 and 1944 seasons as well as the 1942, making it the Code-O-Graph with the longest service life. The cipher setting scheme was similar to the 1941 Mystery Dial model, but there was only one cipher setting window, labeled 'Master Code.'"(source)
1942-1944 PHOTO-MATIC CODE-O-GRAPH
1940s PREDOMINANTLY PAPER TOY: TOM MIX STRAIGHT SHOOTER TELEGRAPH SET
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Cardboard and paper toys in lieu of metal ones were nothing. Even though my home was thousands of miles away from the raging turmoil of the battlefronts, living practically on the beach along the Pacific coast we were constant hostage to attack. Although most people don't know it or they don't remember it, the hostilities of the war visited our shores more than once, and sometimes so close it was like it was in our front yard. Japanese submarines prowled the waters all up and down the coast with shipping being hit, torpedoed, damaged and sunk. The mainland being hit with shells, bombs, and by air attacks.
On Christmas day 1941, eighteen days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the huge transoceanic Japanese aircraft equipped submarine, the I-19, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Narahara Shogo, torpedoed the McCormick Steamship Company's 5,695-ton American lumber carrier
S.S. Absarokain the channel between Catalina Island --- the island which you could easily see from the beach where I lived --- and the mainland. Although the Absaroka didn't sink she had a gapping hole blown in her hull taking on water to her main deck. She was towed and beached at Fort MacArthur near San Pedro. To show the continued Japanese perseverance, two years following the Absaroka attack, a two-man Japanese Midget Submarine washed up on the beach near my house one day when I was a kid after being bombed offshore. Sure, it was nothing like what was happening in either of the two major theaters, but happening none the less.
TWO-MAN JAPANESE- MIDGET SUBMARINE MOUNTED
ADJACENT TO THE MOTHER SHIP'S CONNING TOWER
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ACTRESS JANE RUSSELL STANDING INSIDE THE HOLE
BLOWN THROUGH THE HULL OF THE S. S. ABSAROKA
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When my Uncle was overseeing me we used to go down to the giant Palley's Surplus Store off Alameda Street and Vernon in Los Angeles, often with my brothers going along. For us the place was like Disneyland, sometimes we would spend the whole day there because the place had everything --- big things like half tracks and bomber machinegun turrets to little things like GI issued lensatic compasses and packets of fluorescent green sea dye markers. My brothers and I, in what was one of the few things we did together, were always cooking up some kind of an excuse go there with me always returning with a ton of World War II army surplus stuff --- canteens, pistol belts, parkas, infantry backpacks, army M43 folding shovels, and two of my very favorites, an Army Signal Corps J-38 Handkey, one in its own little case, the other with a leg-band tagged as a KY116/U, both for sending Morse code and an ESM/1 Emergency Signaling Mirror.
Take a look at the beautiful machine work that went into making the KY-116/U, an item, like the formidable four wheel drive jeep, that was made in the time of war for war. Both in their own ways masterpieces each built for a different function but to serve the same purpose --- defeat the enemy. Wartime jeeps and telegraph hand keys like the KY116/U were turned out by the thousands and thrown into extremes as far ranging as the Arctic, the sweltering wind blown desert sands of North Africa and the steaming jungles of the the South Pacific and Southeast Asia, and expected to win the the war with all possibilities of being destroyed any second doing it --- along with their human operators and caregivers. Even so, made for war or not, or to last seconds or forever, there probably isn't a more beautiful piece of machined metal than the KY116/U below. Well there may be one thing: SEE
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When my dad and stepmother went to South America for an undeclared number of years and our de facto family broke up, with my uncle going back to Santa Fe and my younger brother and I going to the foster couple, most of my army gear being lost in the shuffle --- and going to Palley's, for the couple, at least as far as me and my little brother was concerned, was out of the picture. It was because of my army gear getting lost in the shuffle that prior to running away to find my stepmother I had to wait, or wanted to wait, for the Sergeant Preston camp outfit.
Before going to live with the foster couple I had already spent two summers living lightly on the land like a forest monk on the east side of the High Sierras as found in The Tree besides having traveled several years on and off in some pretty rugged back country of the desert southwest hunting Teratorn fossils and chasing UFO's with my uncle. Perhaps not so much in the Sierras because we were never very far from the camp or water, but in the desert southwest I Invariably I wore, carried, or had close by a two-canteen G.I. belt along with a couple of "Carlisle" first aid pouches in of which was full of all kinds of stuff. Stainless steel pocket knife with a fold-out fork and spoon. Compass. Signaling mirror. Waterproof matches. Left unsaid elsewhere was the fact that one of the canteens had a standard G.I. issue fold out handle cup that fit snugly on the bottom of the canteen with both fitting into the canvas carrying case. The other canteen had what the Army called a canteen stove that fit the same way as the cup and case. Always in one of the pouches as well, was one of my most prized possessions, a pocket-sized sun dial watch-like thing called a Little Orphan Annie Miracle Compass Sun-Watch, a one-time radio-premium offer given me by the grandfather of the girl who used to babysit me when I was even a littler kid.
LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE MIRACLE COMPASS SUN-WATCH
By the time the summers in the High Sierras came about I no longer had or carried with me the Little Orphan Annie Miracle Compass Sun-Watch, but instead, carried an item of similar use, but overall not as good, called a Frank Buck Explorer's Sun Watch Compass, without ever really knowing what happened to the Orphan Annie one. I remember the Frank Buck one specifically because I used it the morning of the Venus sighting. Notice at the bottom of the advertisement, below right, there is a mail in form that says orders must be postmarked by September 1, 1948. That ad first appeared in the No. 83 issue of Captain Marvel in April 1948, and very few if any comic books before then. The dates indicating I most likely would not have had the Sun Watch by the summer of 1948, but 1949 most likely and 1950 for sure.
FRANK BUCK EXPLORER'S SUN WATCH
With my family broken up, my uncle returning to Santa Fe and my younger brother and I being placed with the foster couple, like I've said, most of my army gear was lost in the shuffle --- and going to Palley's for the couple, who saw no relevance or redeeming value to it, was out of the question. It was because of my army gear getting lost that prior to running away to find my stepmother I had to wait, or wanted to wait, for the Sergeant Preston camp outfit. Among the stuff that was lost or misplaced was the Frank Buck sun watch, of which I had only a short time. However, thanks to comic books I was soon able to come across a fairly good, if not too shabby, replacement item. Just about the time everything went missing and I was settling in with the couple, lo and behold, comic books started advertising what was called a TelZall Sun Watch as shown below. It had a secret little ball point pen and the Morse code stamped into the metal back which also served as a signaling mirror. As an aside, for those who may be so interested, I am almost certain the dial face and compass used by the TelZall watch was the exact same glow-in-the-dark dial face and compass as used by the Orphan Annie sun watch.
I'M IN LOVE!
MARIA, THE FEMBOT FROM FRITZ LANGS 1927 MOVIE METROPOLIS
IN LOVE? BEWARE OF WHAT YOU WISH FOR
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