|1967 Miles Kimball catalog|
That's why when I saw this 1967 edition (at left) on Ebay, I had to get it. It was only a few bucks, but well worth it – just for the memories it brought back.
As soon as I saw the cover, I vaguely remembered that paintings like the one shown often appeared on them. This one is signed by John McClelland. A quick search on the internet reveals that he did quite a few of them for Miles Kimball, right into the 1980's. (Here's a link to some prints that are for sale.) He appears to still be painting, too – here's a link to his online portfolio.
Anyway, when you opened the catalog, you always saw a letter from Alberta herself. They were memorable because the letter included a cartoon illustration onto which a black and white photograph of her head was plopped. It gave her a whimsical personality, and that, along with the whole "Oshkosh, Wisconsin" thing, made the catalog kind of memorable.
Here's the 1967 letter. (Click on it and all of the items on this post for a larger, readable version.)
The part about the catalog that I liked best were the short little stories with cartoon illustrations that were sprinkled throughout the catalog. In this catalog the theme was the 'history of the origin of toys" (as mentioned in the letter.)
Here are a few samples. They were actually quite creative and you could see someone spent a lot of time making the rhymes clever.
Of course, the catalog itself was very interesting to a kid, filled with all sorts of little toys along with the things for grownups. None of it was very expensive.
Here are a few of the pages featuring toys. On this page I recognize the "tunnel of fun" as something we had in our house, as well as that little rocking horse.
Here's a couple more toy pages. On the first page, I recognize the 'nest of wooden clowns' as something we had; I have no doubt Mom ordered it from Miles Kimball! (I wonder whatever happened to those clowns?)
This page is unusual because there's actually some licensed toys on it (Batman, Bozo the Clown and Laurel & Hardy).
Here's a page with some Peanuts items. I still think the 1960's were the heyday for Charlie Brown and Snoopy and the gang, since that was the era of the best TV specials. (By the way, I still have the Snoopy doll with the aviator outfit shown below.)
Believe it or not, there were also things for men in the catalog too. Here's a sample of some manly-type stuff.
And we can't forget good ol' Fido either. I like the rawhide pipe and the plastic vinyl reindeer head for him to chew on and mutilate. Also– that ScooPup was ahead of its time! Dig the sunglass-wearing femme fatale smoking (with cigarette holder) while she scoops up her pampered poodle's poop. Beats using a couple leaky plastic grocery bags!
I almost forgot a sample page of women's products! Check out some of the zany beauty gadgets. I'm not sure what I'd do if the spouse wore the Glamour Garde to bed! Probably sleep in the other room!
But what about the catalog now, in 2011? What's it look like? Ah, it's in full color as to be expected. But no more painted covers, no letter from Alberta, no little cartoon stories.
Oh well. At least it's still from Oshkosh.
Visit the Miles Kimball website here.