Tuesday, December 9, 2014

1954 Sears Wish Book Ad

Remember the Sears Wish Book?

That's the subject of today's ad, which in the Lorain Journal on November 4, 1954. It's interesting seeing that the cover was a charming illustration, instead of the photos that we Baby Boomers were used to seeing on the catalog cover in the 1960s.

Here's a color photo of the 1954 Sears catalog depicted in the ad.
Courtesy Ebay
Picking out things that we wanted in the Sears Christmas catalog was an annual ritual in the Brady household during the 1960s. It never occurred to me to question why Santa Claus preferred us to do it that way.

Here's another Wish Book cover, this time from 1968 – one that I'm sure we looked at.

It's funny thinking back about thumbing through the Wish Books. There was such an amazing array of stuff that you could spend hours just soaking it all in.

There were always several pages devoted to the Peanuts gang (such as the 1969 page at left), with plenty of books containing reprints of the comic strips. Remember, Peanuts wasn't carried in the Journal in the 1960s, so our only exposure to Snoopy and Charlie Brown besides those paperbacks were the couple of TV specials that were broadcast once a year. (Come to think of it, one of the early specials – Charlie Brown's All-Stars – is never repeated at all.)

One year, my brothers and I all received Sears pajamas for Christmas with Snoopy on them. My Mom has a particularly sappy Christmas shot of the three of us wearing them (which I won't reproduce here – sorry).

The Sears catalog had a lot of exclusive things. I remember that for years Sears had the rights to produce Winnie-the-Pooh products (of which I had many, being a fan of the Disney cartoon). But the book was also filled with all sorts of strange toys that we'd never heard of. I remember seeing a photo of  Jimmy Nelson's Danny O'Day ventriloquist doll and wondering who he was.

Sadly, Sears no longer produces the Wish Book, having ceased in 1993 (click here to read an article about the book's passing.)

If you'd like to relive the memory of flipping through the pages of a Wish Book, though, visit this website. (Someone has gone to the trouble of scanning entire Sears catalogs through the years, so get a glass of milk and some cookies and do some wishin' just like in the old days.)

Finally, click here to visit a page on the Sears Archives website to learn about the history of the Wish Book.


Ken said...

Let us never speak of the Peanuts pajama pic again.

Anonymous said...

Awww, I want to see the photo....

In our house the "Wish Book" in the 60s and 70s was from Aldens, and we called it the "Christmas Catalog".

Matt Weisman said...

What memories this brings back. I’m older than you and the old Christmas catalogs were the only means of seeing your fondest wishes. There was no TV or other marketing as today. Yes, you could dwell for hours on items that you only dreamed of possessing. Cowboys and Indians were a big thing back in my youth.

Dorene from Ohio said...

I am going to promote your neat post about the Sears Wish Book at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay. Thoroughly enjoyed this trip down memory lane! (It should go live later this evening.)

Dan Brady said...

Thanks for the comments, everybody! And thanks for the cross-promotion, Dorene!