Friday, December 6, 2019

Sears Christmas Catalog / Wish Book - 1972

In 1972, the Sears Christmas Catalog (or "Wish Book," as they used to call the Christmas version of their catalog), featured the characters from Disney's "Winnie the Pooh."

Not only were the characters on the cover of the catalog, but they were also on the first several pages, along with stories of what Christmas was like for children in various countries around the world.

First up was Holland:






Let's go back to those pages with the Sesame Street puppets. I had that Roosevelt Franklin Puppet (and the Ernie and Big Bird too). My brother had Bert and the Cookie Monster (and also Oscar the Grouch and Grover, which aren't pictured). We briefly saw Roosevelt Franklin on the Sesame Street float in my 1971 Rose Parade post, back in January of 2017. Roosevelt Franklin was the first black-influenced Muppet and was co-created by Jim Henson and Matt Robinson, who played the role of "Gordon" on Sesame Street.

My brother and I still have all of our old Sesame Street puppets. Here is what my Roosevelt Franklin puppet looks like today:

Out of all of the original boxes that the puppets came in, the one for Roosevelt Franklin, is the only box that managed to survive. And incidentally, he didn't come from Sears. The top of the box still has it's original "Gemco" price tag of $5.19!

It's interesting for me to go through this catalog now and see what other items my brother and I had, and in some cases, still have. My brother had both the Pinocchio marionette and Danny O'Day ventriloquist dummy, shown below. He even had the ventriloquism instructional record that is listed on the same page (but not shown).

Here is a shot of my brother playing with his Pinocchio marionette on Christmas morning. I still have that stuffed Santa Claus visible in the background and that red wagon (which had "SEARS 300" painted on the side of it). I wish we still had that portable record player!

And here is my brother the following year, with his Danny O'Day ventriloquist dummy.

I remember him listening to this record and trying to master "Instant Ventriloquism."

I had the Disney "Shaker Maker" figure set, pictured below. And my brother had the "Cool Cast Very Scarys." In fact, he got that at the same time that I got my Roosevelt Franklin puppet. I remember we were both playing with our new toys and some of his "RUBBERGOO" accidentally shot out of the squeeze bottle and landed on Roosevelt Franklin's shirt. Even though there was an attempt to wash it out, it left a stain that is still detectable today!

For the Shaker Maker figures, you added water to the provided powder mixes and mixed them in sort of a plastic cocktail shaker. The character mold was down inside the shaker, so after shaking you just turned it over and let the mixed material partially dry, before pulling the mold apart.

After the figure dried, you could paint them....or like the side of the box says, "Paint Like Wild!" What does that mean?

The original instruction sheet even managed to survive all these years.

"Over 5 million little girls have learned how Kenner's Easy-Bake Oven earned it's name!" What about all the boys, huh? How about some non-gender-specific advertising? Okay, was the seventies. And no, I didn't have one of these Easy-Bake Ovens! However, I did have an "Incredible Edibles" gummy candy maker. The metal cooker was sort of in the shape of a flying saucer and it would get REALLY hot. When I ran out of the gel that was used to make the candy, my mom took me to the local "Karl's Toys" store to purchase refills, but we were told that it had been discontinued, because too many kids were burning themselves on the metal cooker. I never got burned! It had a big plastic knob on top to open the lid and plastic tongs for lifting the metal candy molds out. I'll have to post some pics of it in the future.

Anyway....I did have the Hasbro "Frosty Sno-Man" sno-cone maker, pictured below the Easy-Bake Oven.

And here is what it looks like today.

The catalog featured many Pooh-themed items for children:

I was given the Winnie The Pooh "Grab Bag Game" (pictured below) for my 5th birthday.

In this late 1960's/early 1970's picture taken inside of a Sears store, the sign for the Catalog Sales desk can be seen on the far wall. Other interesting things to note in the photo, are the cameras in the glass case, and the typewriters on display just beyond the cameras. What's a typewriter?

If we zoom in, we can see Polaroid's "Big Swinger" camera on sale for $9.88, and there are movie projectors in the glass case below them. There are also greeting cards visible off to the right, in the stationary department. At one time, Sears sold almost EVERYTHING! There is also a sign in the background for "Karnival Korner," which was a snack counter that sold hot dogs, soft-serve ice cream, large pretzels and Icee's. Popcorn and warm nuts were sold over at the candy counter, which would have been located directly behind the person who took this photo.

And for anyone who's interested, here is what the Sears candy counter looked like. This photo was taken around Easter time. Notice the Easter baskets, plush bunnies and other furry critters for sale!

We will end today, with the back cover of the 1972 Sears Christmas catalog. The Kenmore (Sears' brand) appliances were available in "Tawny Gold" and "Avocado" for only $5.00 more than the standard "White." My mom's appliances were all "Avocado" green....and so was our shag carpet!

Happy holidays, everyone!

*****POST UPDATE*****

While looking around on ebay, I came across the same Hasbro Frosty Sno-Cone Machine that I had, still in it's original sealed box! The seller states that it is "Old Stock" and is asking a "Buy It Now" price of $399! (It can be found here, if anyone is interested: New/Sealed - In Original Box)

Someone else is selling a used one, but with it's original box, for $115! (That one can be found here: Used - In Original Box)