Friday, September 2, 2016

Watching the Bowl Numbers

obama, obama jokes, political, humor, cartoon, conservative, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, campaign buttons, donnel, pa

Wait, what are the kids talking about? Oh - THIS cereal box!

obama, obama jokes, political, humor, cartoon, conservative, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, campaign buttons, donnel, pa
Copyrighted material, all rights reserved - and defended by a crazy guy. You don't want a piece of that.
Today, I couldn't quite bring myself to do a cartoon on Hillary's latest email scandal, Trump's visit to Mexico, or even Jeh Johnson's threat to have Homeland Security seize our election process to make sure that no foreign hackers can fudge the results. Although considering the dismal track records of Obama's State Department, the FBI, the IRS, and the DOJ, I see no reason to expect anything other than massive wrongdoing and blatant manipulation of votes from Homeland Security.

But allow me to pull back from this unpleasantness before I come down with a case of the vapors (and trust me, it could happen - I might fall into a swoon and need smelling salts, a loosened corset, and a wafting breeze from a rapidly flapped lace fan to restore me to consciousness).

No, today I'd rather invite you to have a little fun tripping down memory lane with me. I've mentioned before that my father, who is sadly no longer with us, was a real Renaissance man - a writer, artist, cartoonist, inventor, playwright, and much more. And one of the many things he created was the campaign button promotion shown above which was intended to run on the back of Post cereal boxes back in the 60's.

Back then, kids didn't have smartphones to play with at the table - lots didn't even have TVs. And so the backs of cereal boxes were prized kid real estate, not only as something to read while munching on Sugar Puffs, but also as a place to find stories, games, crafts and nifty prizes.

And such was the genesis of these silly campaign buttons, which kids could clip from the empty box and wear to school without needing to worry about offending anyone or giving trigger warnings. It was a simpler time, blessedly free of social media and a superabundance of lawyers.  Moreover, it was a time when candidates were less likely to be using words like bigot, racist, crooked, murderer, incompetent, and traitor when describing their competitors. Well, slightly less likely.

Anyway, this being a Friday (when I sometimes like to loosen things up around here - like, oh, the time to start drinking) it just seemed fun to share this actual family heirloom with everyone. And to remind folks that politics has always been pretty crazy, and that I come by my political cartooning DNA honestly.

And no, my father never got rich doing it either - in fact, I don't think this "campaign button" project ever actually appeared on those boxes.  But he did make sure we never ran out of cereal!


Even though we didn't feel like tackling the day's news, you can still get the full, witty conservative scoop from our good friends at The Daily Gouge! 


Here are the rest of my Dad's campaign buttons. Collect 'em all!


Dave from The Cheesehead Nation said...

Having arrived on this planet in October of 1945, I grew up reading the back of cereal boxes. Besides clean and good stories, most had neat toys with them, especially Raisin Bran. I had a collection of 1957 a 1959 Ford cars; the yellow 2 door sedan being the most uncommon, I think. Just gave my collection to my 4 yr old grandson. Also had some boats (Chris Craft I think). And there was the actual of one square inch of real estate in Alaska. I still have a small, metal Colt revolver. Got carried away there, thinking about the 50s and what a different country this was. A man was a man, and a woman was a woman. Huntley - Brinkley, Walter Kronkite, and trustworthy others ruled the evening news, which they reported fairly and accurately. Wouldn't stoop to making it up or slanting it. Kronkite usually got a few votes at both conventions in recognition of his stature. He was a WW II vet, and even flew in a B-17 over Europe, and also fired a 50 cal in combat even though correspondents were forbidden to do so by The Geneva Convention. I'm glad I'm retired now, have that much more time to pray for my grandchildren. And can enjoy the "nectar of the gods" in a more leisurely manner. Everyone, enjoy the long weekend. Godspeed.

Fred Ciampi said...

As a wee small child in San Fran in the '40s I carried a cap pistol in a holster and played with the other neighborhood boys. We would play all manner of what was the old west. I can just imagine what would happen if we were out there today. I think instead I'll just reminisce of what a sane world we used to live in................

james daily said...

I am with you guys. Back when I went to school, it was not uncommon for a guy (I never remember any girls doing this) bring a hunting rifle to school, put it in his unlocked locker and go hunting after school. Nobody thought anything about it. I do not think it would have ever occurred to anyone to whack their friends at a school or anyplace else. Just didn't happen. How times change. Now pointing a finger with a raised thumb will get you a criminal record. Sad. No childhood for today's children.

Coach Kaz said...

Couldn't wait for that box from Mattle Creek, MI...especially the "baking soda" toys, either frogmen or submarines

Bruce Bleu said...

Cereal has waned in its prodigious impact on our world. Imagine if cereals were once again the voice of society? lamont would be the face of Cocoa Puffs, Froot Loops or Grape Nuts (if he actually owns a pair), shrillary would be Kix(to the curb) or Hellogg's Corn Flakes, (emphasis on "Hell/Flakes"), in England Lurch would be Weetabix, (like Shredded Wheat but tastes like the New York Times), magilla would be "Wookiees" (like Wheaties, but from a grocery store far far away), John McCain and Glove Romney could share Oatmeal... (a bland substance nobody wants until they smother it in stuff (brown sugar, honey, fruit, cinnamon) that makes it barely palatable), of course Donald Trump could be Lucky Charms (when it comes with a Davy Crockett hat in the box), Anthony Wiener would be "Cap'n Crotch" (cereal that comes with a "weenie whistle"), Bill Clinton has a good chance at "Fish Taco Cereal" that comes with a well-worn dipstick. Gotta go make coffee. Be back when my brain reboots.

Geoff King said...

Ahhh, Labor Day weekend. The unofficial end of summer vacations. Soon the temperatures will drop and snow will return to our beautiful Northern Arizona mountains, and those damn Flatlanders from Phoenix will stop coming up here and trashing our forests.

dan said...

Talented family! Have a great weekend, sir.

BillH said...

All of my six learned to read off the back of cereal boxes, milk cartons etc., following the lead of the oldest, who taught herself by asking one of us if the word she sounded out was the correct one. All six are now AARP-eligible, with five being college graduates, one a court reporter, and all six are pretty well fixed for retirement. Of course this required 1.) breakfast at home, and 2.) a literate parent paying attention and confirming the word that had been read.

Pete (Detroit) said...

Were they supposed to look like toilet lids? Just curious...

I remember saving cereal box tops to send in and get stuff - I recall a soda pill powered sub w/ a heavy blade for a keel (that you could turn, and it would go in circles...) and a 747 model that was about a foot long. THAT was so popular that delivery took more like six MONTHS than six weeks, but it did eventually show up.

With three brothers, the odds of getting the toy were not good...

CenTexTim said...

The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. You're doing a great job of carrying on your Dad's 'family tradition!'

Sam L. said...

That monkey should be saying "Vote for my Uncle". I really like the "Missile in every garage" one (and I'd really like to have a garage after 30 years without).

John the Econ said...

"A missile in every garage" is my favorite. May have to print that one out.

@James Daily said "Back when I went to school, it was not uncommon for a guy (I never remember any girls doing this) bring a hunting rifle to school, put it in his unlocked locker and go hunting after school. Nobody thought anything about it. I do not think it would have ever occurred to anyone to whack their friends at a school or anyplace else."

It wasn't all that long ago that in my environs that practically every pickup truck had a gun rack against the back window, whether you hunted or not. Today, I cannot remember the last time I saw one. My guess is that ranchers in the hinterlands may still have them, but certainly not around town. No doubt driving through the university district with one would evoke a swat standoff...

Colby Muenster said...

You are all a bunch of sick, gun toting, xenophobic, homophobic racists that want to take our country back to the FIFTIES! And after all the progress we've made over the last 7.5 years!

Seriously, imagine today's cereal box campaign buttons...
"Vote for me; I haven't been indicted... yet."
"I've been on SNL 7 times!"
"I'm a big f***ing deal!"
"Don't act stupidly... vote for me."
"Vote for me; Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber are."
"You can live in Mom's basement FOREVER!"

John the Econ said...

Belly-laugh of the day goes to @Colby Muenster. Well done.

@Stilton, get some graphics on those!

NVRick said...

@Stilton,I want to thank you for giving me an excuse to get a brand new monitor, but I have a question.
When I started to cut out the campaign buttons, all I got was a burst of flames and a temporary state of unconsciousness. Do I need a special set of scissors to access them?
Thanks in advance,
Still Slightly Numb and Dizzy in NV

Dave from The Cheesehead Nation said...

Geoff K. My formative years were spent in Prescott AZ. Got my first baking soda powered submarine there. Loved the place.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dave from the Cheesehead Nation- Thanks for the nostalgic trip back to what sure seemed to be better days. I was born in 1952, so I'm right on your heels.

@Fred Ciampi- I had toy guns that used good ol' gunpowder caps and fired plastic projectiles, suitable for either putting someone's eye out or providing a choking hazard. Good times.

@James Daily- I can accept the idea of students not bringing guns to school, but the idea that they can get into trouble for making a finger version, or biting a poptart wrong, or drawing a picture of a gun - that's nuts.

@Coach Kaz- Oh, I loved the baking soda toys! A plastic sub that automatically went up and down?! Wow! Yes, it was a simpler time. And who remembers "pop-pop" boats? Stamped tin motorboats from Japan. You'd light a small candle inside and it would heat water in two closed metal tubes to provide propulsion around your bathtub while going pop-pop-pop-pop... I'd like to see a freaking app do that!

@Bruce Bleu- Well done, sir!

@Geoff King- Yeah, the snow should be falling on my lawn here in North Texas soon, too, driving off the lawn crews.

@dan- My Dad was a pip. I'm currently in the process of digitizing a lot of his old stuff (even though he's been gone 10 years now) and it's entirely possible that I'll share more bits and pieces here. It's fun to take a day off from the news!

@BillH- What a scene you paint; kids sounding out words on cereal boxes with parents at the table to help them along. No government program in the world can outperform that.

@Pete (Detroit)- If you look closely at the back of the box, it gives instructions for cutting the tabs on top so you can fold them in a way to wear the thing on a pocket or something. Not that the idea of toilet shaped campaign buttons isn't a good one!

@CenTexTim- Thanks! As the years go by, I get to be more and more my Dad's doppelganger in a lot of ways.

Fred Ciampi said...

Stilt, the tin motorboats from Japan; if you ever come across one in good shape, open it up or better yet, look at the inside (without destroying it) and you will see that they are made from beer cans left over by US service personnel. Wish I had one now $$$$$$$$$$$$$

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Sam L- That's what I thought, too! The gag should be about a monkey's uncle! I wish my Dad was here so I could ask him what he was thinking with that one. And yes, I'd like a missile in my garage too. Purely for self-defense, of course. And the founding fathers did approve of Minutemen...

@John the Econ- I'm pretty sure that these days both "gun" and "rack" are considered to be offensive words.

@Colby Muenster- Great stuff and completely accurate! Get the cereal makers on the phone!

@John the Econ- I just might!

@NVRick- Regular scissors will work, but you have to soften the monitor first by soaking it in water. Glad to help!

@Dave from the Cheesehead Nation- I daresay that baking soda submarines were the ONLY submarines running in Arizona.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Fred- I remember seeing some of those "innards" were old beer cans. And back in the day, I bought those boats for 10¢. Sigh...

Shelly said...

I love all this reminiscing. I was born in October of 1946 and can relate to everything said here from the cereal boxes and toys to those carefree days when kids were allowed to be kids. Oh have those times changed. There is a picture of me around 5 or so in nothing but white panties and a gun and holster playing in the front yard. At that age, I would go down the street by myself to play with my friend unattended for hours at a time but I knew when to come home. At the age of 12, I was put on a Greyhound bus by myself on the west coast of Florida to Dallas. Left on a Friday night and got to Dallas on Sunday morning. Layovers in bus stations, alone, 12 year old girl. These days parents are arrested for letting kids play in a park across the street. I'm not condoning the kind of parenting I got, but I didn't know better and was a happy little girl and lived to tell about it at the almost ripe age of 70.

Boligat said...

Dave, I've got a square inch of Alaska, too! I wonder if we are neighbors. :-)

I miss the old days, too. Born in '44. I remember leaving the house early and returning late, roaming the neighborhood with friends but NOT getting in trouble since we knew that the neighbors always kept an eye on us, regardless of whether or not they were actual parents. Usually it was the mothers as dad was off making a living while most moms were at home. I remember climbing around the basement house in the vacant lot on the corner, picking plums off the tree growing next to that house and then throwing them at the hornets' nest unless the plums were ripe, then we ate them. Then somebody bought the lot and built a house. That family had a girl a little younger than us and she was a snotty brat. I remember playing work-up with the guys, 'til Little League came to town. Half of us never played ball again as there weren't enough uniforms for everyone and only the best players (not me) got a uniform. But we could go to the games and watch! Yaaaaay! (Yeah right.)

I miss lingering over breakfast cereal reading every square inch of that box. We didn't have a TV, but my best friend did and we frequently went there until far later than we should have. I remember listening to The Lone Ranger, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Shadow, Suspense, Amos 'n Andy, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon and the rest on the radio. I remember my mother making me sit down and listen to opera, too. I didn't get much of it then, and I still don't, but she had a book that told about the operas and she would tell me all about them. Later on I remember listening to Stan Freberg on the radio, Elderly Man River, St. George and the Dragon, Incident at Los Voroces, Green Chri$tma$.

Oh well, I'd have to run about now to go play Pokemon Go, if I had a smart phone, but I don't, so I won't.

Thanks, Stilty and Dave, for sparking a trip down memory lane. It was nice while it lasted.

chef621 said...

Aww...yes, the good old days. I was wondering if anyone else listened to the radio shows. I well remember lying on the floor in front of the console radio to hear all of the shows, one after the other. I remember sending in box tops to get a magic sparkling decoder ring that glowed in the dark, and then sitting in the closet to watch it sparkle. Sort of ruined my mom's favorite punishment which was sitting in the closet for ten minutes if you were really bad. I also boarded the bus with my three younger brothers in tow to go to a Roy Rogers movie "down town." We did just fine. Loved Pat Butrum, Nellie Belle, Dale and of course the horses.
When I was older my brothers convinced me to play "Mumbly Peg" with them, I always lost Anyone else ever play that? Don't know what you're missing if you never played that!
With that I will end. "Who knows what evil lurks in the heartw of men (evil laugh) The Shadow knows."

Flugelman said...


Saturday mornings with Big John and Sparky "NO SCHOOL TODAY!" I never missed it. Sky King, Butch Cassidy, Murphy's Tavern (at night). Your imagination provided the color.

NVRick said...

Born in '47 and lived my early years in a relatively poor area, but didn't figure that out until several decades later. The kids in the neighborhood didn't have a whole lot of fancy toys, but we managed to make our own.
Take an orange crate, a two by four and some roller skate wheels, grab a hammer and some nails, and pretty soon you had a really cool scooter.
Go down to the "ditch" (a railroad track that ran below street level), cut or break down some different sized branches, take some twine and make yourself a bow and arrows.
If things got really boring, you could always pick teams and have a good old rock fight, with the two teams on either side of the street. During any of these fun things, you could always take a break when the ice man came by. He would be happy to break chips off the blocks for the kids before taking them in to place them in the ice box.
Watching the coal delivery truck pour coal through the coal chute into the basement coal bin was interesting.
Of course, you had to put baseball cards on the fork of you bike to make the cool 'motor' sound.
(I hate to think of all the rookie cards that mom got rid of when I bot 'too old' for them.)
Cuts, bruises and swelling were some of the occasional side benefits of our entertainment, but usually you could just "rub it out".
Simple times, but nobody needed 'safe spaces' or 'trigger warnings'.

Boligat said...


"Your imagination provided the color."

I remember a few years ago teaching a middle school English class. First I had the kids read a few passages from War of the Worlds. Then I had them draw what they thought the Martian machines looked like. Though all that the same basic outline, all of them were slightly different, according to their imagination. They thought it was a stupid exercise. Then I had them listen to a taped version of Orson Wells' famous radio program. Then I had them draw the machines again. Almost the same results as the radio script follows the book quite closely. More complaints. Then I showed them clips from the '50's movie War of the Worlds. When I rolled the tv out the kids said, "Now we get to see what they are really supposed to look like." Probably the saddest thing I've ever heard.

BTW, for my money, the Martian ships in the '50's movie still rank as the most interesting ever produced. To me they were just plain COOL. I have not seen Tom Cruise's version of War of the Worlds. Don't think I want to, either.

Detritus Effluvium said...

I'm sure I saw your father's artwork before on cereal boxes because his style seems so familiar. I featured his campaign buttons on my crappy little blog and hope I attributed them correctly. If I didn't please let me know and it will get changed or removed. (They're at the bottom.) Thanks for sharing them.

chef621 said...

@ NVRick

Do you remember Indian blankets thrown over the clothes line to make a tent with rocks on the corners? One of our favorites. Dad made us a pair of stilts and we had contests to see who could walk the farthest without falling off. I was pretty good at launching off the front steps and walking to the end of the driveway. I had constant scraped knees from roller skating, with the key on a string around my neck so it wouldn't get lost. The nights we chased lightening bugs with a mason jar to make a lantern were fun. If we were really lucky we could watch the northern lights on special nights.(Ohio) Kids now who play video games don't know what fun is.

Judi King said...

I grew up in the 40's in a suburb about 2 miles from Detroit. There were about 50 kids on my block alone. In the Summer we'd all play together....cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians on our two wheelers. Or kick the can, hide and go seek, etc. There would be baseball in the street and snowball fights in the Winter. If it was real hot, the city would sometimes open the fire hydrants so we could play in the water. In bad weather my girlfriend and I would play dress up or paper dolls. If I got a new book of paper dolls or a coloring book, I'd be busy for hours. We had roller skates, played hop scotch, marbles, etc. We all walked to school, home for lunch and back then then home. No buses. If we broke any rules we were punished. When I was old enough to shop, I'd take a bus to Detroit by myself. A beautiful, clean, friendly city then. I wouldn't change that childhood for anything.

Bruce Bleu said...

I played "mumbly peg" with a blade screwdriver when I was about 9. Was doing real well for about 5 minutes until I put the screwdriver into my big toe, right on the edge of my toenail. I retired from MP competition on the spot.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Shelly- Isn't it amazing what we all survived (and even thrived on) back in the day? Things weren't perfect, but I think the kind of childhoods we had back then allowed us to be kids and made us more resilient adults. I don't think we're going to see that again.

@Boligat- Great memories. I'm slightly too young to have listened to the old radio shows, but I listen to them now on an MP3 player (you can find lots of OTR - Old Time Radio - on the Internet). And being a former radio production guy, I'm a huge fan of Stan Freberg's work.

@Chef621- As a kid I enjoyed watching the Roy Rogers show, and it never struck me as odd that there were cowboys, saloons, and horses...but also a comic sidekick who drove a WWII surplus jeep. And when Roy and Dale sang "Happy Trails," I believed them.

@Flugelman- No production, even with CGI, can match "theater of the mind" for my money.

@NVRick- Wonderful!

@Boligat- That is a sad tale. I think when kids (and adults, for that matter) are bombarded with sensory overload that their imaginations become atrophied from not being used. Which might be why they use their smartphones to share pictures of what they're eating rather than posting anything witty or thoughtful.

And yeah, I love the old War of the Worlds movie (and the radio drama, of course). Those Martian ships are still scary. As far as the Tom Cruise version goes, I actually liked it (though prefer the older one). When the Martian machines arrive and start raising hell, they will scare the crap out of you.

@Detritus Effluvium- Thanks for sharing my Dad's work on your blog! You've got a lot of funny stuff on there.

@chef621- When I was a kid in Indiana, the nights were all about lightning bugs. I don't think I've seen more than one or two in all the years I've lived in north Texas. Dang it.

@Judi King- Thanks for sharing those nice memories. I pity today's kids, and worry about the way their relatively antiseptic existence will affect their choices for the future of this country.

@Bruce Bleu- Too bad you retired from mumbly peg; you could have gotten a sponsorship from Bactine.

Boligat said...


Okay, then, I will watch the Tom Cruise version of War of the Worlds, but if my wife complains about it, I'm blaming you. :-)

P.S. NOBODY has ever done scenes better than the Martian ships. And to think they did it the old fashioned way without the CGI.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Boligat- I'm not saying it's a great movie, but I found it worth watching. Cruise was tolerable and the special effects are nightmarish. At this very moment, I have actual goosebumps remembering the appearance of the first Martian walker in the movie. Yikes!

But the George Pal "War of the Worlds" remains my favorite, and as you point out they had to do it with no CGI. Pal's "When Worlds Collide" and "The Time Machine" are pretty darn good, too.

madmanmike1980 said...

I was born in 1980, and I also remember reading the backs of cereal boxes to entertain myself (I had video games as well but I also played outside and played with blocks, Hot Wheels, Matchbox cars, and Lincoln Logs, unlike most kids today). Much simpler times, indeed.