Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Vega$ TV Show Puzzle

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The Aaron Spelling produced Vega$, the first TV series to be filmed entirely in Las Vegas, ran on ABC from 1978 to 1981. A kind of run-of-the-mill detective show, what I liked most was that its star, Robert Urich, aka private dick/ Vietnam vet Dan Tanna, a name spun off of a popular LA eatery, spun around town in a red 1957 T-Bird, gorgeous but no KITT and whose parking space was in Tanna’s living room.

Although I didn’t really watch the show – it seemed a little slick for what I was into at the time – I was excited when Robert Urich and his budding B-star wife, Heather Menzies, both longtime friends of my then boyfriend, invited us to stay at their new pad in Vegas when Bob first got the show, becoming the first TV star I ever met. I don’t remember so much about the visit because I was always so eager to get out of the pad and start photographing the vintage 1950s hotels and artifacts that still populated Las Vegas. I do remember they made great salads.

This is a 10″ x 14″ 150 piece jigsaw puzzle made in 1978 by Aaron Spelling Productions Inc. and distributed by H-G Toys of Long Beach, CA. I’ve never actually put the puzzle together as that kind of thing takes far more time and patience than I’m ever willing or able to allow. My favorite thing about it anyway is the box, with poses of Urich stuck into heart, club, spade and diamond shapes and printed with a cheap color process that allowed the ink to sink tight into the cardboard giving it a kind of porno-y look. All this topped off an all-too-blown-up and blurry cut-out of what looks to be a Urich look-alike sitting in the T-Bird. Mmm… if there’s even a prayer of the puzzle art being that kitschy I just might stay home tonight and put it together. Although there seems to be a preponderance of solid green pieces, perhaps a tribute to the salads.

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Categories: Celebrity, Games, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Travel, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – “Keep It Real” Marshmallow Leatherette Wallet

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This excessively cheap, anything-but-”real” leather wallet with an embroidered gold reminder to “keep it real” was part of a series of similarly sloganed wallets that Target carried about five years ago. It’s fun to hold because it’s stuffed with a lot of cheap foam so it feels like you’re gripping a marshmallow.

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Categories: Accessories, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Products

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Eva Gabor’s Fix-A-Fashion Chin Strap

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If it’s Eva Gabor it’s got to be good and this certainly lives up to all expectations! This incredibly cheaply made – one piece of elastic, two alligator clips and one plastic “decorative ring” – fashion strap “keeps your wig securely in place while your wig is being combed, brush or styled.” It looks like all you do is attach a clip to either side of your fake hair and tighten the noose around your neck by sliding the “decorative ring”. The final instruction, as if written for an idiot, is “comb or brush your wig into desired style.”

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Categories: Celebrity, Gadgets, Health & Beauty, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Products, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Vintage Golf Ball Corkscrew

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My favorite Sundays are when I entertain and this golf ball corkscrew has been held in the hands of almost every brunch guest who’s ever been over here. It’s as close as anyone will get to a golf course around here as the only use I have for golf balls and clubs are as bar accessories as seen here or as found objects in my art and sculptures. Like this series of Arnold Palmer Golf Hat & Coat Racks I made in 1987.

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Categories: Accessories, Bar accessory, Drink, Furniture and Housewares, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Sports

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Montgomery Flea Market Commercial

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Racing off to meetings and no time to write up Kitsch O’ The Day so enjoy this fantastically “local” commercial while I’m gone as Sammy Stephens introduces you to the Montgomery Flea Market.

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Vintage Chef String Holder

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Before the proliferation of plastic bags, these vintage string holders covered the landscapes of more bakeries and butcher shops then linoleum did. All the rage in the 1940s and 50s, anyone who worked in these kinds of establishments tugged on these things to pull out long pieces of string to wrap around boxes of chocolate cakes and cheese danishes, wax paper bundled T-bones and salmons and anything else that couldn’t magically seal itself.

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Categories: Accessories, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Fuller Brush Songfest Bath Powder Mitt

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This thing kills me. Not only does it still reek of the scent of the powder that was pumped into it five decades ago but it exemplifies a common marketing tactic taken by some of the most brilliantly kitschy products when a staunchly middle of the road company attempts to be hip and takes on a pop culture trend. In this case, it’s The Fuller Brush Company attempting to cash in on the folk singing craze of the early 1960s by covering a bath mit in fabric that looks like something that would have been stretched over the armrest of an Ethan Allan Early Americana couch.

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Categories: Accessories, Health & Beauty, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, Musical Instruments, Products

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Happy Birthday To Me Special Effects Ultimate Volcano Cake!

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Yes, my birthday’s today and that means it’s time for me to make another one of my signature spewing fire and lava volcano birthday cakes! Ranging from a foot to 4′ wide and anywhere up to 25 pounds and 2 1/2′ tall, these overdosing towers of sweetness have accompanied me rounding the bend to another year ever since I first saw a commercial for The Special Effects Cookbook in 1992.

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Categories: Art, Crafts, Creativity, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Party, Self expression

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Play Style Disco Rock Radio

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Anything that has Disco in the title is assured of shelf space at my place but the fact that the Pegtoy Corp. of Westport Connecticut calls this a “play style” means it gets a nice warm spot up front. With tiny little earplugs that might fit into the ears of an ant and a play cassette as thin as a communion wafer, this Disco Rock Radio has as much chance of actually emitting sound as a Pet Rock.

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Categories: Disco, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, Products, Toy

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – A Nice Comfortable Sunday Ride

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I hope she didn’t hit any bumps.

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Categories: Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, People, Photograph, Sports, Transportation

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