I’ve been collecting Shriners artifacts since I found a group portrait of hundreds of Zurah Temple members in their Fezes in the mid-1970s looking like little lined up Pez dispensers. I never knew the difference between Shriners and Masons or what either of them really did. I just like any organization that has hats, pins and a super-costumed regulated look. My alter ego, Bubbles the artist, has even honored them in her popular “The Funsters Of Zurah Temple” line of  collage art, ceramics and paintings.


This transparent red plastic salt and pepper shaker is a two in one deal, salt on one side, pepper on the other.


I imagine it was shaked over many a Salisbury Steak and meatloaf since its birth in 1950 when it was given away as a souvenir at the 76th Shrine Convention in Fresno, California, courtesy of Tehran Temple of Fresno,California, the “Baby Temple Of Shrinedon”. I think that The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch is in its own way a “baby temple of shrinedom”, more deserving of its own salt & pepper souvenir shaker for glorifying kitsch in all of its glory, not the least of which is this fantastic Shriner S&P shaker.

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His autograph etched on the back, TV kingpin Ralph Edwards handed out these etched gold keychains as promotional swag from “This Is Your Life”, the TV behemoth he hosted from 1952 to ’61. The show, precursor to current documentary faire such as “Biography”,  featured surprise salutes to prominent show business luminaries, politicians, sports stars and the like.  Edwards was one of the first TV personalities to produce his own show.  Hence, the particularly fancy giveaways like this keychain.

I have one more of these gold “This Is Your Life” books, based on the big red  book Edwards read his guests’ life stories from.  It’s a locket that hangs on a Pop-it bead chain and used to contain the key to my Ponytail diary.

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Here’s a slice from a 1954 “This Is Your Life” featuring Laurel & Hardy.   L&H were evidently unhappy about the stealth appearance, saying after that they never planned to make their live TV debut on an unrehearsed network show, especially one they weren’t getting paid for.



Made from 1954 – 1960, possession of a bottle of Max Factor Sophisti-Cat perfume was de rigueur for any little girl growing up in ’50’s and ’60’s. My kitty is brown with pink rhinestone eyes, a pearl choker and a white feather that constantly gets stuck to the cardboard covered velveteen, fake suede or whatever this little pussy is made out of.

Sophisti-Cats came in a variety of colors – black, brown, purple, chartreuse, red, pink, yellow and blue that I know of, and held 1/8 ounce of either Golden Woods, Primitif or Hypnotique perfume between their paws. In her rounded hard plastic case she stands a regal 6″ tall.

My favorite thing about this apparently stray Sophisti-Cat is that the bottom part of the package is printed upside down.

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I don’t know much about Buckskin Bill other than his last name was Black and he had a TV show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that began every episode with the greeting “Chickama Scouts!”.  He was famous for saying things like “Remember, you’re never completely dressed until you put on a smile.”. For whatever else he did, Buckskin Bill certainly knew how to make a good-looking coffee mug, this particular one manufactured by Esco in Japan.

I drink my coffee so light I was elated to find this “coffee milk” mug that I thought finally honored my choice of coffee hues, cranking the brown down so low it’s almost white. I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve gone to where assistants ask if I’d like coffee and how I like it made. It doesn’t matter how many beige walls, tan pillows or cream colored file folders I point at to give reference, the coffee always comes back looking like watery deep brown shoe polish.  So I live with my coffee deprived of its proper lightness and had high hopes when I found this mug that I thought justified my preference.

But alas, upon closer inspection I realized that Buckskin Bill’s intention was to create a mug for EITHER coffee OR milk as opposed to promoting a blend of the two. But I’ll take the mug any way I can get it, preferring to honor my interpretation of it in hopes that someone else may join me in a cup of milk, or in my case half and half, with a little coffee.

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May everyone’s New Year be off to as sunny, bright and choreography filled a start as this romp through cheesy video effects and bouncy hair is. I hope you go-go-GO wherever you are (and turn off the hideously obnoxious Google advertising that sucks up the bottom quarter of the screen so as not to lose the thighs, crotches and go-go boots it so insensitively covers up).


Missing the 2010 but with little plastic tabs to flip over each day to select date, day and month, this type of vintage plastic futuristic flip calendar was all the rage in modern homes when it started popping up on department store shelves in the early 1970s. Ultra-futuristic for its day, it stands 6 inches high and was made by Shield industries, Los Angeles, USA. Brief and sweet for an excellent start to 2010!

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