Part 5 of the vintage sports posters series takes a look at the Don Spencer Company, Inc. This mailer is one of my more recent acquisitions. When it was listed on eBay the dealer had it up as two lots. I'm glad I bid and won both lots because it turns out they were addressed to the same person (apparently a high school administrator) and made up Don Spencer's complete offering for 1948.
The first lot pertained to the company's posters and programs. The first letter above talks about the company's success with its high school football programs. The second letter, part of the second lot, talks about adding cartoons and features to the program. It's interesting to see how Spencer offered a complete package. The catalogs featured in previous posts were basically all about the art on the posters and program covers. Another note of interest is the use of 2 different letterheads.
1948 order form
Shown above and below is the 4-page poster supplement that was part of the first lot. My personal favorite is the ice hockey poster.
Also part of the first lot were 8 individual blank football program covers. Three of the covers were done by Lon Keller and 5 were done by Larry Tisdale.
Above and below are 2 of the Lon Keller covers along with their published game programs.
The 3 pieces show below are by Tisdale. His work seems to take a more cartoonish approach. I tried finding more about Tisdale's career, but didn't find anything. If anyone has any leads, please drop me a note.
The second lot contained items for the "guts" of the program.
The Cartoons and Features catalog includes 15 pages of work done by famous cartoonist Bo Brown.
Brown's work has appeared in such places at The Saturday Evening Post, The New Yorker and some six hundred other publications. He produced the syndicated comic strip Such is Life in 1936. He was the winner of numerous cartooning awards.
The features offered in the catalog include: "True or False?" "How Well Do You Remember?" "Do You Really Know Your Football?" "I See By The Rules." "The "T" Is Stalled-Now What?" "Bird's-eye View Of Present-Day Offensive Football," "Time-out For The Officials," "Extra Point Or No Extra Point," "Passing Through The Years," and True or False Answers.
The secret to Spencer's success in the program business was that he recognized that the cost of production could be reduced greatly if all the seasons programs were produced centrally at one time. Few schools could afford the cost of quality covers and printing in those days. As stated in the first letter, Spencer's programs accounted for 99% of all high school programs produced in 1946. That's pretty amazing.
I hope you enjoyed this mini series. I have more poster catalogs to share at a later date.
Part 4 of the vintage poster series focuses on the Lederer, Street & Zeus Co., Inc 1941-1942 catalog. The 7 x 10-inch booklet has 12 pages with 33 different designs.
Several years have passed since both Don Spencer and Lon Keller have left the company and moved to New York. In my opinion there is a noticeable difference in these football designs when comparing them with the older LS & Z catalogs I posted.
Even though they are in grayscale, the page above is my favorite part of this catalog. Having seen a great number of the football, basketball and baseball pieces, it's nice to see other sports featured.
Part 3 of my series on vintage sports posters still deals with the Lederer, Street & Zeus Co., Inc. that I talked about in Part 2.
Today we take a look at what was probably a supplement issue from them just pertaining to football. The piece has no copyright date, but I'll put it at 1934 or 1935 because of the Stanford piece shown below. It's also interesting to point out that the Stanford piece has the old team name Indians. They changed to the Cardinals in 1972.
The catalog has 11 pages with 22 different designs.
Being that this issue is from the mid 1930's would mean that both Lon Keller and Don Spencer would have most likely worked on it.
Part 4 of the series will feature another LS & Z catalog from 1941-42.
Hall of Fame pitcher and Cleveland Indians icon Bob Feller has passed away at age 92.
This farm boy from Van Meter, Iowa was only 17 when he struck out eight members of the St. Louis Cardinals in three innings of an exhibition game. After this awesome display of pitching, Feller was advised to seek voluntary retirement from high school in order to sign a professional baseball contract. For 20 years, the teenage phenomena was known as "Bullet Bob" and "Rapid Robert." As a rookie, he struckout 15 batters in a single game, which at that time was an American League record. In 1940, Bullet Bob became the first American League pitcher to throw a complete game no-hitter on opening day.
At age 23, his career was interrupted by his four-year enlistment in the Navy. Upon entering the Navy, Feller became an anti-aircraft gunner aboard the U.S.S. Alabama and came out a highly decorated war veteran. He then re-entered Major League Baseball to regain his dominance on the mound. Even though his military career consumed four prime baseball years, Feller ranks 28th in history with 266 wins. He remains the Indians all-time leader in shutouts (46), strikeouts (2,581), innings (3,828) and All-Star appearances (8).
To this day, baseball historians speculate that Bullet Bob might have won 350 games and recorded nearly 3,500 strikeouts had he not joined the military. In 1962, this bullet hit the bulls-eye with an induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Part 2 of my vintage sports posters features the Berkeley, California printing company Lederer, Street & Zeus Co., Inc. The catalog pictured below is not dated, but I'd put it around the mid 1950's. The reason I say this is because of the Alhambra, California High School basketball schedule card I show along with the basketball page.
While there is little information on the company's history, a few things are known. They were a powerhouse at producing football material (mainly high school and college). It also served as the starting point for two of the most famous people related to this type of material. Illustrator Lon Keller and Don Spencer both worked there in the early to mid 1930's before Spencer left to form his own company which Keller joined. For more information on Keller see lonkeller.com. I'll be doing a post in the vintage sports posters series that will feature Spencer's company in a few days.
This digest sized catalog has 10 pages and shows 38 different poster designs. The sports show are football, basketball, baseball, swimming, track and boxing. Other sports that they produce posters and programs for are wrestling, rugby, skiing, golf, water polo, crew and volleyball.
Pictured below is the 1955-56 Alhambra High School basketball schedule card that I used to date the catalog.