1. Playsack – Fredun Shapur designed toys and children’s books in the 1960s and ’70s. His clean, simple (and beautiful) design aesthetic is a big inspiration of mine:
My favorite toy of his has as much inspiration in the product itself as it does in the way it’s designed. The Playsack takes the idea of a used-grocery-bag-turned-costume and makes it beautiful and fashionable. Playsack was released by Trendon toys in 1969 with packaging that predictably matches the vibe of the outfits but is no less stunning because of it:
Look at these things!
Think that giraffe might be my favorite but it’s a really, really tough call. If you’re interested in seeing more of Shapur’s work, there’s a retrospective book of a lot of it available here.
2. The Incredible Products Store – How’s this for an odd couple? ’90s informercial fraudman Don Lapre and TV’s Alan Thicke teaming up to sell Lapre’s newest idea: a store where you pay him to sell your product and take a significant cut of it! And so snappily named! Can’t believe this one didn’t take off.
3. Scarecrow of Romney Marsh – I just finished the BBC’s The Prisoner recently, and I came out of it a pretty big fan of Patrick McGoohan. In looking up his filmography I came across a Disney adaptation of Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, a Dr. Syn story from a series of novels writte by Russell Thorndike. In this series, Doctor Syn is a smuggler hero who dons a scarecrow costume and leads his rebels to protect the little guy.
This production is representative of 1960’s Disney – these are the days of Pollyanna and Swiss Family Robinson, an attempt at a more grounded sort of storytelling alongside the fairy tales and fantasy. Also it was cheaper than animation. If you looked at Disney World as a representative of the company’s different storytelling efforts, this would fall square within Adventureland. I’m more of a Tomorrowland guy, myself, but there’s a certain style to this stuff that really gets me.
4. WWF Product Ad – Here’s a weird one. The WWF really wants you to dream about them (and then buy their stuff)!
5. Air Ship – What kid doesn’t want an Air Ship? I mean kite? Actually, this box kite is pretty rad and the ad is great, too. No comment on the kid’s outfit.