Meet these incredible collectors of the gags and novelties sold in old comics

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I remember really wanting one of those “giant” ones that pictured multiple kids playing in it, like a submarine or fort, but never having the princely sum of $9.95 to spend on it.

Decades later, I spotted a real one at a friend’s house, in his kids’ playroom. Turns out it was a plastic tablecloth with fort pictures drawn on all four sides, draped over a folding card table. My instant disappointment in the banality of the thing was quickly overcome by relief that I hadn’t wasted three months’ allowance to buy one.


I had the Pocket spy telescope and x-ray specs featured in the Johnson Smith Company ad when I was a kid. We used to have two magic/joke shops in Downtown Boston sadly they are gone now.

The Polaris submarine is what I craved - 1968 me would have punched everyone in the 4th grade right in the throat to get my hands on one of those.

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The Neptune 2000 was better.

In '07 Boing-Boing had a post that features photos of the cardboard Polaris. WIRED had a link, but it is not longer active. Still this features 1 photo of the finished product:

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