Friday, May 26, 2006

Lessons in (Boys') Life

Lesson #5: Sales

I don't know what was up in Arthur Miller's America, but maybe Willy Loman should have clipped and mailed in one of the coupons for greeting cards, seeds, toothpaste, shampoo or a strange little newspaper called "Grit" that filled the pages of Boys' Life in the 50's.

All over the country, kids were hoofing it through the neighbourhood, earning "prizes" from basketballs to bicycles by selling boxes of greeting cards. How in the world did Hallmark manage to survive against this onslaught of tiny door-to-door salesmen? This must have been a successful strategy for the companies... their ads appeared relentlessly, month after month, year after year in Boys' Life.

Even up into the mid-1970's I remember scrutinizing these fascinating ads in the comicbooks I read. I wished I had the sales accumen needed to get involved... the "prizes" looked awfully nice.

No doubt the kids who the ads featured as success stories grew up to become captains of industry... selling Amway and Mary Kay !


  1. Steve did a lot of things he's not proud of to get money for camp.

  2. Thanks for finding these ads. I used the first one as a basis for a webpage I'm building: