Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2719 Hyperion Avenue - then and now

Research continues on the Hyperion history project with several new and exciting discoveries over the past couple of months. I can't quite tell you what those new finds are just yet. Instead, here are a couple of related images I think readers of this blog might enjoy:

First, the new addition to the front of the Disney studio's original 1925 building, circa the spring of 1930. This addition brought the front of the building flush to the sidewalk. The entrance door was also relocated several feet to the east:


Next up is a photo of the same spot taken just a couple of months ago:


Lastly, the two images married together courtesy my time machine (aka friend Paul Sorokowski). If only . . .


As always, I'm looking for any historic material related to Hyperion including letters, documents, staff newsletters, interior and exterior photographs, etc. Please email me if you have any related material to share or for sale.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kamen, Blair, and a boy named Tim

Prior to becoming Disney's sole merchandising rep, Herman Samuel "Kay" Kamen, (the son of Russian immigrants), and his business partner Streeter Blair, operated a marketing firm called Kamen-Blair out of Omaha, and later Kansas City.

In the 1920s the duo ran a department store campaign, which promoted the sale of boy's clothing. The main attraction was a club called The Pie-eaters, which by some accounts had 500,000 members aged six to 16 years of age.

Members of The Pie-eaters received a pin-back button, which featured the likeness of the club's leader, a cartoon character named Tim.

Tim was described as "the world's most famous author, inventor, and champion detective." Tim's exploits were documented in The Knicker, a multi-page newsletter edited by Blair, which contained short stories, cartoons, and advertising. I own several copies of this little publication, and what strikes me are the similarities in content and layout between The Knicker and the early Mickey Mouse dairy magazines, which Kamen was instrumental in launching.

From my collection:


In the 1920s, Kay Kamen, Kamen's first wife Lilaine, and Streeter Blair drove cross-country promoting Tim and The Pie-eater's club. Note the art on the spare tire cover on the rear of the car. 


Kamen and Blair eventually parted company. As for Tim, he eventually became associated with Superman.

There can be no doubt the experience Kamen gained from marketing Tim, (and Our Gang merchandise for Hal Roach's series of the same name), served him well when he was at the helm of Disney's merchandise and licensing division.