Archive for the Tally Card Category

Gibson Witch and Owl, ca. 1925

Posted in 20s, Halloween, Lithograph, SFW, Tally Card on 12 June 2010 by redwitch1

This is my fourth Gibson Halloween Tally Card, this one being much like the first one I did (this one), in that it is a reasonably simple image focussing just on the face our witch. In this case though we also have an owl illuminated by a full (orange) moon: very nice.

The composition is very similar to the Halloween diecut witch (below) that was produced by Dennison (see my post here).

Not only do both witches have an owl at their shoulder, sitting on a bare branch, illuminated by a full moon, but both witches have the ruffled collar, which I have argued before is a vestige of the clown outfit that was so similar to witchy outfits in the 1910s and into the very early 1920s. The Dennison witch is a bit prettier but …

I think this is the better owl though, the Dennison owl looks a little cross-eyed!

On the back, as you can see, we have the usual spaces to record ten rounds of scores, the name of the players, the table and couple numbers. And in writing at the bottom: “A Gibson Product Made in U.S.A.”

* * * * *

I have now done posts on eight tally cards from the 20s (see my page about tally cards here), which is where I will pause for now. Next week will mark the end of my fourth year blogging. I will try to find something appropriate to mark the occasion.

Buzza’s Moon Witch, ca. 1925

Posted in 20s, Halloween, Lithograph, Tally Card on 5 June 2010 by redwitch1

Someone who has been following this blog since it started told me last week that, of all the material that I have posted, she likes the tally cards best of all. Well, I have good news for her: I have another four of them to go! I will not be doing all four posts in a row, however, but I will do them all soon.

This beauty was published by the Buzza, the same publisher who produced the magnificent Halloween tally card I posted four weeks ago: Buzza’s Book of Fate, ca. 1925.

Rather than having a removable book of “Fate” with a abstract Deco design on it, we have a far more conventional card, with decoration on one side and space to record tally details on the back.

As you can see there is space to record five rounds of scores and a total, the name of the players, the table and couple numbers, and the date. And in weenie writing at the bottom: “The Buzza Co. Craftacres, Mpls., U.S.A. T–2053.” It is a fair bet that T=Tally, but 2053 is a bit of a mystery. All I can think of is [19]20, no. 53, which seems unlikely stylistically.

Speaking of which—we seem to have the same dishy young witch, with a blond bob. Once again, she is wearing a short sleeveless orange dress, with a puffed-up skirt, edged in a wonderful, colourful, abstract Deco design, this time with a batshit-crazy green collar. (The collar—alone—reminds me of the outfits worn in Aelita: The Queen of Mars (1924), outfits not quickly forgotten!) She has an identical pair of little orange twinkle-toe shoes decorated with large square buckles, witchy-style. I didn’t mention the bangles last time, but they are here again too.

Our blonde witch also has the same pointed witch’s hat (but sans gold star) and the same wonderful black cat, with red eyes, under her arm. No pink lead this time, which is a shame. I have said before, witches have the best cats, and here is a perfect example of what I mean. My own basement cat is just like this one. She has the same dignified, homicidal look. I have mentioned her before: Sekhmet, Beloved of Ra, Destroyer of Men, Wanderer in the Wastes, She Whose Opportunity Escapeth Her Not etc. etc. aka Metti.

Buzza’s Book of Fate, ca. 1925

Posted in 20s, Halloween, Lithograph, SFW, Tally Card on 8 May 2010 by redwitch1

This magnificent Halloween tally card was published by “The Buzza Co. Craftacres, Mpls., U.S.A.”

Apparently, the company was founded by George Buzza in 1907. It took about a decade for the business to hit its stride (after George swapped from printing posters and advertising to printing greeting cards); by 1928 sales had reached $2.5 million; the following year the founder sold out; and just over one decade later the business had been run completely into the ground by the new owners.

Anyway, apparently also, the company had an in-house magazine called the Bee-Hive. I guess it is possible that this particular tally card features somewhere in either the archives at the Hennepin County Library or in the pages of The Bee-Hive, and so it might be possible to date it more accurately than ca. 1925.

If I could magically multiply myself in the same way that Mickey multiplies his bucket-bearing helpers in Fantasia—well, not exactly the same way—I would send one of me to Hennepin County to attempt this. Until I can do that I will have to content myself with the circa date above.

As for the card itself. As you can see, it is quite magical in its own way. A dishy young witch, with a blond bob, holds a massive book of “Fate” under her arm. She also has a wonderful black cat, with red eyes, on a pink leash. She is wearing a short sleeveless orange dress, with a puffed-up skirt covered in big gold stars, and a matching pointed witch’s hat. Her little orange twinkle-toe shoes are decorated with large square buckles, witchy-style.

The book of “Fate” has a wonderful, colourful, abstract Deco design on it, with the title on the front and an owl on the back. When the book is—carefully—removed from under our witch’s arm and opened we find space to record the couple and table numbers, four rounds of scores and a grand total.

Fortunately, nobody used this tally card to record their bridge tally, and so the book of Fate is blank and the card in pristine condition. I have rarely seen tally cards with any actual tallys on them and I have often wondered whether this is because those that were used were thrown away, because they were so badly damaged by being used, or they had simply served their purpose and were disposed of.

The alternative is that, because these tally cards are so beautiful and delicate, nobody could bring themselves to write on them in the first place and that they were preserved for the same reason. That is, the utilitarian and decorative functions are in conflict: the more attractive the cards are, the more likely they were to sell (and be preserved), but the less likely they were to be used.

This, of course, leads to endless speculation regarding “utile vs dulci” (the useful versus the pleasant) but this is hardly the place for it! Until next week …

Blonde Party Witch, ca. 1925

Posted in 20s, Halloween, SFW, Tally Card on 1 May 2010 by redwitch1

I posted four witchy-themed Tally Cards between October 2008 and October 2009 (see links here). After a bit of a break, it is time to continue the series, because I am a long way still from exhausting the topic, or my collection.

This delightful tally card folds in half, leaving our lovely blonde-haired witch with her hat standing up above the fold and her cat leaning against her shapely legs.

The heals, bangles, the mask in her right hand, the off-the shoulder short black cocktail dress, all say “party-time.” The polka-dot apron, with shoulder-blade to knee-cap bow on the back, suggests that our party-girl is the hostess and that she is busy arranging JOLs for her Halloween party.

Above is a close up of our, seemingly astonished, hostess. (Has she just spotted her beau dancing naked on a table? If so, this would explain what has frightened her cat).

Below are pictures of the back of the tally when it is folded, and when it is open. I rarely get to do side-by-side, front-and-back, images like this, but in this case I can, so I have.

On the back we have a guide to the rules for Standard Auction Bridge and Contract Bridge, and a blank Tally, with a space for the Table and Couple number.

At the very bottom (below) is “Made in U.S.A.” and “TH 173.” I do not know who the maker is. I do have another tally card with the serial number “HT-29-1”—perhaps they are the same maker. If you know, leave some feedback!

Gorgeous Gibson Tally Card, ca. 1925

Posted in 20s, Lithograph, SFW, Tally Card on 2 October 2009 by redwitch1

Well here is another gorgeous Gibson tally card; did they ever tire of perfection? It is the sort of object that makes you wish you had more eyes, or bigger ones, or something. I could look at this card all day. And since I have given details about The Gibson Art Company of Cincinnati before, there really is nothing to do today but glory in the details. So just feast your eyes on the following.

Another Gibson Tally Card, 1925

Posted in 20s, Halloween, Lithograph, SFW, Tally Card on 23 January 2009 by redwitch1

Here is another great Halloween tally card from the mid-1920s by the Gibson Art Company of Cincinnati.

Just like the last tally card I posted, this one is from Gibson’s Halloween heyday. But, unlike the last one, this time I can’t tell you the product number, how many were in the box; nothing, in fact, beyond what you can see, which is a young woman dressed for a ball in the most outrageous Halloween-themed dress. On top of her narrow orange knee-length skirt is a golden bustle, patterned with black Bats and Scaredy Cats. The bustle is shaped like an enormous golden pumpkin, i.e., an enormous golden Jack O’ Lantern (JOL).

Now that I think about it, JOL-bustled skirts appear on a few other bits of Halloweeniana from this period. In an early 30s tin-litho noisemaker we saw a woman standing in the top of a positively gigantic JOL, whose skirt joins seamlessly with the JOL, so it looks like she is wearing the JOL (see here). And in a mid-20s Halloween Party Invitation by Rust Craft the skirt of the masked belle shades off into a huge egg-shaped JOL (here). I will have to keep an eye open for more.

Returning to our golden party-girl, do you notice the bow on her wrist? I wonder what that is doing there. A short-lived fashion accessory? Perhaps our young red-head has forgotten something, and the bow on her wrist is a reminder for her, like a knot of string on your finger.

What could she have forgotten? Witches hat? Check. JOL? Check. Party-dress? Check. Perhaps her expression offers a clue? What do you think?

BTW. When I got this image into Photoshop I couldn’t resist having a play with it. I thought this might make a good tee shirt design, though it isn’t what I had in mind when I started setting up my Cafe Press show. Any takers?


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