One of my favourite podcasts on CBC Radio called “Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly” highlighted the beginnings of the comic book ads that my brother and I used to pour over in great detail during our childhood. Fantasies about tanks that could shoot shells or submarines to launch into the local lake to be had for under $10. We never did order those items but we did tape quarters to pieces of cardboard and send away for those of lower price levels. Sea Monkeys for only a $1.25. Chests of toy soldiers for only $2.00. And even a machine gun that shot real BB’s for under a buck. After dropping the envelope with several weeks allowance in the post box we spent each day for the next several weeks running home with the expectation of finding that our treasures had arrived. Inevitably we were usually pretty disappointed by what we finally received. But the anticipation was a wonderful experience and I look fondly back on those days of innocent wonder. I highly recommend you go here and listen to Terry O’Reilly’s podcast.
If you have ever wondered about what you would actually get when you ordered that submarine or many of the other items from those comic books, Amazon sells a book Mail Order Mysteries that reviews a good number of the ads that I remember from my childhood. I have purchased this book and loved and highly recommend it.