Monday, 28 November 2016

53 Years Between Breakfast Bites! - (Volume 1 Addition)

As most CFL collectors know the 1962 and 1963 Post CFL grocery premium cereal cards are a mainstay of CFL collecting and their popularity seems to remain constant year after year. If you were a kid then, looking forward to the morning meal to see which cards you could eventually cut out of the cereal box back panel, you have had to wait a little over 19,000 days to once again be greeted by CFL players on your morning boxes of Post cereal.

These promotional boxes featured large images of two players on each box front, the players are not named but are easy to identify.

So one day last month I am checking Ebay for CFL items and I come across an auction for the two boxes shown above (with seller's thumb on the left) with these dynamic and attractive CFL players plastered all over the package fronts. Pleasantly surprised I head to the local grocery stores to see if I can locate actual copies for myself.  

There are six boxes in total in the set and the common backs advertise a Post sponsored contest for the Ultimate Grey Cup Experience. The players are only available on the Family Size versions of these popular Post brands.

The players available in the promotion are :

  • Box 1  Darian Durant & Joshus Bell
  • Box 2  Bo Levi Mitchell & Marcus Howard
  • Box 3  Drew Willy & Kyries Hebert
  • Box 4  Henry Burris & Nicolas Boulay
  • Box 5  Zach Collaros & James Yurichuk
  • Box 6  Mike Reilly & Adam Bighill

Turns out that by the time I even found out about this promotion it was already over so I was lucky to still be able to find most of the boxes at stores around my area of the city. The website image below shows that Post was promoting the products online fairly well but the CFL might have made a bigger splash on its website or via its mobile Apps because I never heard about it from those channels. 

While searching for the boxes, lo and behold I stumbled upon another Post CFL promotion relating to the Jerseys of each CFL club.   

These boxes are dressed up as the nine CFL team jerseys on different brands of Post cereals. This time the backs advertise a contest to win Official CFL team jerseys.  

Details on this promotion are available at the Post Canadian website

This contest is still active and goes until December 31, 2016 and includes discounts at as well as 250 Jerseys available to be won for each team.  

For unknown reasons some of the boxes (Winnipeg, Calgary & maybe one more) have the jersey graphics on both sides of the box bilingually. 

Co-op was the first to produce modern cereal boxes with player images from the start of this decade and these were partially catalogued in Volume II of Collecting Canadian Football. You would think that over the last five decades there would have been a lot of CFL themed material promoted on cereal boxes but other than the classic Post sixties sets, this is generally not really the case. There were a few generic football cards from multi sport sets made available in cereal boxes as well as a few generic football items as prizes in cereal boxes (those will eventually be catalogued in the upcoming Volume III of Collecting Canadian Football). 

Above left are two General Mills cereal box side panels featuring Dick Shatto that were catalogued in Collecting Canadian Football Volume II. Above right is what is thought to be a cutout of an unidentified cereal brand box back from 1967 with a Modern Day Grey Cup Records theme. 

No doubt there are more vintage unidentified CFL cereal box memorabilia items out there waiting to be discovered, and happily these days some current ones as well. With any luck Post and the CFL will expand on this collaboration in upcoming seasons.  

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Analog Audio Annals

For most of the 20th Century if you wanted to make a permanent record of an audio event or capture a song it was most commonly done by producing a phonograph record, initially in 78 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute), then 33 RPM albums and finally 45 RPM singles. Naturally there have been a fair share of CFL related recordings made over the decades, several of which were featured in Collecting Canadian Football Volume II because they were distinctly player specific.

Winnipeg Blue Bomber's 50th Anniversary record with multiple team player greats and Saskatchewan Roughrider's player musicians West Country Rock record. Both of these were catalogued in Volume II and both are reasonably easy to acquire, appearing on Ebay fairly regularly.

But there are also numerous generic CFL football records known that will eventually make their way into Volume III of Collecting Canadian Football and some of these I will highlight here in this blog post.

Two of the earliest records that I am aware of are both 78 RPM issued by radio station CFRB in Toronto. On the left was the Argonauts team song, ostensibly used at the Stadium to play in between breaks in the  game action, on the right a recording of Grey Cup highlights from an unfortunately unspecified year.

78 RPM records were the dominant format prior to World War II and were still issued in some cases up until the 1950's. The largest known CFL related record issue was in 78 RPM speed dating from 1951 and is spotlighted in this blog post Fifties Flatland Frenzy.

A little difficult to make out at this resolution but on the left is a Winnipeg Blue Bomber fan parody song titled "Hang Down Your Head Jim Trimble" dating from the late 50's or early 60's and at right a radio station CKNW recording of the B.C. Lions team song, probably early 60's as well.  

Team songs and parodies were common subjects for records in the fifties & sixties and were typically issued in 33 RPM album format. The Bomber parody was sung to the tune of "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley", a popular song of the era and was aimed at poor Jim Trimble, coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats that kept coming up on the losing end against the Bombers in Grey Cups at the time.

This album of CFL songs from 1968 is available in two formats, one aimed at the popular consumer and one as part of a archival project capturing Canadiana recordings for posterity. Dal Richards was a popular Vancouver orchestra leader whose career spanned over seventy years

More mainstream record pressings were available for retail sale in the sixties (and at garage sales and flea markets today). Check out the unusual funky logo used for the Saskatchewan Roughriders on the album cover above left. Eventually 45 RPM singles with a CFL connection were issued both by organizations and different players trying their hand at vocalizing.

The Grey Cup specific song recording at left can be found with different RCA catalogue numbers at top left so perhaps there are some variants available for whatever reason. At right is a single by Johnny Rodgers "The Ordinary Superstar" of the Montreal Alouettes in the seventies. 

Towards the late seventies and early eighties CFL recordings regrettably tended towards the disco genre. I can still remember (but have not been able to locate a copy of) a cheesy eighties parody issued by the Stampeders prior to a playoff matchup called "Born to Beat the Lions". The song was based on "Born to be Alive" by disco sensation Patrick Hernandez. Pretty sure we lost that game...

B.C. Lions promotional disc at left with unknown song content but likely a disco rendition from the early eighties and Hernandez in full disco club cane swinging action at right. You can see one of many online video renditions here of Born to be Alive if you want to punish yourself. 

The cost of compact disc production in the eighties would have precluded any CFL efforts from that time period but eventually as the new format took over and records began to fade from the manufacturing landscape, the CFL got on board with the new medium.

Top left is Red, White and Rock - a Grey Cup themed compact disc issue from an unknown year and at top right the Tragically Hip special commemorative Grey Cup CD from their halftime performance in 2004. 

With compact discs now being phased out in favor of digital MP3's and on demand audio streaming this type of physical CFL collectible would appear to have come to an end. But many obscure uncatalogued recordings from the prior century are no doubt still out there waiting to be rediscovered.


Friday, 30 September 2016

Stadia Novus

This decade has been a period of time unlike any other in the long history of Canadian Football. No fewer than five new stadiums have been built for the lucky franchises and fans since 2010 (as well as a sixth temporary new stadium that was used during renovations in Vancouver). Getting a new facility is something that typically only happens in generational cycles and short of a championship is the next best thing that can happen for a team. Naturally an event as important as a new home to play in usually generates associated collectibles and this post will examine some of these items for each team.

Empire Stadium was built in 1954 for the British Empire games which happened to correspond with the birth of the Lions franchise. Somewhat crude 1st year Lions pennants featuring the stadium were available as well as a number of different postcards. 
After 29 years in their original stadium B.C. Place was constructed and opened in 1983. It has remained the Lion's home for more than 31 seasons, with almost two whole seasons spent at a temporary stadium called Empire Field constructed on the site of the old stadium while B.C. Place was renovated for over 500 Million dollars.  

Souvenir program for the opening of the new stadium in 1983 as well as a cropped image of a football themed pennant. Other pennants just featuring the stadium are available as well as numerous postcards.

This previous blog post Pride of the Lions Quenches Thirsty Fans showcases some collectibles that partially feature the newly renovated stadium.

Of course when moving to a new home nostalgia and appreciation for the old stadium can also result in fine keepsakes as shown below.
Farewell to Clarke Stadium in Edmonton in 1978 as the team moved to the enormous Commonwealth Stadium where they remain today. Postcard at right shows an interesting perspective with both stadiums right next to each other. 

The Eskimos played at Clarke stadium for 41 years and have been playing at Commonwealth Stadium for 39 years. Commonwealth Stadium has been one of the nicest and largest capacity stadiums in the country for decades and around 200 Million dollars has been spent on upgrades since original construction. Thanks to Stadan Collectibles for the program image above left.

In Saskatchewan New Mosaic Stadium (the most recent of all the new facilities) is scheduled to begin operations for the Roughriders in 2017 but it will host CIS university football starting in just a few days from now on Oct. 1, 2016.

At left is an architectural model of the new Mosaic Stadium in Regina and at right a souvenir pin from a set made for the farewell season at old Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field

 The Riders have played on Taylor Field at old Mosaic Stadium since even before the first grandstands were built there in 1936 (81 years) so the sentimental attachment to the site is significant and memorabilia commemorating the facility is available. However the stadium itself is a patchwork amalgam of various components added over the decades and it is probably the worst existing facility in the league, at least for a couple of more months. No doubt there will be plenty of opportunity for Roughrider fans to buy up memorabilia for the new stadium next year. The stadium cost nearly 300 Million dollars to construct.

In Winnipeg the Blue Bombers originally played at Osborne Stadium but surging attendance spurred the construction of Winnipeg Stadium in 1953. The Bombers occupied this facility for 61 seasons before they recently moved into their own brand new digs at Investors Group Field in 2013.

Souvenir program from the first football game at brand new Winnipeg Stadium in 1953 and the same from brand new Investors Group Field in 2013. 

The new stadium was plagued with cost overruns and construction delays so that even though official closure ceremonies (and no doubt some associated memorabilia!) were held to send off the old stadium in 2011, the team was forced to remain there for all of 2012 as well. The new facility cost over 200 Million dollars to complete.

A specific commemorative pin was available for every different game at Investors Field in 2013

In Hamilton the Tiger-Cats played at Civic Stadium (later renamed Ivor Wynne Stadium) since the merger of the Tigers and the Wildcats formed the modern team in 1950. The stadium was something of an embarrassment in the sixties when U.S. networks broadcasting CFL games (see blog post Canadian Football for Americans) complained about its dilapidated appearance and it was substantially upgraded in 1971. Fast forward to the start of this decade and after 60 seasons the Ti-Cats were sorely in need of a new home.

Hamilton fans were able to say goodbye to the old stadium and hello to the new stadium in 2014 with ephemera to match 

A series of proposals,plans and potential sites were acrimoniously disputed to the point where the funding portion being made available from the Pan-Am games was just about squandered. Finally it was decided to build the new stadium on the existing site, now called Tim Hortons Field for about 150 Million dollars. The construction also ran over schedule but since late 2014 Tiger-Cat fans have enjoyed the brand new facility.

Pins commemorating the team's tenure at Guelph Stadium during construction of Tim Horton's field were also produced. The mother lode of Canadian Football memorabilia - the Canadian Football Hall of Fame will also be relocated to the new stadium. At right is an artists rendering of the planned open air player busts display.

Ottawa's Frank Clair Stadium had degenerated to the point where part of the structure was condemned as unsafe to occupy during the period that the city went without a team. A new stadium was a prerequisite to even field the new RedBlacks franchise and the process was delayed by all sorts of community opposition, legal challenges and logistical hurdles as well.

A commemorative token (with bilingual paper insert) was handed out at the inaugural game at TD Place in Ottawa in 2014. The RedBlacks logo is on the other side of the coin.

The RedBlacks inaugural game was played at their new stadium although that fact wasn't noted on the souvenir pin. A four card set was given to season ticket holders in 2014 with one card featuring the stadium on the front,

Its hard to pin a cost on TD Place Stadium as it is part of a larger area revitalization project but around 200 Million seems likely, cost overruns and lawsuits inflated the final figure.

Toronto is the most recent CFL franchise to have moved to a new facility this year beginning play at BMO Field. A new facility but an old location as the new stadium is where Exhibition Stadium used to be where the Argos played for 31 seasons. Prior to that they occupied Varsity Stadium at the University of Toronto for over 40 years.

Top left is a segment of actual Varsity Stadium bench seating as well as three as yet uncatalogued limited edition prints of historic football moments at the stadium, both from the 2002 auction that disposed of the stadium contents when the original facility was torn down. At right is the opening day program from the SkyDome where the Argos began play in 1989. 

Sometimes when a team's old historic stadium is being destroyed a number of collectibles are spawned as well, such as those pictured above left. The Argos played at the particularly unsuited for football SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) for 28 years before their most recent relocation.

 In a city whose urban sprawl and congested traffic have contributed to attendance decline, the team is hoping that this new location in an open air stadium will bring back some of the football atmosphere so sorely lacking in their previous home. Pictured above is a canvas picture keepsake of the occasion.

 Almost 200 Million dollars went into BMO Field's original construction and subsequent upgrades.

The Montreal Alouettes occupy by far the oldest stadium in the CFL with Percival Molson Memorial Stadium having been originally constructed in 1914 although 30 Million dollars of upgrades were completed in 2010 (a pretty reasonable sum compared to those expended in each of the other cities). The Als have bounced around from Delormier, Molson, Autostade, Olympic and back to Molson Stadiums over their long history. Some information on their move back to Molson is contained in this blog post (Resurrection in Monochrome).

Front cover and Third Phase of a pamphlet detailing a proposed custom built stadium for the Alouettes, year unknown.

The rare publication above would seem to indicate that at some point fairly detailed plans were being made for the Alouettes to built their own grand stadium, an idea which never came to fruition.

So that brings us finally to Calgary, where at the end of this season the Stampeders will have the dubious honor of playing in the second oldest (57 years) and most dilapidated facility in the entire league. This situation is of course not new for the city, in the fifties Mewata Stadium was nicknamed the Black Hole of the CFL for its rundown condition. Eventually a couple of local oilmen had to initiate the construction of McMahon Stadium in 1960 to drag the team and the city into the modern age at the time.

Rare aerial photo of Mewata Stadium at left in the 1950's and opening day of brand spanking new McMahon stadium in 1960 at right by noted Calgary Photographer Walter Petrigo.

Now almost six decades have passed and the city once again seems content to go on indefinitely as the laughing stock of North American centers when it comes to sports facilities for its professional teams to occupy (the Saddledome being equally obsolete in hockey arena terms). Unfortunately the modern corporations that until recently generated billions in revenue annually from their Calgary based operations did not share the civic spirit of the McMahon brothers and offer to significantly contribute to the construction of new facilities here. Initially built for the equivalent of 8 Million of today's dollars and with 15 Million in recent upgrades the Stadium is the poorest funded facility in the CFL.

The ownership group of the Flames and Stampeders have proposed a new ambitious project for a combined facility called Calgary Next with a significant price tag of over 800 Million dollars. Some public money would be involved, as it has been for all of the other cities that have new or upgraded facilities across Canada. Opposition to the plan was swift and strident and I have no doubt that years will pass before any new plans can be approved and acted upon. Many Calgarians don't seem to understand that sports and entertainment facilities are infrastructure that should be supported by government so that the citizens that live here can enjoy the use of them. The alternative is decades old and eventually crumbling unsuitable buildings.

Opening day souvenir program from McMahon Stadium in 1960 and artist rendering of proposed new combined Hockey/Event/Football/Fieldhouse Calgary Next project

In an age where new, modern, attractive, functional and wonderful new buildings are being constructed all across North America for many different sports, and small agrarian countries like Portugal can construct multiple new facilities to host important sporting competitions that reflect their national pride to the world, and where organizations and people in Hamilton, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Regina can take the necessary steps to make sure that their franchises have places to play that reflect the team's cherished standing in their communities ... Calgary apparently doesn't measure up to any of that.


Saturday, 27 August 2016

The All Canadian All-Star Perplexity

The first reference I can recall seeing about a definite selection of the most impressive players from a particular season for the top level of Canadian football competition at the time, was from around 1912 but I can't locate the document or publication at the moment. Nevertheless it is a fitting indicator of the long and twisted and very poorly documented history of All-Star team selections in Canada. Naturally this aspect of the game has also resulted in a fair number of collectibles produced over the decades to be showcased here.

Canadian football Hall of Fame player and subsequent author, reporter, poet! and highly regarded knowledgeable expert on the sport, Ted Reeve selected this All-Star team for Liberty Magazine in 1938.

Independent selection of All-Eastern teams by the media appears to have began sometime in the late twenties with a more or less official Canadian Press team being announced from 1932 in the East and 1937 in the West. These teams were often featured as stories in the news magazines of the times (with colour accents!) and are attractive and historically interesting items.

Maclean's nominated their own All-Star team selected by a different sports reporter in 1938. It is not known if these various team selections were somehow merged to create the Canadian Press team or if they were independently determined. 

Maclean's magazine is of course well known here but others like Liberty and New Liberty are hard to track since internet searches of any kind are always inundated with the American versions of the magazine and almost no results about the Canadian. In general the wealth of obtainable information and pictures relating to Canadian football in vintage news magazines and newspaper supplement magazines has not been documented to any reasonable degree.

Ted Reeve's credibility in the sport allowed him to keep picking All-Star teams for more than 20 years, above is his 1950 effort. The players selected by the Canadian Press were eventually compiled as official in team media guides and the CFL official record books.

By the mid fifties specific football magazines targeted at fans were being produced and in some cases selecting their own "All-Canadian" teams as it seems the Canadian Press teams were still limited to just the IRFU team in the east and the WIFU team in the west.

Normie Kwong appears in his All-Star colours on the cover of Canadian Football Illustrated for 1956 and included was a story on the new innovation from 1955, the very first Canadian Football All-Star game.

From 1955 through 1958 four All-Star games pitted the East against the West sponsored by the Shriner hospitals for sick children. The games were played in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Hamilton and all were in December meaning the weather conditions were usually a negative factor.

The official first All-Star souvenir program on the left and a much scaled-down 4 pager version on the right for the less well-heeled fans in attendance. Having different quality programs like this was fairly common in this era with the cheaper edition probably being harder to come by today.

The fifties All-Star games were not particularly well-attended and since so many of the players were American imports they would not all have normally stayed in the country anyways after the season was over. The games were discontinued after 1958 with the West claiming a 2-1 edge with one tie.

 The 1956 edition of the game featured some fairly funky little used logos on the program and other collectibles were starting to become available such as the pennant pictured above right. If you have a healthy collecting budget perhaps Hamilton's Eddie Bevan #52 game-worn All-Star jersey from 1956 would look good in your man cave.

From 1962 the Football Reporters of Canada began selecting an official All-Canadian team on Offence and Defense which corresponded with the recent adoption of an interlocking schedule among the two conferences.

Magazines would still sometimes publicize All-Star selections independently from the official selections. On the left is the 1963 French Canadian magazine Perspectives and on the right is a 1970 magazine with a Sports Canada "All-Pro" coaches selected team.

In 1970 the All-Star game was resurrected under the auspices of the CFL Players Association with the format being the previous season's All-Stars from all teams combining forces against the reigning Grey Cup Champions at the home field of the champions. 

On the left is the "1st Annual" (not really) program from 1970 and it is little known that this game was the last career game for Ottawa superstar QB Russ Jackson, not the 1969 Grey Cup game.  On the right is the inside of the CFLPA All-Star banquet pamphlet from the 1971 game in Montreal.

These games continued in the champs versus everybody else format for five years with all of the games happening in the pre-season. The League won 3 of the contests with the Stampeders and Rough Riders winning the other two. 

Occasionally you might come across a CFL All-Star reference in an unexpected place such as the colour game action picture from the 1972 contest at McMahon Stadium in a glossy magazine promoting the city of Calgary. At right are All-Star tickets from the 1972, 1974 and 1978 games.

In 1976 the format reverted to East (1 win) versus West (2 wins) for the next three years in pre-season, followed by a 4 year gap before another post season December game but this time indoors at brand spanking new B.C. Place Stadium (West win).

1978 All-Star program from Calgary and 1983 All-Star program from Vancouver 

The last CFL All-Star game was held in 1988 in June at Commonwealth Stadium where the CFL All-Stars defeated the reigning Grey Cup champion Eskimos. Of course CFL All-Star and All-Canadian team selection continued but in true Canadian Football fashion at some point the CFL Players Association began selecting their own All-Star team (voted on by the players themselves) meaning there were more than one group of selections in certain years.

There used to be a list of some years of these selections on one of the two CFLPA (and ProPlayers) websites and there used to be lists of the CFL selections on their website but they all seem to have disappeared now. These more modern All-Star teams spawned additional collectibles that I will cover in a future blog post.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


OYO is the name of a modern small plastic sport figure / toy that has been on the market for several years now. As is sometimes the case with these sorts of products the CFL eventually became involved a few years after inception and there are now more CFL OYO's than you can shake a stick at out there to collect.

The figures are reminiscent of LEGO toy figures (except they are athletes and not pirates or Luke Skywalker) and so is the name OYO but of course for trademark purposes no direct reference to the other company's product is made (although it is stated that the figures are "compatible with most name brand building toys").

As with most things memorabilia these days Saskatchewan was the first team to harness the marketing power of OYO with a set of white uniform figures issued in 2013 

The first CFL figures were designated G1LE for Generation 1 Limited Edition (actual production figures are unknown) and as Series 1 but only Roughriders were available. The usual suspects were produced (Durant, Dressler, Sheets, Chick and presumably a few others). The figures are not actual likenesses of the players but are customized with the player's jersey number and name on the back and on the packaging material. Black and White figures are used depending on the player. Each player comes with a few accessories as well.

This was followed up by a dark jersey Saskatchewan Series 2 with a copyright year of 2013 as well 

In 2014 the line was expanded across all of the CFL teams but somewhat confusingly the figures for each of the other 8 teams were also designated G1LE Series 1. So it is not clear if the Series designation is for a separate issue of a given number of figures (per team, per year) or the Series number is incremented if a player is given a second figure (with the same team) in the same year or possibly also in a subsequent year.

Note that the initial figures for the other teams issued in 2014 have the same box design as the 2013 figures. Here is a "Series 1" Ricky Ray of Toronto.

Later in 2014 the box design was slightly modified with the 6+ child safety designation being moved to the back and the rest of the graphics remaining pretty much the same but some of the wording is removed as well. G1LE Series 1 they remain.

2014 Hamilton Simoni Lawrence with modified box design

2014 also saw the release of the first of what will likely be a large number of vintage players as well as team mascots, with the same modified box design.

 Doug Flutie and Ralph the Dog are immortalized in mini plastic form. Flutie is also available in his Stampeder uniform, unknown if a B.C. version exists.

For the 2015 season a few players that changed teams are available with the late 2014 box design and with 2015 as the copyright date on the back of the box. Presumably the players that were issued in 2014 also continued to be produced because there were plenty of them around for purchase.

Part of Kevin Glenn's sojourn through the CFL teams is available for collectors. Also pictured is a different box design for the Tiger-Cats mascot, it is unclear which year this was issued in but 2015 would be a reasonable guess.

2014 Also saw the arrival of larger Endzone playsets in specific team configurations. Priced around $30.00 - $35.00 they are still commonly available at team stores and on Ebay. Not sure whether or not there has been any evolution or changes to the endzone sets between 2014 and 2016.

These sets came with two generic players and a referee. 

These OYO figures are obviously a very successful product and they have a lucrative target market for something that requires just a little product and packaging customization to produce "different" players for consumers to buy. They are marketed at kids but how many 6+ year old kids are going to differentiate between all of these athletes, so there is definitely an adult team sport collector aspect to all of this. While it is good to have the CFL included in these product offerings there is a lot of redundancy to the line as well.

So 2016 rolls around and what is a company to do in order to generate more sales for these little action figures? Redesign the box and include a different accessory for the figure to "use". There might possibly also be some slight changes to the figure (I don't have any new ones to verify against the older models).

This new Ricky Ray is described on Ebay as Generation 2 Series 2 but the designation is not visible in these scans.  Would seem to indicate again that the series number changes per player figure per team.

Now with all of the CFL based product activity one might expect to be able to get a comprehensive list of CFL players and available products from the OYO website which is prominently printed on each box. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly) there is ZERO information on the CFL line on the website. An email to them inquiring about a CFL list indicated that they did not have one and directed me to the CFL website, which naturally also has ZERO information on the product, same goes for the CFLPA website. There is information on a few of the products on some of the team store websites so at least that is not a dead-end.

Here we have Chris Getzlaf with his new team listed as G2S1 so if that designation is accurate it may be further indication that the series number is per team (as Getzlaf had previous Rider figures) or it may be reset by Generation, it really is anybodies guess. G2 Solomon Elimimian appears to have wandered into the wrong locker room.

Also new for 2016 are accessory playsets such as the items pictured below - now with with CFL Stickers!

It would appear that the OYO trend is going to continue for a while as sales are likely strong (obviously led by the NFL, MLB and NHL licencees) and since it takes so little production line effort to swap the little buggers into CFL format we get to go along for the ride. They don't cost too much (between $12 and $15 each at full retail) for one or two if you are giving them to your kid to play with, but collecting a full team set can be pretty costly in the long run.

I have not decided yet if these should be catalogued as an addition to Volume I as they are technically player specific, or whether or not they should go into Volume 3 since they could also be considered effectively generic Novelties & Souvenirs. Anyway I need to go and buy my missing Generation X Series Infinity Ralph the Dog 3rd Jersey Limited Edition Dog Pound Playset Variant.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Magic ! From Space! - (Volume 1 Update)

The golden age of plastic toys occurred in the fifties and sixties when the versatile material overtook the traditional wood and metal as the primary component used to manufacture playthings for children (and of course thousands of other products). Couple this with the enthusiasm for all things relating to space thanks to the space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R and it kind of makes sense that a Canadian company that produced plastic novelties would call itself Space Magic LTD.

1963 Krun - chee CFL holder imprint on left and 1964 Nalleys CFL holder imprint on right 

But what does any of that have to do with Canadian Football? Well it seems that Space Magic was responsible for manufacturing all of the plastic cap holders that were made available for collectors to house their CFL plastic potato chip caps in both 1963 and 1964. The imprint was a little different between the two years as is evident above in the bottom central cap indentations.

When I published Collecting Canadian Football Volume I in 2013 I did not have a whole lot of information available about the holders and only two were pictured from 1963 and one from 1964. Additionally I made an assumption that in 1963 each team would have had its own colour of holder from each named potato chip manufacturer and I listed them that way although most colour/brand variations were unconfirmed. Naturally it makes perfect sense that an orderly mind would expect that a collector would want to put Eskimo caps in a dark green holder and Argo caps in a blue holder but examples of caps in holders where the owner made absolutely no attempt to enforce a proper colour correlation are disturbingly evident from time to time. That, coupled with the fact that all teams had more than one colour in their uniforms and also that there seemed to be more colours used for holders than teams means that those listings were incorrect or misleading at best,

To shed a little more light on the subject I am featuring at least one of each brand of holder that I have information on in this blog post, along with a few peculiarities.

1963 Krun - chee Black CFL holder : KRUN - CHEE Canadian Football Stars 

Although each of the 1963 holders had the same attractive football layout design, the brand name of course was different for each manufacturer and the sub-title was either a different phrase or had a different juxtaposition of the wording.

1963 Hunters Dark Blue CFL holder : Hunters Canadian Football Stars 

Humpty Dumpty holders seem to be few and far between as this is the only example I have seen a scan of. Note that the holder is bilingual which corresponds with the bilingual Humpty Dumpty caps but not with the no-name caps which were both unilingual and bilingual and no-name caps are known to have been available in Humpty Dumpty chip bags.

1963 Humpty Dumpty Gold CFL holder : Humpty Dumpty Football Plaque - Plaque A Jetons 

At first glance at the holder below it appears that all is in karmic balance as the conscientious long ago collector put his B.C. Lions caps with their black and orange uniforms palette into an appropriate black holder. But wait, these are in fact 1964 Nalley's caps inserted into the holder designed for the 1963 issue so undoubtedly some type of negative repercussions eventually manifested themselves in the life of the foolhardy offender.
1963 Nalley's Black CFL holder : Nalley's Pro Football Stars Of Canada 

For 1964 only Nalley's issued potato chip caps for the five western teams and it is thought that there were just five colour matched holders produced with a new field design, although I cannot recall actually seeing any more than the blue and green versions, so perhaps the other three team holders listed in Volume I should have been marked in lighter text as unconfirmed.

1964 Nalley's Blue CFL holder : Nalley's Pro Football Stars Of Canada 

Another error in Volume I was the statement that the 1964 Nalley's cap holders were identical to the 1963 versions except for the caption, but the above two images makes it clear that wasn't the case. For unknown reasons the subtitle for the green holder was different as per below, and for the remainder of the 1964 holders it is still a mystery, perhaps both versions exist in all colours?

1964 Nalley's Green CFL holder : Nalley's 1964 Western Conference Pro Football Stars

It is one of the oddities of classic CFL collectibles as to why no ephemera of these chip cap promotions seems to have survived, after all you would think the packaging would have advertised the premiums inside, the shields would have had order forms or there would have been in grocery store displays for the products. Well the following two images would appear to be just that with regards to the wall plaques. (I was using the term holders in the guide and this blog entry, but now might be a good time to start using the official designation).

1964 Nalley's Wall Plaque packaging illustrations, not to scale, sizes unknown, blank backed

The left illustration matches the green shield for subtitle and the players actually look distinguishable but I have not compared them to any of the 1964 caps to see which team, if any they are modeled on. The player images on the right illustration are generic and the subtitle is gibberish letters. Both pieces look to have been cut from a larger package. These came up on ebay a few years ago and interest was surprisingly low if I recall correctly.

Space Magic was also apparently involved in producing a series of space caps and probably the related wall plaques and perhaps that is where the name originally came from. There is a posting on the Topps Archives from last year that has some more information on Space Magic and some of the other promotions they were involved with here Space Patrol.