Saturday, February 13, 2010

Can the Corn Valentine

Going through some of my collections this morning, I found lots more vintage Valentines.  Since this is Valentine's Eve, I thought I'd post a few more.

As I went through them, I began to see some reoccurring themes or subjects. A few days ago I posted a Valentine depicting some anthropomorphized hot dogs. Anthropomorphism seems to have been a popular motif as you'll see in these first three examples. In the first example, another food item, this time an ear of corn is given a chipper little face, while in the second, a common household item, the light bulb gets the same treatment.  For those of you who may have missed it, the third example is the aforementioned hot dogs card, which I'm reposting just because I love it so.

The humanoid light-bulb is not only an example of anthropomorphism but it exemplifies another popular   concept - the word pun.  In the case of the light-bulb you have the expression "Watt you say?"  Here are a few more examples.  In one, the phrase "So help me," is written as "So Elf me," while depicting a little elf sitting atop a heart.  In another "How are you feeling about . . ." becomes "Hawaii feeling about . . . " while depicting a little girl in a grass skirt with ukelele in hand.

In this one, illustrating some very pink cotton candy, the phrase "I've gotten to like you," has been turned into "I've cotton to like you."

Here a very happy little bunny tells us how "Hoppy" you make him.

Animals were very popular, especially dogs.  I especially love the one of the poodle getting her hair done.

But there was a zoo full of other animals as well - a skunk (another example of the word pun with his heart saying "You really scent me!"), an ostrich, owl, turtle, cow, a thieving raccoon, and my favorite - the whale, who with its big red lips and luscious eye lashes, serves as another example of the anthropomorphic Valentine.  I believe this one was given to me by my mom since my name on the front of the card appears to be in her handwriting.

Then there is this bizarre card that can't make up its mind what it wants to depict, so it settles for a fit-all "whatever."

Last but not least are two cards that seem to be pushing the limits of their innocence. See if you agree with me. The first one shows a little girl in make-up wearing her bloomers fastening on a corset. Not only can you see her bare back, but she's inviting you to "hook up" with her. Note that once again there is a word pun - "Of Corset I Love You!"

This next one, I'm sure would never get made today, not with kids shooting one another in schools. A little boy is pointing a loaded gun (it must be loaded with something because you can see lines sparking from its barrel) and telling you that he's taking aim at your heart. It might be different if he were shooting a cupid's arrow, but a loaded gun? If I were that cute little bunny sitting behind him, I'd high-tail it out of there as fast as my big flat feet could carry me.

Since these two cards were produced in a more innocent time, maybe it's just from today's perspective where we've seen the results of guns in schools and the harm that comes from the early sexualization of children that these cards now seem inappropriate.

I hope you've enjoyed looking at these cards and that they've brought back some fond memories for you. As I looked at them, seeing on the reverse sides the names of former school mates scrawled in chicken-scratch style pencil, I thought about my early days in school and the fun of Valentine's day, but I also found myself thinking, what a fun job it would have been to be the designer of these cards.

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!


  1. These send me right back to the first grade. Thanks for posting.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Posting them was my pleasure. They brought back a lot of memories for me as well.