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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Johnson Smith Co.

I have a bunch of junk left over from my childhood including about 50 Richie Rich Comics. I used to be a big fan (at age 10). I did a little research and it appears that Richie Rich is no longer published. However, this guy claims that Richie Rich appeared more times in comics than any other comic character in history. Also interesting is that in almost every issue is a full page ad for the Johnson Smith Co. The company still exists and has a website:

The Johnson Smith Company™ is one of America's oldest catalogs companies. In 1905, our founder, Alfred Johnson Smith, started selling his novelties and practical jokes in Australia. The company was officially founded in the U.S.A. in 1914, when Mr. Smith shipped his first package from Chicago. Australia to Chicago was to be the first of several moves... The Johnson Smith Company relocated to Racine, Wisconsin in 1926. Nine years later the company made a mid-depression move to Detroit, Michigan with the intention of starting a Canadian subsidiary across the Detroit River. Those plans were abandoned with the outbreak of World War II. The company remained near the Detroit riverfront for nearly 35 years, until it moved to Mt. Clemens, Michigan (a Detroit suburb)in the early 1970s. In 1986 the company made an exciting move to Bradenton, Florida, to a specially-designed building that enables us to serve our customers with state-of-the-art technology and service! Our story is not without sociological aspects and influences. During the 1920s and 1930s, practical jokes and home hobbies provided an escape for people wracked with economic struggle brought on by WWI and the Great Depression. Our 700-page catalog provided hours of "escape," fun and fantasy for the depressed nation, even without having to place an order! Even today we hear from people who remember our catalog and the "relief" we provided! Today, the Johnson Smith catalog is known as Things You Never Knew Existed (TYNKE) and still brings hours of enjoyment to people across the country

Notable items for sale in my October 1977 Issue of Richie Rich Profits are:

X-Ray Vision Glasses $1.25
U Control 7 ft Life Size Ghost 95 cents
Secret Spy Miror $1.25
Automatic Switch Action Comb $1.49
Flesh Eating Plants $1.00
Live Sea Monkeys $1.25
Midget Spy Camera $1.49
Pocket Spy Telescope $1.59
Surprise Package $1.00
7 feet tall Monster

I admit that I did purchase the Ghost (a hefty bag with fishing wire), the Camera and the pocket telescope. I also remember purchasing a joy buzzer, X Ray glasses, and a lifelike mouse. It was always such a drag to wait 4-6 weeks for delivery, which usually really meant 8-12 weeks for delivery. But, what great prices even for back then! And to think that none of the stuff was made in China....yet.

At least I never go suckered into selling Grit....(or did I?)
Oh yeah, I never liked Little Lotta either.