ICE CREAM STICKS
Back in the 1960s, when I was just a wee lad, one of my favorite treats came from the ice cream man. I can't remember the exact name, Push-Ups or some such thing, but it was a sherbet type of ice cream in a cardboard tube. There was a plastic stick extending from the bottom of the tube, and as you licked the ice cream you pushed up on the stick. And when you were done, lo and behold, there was the buried treasure - a plastic figure on the other end of the stick. I collected them religiously, although I could never really figure out what to do with them. The stick on the bottom prevented them from standing like regular toys. Were you supposed to use them like stick puppets? Well, I solved the problem by cutting off the stick, which didn't work really well. There was always a little nub left so that the figures wouldn't stand flat.
Recently on eBay I encountered them again, and my collecting urge, always close to the top, kicked in. I believe that I have now acquired all there are, except that there are a few baseball players (see picture 2) that I don't have, and I haven't acquired a complete chess set.
Here are photographs of my collection. I save and display them in plastic ice cube trays called 'Ice Tubes'.
The first group is what I call The Real Old West. From left to right, there's an Indian brave dancing a war dance, an Indian squaw with a papoose on her back, the squaw again with her back turned to show the baby, a cavalry officer, and then some animals. First there's a cowboy riding a bucking bronco, then a rearing stallion, followed by a long-horn goat and a buffalo.
The next photo shows four other realistic images that didn't fall into the Old West theme. There's a knight in armor, a boy scout with his dog, and two baseball players, a baseman or outfielder and a catcher. Note that the knight is not part of the chess set.
Here is the red side of the chessboard. I have four pawns, two knights, two bishops, the king and queen. I also have two other figures, a pawn and a rook (castle) that are of a different color, sort of maroon.
On the white side of the board I've got five pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops and the king. No queen, alas.
Next is what I call the Dwarf Band. As a kid I couldn't figure out the significance of this line-up -- I still can't. Anyway, there's a dwarf playing a guitar, a dwarf playing a base fiddle,a dwarf playing the accordion and a dwarf playing a fiddle. Heavy on the string section.
Children of Many Lands are what I call the next four, although in fact there are only three lands, represented by a little Dutch girl, a Chinese boy, a Japanese girl and a Dutch boy. Why did these three nations get chosen, and why the emphasis on Holland? I dunno.
Here's the freeway, four old-timey cars. The first has a lady with a big hat in the back seat, the second is an ice truck, the third doesn't have a driver, and the fourth is a convertible with a lady in the back seat holding a parasol.
Here comes the train! From right to left (why did I photograph them going right?) are the engine, the tender or coal car, a cattle car, a box car with open door, a coach or passenger car, and the caboose bringing up the end. If you look closely you'll see that except for the boxcar they all have their names written on them. The engine has a number 7 on this side and a number 8 on the other.
Funny people. An Indian, a bandito, a sheriff, a peg-leg pirate, Santa Claus and what appears to be a Peter Pan-like figure.
Last but certainly not least are the Funny Animals. The first is an executive-looking pig carrying a briefcase on which is written "L.A. County Fair". Then there's a very belligerent owl, a mountain lion, a donkey, a football-playing monkey, and a squirrel holding a nut. The last two figures are of a mouse; behind his back he is holding a stick of dynamite. Vendors on eBay sometimes can't decide if he's a mouse or a cat. He's a mouse; everyone knows cats don't use dynamite!
Well, that's my collection. If you should know of one that I don't have, please let me know. If you are a BTIS collector and need a figure, I have several duplicates.
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