Popular Culture

Playing with Advertising

A beautiful collie stands in a meadow of blue and yellow flowers. His brown and white fur blows in the wind. He looks well tempered and loyal. I affectionately call him Sammy, but when I roll him over to rub his belly, I am confronted with an advertisement for Butter-Krust Bread. What gives? Sammy’s more than just a dog; he’s an advertising toy, just one of hundreds of similar toys distributed by businesses as advertisements between 1895 and 1920.

Remembering Oz

Is The Wizard of Oz imprinted on your memory? I had a fresh realization of all the ways the classic 1939 movie is ingrained in my own mind when I recently explored The Wizard of Oz exhibit at The Strong's National Museum of Play.

Musick Has Charms to Sooth a Savage Breast

Music is one of the first forms of play we engage in as infants, noted The Strong’s Vice President for Play Studies, Scott G. Eberle, in his American Journal of Play article, "Playing with the Multiple Intelligences: How Play Helps Them Grow." Music plays a critical role in our development. Our subsequent education practically depends upon it.  And, in my experience, so does our health and happiness.

A Penny for Your Thoughts: The Golden Age of Postcards

Do you remember getting mail? Not email. Not bills. Not letters from credit card companies enthusiastically informing you that you’ve been “pre-approved!” Actual mail—a letter, a note, or a card. You know, when someone wrote you a message, adhered a stamp to it, and placed it in a mailbox, just to let you know they were thinking of you? Chances are you don’t receive this sort of mail nearly as often as you once did, likely due to the influx of digital technology, which facilitates faster, cheaper, and more instantaneous methods of communication.