We have a huge museum of novelty items here at Archie McPhee headquarters and we occasionally go through them to look for new ideas. One feature of One common feature of traditional novelty packages from Japan is to draw a picture illustrating how the product is intended to be used. This gets around having to translate text and is an immediate communication of the hilarity the gag will inspire. Well, the makers of these fake cigarettes seem to have had difficulty in coming up with a funny way to use them. So, they just included an illustration of a guy putting one out on the back of a woman at a fancy dress party. But, wait a minute, is it a fake cigarette?
It sure looks like smoke coming off of it. In any case, it’s hard to imagine there was ever a time that putting out cigarettes on people was funny.
To celebrate our 25th anniversary, we’ve scanned and posted our first catalog! The text below it is from the introduction to our upcoming book written by owner Mark Pahlow describing exactly how this catalog came to be.
I did the primitive layout for those first few (catalogs) myself. I’d take bad black and white photos using my Pentax 35mm Spotmatic. Then the photos, developed by the first Costco in the nation, were taken to Bozotronics in the funky Fremont neighborhood to be made into halftones. I’d cut these and paste them onto paper using rather toxic rubber cement. With an IBM Selectric typewriter, I’d type out copy to go with the images.
The strength in those early catalogs was not in the presentation, but in the writing. Since the pictures were often dark and printed in muddy black and white on cheap newsprint, it was difficult to make out details. My descriptions of the products were often honest statements detailing how terrible the product was or rambling humorous screeds that mentioned the product only in passing. This suited my character and seemed to connect to certain eccentric members of the public. You know who you are.
Click here to see the whole first Archie McPhee catalog.