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CSBG Archive

I Saw It Advertised One Day #9

We continue a MONTH of I Saw It Advertised One Day! Each day this January you’ll get a piece looking at advertisements in comic books over the decades that amused me for whatever reason. In each installment, we’ll take a look at three ads!

Here is an archive of all installments of this feature.


What makes this ad hilarious is the notion of anyone voluntarily spending time with Rick Barry.


I sure bet that the readership of mid-60s Marvel Comics was THE prime audience for accordion sales.


I figure it was only a matter of time before I shared this mid-60s “nuclear sub” ad with y’all, so it might as well be now!


That’s all for this installment! If you can think of some goofy comic book ads you’d like to see me feature here, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Do not make suggestions in the comment section, so that they can still be a surprise for future readers! In fact, I think I’ll just delete comments that contain future suggestions.


I understand there has been inflation (and even given the currency difference between $AUD and $US), but $6.98 for 7 foot fibreglass toy?? Was this a massive scam?? What would the weekly average wage have been in those days??

Look how sheepish they were for asking for 75c for P&P??

Hooboy do I remember that basketball ad. But now I’m thinking I misread it as a kid. Are the rubber balls and vinyl balls the same thing? I always assumed Dr. J was saying vinyl balls were “just too slick” meaning they were out of sight or dynamite, but now that I look at it all these years later, it looks like he’s actually saying they’re too slick to the touch compared to good old-fashioned rubber balls. I think maybe when I was seven I wanted this ad to be way more hip than it was.

Yeah, they’re saying the vinyl balls are bad and rubber balls are the best.

Dude, one of the FIRST comics I bought myself was Action 466 (with a great Neal Adams cover, although I didn’t know it at the time) (I was 10, man!), and on the back cover is that Dr J and Rick Berry ad! Jack Davis rules!

Does anyone know, was that sub thing a scam? I assume so, but is there anyone out there (The Mutt, maybe?) who ever ordered this stuff?

The best part is that they’re not just accordions, they’re “new sound” ELECTRONIC accordions! So you can kick ass like Frankie Yankovic!

(Actually, did “Weird Al” Yankovic get an accordion through an ad like this?)

Gotta love those Jack Davis hands!!

Also, thanks for the AWESOME link to the photos of the real sub! I LOVE BoingBoing.net because they always have such wonderful weird things.

And uh, it’s a fiberBOARD sub of course (cardboard), not fiberglass. That would probably hold up better in water though! Question is, now what am I gonna do with these paper-maché scuba tanks?!?

Heh, I never thought of Davis’ hands being distinctive, but yeah, you’re right, they totally are!!

Wow, that is pretty cool! Thanks for the link, Richard!

Simpsons Comics did a nice parody of that Spalding ad, except it was with Krusty the Klown and lawn darts.

Oh sweet, I was hoping you’d include the Spalding Street Ball ad, which makes me nostalgic for 1979 just looking at it.

That Spalding ad was a plague upon comics during that year but you somehow learned to love it.

I know quite a bit about the NBA, but I have no clue who Ernie D is.

I loved that Dr. J/Rick Barry ad. It was my first exposure to the NBA as a little kid.

Ernie D. was probably Ernest (Ernie) DiGregorio who was NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 1973-74.

Classic Spalding ad…it seemed like it was on every comic I had at the age of eight. Of course, being a Philadelphian, I knew exactly who Dr. J was, but I had no clue who the other dude was.

Brian Mac’s comment is interesting – that ad was posted and discussed on another comic blog a few months ago, and the poster and a commenter noted that at the time they had no idea who Rick Barry was. Back in the late 70s, I was a typical geeky comics reader, and not much of a sports fan, but I totally knew who Barry was. In fact, I liked him better than Dr. J – I loved the way he took free-throws underhanded and (almost) never missed.

I was waiting for this one. One of my favorite ads ever.

The Crazed Spruce

January 6, 2011 at 10:47 am

Y’know, that Spaulding ad was the first one I thought of back when you first started this column. Great to see it show up. :)

What makes this ad hilarious is the notion of anyone voluntarily spending time with Rick Barry.

I’ve must have seen that ad quite a few thousand times in my lifetime, but I have no idea what makes Rick Barry famous besides his outside shot and scoring records… was he a know jerk or something? Why wouldn’t beople want to spend time with him?

It’s a combination of age and inclination, Edo. We’re talking about 1978-1979 here, right? So I’m a six- or seven-year-old kid, living in the Philadelphia suburbs, and reading comic books. Sure, Philly’s got four major sports teams at the time, but the only one I or my friends cared about was the Phillies (baseball), because I was playing little league at the time. I was aware of the Flyers’ (hockey) recent greatness, but that was when I was an infant, not anymore. I doubt I could have named any players on the Eagles (football) at the time; I didn’t care about football until college. As for basketball, the Sixers were “good, but not great” at the time. Everybody in Philly knew who Dr. J was, because he was a legitimate superstar with an awesome nickname. I knew Wilt Chamberlain because he was from Philly originally. Other than those, if asked to name a basketball player, any basketball player, I would probably have come up with Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and that’s about it. I just didn’t care all that much about basketball when there was baseball to watch (and comics to read, of course).

The ad is from 1976. I think it was used for the rest of the late 1970s, though.

was he a know jerk or something? Why wouldn’t beople want to spend time with him?

Yeah, he was a really abrasive guy. Great scorer, not a great guy. Two of his sons also became notable NBA players (Brent, who won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in…I’m going to say 1996, then later became a three-point specialist and won a couple of titles in San Antonio, where he got married only to get divorced after his wife started sexting his teammate Tony Parker and Jon, who was always a three-point specialist and became a noted NBA TV analyst after he retired a few years back – Brent has followed suit this season, as well, as an analyst) and to hear them talk about their dad, he was practically Bing Crosby-esque.

You know, that would be a fun adjunct to this series – photos of the items that were purchased from these ads. I loved seeing the photo of the sub (thanks, Richard Bensam), and I’d love to see what some of these other things looked like in real life!

Yeah, when this came out I think the only basketball players I’d ever heard of were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Harlem Globetrotters.

At least with the now-uncomfortableDingos ad from around the same time, I kinda sorta knew who OJ was.

@ Brian Cronin:

Brent Barry won the dunk contest as a Clipper with Julius Erving inspired dunk. It makes you wonder if this ad played a part in his thinking.

@buttler: You weren’t the only one. I also read the “too slick” as meaning “too cool” when I was a kid. Rereading it now I was instantly struck by the realization that I was wrong. Funny that we both had the same thought. I’m going to assume that we’re both reasonably intelligent people (then and now) and that the writer inadvertently wrote it in such a manner as that it was easy to misread.

Jack Davis Hands:
This trait also made his Slim Jim meat-like snack ads with the Werewolf and Dracula instantly recognizable to me. “Satisfy your meat-tooth!”

Wow! I’ve wondered for 30+ years what that sub would look like — many thanks for the pic!

Fibreboard = wood composite (as in the cheaper-than-plywood stuff made by by putting sawdust in an adhesive matrix), aka Particle Board.

If you’ve ever bought cheap, assemble-at-home, furniture (like shelving) that had vinyl faux wood grain on the visible areas, but looked like formed sawdust on the non-visible areas (like the side and back edges of the shelves), that is Fiberboard.

As you can guess, it was meant as an in-house toy, not to be used exposed to the elements (and definitely not actually IN the water).

At least one person bought that fiberboard sub: noted humor columnist Dave Barry. Check this classic column of his: http://forum.burek.com/dave-barry-dejv-beri-t48533.msg454001.html#msg454001

Well, that link didn’t work at all. OK, here’s the relevent part of the column. Dave Barry is describing his college dorm room:

” But our pice de resistance (French, meaning “piece of resistance”) was our living-room furniture, which was a two-piece grouping consisting of:
–An orange emergency light that flashed when you plugged it in.
–A “Two-Man Submarine which we purchased for only $9.95 via an advertisement in a Spider-Man comic book. It was made of sturdy cardboard and measured five feet long when fully assembled. It was not only very attractive but also quite functional inasmuch as you could sit inside it and pretend you were actually deep beneath the ocean surface, driving a real submarine made of sturdy cardboard.
“As you might imagine, the overall effect created by these design elements was quite impressive, especially when we had dates and we really spruced up the place. We’d stack the deceased pizza boxes in the corner, and we’d create A romantic atmosphere by spraying a couple of cans of Right-Guard brand deodorant on the jockey-short mounds, and believe me it was a real treat to see the look on the face of a date as she entered our suite for the first time and, seeing the striking visual effect created by the orange emergency light flashing on the “Two-Man Submarine,” she realized what a suave kind of college man she was having a date with.”

For years I thought that ‘slick’ was ‘suck’ – and figured it was American slang – ‘suck’ meaning ‘sucky’ or ‘bad’.

Great to see an actual Polaris sub after all these years!

The fact is, as a comics fan, one has two options.

1. Worship Jack Davis as an immortal pagan god.

2. There is no option two. We only put it on this list as a trap for the unworthy.

[…] here Posted by: Brittany on January 13th, 2011 | Tagged with: accordians, Advertising | Comments […]

omg…I remember the Spalding touch ad….

“The best part is that they’re not just accordions, they’re “new sound” ELECTRONIC accordions! So you can kick ass like Frankie Yankovic!

(Actually, did “Weird Al” Yankovic get an accordion through an ad like this?)”

It only took four years, but here’s an answer (unless Brian answered it already on Music Legends revealed, in which case, sorry).
Actually, it was a door-to-door salesman. He was offering music lessons or instrument; it was either accordion or another instrument (I don’t remember which) and his parents signed him up. Since they already had the same last name as Frankie Yankovic (no relation), the choice was obvious.

(I believe I read this in ‘Weird Al”s Permanent Record box set.)

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