Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hi! I'm Buster Brown. I live in a shoe....

Do you remember Buster Brown shoes? I do. I also remember watching the Buster Brown TV show ... Smilin' Ed's Gang and later Andy's Gang. The shoes were "special." Back in those days I went to Catholic school and the nun's required us to wear shoes ... I mean real shoes ... "oxfords" we called them. Mom bought us Buster Brown shoes 'cause they would last the whole year!

The advertising line for Buster Brown was:
Hi! I'm Buster Brown. I live in a shoe. 
That's my dog Tige. He lives in there too!

The Brown Shoe Company has been around for over 130 years. Today they also market Famous Footwear and Naturalizers, and they are a contract manufacturer for other shoe brands.  But they are most well-known for the Buster Brown line of shoes.

In 1902, cartoonist Richard Outcault introduced a new comic strip character, a mischievous little rich boy named Buster Brown and his dog Tige. Two years later, at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair (famous for bringing the world hamburgers and ice cream cones) Outcault licensed the character to a number of companies, including the Brown Shoe Company. (Click here for a History of Buster Brown Shoes.)
Andy Devine and Froggie
By 1953 we had TV in Hawaii and I got to watch the "Buster Brown Show." My favorite was Froggie the Gremlin ... Plunk your magic twanger Froggie! Then there was the cat that could talk ... it said Niiice. The original show, which started in 1950, was hosted by Smilin' Ed. After Ed’s death in 1953, Andy Devine became the show's host. Watching the Buster Brown Show was a Saturday morning ritual for me. In 1956, Buster Brown Shoes became a pioneering sponsor of the “Captain Kangaroo Show."

All this came to mind when I saw this advertising piece in an auction. It is a tin display sign about 12 inches tall.  Wish I could bid on it, but it is estimated to sell between $900 and $1400!!! I don't want it that much, but Buster Brown memorabilia does get premium pricing in the collectors' market.

Here are a few images for your enjoyment.

Display piece with Buster Brown and his dog Tige

Postcard from 1907 advertising Buster Brown Shoes (Courtesy riptheskull on flickriver)

Buster Brown Comic Books were another piece of clever merchandising (Courtesy stwallskull)


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