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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Rad Ads - Olympic Sales Club/Olympia Sales, Golden Spread Survey and the Durham Fly Killer

Welcome back to another edition of DC in the 80s' Rad Ads. Thank you for all the kind words on our inaugural piece! We look forward to continuing this column for a long time to come. We're still playing around with the format, and welcome all feedback.

Until then, let's ignore that note that tells us our story "Continues on 3rd Page Following" and dive back in to the ads!

Okay, now you're not an 80's kid if you don't remember these. Imagine annoying your family and neighbors with incessant knocking and prodding... trying to sell that one extra greeting card so that you could "cash in" on that Voltron Calculator Robot (Sell 16 Items!) you'd been eyeing. While we're imagining... picture sending your 10 year old kid out to knock on random strangers' doors... yikes!

In the fine tradition of GRIT... Captain "O", who I suppose these days we should call "Captain Winter (or Summer) Games" lest the commission drop a two-ton lawsuit on our heads, was a mainstay in comics all throughout my childhood. I used to always make note of the perky little operator in the bottom right hand corner, as she always had a different name... one month she's Sally, the next Bridget... Maybe she was in witness relocation... or maybe she was a Stepford Operator.

I never mustered the gumption to call Ms. Sally, but I will admit that I poured over these pages month in and month out, imagining plugging in my Portable TV (Sell 60 Items!)... or heaven forbid, riding down the block on that brand new BMX bike (Sell 80 Items!).

The (sales) power is truly in your hands with Captain "O". As a plucky entrepreneur, you can choose points or cold-hard cash for your hard work. $1.00 (in 1986 dollars, no less) per item sold. Which really makes me wonder, just how much was the good Captain charging the unwitting public for a greeting card?

The Olympic Sales Club, Inc. later became Olympia Sales and is still in existence today. They currently have three lines of greeting cards including Fravessi Greetings (which is listed as their "affordable" brand), paperstreet (which is a more upscale variety) and Enfield Stationers which offers a more personalized greeting card to businesses and what-not. A quick check at their Fravessi line shows they offer greeting cards for "$1 or less", now tell me, how would a contemporary Captain O minion gonna make any scratch that way?

By the way, if you were thinking the "O" stood for Olympic... or even Olympia, you'd be so wrong. The "O" is for O'Hara, the family who has owned and operated the company since it's inception back in 1966. So, Happy 50th Captain O!

There is an Olympic Sales Club Facebook page, which appears to be somewhat dormant following an "Exciting News to Come" status update in August of 2014. Some interesting discussion is found there, wherein some veterans of the sales war discuss prizes they received (or didn't receive as the case may be).

Man, how didn't I know about this book at the time? Whodathunk, all it would take to improve my (very) early love life would be a $3.00 Golden Spread Survey from Amarillo, Texas? Golden Spread... don't know about you, but that sounds absolutely filthy... Just what in the world is a Golden Spread?

Well, Golden Spread is a term that was coined by Amarillo radio personality Bob Izzard in 1954 in attempt to increase tourism to their fine town. The word 'Golden' suggested sunshine, and 'Spread' was in reference to the many ranches in the area. Many local businesses out Amarillo way have these words in their name even to this day.

There is precious little online in regards to this ad, in fact a Google search of "Girls Thoughts Revealed" (with quotes) only yields FOUR results. So, if there are any cats or kittens out there who were lookin' for love (in a comic book ad page) in 1989, help a brotha' out.

Now here's our "Wildcard" ad. Not quite in the 80's (this is from a 1993 issue of Green Lantern: Mosaic) but still eye catching... for all the wrong reasons. First off, look at that adorable li'l fly. Laying there all coy... just loving life. She (?) ain't hurting nobody... but the folks at Durham want her (?) DEAD regardless. The first time I saw this ad, I actually thought they named the li'l bugger BINGO. As in "Bingo the fly" is dead.

Here's a better look of the death chamber.from an old issue of Popular Mechanics. Imagine, this is the last thing many a fly ever saw before shuffling (or squishing) off this mortal coil... and flies, to my knowledge can't read... so how are they to know this machine means to kill them... rendering them thinner than a thin, thin pancake. Yikes! You too can live our all your executioner-fantasies by luring a harmless fly to what it believes to be a yummy meal... only to see out of the corner of their compound eye, some sick twisted individual excitedly push down a plunger "dynamite" style.

A few more views of the scarily primitive, almost cub scout quality killing apparatus.

That's all we've got room for this time. As always, I hope you enjoyed. If you have anything to add (or any ads you wanna see covered) please let me know. If you have any ads YOU'D like to comment on, drop me a line in care of this website and we'll work something out. Thanks for reading!


Can't wait for the next installment in this series of articles? For more of Chris Sheehan, check out his highly recommended Chris is on Infinite Earths blog.


  1. A fly would have produced a sixth-generation of offspring by the time you get that contraption up and running.

    1. You'd figure by the time you assemble it, you could've used the block of wood to carve out two or three pinewood derby cars as well. Such a Rube Goldberg on a handful of Tylenol PM's type'o device!