James Lileks looks at Thanksgiving ads and remembers the wizard behind Gold Bond stamps:
This Gold Stamp Bond Gold Book Bond book was my mom’s; it’s completely full, but unredeemed. No surprise; she was a saver. They gave Gold Bond stamps at the grocery store, and I remember the machines on the counter, right by the little platform on which you wrote your checks. My mom would let me lick them and put them in the book sometimes. I’d look at the thick books in the drawer, cinched with rubber bands, and think we were rich.
They certainly made money for the fellow who founded the company – a canny bird named Curtis Carlson. I interviewed him for a magazine cover stoy in the mid-80s, and I was a bit daunted; I was Little Master Lileks, and he was this Captain of Industry with great reserves of quiet self-confidence. I remember what he said about the Depression: there was a lot of money to be made if you wanted to work. He was one of those kids who sold papers and caddied and shined shoes, and that was in the spare time off from his other nine jobs. His company was eventually valued at 16 bazillion dollars, or something like that. They bought TGIF Fridays, ran all the Country Kitchens, and of course have that little Radisson hotel brand you may have seen here and there. It all began with tiny little glued pieces of pseudo-money.
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