Hello Andy!

Today’s guest post was written by David Templeton.

gizmos sold in old magazine


Hello, Andy! ….… Hello, Davo! … Le’me outta here!. Le’me outta here!

By David Templeton

Like most kids in the 1950s, I dreamed about getting every gizmo advertised in the back pages of just about every funny book I picked up. What kid didn’t? Think of it: A Polaris submarine of my very own; six feet long and room for a bunch of kids inside it. Who wouldn’t wish they had that little HIT miniature spy camera, not that there were that many miniature spies around. How about Sea Monkeys depicted as little human or primate-looking creatures? How do Chia pets grow that green fur?

How about those X-Ray specs advertised in comic books? The ad intimated that with those glasses maybe you could see through clothes and flesh all the way to a body’s skeleton or the bones in your hand? Some mischievous guys probably had even more prurient fantasies.

For just twelve cents you could become a regular Charles Atlas. I wasn’t going to be one of those skinny wimps, sand kicked in the face at the beach, never getting the girl, and getting bullied by guys who themselves were probably Charles Atlas graduates.

I could get the money. Sometimes I went up and down the road finding pop bottles (they were commonly called “dope bottles” back in 1950 Kingsport.) and taking them to the store and getting the deposit back and I could eventually garner enough from the 2-cents-each deposit refunds and save up till I could buy one of those comic book fantasies. If I helped my brother Ed with his GRIT newspaper sales, sometimes he would give me a quarter. If I worked for Missus Christian across the river pulling weeds out of her tobacco plants I could earn a whole half-dollar a day.

So with a little ambition I could get the money.

The hardest thing was to decide which thing to buy. I wanted just about every one of those gags and gizmos. Well, no, not really. It wasn’t a hard decision. I always had only one real, continuing dream … one wish … one fantasy: To be able to throw my voice.

Remember the picture in the comic book ad? A man walking around kinda slumped over, lugging big box on his back and apparently a voice coming from somewhere inside the box saying “Le’me outta here!! Le’me outa here!!”

That would be the coolest trick, the funniest trick I could ever play: To be able to throw my voice, like it was coming from that box, or the next room, or from inside an outside toilet.  “Help! Le’me outta here! You know, like those, uh, what do you call them? Ventricles … or something like that … ventriloquist, that’s it; like they do.

You could order instructions for twenty-five cents “Learn How to Throw Your Voice. Become a Ventriloquist”. The better ones were a dollar, twenty-five and with those you got pictures and instructions but you also got the main ingredient, the central device that would work to throw your voice when you placed it in your mouth on your tongue and sqwenched up your voice and talked like you were somewhere else. A little round, paper disc, about the size of a nickel, with a little metal clip or something on it, and that’s what you would put on your tongue to cause your voice to be thrown as you spoke but tried not to move your lips.

So, I sent off my dollar, twenty-five in coins along with a SASE and ordered me a ventriloquism kit. Excited … Didn’t tell nobody. I wanted to puzzle people when it came; puzzle them as to where that voice was coming from once I got the hang of ventriloquism and started throwing my voice. It was hard to keep from laughing when I thought about it.

Ran to the mailbox every day. One day it came. I didn’t rip it open and put it in my mouth right then. I already knew how it worked. I got me a big pasteboard box and went out to the front yard and waited for people to walk by.

I put the voice-throwing disc in my mouth, put the box on my shoulders and when people walked by I would walk up and down and say “Help! Le’me outta here! Le’me outta here!  Saying it through the special disc, you know.

And, my buddies would walk by and I would say, “Help! Help! Le’me outta here!” And, they’d say, “Huh? What’re you talking about?” And I’d say, “Don’t that sound like somebody’s in this box?” And, they’d say, “No, Just sounds like you talking!” I could tell they were determined not to let me have my fun nor admit that I could throw my voice. But I put the box away and went in the house and began to practice in front of the mirror, and learn how to talk without moving my lips and how to disguise my normal talking voice.

My little sister had got a “Raggedy Ann” doll and also a matching “Raggedy Andy” doll for Christmas. Remember those? Cloth dolls. And, hers were big dolls, come up almost to your knee.

We didn’t have a TV yet, didn’t get one till about 1955. We listened to the radio in the evenings, Mom sewed our clothes, Dad nodded from a day’s work, and my brothers and sisters just played around the house. Maybe did homework.

So, that evening, while we all sat around the living room, I got out Raggedy Andy and sat down with him on my knee and I slipped the magic disc onto my tongue, and I wiggled Raggedy Andy and I said “Hello, Andy!” and then I said with my disguised voice “Hello, Davo!” Not real loud but kinda sharply … Hello, Davo!!

And, Mom said, “David, Honey, you need to be quiet; Patty’s (my sister) trying to study.”

And, I’d shake Raggedy Andy again and say, “Hello, Andy!” and, with my (I thought) disguised voice, “Hello, Davo! Hello, Davo!”

“Mom, would you make David shut up!” Patty yelled.

“Be still, David”, scolded Mom.

“That’s not me.  That’s Andy. Don’t that sound like Andy … like Andy’s talking?”

“It sounds like you, being a pest!” scolded my sister.

That night, next day, in the house, out in the yard in front of my buddies, nobody could be made to think that voice was coming from anywhere but me. Not from the box, not from Andy, not from the outhouse; just me sounding dumb.

After weeks of trying to get the hang of ventriloquism, the art of throwing my voice, I finally threw the magic disc in my dresser drawer with the miniature camera, and the X-Ray glasses, and the Charlie Atlas lessons, and finally conceded that I had been hoodwinked by another page of funny book gimmickry.

But …

I still think it’s just a matter of practice. Where is that magic disc?

Hello, Andy!  Hello, Davo! Le’me outa here! Le’me outa here!


I hope you enjoyed David’s post as much as I did! While the gizmos I remember are slightly different, I do remember being a kid and wondering if any of those things would really work.



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  • Reply
    David Templeton
    September 14, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    I can easily say, these comments make even better reading than the story. BP&A readers are a special bunch … and funny, too. I’m glad Miss Cindy still has her ventriloquism disc.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I do remember, after sending in to an oatmeal company, being the owner of 1/4 inch of land in Alaska. On a trip to the oft frozen state, I did recall supposedly owning property there. However, after researching it online, myself and millions of other kids were basically scammed.

  • Reply
    Joe Penland
    September 14, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    It has been a long time since I heard “funny book”. That is what they were called in my boyhood. I longed for the microphone you could hook up to the radio and when you pressed the button your voice was broadcast over it. My results with it were the same as David with throwing his voice. My sister wanted to know what I had done to mess up the radio. (For the younger generation, I feel sure you can Google “radio” and find out what it is).

  • Reply
    September 14, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I wasn’t a kid of the 50’s but I was in the 60’s and a lot of this brought back a lot of childhood memories. Kinda brings a smile to your face .

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 14, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    José Luis has his own secret code I see. Well it didn’t get by me. I have a decoder. It’s a traductor de español a inglés.
    Saludos a mi amigo en argentina! ¿Ha llegado la primavera todavía?

  • Reply
    Sam Ensley
    September 14, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    I remember all of those items being for sale in the funny books, but I don’t remember ordering any. We listened to the radio a lot before we got a television.
    Other than Saturday nights when we listened to the Grand Ole Oprey, my grandmother and I listened to WCKY, Cincinnati,1, Ohio at night. That station advertised things like The Lord’s Last Supper Tablecloth (guaranteed not to scratch, peel, stain, or fade), Baby Chicks (sex or breed undetermined, they were primarily cockerels), My mother was suckered in once on the Christmas Pony for my little brother’s Christmas which didn’t arrive until February, but that’s another story.
    Wayne Raney and Lonnie Glosson came on at 9:00 every night. I didn’t particularly like them, but I begged to stay up and listen to them because it gave me fifteen more minutes before going to bed. They advertised the Talking Dog Harmonica for $2.98, plus a small charge for C.O.D., and handling. My grandmother ordered me one within ten days, and I got the words and music to The Talking Dog Blues absolutely free of any additional charge. I found out that my grandmother was an excellent harmonica (French harp) player. I would give a thousand dollars if I could get that harp back today.

  • Reply
    José Luis
    September 14, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Hi Tipper !!
    At that time, in the 50’s, in Argentina we also had these ads, from the Sea Monkies, Charles Atlas, like being a watchmaker, building a radio, being a cartoonist, etc etc etc. And our parents just like you there in the USA, they told us, they’re all lies, hahaha !!! Best regards for all in Apalachian Mountains, Jose Luis.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2017 at 10:50 am

    David is another of my favorite buddies to read. I was born in the late 40’s, so by the time the 50’s came along, I was ready and read lots of comic books. We even traded some with other kids. I liked to read “Turok and Andar” adventures when they encountered Dinosaurus and other boogers. And like other kids, I was impressed with the “Tarzan” funny books too. David’s stories brought back special memories I had as a child. …Ken

  • Reply
    José Luis
    September 14, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Hi Tipper!!
    En esa época, en los 50, también en Argentina teníamos esos avisos, de los Sea Monkies, Charles Atlas, como ser un relojero, como construir una radio, como ser dibujante de historietas ,etc etc etc. Y nuestros padres igualmente que a ustedes allí en USA, nos decían, son todas mentiras, hahaha!!! Best regards for all in Apalachian Mountains, José Luis.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 14, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Well I want to read the rest of the book. I know this is just a tease. Davo has a written a book and this is just a excerpt from it. I just know it. I have the money already saved up and I want it. I want it! I want it! Where do I send the money?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 14, 2017 at 10:12 am

    How David Templeton’s story brought back memories. One of the first things that caught my eye was his use of “funny book” for comic book! When I was a kid that is what we called them…”funny books”!
    As we got older and we were allowed to have the Marvel super hero books the term for us “morphed into “comic books”! I remember taking all the “kiddie funny books” like Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Woody Woodpecker, etc. and trading them for older (we thought) kids books…Ha Yeah, the Super Man, Wonder Woman, Spiderman and the teen age comic characters like Veronica, etc. Also ones that this old woman can’t think of right now…some sort of Green body changing thing…Do you remember the “Horror” comics? As well an those “teenage love story types” for girls only…those that you had a hard time trading?
    My brothers and I went back home, climbed in the attic looking for that big box of “funny and comic books” for Mom said she finally put them there to save for us….I guess after we got much older, Dad did the clean out and tossed them with our baseball cards…Ha For I know Mom would have never thrown them away…as I have mentioned before! Ha
    Thanks Tipper and David for the memories….
    PS…..Yes, I dreamed of all those little sea monkeys, jumping rocks, space rings etc. With my “extra chore” money I wasted on a couple of those last page ads….I’ll never forget getting my “tiny secret radio” in the mail. It was the size of a child’s hand, a round speaker with a tiny dial to change signals, two thin long black wires came out the side. You pinched one to metal and one to yourself….Yes, it worked if you put your ear to the speaker and strained your ears to hear it….I still have it in one of my boxes of kid stuff, with a couple of dolls and most important some sort of space ring! ha

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    September 14, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I remember sending for a Sky King decoder ring. It folded out to become a pen. Worked for a few weeks and then ran out of ink.
    Since there was no way to refill it I threw it away.
    We all had our dreams in comic books or the back of cereal boxes.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2017 at 9:22 am

    That story is so funny and could have been written by any number of Appalachian boys. The only difference is the boys I grew up with couldn’t afford the comic book and discarded pop bottles were scarce as they were picked up and returned for deposit money by the adults. The girls would occasionally get a romance magazine from an older cousin who was working in Louisville. Those magazines had gadgets and gizmos too. The sparkling wedding ring set was offered for a dollar or two in the late 60s. I dreamed of ordering a set, but never did. The color changing lipstick that stayed on all day soon became my must have item. I never order that either, but still wonder if it worked.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 14, 2017 at 9:15 am

    I wanted things from the F C Taylor Fur Co. catalog. There were all kinds of camping equipment in there. That may be where I got the nesting cooking set. I’ve had it so long I have forgotten. Sadly, that company no longer exists.
    I remember walking the roads with a wagon collecting pop bottles. Remember the old painted labels like the yellow and red on the RC cola? What I have forgotten is what we spent the money on though.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 14, 2017 at 8:11 am

    I remember those ads. Think I boughy a couple of yhings too. The magic sea monkeys for one.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 14, 2017 at 7:39 am

    I remember all those ads, I really thought they would work. I wanted to get some of them but my parents said not to waste my money they were all a lie. I kept saying, it can’t be a lie, it’s in the paper.
    Well, I have learned in life that everything in the paper isn’t necessarily true!!
    Hello Davo, let me out of here!

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