Highlights From a Johnson Smith Company Ad

While the name may not ring a bell to everyone, I’m sure you grew up seeing these ads in comic books and marveling at the wonders they promised. Let’s check out some of the items offered that intrigue me.

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These ads changed through the years as new products were introduced, but I don’t think they ever really discontinued many items. I would assume everything was pretty much always available because I seem to remember actual bound catalogs being available at some point. I always wanted things I saw in these ads, but could never save any of my allowances on weekends long enough to get a money order to get anything with. So let’s look at some of the things I found interesting through my young years in this ad.

X-Ray Vision Glasses

Ok. So what red-blooded pre-teen boy wouldn’t want something like this? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what we would have in mind when ordering these. That little line there about being able to see-through clothes probably sold more pairs of these than anything else. But according to the fabulous book, Mail-Order Mysteries, these were just an optical illusion created by feather-like things between two pieces of cardboard with little holes in them. What a bummer. I wish I had never ready that, as I had spent my whole life wondering “what if?”.

Pocket Spy Telescope

Now this is a cool little gadget. Imagine carrying around a telescope in your shirt pocket. I know it couldn’t possibly magnify things too much, but for something that small that fits in your pocket, it had to magnify enough to make it cool. It could have been the start of a budding spy career.

Secret Weapon Spy Watch

Speaking of a spy career, this watch seems like it would have been great for that schoolyard profession. Mainly because if you got caught spying, you could fire a shot at whoever caught you to allow you to get away without being actually apprehended. Surely this watch would have gone unnoticed by anyone as being anything other than a normal old watch.

Smoke From Your Fingertips

I always had this idea that I could use this stuff to make classmates fear me. I mean, wouldn’t that be scary? If you were swelling up against some kid in your class, and all of a sudden he popped a puff of smoke from his fingertips in anger, wouldn’t that make you take a step back? That’s what I had in mind when I wanted to get my hands on this stuff. Bud sadly, it apparently was just some goo that went between your fingers, and when you pulled them apart, it came apart in tiny strings that just kind of looked like smoke. Curses. Foiled again.

1001 Free Things

So this may very well be the best value on the whole page. I mean, it only costs $1.25, and you’re gonna find out how to get over 1000 things for free! Nothing else on the page can even come close to this kind of value. Maps, toys, games, jewelry, coins, stamps…c’mon, this thing is the mother lode. Of all the things I’ve highlighted here, I think this is the one I wish I could go back in time and order. Even if it was junk, I think it would provide days and weeks of cool fun as you browsed the listings, possibly sent away for some of the free stuff, and then waited anxiously for it to arrive. Simpler times.

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