If you grew up reading American comicbooks like I did, then you'll remember all those exciting ads for products like X-Ray Spex, life-size monsters and course, the Polaris Nuclear Sub (big enough for 2 kids!).
Of course, I couldn't order any of this stuff from the UK (and my parents wouldn't have let me waste my pocket money anyway) but I was still desperate to see just how good these things were in real life.
So was Kirk Demaris, author of the book Mail-Order Mysteries which a friend kindly bought for me recently, for no good reason other than he knew I'd love it (thanks Paul B). Kirk saw all the same ads that I did when he was a child but was always restrained from buying any of this wonderful stuff too. But then he grew up and decided he was old enough to waste his money on whatever he damn well pleased, so commenced tracking down as much of it on eBay as he could.
He's then catalogued everything with reproductions of the original ads next to photos of the real items along with his acerbic comments e.g.
Polaris Nuclear Sub
We imagined: A fully functional submarine large enough or ourself and a friend.
They sent: A cardboard structure loosely resembling a submarine that would be irreparably damaged by any contact with water, including dewy grass.
Thoroughly recommended for those of us old enough to remember these wonderful products and wallow in some nostalgia