Randy Lee Decker
This is a Billboard that John had mounted ..above ..and just behind... the tracks over Andy's Drug Store. Like so many of the things John made or used he had a great eye for model worthy items and in this case he found an advertisement that despite my diligent searching I have yet to find. And yes please know I am familiar as a research historian, so I have contacted any of the museums and groups I can find concerning the SP or Railroad Advertising even cartoon characters groups......... so far I have generated lots of interest but produced nothng more than a dumbfounded group of historians who enjoy a mystery just like me.
Now eBay is a great reference source, it is incredible what comes up through private sales... but even with all the tens of thousands of ESPEE magazine advertisements for sale and various brochures, menus, pocket calendars, and ephemera from the Southern Pacific I have searched through, I still can not seem to find this exact image.
The search has become a challenge from John at this point. LOL I figure it is time to ask for help again.
Anyway you can find this cute little billboard in the photographs taken by Warner Swarner and Gary Wernick from October of 1971. I can tell you the little engineer is not a kid... but is actually a cartoon character and appears to be an older (mad scientist looking) man with buggy eyes and blond hair... dressed in the striped overalls and hat and compete with rag in the back pocket and an oil can in his hand eyeballing a toy train on the floor.
I also have found that the "ITS FUN" and the "NEXT TIME TRY THE TRAIN" advertisement campaigns do seem to reach a zenith in about 1953...… they ran from about1951.... to...….1955. It seems this ad must be from that time. But this is just a good guess... The only other guess I have now, after all the searching I have done, is this little cartoon must be in some Southern Pacific collectable paper item that no one ever cuts up to sell (... or at least the seller never opens up to every page so I can see what might be in it...) Anyway I am doing my very best to bring John's layout to life. This little billboard is part of the work I trying to do. Please keep an eye open for this... It really is a fantastic little ad for a model railroad... It caught my eye from the first second I looked at Warner's photo's a few years ago. Thanks for helping.
Once again, John has me completely stumped...