Re: [EXTERNAL] Re: [GandD] Still searching for this SP advertisement image

Andrew Novak

Having a recreation done might be the best option, especially if this was created by John, in which case there is no original to find. 

Andrew Novak

On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 02:52:35 PM PDT, Bob Friddle <bob.friddle@...> wrote:

Randy, we love your dedication and attention to detail, but I suspect we could forgive you for saving further time and frustration by creating a reasonable facsimile! These days someone with graphic design skills and tools could recreate or improve the image you have fairly easily.


Bob Friddle

Gabrielle Lines – Route of the Angels



From: <> On Behalf Of David via
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2020 4:25 PM
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: [GandD] Still searching for this SP advertisement image



It might be interesting just to find the name of the firm that did the ad work!


On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 09:12:06 AM PDT, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:



Good point.  But the odds of contacting anyone in the company that has a clue concerning 1950's advertising is so low I am not sure it is worth the effort.  My experience ( let me tall ya I actually have gotten quite a lot of it through the years) has been that since all companies... (everywhere.. and in every type of business) converted to computers.  The archived materials are kept in boxes in storage....sometimes for several years or even decades but at some point they move or for whatever reason they decide to dump all the material older than 25 years and thousands of boxes of photographs and historically valuable documents are lost each day. IN this case it would be items closer to 75 years old...  If you see my point...  If I lived near any of these companies there is a slight chance they would allow me in to research through old boxes myself.  But even that is a problem with insurance and all the hassles so many people before me might have given these companies.   Times have changed David.   Very sad... and very difficult for historians.   

  And when you call these days the young person answering the phones has no clue where to send you so you are given to the sales department or in this case advertising department..  Some person (also usually younger and busy keeping their job) answers and they do not have time to check on things even if they cared.  


But I will take a look at this avenue....   Historians are used to dogged pursuits.... I bet John is laughing....





On Tue, May 26, 2020 at 10:39 AM David via <> wrote:


I was wondering if the SP historical group might know the various advertising agencies the SP worked with during that era. Some of them might still be around or have been archived somewhere. That might give you a direction on the company that produced the artwork. Just thinking out loud...

David (Dry Gulch & Western)

On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 06:15:56 AM PDT, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:



Hey Warner and yes sir the SP History and Tech society I have spoken with.  They are stumped.  And so you know....the quality of the image is high I am sure.   My terrible and totally pixilated example is pulled right off a G&D photo... enlarged many times and cropped, so it looks poor but in reality it is very good. 


I can't even imagine seeing John's layout in person..   the layers and layers of details and the visual explosion he created is like going to the MET in NY...  ya just can't take it all in at one time and you see new things that you missed before because there is so much to see,  it is all a bit overwhelming.


Viewing photgrpahs as many of the rest of us have done for so long things stand out as we have had a thousand views of Johns place and for me that little Billboard caught my curiosity the first second I saw those pictures of West Divide.    





On Mon, May 25, 2020 at 9:42 PM Warner Swarner via <> wrote:

Re: SP ad with train,  Randy.

I love a good mystery.  There is a SP Historical & Technical society that might help? I’ll bet someone in that group, (they have a Facebook site) Will be able to zero in on the original.  Could have been a magazine ad.  My hunch would be something like Saturday Evening Post, if it was a national level ad, or it was More probably a California billboard or small West coast promotional Media ad.  (It certainly does Not look like a National Geographic quality ad.  There were many transcontinental ads in Natl Geo mags during that era, but they were more “scenery“ view type ads.)

Just a footnote.  I was there and took photos that show this, but of all the features that stood out, I never “noticed” this sign while there.  His realistic scenery and compressed structures completely dominated My awareness, in a harmonious art-driven (with humor) manner.  It is funny to see things I “saw“ but didn’t “see” while there.  The G&D was a visual “Disneyland” experience.  

Just hunches About the SP advertisement. .  

Warner Swarner


On May 25, 2020, at 5:56 PM, Randy Lee Decker <randyleedecker@...> wrote:

   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...


<SP Advertisement.jpg>

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