Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Behold! I've added another Holy Grail to the Collection! Gaze upon the esteemed Hazzard County Garage Tent, officially known as the Dukes of Hazzard Playhouse tent. Though it did not come with the box, it is in perfect condition with all pieces present and not a single flaw on the tent.
The Playhouse tent was released in 1982 by Arco Industries, LTD. Arco is the same company that produced the Inflatable General Lee and Boss Hogg Bop Bag. I never had a bed tent when I was a kid, but I remember seeing them in all those great toy catalogs from the '80s. This Dukes of Hazzard tent is very similar to those bed tents in that it is constructed to have no bottom and is very lightweight.
The top of the tent has a huge graphic of the General Lee jumping over the logo and also includes a rebel flag. The "roof" shies away from the theme of the tent and kind of reminds me of the Ben Cooper Halloween costumes that included the show logo in the middle of the costume; even though you are using your imagination, we still want you to know what show this toy comes from.
The rest of the tent is styled to look like Cooter's Hazzard County Garage. What a perfect theme for the Dukes tent. I'm glad it wasn't made to look like a more generic farmhouse.
The Gen'ral was probably parked inside Cooter's Garage getting repaired just as much as it was parked outside the Duke farm. The only other theme Arco could have used that would have worked as well for the tent would have been the Boar's Nest, but I bet parents wouldn't be too happy about buying their tiny Dukes fans a make believe bar, though it would have been funny to see the miniature "Cold Beer Good Eats" printed on the side.
The playhouse is a good representation of the Hazzard County Garage in tent form. Arco used the correct font for the word "Service" and the color and lines really remind you of the iconic scene from Hazzard County.
The "door" on one side of the tent lifts up so you can either get in or drive your Gen'ral in. There is just enough space for a General Lee pedal car in there, or about one full grown Dukes Collector.
The door features good ol' Flash waggin his tail. (There is a debate as to whether Flash was a girl or boy. Rosco refers to him as both on several occasions, but my favorite Flash mention is the song "Flash" on the Dukes of Hazzard album where the lyrics go "My old dog, his name is Flash, I don't know why cause he ain't too fast." So my go-to reference is to call Flash a "he.") I really like this artwork and enjoy the fact the toy manufactures in the '80s were inclined to include Flash in their products. The plush Flash toy is a great addition to the Dukes of Hazzard array of toys and I'm surprised no Rosco action figure ever came with a tiny Flash.
Each side of the tent has the same image of the General Lee parked under the Service sign. The artwork is very nice and mostly accurate, except for the blue 01s. Blue 01s show up on a lot of golden era products and don't look that bad. I like that they even took the time to include a roll bar inside the Gen'ral.
Opposite the "door" is another wall of the tent that includes another Hazzard County Garage sign and an office door.
This side is the most accurate representation of the Garage we all know and love. It even has different colored panels of "glass" above the office door. Nice detail!
There is a window above the sign that would be nice for parents to keep an eye on their little Dukes fans or for full grown collectors to make sure no one is hiding inside with plans to poach any holy grails.
I really like the inclusion of the candy machine beside the office door. When you're waiting for your General Lee to be fixed, grabbing a pretend Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is a great way to pass the time.
The tent is easy to construct. There are 10 larger poles and 16 smaller poles. There are also 21 yellow connectors. If one pole or connector were missing, the tent would not stand. I'm lucky that every piece is there. This tent made it to my collection after a nearly three year conversation. I came close to buying one from a friend of the blog, Adam, in 2014 but it didn't work out. Adam contacted me again recently and we were able to make a deal. Thanks, Adam!
There are two different Dukes of Hazzard tents from the golden era. Besides Arco's Dukes of Hazzard Playhouse, there is also the Dukes of Hazzard Fun Tunnel from Outdoor Venture Corp. I added that one to the collection in 2012, just a few months after I started blogging.
The Fun Tunnel is complete and I have the box. It has a very different construction format. You have to insert the poles through the liner of the tent and connect them in the middle. I planned on putting it together to feature the two tents together, but then I remembered that putting the fun tunnel together meant bending 35 year old plastic poles and that might not be the best idea. I think if I do ever put the fun tunnel together, I will get some replacement poles for it and keep the originals in the box. Here is a picture of the constructed Arco Playhouse and the deconstructed Outdoor Venture Fun Tunnel for your viewing pleasure.
Sitting beside the empty apartment bedroom above my office happened to be the rarest, most wonderful Dukes of Hazzard Holy Grail in existence, the Dukes pool. I thought maybe placing the super rare Arco Hazzard County Garage Playhouse Tent inside the super super rare Coleco Dukes of Hazzard Children's Swimming Pool might conjure up the Ghost of General Lee. I think maybe I need to have the Leadworks Pencil Cup and Children's Tennis Shoes involved and say a special incantation containing both Waylon and Johnny Cash lyrics for that to work. Oh well.
Adding holy grail items to the collection is so special. I would never have had an opportunity to find either tent, the pencil cup, one of the pairs of shoes, and so many other items if it weren't for this blog and the great people who read and share my posts. Thank you to everyone who reads my Dukes inspired ramblings and contacts me about items. I've said it before so many times and it is so true, I've been collecting Dukes of Hazzard stuff my whole life, but it's been so much more fun once I started sharing everything with the world through DukesCollector!
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Let's throw a Dukes of Hazzard Party! In the early 80's, the coolest birthday parties were decked out with Dukes (Dukes decked?) A trip to the local party store, Hills, or Paper Place would lead to a plethora of supplies to make any party a Dukes of Hazzard party. They were all manufactured by the C. A. Reed company from Williamsport, PA. Google tells me there are a few C. A. Reed Party Supplies stores in the great state of Pennsylvania, but I don't think they continue to manufacture licensed products. At the time these items were produced, C. A. Reed was a division of Westvaco Corp, which is now a part of ACCO and Mead Paper. Whatever the corporate lineage was, the outcome is a heap of party supplies with the General Lee on them, and I finally completed the collection. Some items are ebay mainstays that can always be easily found, and some are super rare and impossible to find. Let's take a look at each one.
Probably the most common item in the set is the table covers. I currently have at least seven in my collection.
Most of the table covers I have are in the package, and few are folded differently to show different parts of the cover.
Behind the cover in the package is a board that includes Reed's logo. I also have a table cover that is sealed but has no back board.
The Reed info is on all of the Reed products. For those taking score at home, I'm including a close up of each Reed product info sticker. Maybe the bar code info will be useful to someone somewhere.
The theme of all the Reed Party Supplies is the General Lee with a rainbow and stars. The logo used is the standard Dukes font, officially known as Boffo SSI font. There are two sizes of the Gen'ral printed on the table cover and repeated along the entire edge. The top of the cover is plain white and only the part that hangs off the side has printing. I have a couple out of the package so I was able to unfold it a little. It's a big item, but paper thin. If I ever tried to use it, it would get ripped pretty easily. But I have some spares if I ever find a need for them.
Along with the table covers, the next few items make up the bulk of the party items most people have in their collection. They were also the most common items bought back then for parties. The cups are next. They came packaged with the Reed logo upside down.
Or the actual cups are packaged upside down. Your choice. I prefer the General right side up. These are smaller cups for smaller kids. They are for hot or cold drinks, but we all know these kids weren't drinking coffee or hot chocolate out of these. Kool Aid was the drink of choice and I'm sure it was red. After the partying, kids had their fill of Kool Aid, I'm sure each one had those bright red lips just like I did in every picture of me at any party taken from 1983 to 1993, and again in mid 2009 for some reason.
Case in point.
A lot of these items still have the original price tags attached. Around a dollar is the going price on these. I'm guessing a party would have more than 8 kids, so you have to budget around $3 for cups. You probably need maybe 2 table covers, so that's another $2. We'll keep this tally going throughout the post.
Next up is plates. They came in two sizes, pizza and cake.
The cake size is actually 7 inch. They come 8 in a package. Within my collection, I have fewer smaller plates, so that makes me think they are less common.
The larger 9 inch plate has the same design. The General Lee jumped over rainbows all the time on the show. The smaller plates cost around 99 cents and the larger ones were $1.09. You got two more inches for a dime. So keeping up with the tally, that's about six bucks on plates.
Next up is napkins. They also came in two sizes.
The smaller of the two is for wiping cake off your face. You know you had a lot of cake on your face. This particular package is from my favorite no longer existent department store Hills. I loved Hills.
The napkins, or Facial Tissue, came 20 to a package. Way more than the 8 to a package with the cups and plates. They are making this tally a little difficult. Come on C. A. Reed! I'd say we need two packages for our party and that will leave us some extras for John Peters, 'cause you know he is going to make a mess.
The larger napkins will get that pizza sauce off your face and also help when you spill a little macaroni salad on your Oshkosh B'Gosh's (this imaginary party is taking place in the early '80s remember.) Like the plates, both napkin sizes share the same design. The red and orange on the rainbow seem to bleed together making for a very orange rainbow. It's the perfect rainbow for the Gen'ral to fly down.
You also get 20 larger napkins in a package. Does 3 ply seem like a little overkill? We'll need two packages of these too. They were priced the same as the plates, small 99 cents and large a buck nine. So let's budget 4 bucks and change for napkins. Those are all the most common items. You could throw a nice party with table covers, cups, plates, and napkins. It would be a successful Dukes of Hazzard themed party for sure. But if my mom, and grandmother, Dolly, were throwing this Dukes party, well they would go all out and find these next items that aren't as common.
You gotta have party hats. How else could you immediately recognize everyone was at a party? These are the Dukes of Hazzard party hats. They are very hard to find in the package. For this blog I went through all the bins and gathered together all the party supplies I had and finally came to the realization that I didn't have packaged party hats. I've mentioned this before in previous posts once or twice. They just always seemed to elude me.
I mentioned this to my Twitter pal Frankie Smith (awesome twitter handle @franksamillion) and asked him to keep an eye out. Lo and behold, good ol' Frankie had a packaged set and sold it to me. Franks a million Frankie! With Frankie's help, I completed the set and put this blog together. The party hats have a gray outline, unlike everything else that is white. It does have the same graphic on it though.
You get four cone shaped hats in a package. C. A. Reed does not make this easy. Let's do a head count of people at this party. You got me, of course, it's my party, Johnny P., my sister Kate, cousins Jaime and Amy, Faye, gotta invite the Kara Kids so that's four more, though this is an imaginary party set in the early '80s and I didn't know them yet, it would be rude not to invite Jeff, Natalie, and Chad. Can't forget Frankie because of his assist with the hats. So not including the adults (we were all kids then) that makes 14 kids at my Dukes party. Might as well get 5 packs of hats because John might crush one somehow, you know uncle Butch is going to want one, and you might have a few unexpected guests like Brad Miller or Paul Letlow. This package of hats doesn't have a price sticker on them, but I am guessing the reason there are only four in a package is to keep them at the same price point as everything else (my minor in business is kicking in there) so I'll bet these were around a dollar too. So that's five bucks added to the tally for hats.
I did have a few opened and used hats in the collection. One thing you might not notice about the hats if you only had them in the package is the General Lee is perforated on the edges so you can pop it out. And you thought this was just going to be a cone on your head. As we see from Debby's hat (she wasn't invited to the party, she got into a fight with my sister Katie, it's a long story) everyone wearing a hat shows off the full flying orange clunker car as it soars over the orange rainbow. These are some high quality paper hats.
They are not that attractive from the back, but who cars.
These last few items are currently in the "serious collectors only" department. I think I've only ever seen one each of these show up on ebay and I bought them all. First off is the Dukes of Hazzard Party Invitations. We gotta let the Kara kids and the cousins know they are invited. We would definitely have to send one out to Arkansas for Frankie, because there wasn't a twitter in the early '80s.
When I said I only saw one each, I meant two invitations sold together, to me. The back of one invitation is shown through the back of the package. "You're invited to a Good Old Time..." I like that it doesn't have to be a birthday party specifically, it could be a bar mitzvah, a graduation party, or even a premiere party thrown at you cousin's pool the day after the Dukes movie opened! (I'm getting way ahead of myself here, since that party happen in 2005, and this imaginary party is taking place in the early '80s.)
You get 8 invitations plus 8 envelopes per package here. So let's say we need three packs. No price stickers on these but I'm guessing the invitations were a little more than your average cup or napkin. These were probably 2 dollars. Six bucks for invites added to the tally.
If you haven't noticed, this entire blog post has gone most common to least. The second most rare item in the Reed party supply set are the Dukes of Hazzard Blowouts. I added these to the collection in 2014 through a blog reader contacting me after I mentioned I didn't have them. So I never saw these go on ebay. These are incredibly rare and very fragile. All of these items were made to be thrown away after the party, and I bet these didn't even last a few blows. Dolly would have to keep these hidden from the kids until it was cake time or John would destroy his as soon as he got it and Jaime would keep hers until we were about to sing and that would be chaos.
These do have a price sticker still on them. If you couldn't find these at Hills, maybe try Child World/Children's Palace. They cost just under $2. We'll need at least five.
The package has the same graphic of the Gen'ral on the front and back, but there is no rainbow.
The blowers themselves feature a different graphic of our favorite car. This artwork is used on other products such as coloring books. This is the only C. A. Reed item to use a different graphic of the General Lee. The package comes with four blowers that are not Dukes colors. I'll pick the orange and yellow one.
The final item in the Reed set, and absolute rarest, is the edible cake decorations. This is one of the rarest items in my collection. I can think of two other edible Dukes items from the golden era, except the bubble gum that came with the trading cards, and that's the Boss Hogg bubble gum cigars and the Dukes Chocco-covered dipsticks. I have the cigars, but not the dipsticks. This item is also very fragile because all the decoarations except the center graphic are made of pressed sugar and the shrink wrap is very tight. One drop or bump and this beautiful piece is just a bunch of colored sugar at the bottom of a white piece of paper.
The description notes 23 candy pieces totaling 1 once. Each candle ring is a candy piece as well as each individual letter. The rainbow General graphic is not candy.
The back of the package is plain but does have a wealth of information on it.
The top of the package has the ingredients of the candy.
The bottom has the directions. Those are some thorough directions. I'll leave this one to Mom and Dolly to figure out. The cake decorations don't have a price on them. I'll make a guess and say they were four bucks. They are worth a heck of a lot more now.
Those are all the individual Reed Dukes party items. But what if you have a feeling Ronnie and Ryan from up the street might show up, and Garry might bring Matt even though he marked no on his invitation because he was supposed to be at Yogi Bear camp for the weekend. It might be a good idea for Dolly to pick up this C. A. Reed Dukes of Hazzard Party Pack just in case.
The party pack comes with 8 larger napkins, 8 cups, 8 smaller plates, and a table cover. Ryan might not get a hat, but we all know he won't care cause there's squirt guns at this party (not Dukes squirt guns, they never made those.) The party pack might be value priced even though it has $4 worth of supplies in it, so you might be able to pick it up (in the imaginary world of the early '80s) for $3.75. Thanks C. A. Reed!
I didn't know the party pack existed until I bought one on ebay last year. There is still a chance that other Dukes of Hazzard C. A. Reed Party Supply items are out there that I don't know about, but I doubt it. If you know of any, or have some, let me know, then sell them to me!
I also included this patch in this blog post. It is not a licensed product, and is quite common on ebay, but it was designed to look like the plates so I threw it in.
Ok, let's do some math. How much would all these party supplies cost Dolly for my imaginary Dukes of Hazzard themed party considering all these items were readily available at our local Hills, Paper Place, or Child World.
Table Covers: $0.99 x 2 = $1.98
Cups: $0.99 x 3 = $2.97
Pizza Plates: $1.09 x 3 = $3.27
Cake Plates: $0.99 x 3 = $2.97
Pizza Napkins: $1.09 x 3 = $3.27
Cake Napkins: $0.99 x 3 = $2.97
Party Hats: $1.09 x 5 = $5.45
Blowouts: $1.98 x 5 =$9.90
Cake Decorations: $3.99 x 1 = $3.99
Party Pack $3.75 x 1 = $3.75.
For a grand total of $40.52! That seems like a lot for early '80s money. But I'm worth it. Above you'll see all of my party supplies. I have quite a few table covers and a bunch of cups and larger plates. I have three opened smaller plates and three opens hats. Now you may be asking, did I ever have a Dukes themed party?
To which I would answer, silly question, they've all been Dukes themed parties. I just never utilized the official C. A. Reed Dukes of Hazzard Party Supplies. You know I would open something from the golden era!