After making our way rather quickly through the chickens, rabbits and ducks at the Barnyard Flea Market in Dallas NC (my nose kept telling my feet they weren’t moving quite fast enough) and the Great One haggling for a pair of green pants for a Peter Pan costume for our daughter, we came upon a vintage World Globe Bank. And of course, we brought it home with us. You know we can’t come home without a bank these days. At least we will be able to get back any money we put inside this one as we don’t need a key or a combination to open it - see, we’re getting better at this. It’s in pretty good shape and was designed when Saudi Arabia was still labeled as Arabia and Korea was not divided.
This little globe was made in the U.S.A. by the Ohio Art Company. Now, that name sounds familiar doesn’t it? If you were a child of the 60s or any time thereafter, then you must have played with their most famous toy at least once. It was one of the first toys to be featured in a television commercial and became a movie star in the 1990s right along with Woody and Buzz – the Etch A Sketch. You know, the little red rectangle with two white knobs that looked like a little flat screen TV (only we didn’t know what a flat screen TV was back then). I spent days and weeks trying to get those little knobs to work in synchronous harmony. I learned to write words – in print and cursive. I could create cityscapes with skyscrapers that Superman could leap in a single bound. I could even do circles and faces and flowers . . at least, that’s what they were supposed to be. I tried to figure out how to turn it sideways (what we now call portrait orientation), but my brain, my hands and the knobs just couldn’t learn how to work together. Obviously, my Etch A Sketch and I spent a bit too much time together.
Believe it or not, the Etch A Sketch has been around for over half a century and according to ohioart.com more than 150 million Etch A Sketch toys have been sold worldwide. The original Etch A Sketch is still red, gray and white, needs no batteries, and can still awaken the kid in all of us. But today’s sketchers have produced works of art far beyond my wildest dreams. They must have the patience of Job and the creative juices of Leonardo da Vinci. I take solace in the fact that even these extremely talented artists have not created any Etch A Sketch art in portrait orientation. Perhaps it just isn’t possible. For fresh inspiration, check out Real Etch A Sketch Artists at ohioart.com. It will make you want to pick up an Etch A Sketch and start practicing again. Oh, the masterpieces you could create!