Wednesday, August 1, 2012

1932 Helm's Bakery Olympic Village Model Cabin Box

Today we forgo Train Time to bring you a special Olympic Toy

Wow, do we have a treat for you paper village aficionados - an Olympic Village from 1932! First of all, I cannot imagine how rare these must be. Since starting on my toy collecting path about twenty years ago I've never come across any more of these buildings. I have six buildings and haven't a clue if there are any more in the series as, quite frankly, the Internet doesn't seem to have any info on them either. The real Olympic Village made its first appearance in the 1932 Summer Games in Los Angeles. All the buildings I have are constructed as boxes and made by the Standard Paper Box Corp. of Los Angeles. The way in which they're made precludes me from taking a couple of them apart and scanning their pieces, plus they are also a little fragile and I'm afraid by taking them apart I would wreck them.  In size, they are quite compatible for 3-rail O-gauge layouts and perhaps that was their original intent??? The Model Cabin measures 8 3/4"W(22.2cm) W x 4 3/4" (12.1cm) D x 4 1/4" (10.8cm) H.

The building featured today - the Model Cabin - is the only one in the set to offer up the best clue as to who was selling these - Helm's Bakeries Ltd. Also notice the sign on the front door which reads "Olympic Village Model Cabin Mayor McTodd". Who is Mayor McTodd? I find no reference to him in regards to the 1932 Olympics.  Other questions that I have are:

-My boxes don't exhibit the kind of staining one would associate with baked goods being hauled around in them. Were these originally meant to hold baked goods?
-Were they given away with purchases or did one have to order them from the bakery?
-Were they only available in the Los Angeles area? (my guess would be 'yes' but I can't prove it)

From what little I've read, the International Olympic Committee is very protective of it's image and copyright and not just anything can pawned off as a licensed product. All the buildings in this set are quite rustic and look like something out of a 'Ma & Pa Kettle' movie, quite unlike the modern real Olympic Village built for the 1932 games. It was probably because of people playing free and loose with the name 'Olympic' and offering goods quite opposite to the image the Olympic Committee was trying to portray that caused their strong stance. In any case, without further ado, let's begin our tour of the Helm's Bakery 1932 Olympic Village. - Enjoy!

A nice touch - the windows on each end open to reveal a person behind them

A look inside the flap where the girl is printed

A view of the box construction technique