This excessively cheap, anything-but-“real” leather wallet with an embroidered gold reminder to “keep it real” was part of a series of similarly sloganed wallets that Target carried about five years ago. It’s fun to hold because it’s stuffed with a lot of cheap foam so it feels like you’re gripping a marshmallow.

“Keep it real” has a bunch of compartments for credit cards and a zippered pocket in the back for change. Good thing as for some reason the compartment to keep dollar bills isn’t stitched all the way across the bottom so if you happen to throw your change in there it’s someone else’s by the time you reach your car.

There’s no manufacturer label on the wallet, only a small tag that says “100% Man Made Materials”.

My favorite thing is the wrist strap so you can keep your wallet out at all times and let the world know that you’re the kind of gal who “keeps it real”.

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If it’s Eva Gabor it’s got to be good and this certainly lives up to all expectations! This incredibly cheaply made – one piece of elastic, two alligator clips and one plastic “decorative ring” – fashion strap “keeps your wig securely in place while your wig is being combed, brush or styled.” It looks like all you do is attach a clip to either side of your fake hair and tighten the noose around your neck by sliding the “decorative ring”. The final instruction, as if written for an idiot, is “comb or brush your wig into desired style.”


This product was made in 1972 for Eva Gabor International in Hong Kong and was sold at the May Company for $4. I’ve never worn a wig but I would’ve bought a case of these had I seen them at the time.

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This thing kills me. Not only does it still reek of the scent of the powder that was pumped into it five decades ago but it exemplifies a common marketing tactic taken by some of the most brilliantly kitschy products when a staunchly middle of the road company attempts to be hip and takes on a pop culture trend. In this case, it’s The Fuller Brush Company attempting to cash in on the folk singing craze of the early 1960s by covering a bath mit in fabric that looks like something that would have been stretched over the armrest of an Ethan Allan Early Americana couch.

I don’t even know what half of the instruments are let alone what a Declaration of Independence type scroll, leaves or half of the other icons on this have to do with Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary or anyone else who  inspired teenagers and young adults to buy acoustic guitars, don turtlenecks and rip into a chorus of “If I Had A Hammer”.

The box is as brilliant as the mitt. I love the backdrop of musical notes, although I have no idea what the melody is as despite the copious number of hit songs I’ve written I don’t know how to read music. But that story’s for another time. What’s important here is the illustration of a pert and sunny sorority looking girl who’s more apt to be dancing in front of her TV with American Bandstand on than attending a Hootenanny while she’s being serenaded by the Ray-Ban man and  someone else whose pants are way too short.

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Anything that has Disco in the title is assured of shelf space at my place but the fact that the Pegtoy Corp. of Westport Connecticut calls this a “play style” means it gets a nice warm spot up front. With tiny little earplugs that might fit into the ears of an ant and a play cassette as thin as a communion wafer, this Disco Rock Radio has as much chance of actually emitting sound as a Pet Rock.

I especially love that the Disco Rock dancers look more like they’re doing the Riverdance than anything that might’ve gone on at Studio 54. I’m especially fond of the male dancers jumpsuit and high heel cowboy boots.

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A black power statuette raising his fist in pride but when you pull him outta the box he’s a white man…! This is one of the greatest examples of Soul Kitsch in my collection. So perfect a product in the late 60’s for a market that had long been under-served in terms of ubiquitous pop culture memorabilia. But like The Supremes White Bread and Touch O’ Soul “Off-Black” pantyhose featured earlier in this blog, and boasting on the box that it’s a “Equality- Justice statuette”, couldn’t the product manager have spent a few more minutes thinking about his target audience and poured a little tan tint into the resin before locking down the molds?

Made of “sturdy plastic with base tab” (whatever a base tab is), The Black Power Statuette was manufactured by Zap-Co of Roseville, Michigan.

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It’s a fact that when bacon is involved in any of my KOTD posts the number of comments skyrocket. Makes sense to me as not only is it one of my (and others’ obviously) favorite foodstuff EVER but bacon’s long, straight design with undulating, bubbling edges allows it to translate well as a design element onto almost any object of decent size imaginable. Maybe it’s the element of danger or lving vicariously as, really, under what other circumstances would you want a greasy piece of bacon in your pocket?…


…or on your shoes?:


Made in China in 2006 for Accoutrements, the bacon wallet is still fresh and available at Archie McPhee.


With as many taco trucks as I eat off of and as many meals as I eat in my car — my favorite dining room of all — the Spork, a spoon, fork and knife in one, is an one of those indispensable instruments of life that you should always have around. And just like another modern-day marvel, the Snuggie, it’s both practical and kitschy, the penultimate combination in contemporary Kitsch klassicism 
Made in Sweden by Light My Fire, the Spork is heat resistant, “Teflon ready” (whatever that means – isn’t it either Teflon or not?!) and machine washable. 
I hope to never be without my Spork.

With as many taco trucks as I eat off of and as many meals as I eat in my car, my favorite dining room of all, I can tell you that the Spork, a spoon, fork and knife in one, is one of those indispensable instruments of life that comes in handy time and time again. And just like another modern-day marvel, the Snuggie, it’s both practical and kitschy, the penultimate combination in contemporary Kitsch.

Made in Sweden by Light My Fire, the Spork is heat resistant, “Teflon ready” (whatever that means – isn’t it either Teflon or not?!) and machine washable. 

I hope to never be without my Spork.



Don’t even ask how many Ponytail products I had as a kid because not only did I have a ponytail on my head that I thought made me look like the Ponytail girl but I had the diaries, dictionaries, deskettes, jewelry boxes, record totes and anything else that had the Ponytail girl on it.

My dictionary was powder blue and the deskette, a flat binder that opened to reveal slots for paper, pencils and envelopes, was red. But nothing touched my heart and made an indelible stamp on my aesthetic sense forever like the powder pink on the glass case here. Just looking at the pink Ponytail gal poking up in my bucket bag when I went to look for my milk money was enough to keep me happy all day. And since then that same pink has been all around me, from my house to my ’62 Corvair to anything else I love that I have a choice of color in.

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Nothing better than celebrity Kitsch! They have enough money and should know better but that’s when some of the biggest Kitsch gets committed. The  killers happen with products that have nothing to do with the person’s name that adorns them like Mohammed Ali shoe polish, products that have all too much to do with the celebrity like a Brigitte Bardot bra, or products that shouldn’t have anything to do with the celebrity like Lucille Ball cigarettes.  It’s all here in Film #4 in my “What Is Kitsch?” film fest commemorating the opening of the Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch.


Introduced as the Alka Seltzer slogan in 1972, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” became one of the most popular colloquialisms of its day. Glorified here as an iron-on embroidered fake fur patch, including a fake Rolling Stones tongue, this proclamation appeared everywhere from t-shirts to comedy sketches throughout the early 70’s.

Made by Rayberg Supply Co. of San Carlos, CA. the ‘Pik a Pocket’ fashion accessory didn’t go near any of my jeans – I always knew I ate the whole thing – but was slapped on many a  more delicate bellbottom around the world.

The slogan roared back briefly in 2005 when Alka Seltzer trotted out Peter Boyle  in his “Everyone Loves Raymond” Frank Barone character to moan and groan post food inhalation.

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