Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brand New Thing: Cool Stuff from the First Product Sleeve

I've written elsewhere about Motown's inner LP sleeve that was advertised Jackson 5 mail-order products. Prior to Maybe Tomorrow, when this sleeve made its first appearance, there was another Motown product sleeve, found in LPs pressed from 1970-71. It advertised fan clubs and products for several Motown artists, including the Jackson 5.

Here is that first product sleeve from my own childhood copy of ABC:

You'll find that the order coupon is missing. That's because I dutifully cut it out and sent it to Motown with my heard-earned $1.50. Like a good little fledgling collector, I left a note in its place, recording what I had ordered, and when.

You may wonder why I didn't just order one of everything back when I had a chance. Well, money was scarce in 1970, and I'd much rather have spent my hard-earned babysitting money (50 cents an hour in those years) on actual music. With singles costing 49 cents a pop and LPs at nearly four dollars, I didn't have a lot left over for Motown memorabilia.

So I read over all the descriptions and selected what I thought were the best deals. The 11 x 17" wall poster for 75 cents was a no-brainer. But why on earth would I buy a calendar (or, calender, as I spelled it back then), instead of an 8 x 10 glossy photo for just 10 cents more? I can't remember my reasoning, but I'm sure I was swayed by the fact it was an 18-month calendar. I probably figured there would be a different picture for each month, and I'd get 18 different photos of the Jackson 5, right?

Instead, here's what my money bought me:

Huh? That's it? Well, I had to look on the bright side -- at least the 18 months didn't begin for another five months. I'd have felt really cheated if it had been a 1970-71 calendar. Of course, that also meant I'd have nearly two years to be reminded of my folly on a daily basis.

Overall Fan Satisfaction:
(Jackson 1)

And I couldn't feel completely ripped off because the poster I ordered at the same time offered a cool way to decorate my room, as promised. I also got my first glimpse of each brother's signature, including Toriano and Sigmund. I only wished the poster had been in color and had been a photo I hadn't seen a million times before.

Overall Fan Satisfaction:
(Jackson 3)


  1. Yep, you made the best choices. Who would send for those other things, I'd be afraid they'd look just like the way they're drawn here. Maybe I'd get the mobile... But that's all the Motown stars, not just J5. Boy I bet you were glad to see the 2nd product sleeve! I didn't even have to send aways for stuff on it, I could just read the sleeve itself, over and over, for hours...

  2. I really did want the mobile, too, but had the same line of thinking you did. Plus, there was no promise the J5 would even be on it.

    I wish that had made a J5 mobile for the product sleeve, like with those individual photos of them dancing. That would have been cool (almost as cool as afro-pops!)

    The other product idea I would love to have seen developed would be J5 nesting dolls.