Monday, May 6, 2019

Jokers with Three Imps

The Palmer Cox Brownies are one of my favorite joker themes. If you don't know about the Brownies, take a few minutes and learn about them. They were very popular little characters whose name lives on this third millennium as the Brownies (young girl scouts) and as the name of the fondly remembered easy to use Brownie Camera.

This first one is thrilling, I have the deck including two jokers. On each joker, I count about 17 different Brownies (some are partially buried in something). 

The deck is by the American Playing Card Co of Kalamazoo MI .

These three imps were on one of the oldest and most treasured jokers in my collection.   This joker of the three imps probably dates from 1927. It's an old US Playing Card Joker. It features the Palmer Cox Brownies. They are in the jokers about playing card section.

Three Imps on a Joker
Three Imps on a Joker

I think the one below is a more modern version again featuring  the three "Palmer Cox Brownies" who were popular cartoon characters from the late 1900s. Palmer Cox was a Canadian illustrator and author, best known for The Brownies, a series of books and comic strips about the mischievous but kindhearted fairy-like sprites. The best known of the books with the comic books in them  was The Brownies, Their Book (1887). 

Due to the popularity of Cox's Brownies, one of the first popular handheld cameras was named after them, the Eastman Kodak Brownie camera.
Palmer Cox Brownies Playing Cards
Palmer Cox Brownies Playing Cards

Here's the back of an old Bicycle joker which has the Brownies on it. Unfortunately, it was glued into a album and I haven't yet got all the glued paper off it. It feels like some sort of social commentary in that one imp is dressed like a stereotypical rich industrialist: the other like a worker. They seem to be playing cards. Is this a reference to the bourgeois further defrauding the worker? Or it it a kumbaya "It's a Small World After All"-type reference?  I dunno.

I need to update this article for a few reasons one of which is that I recently acquired a deck from the 1890s.

Four of my versions of this joker

This modern joker features the Pep Boys: Manny, Moe, and Jack. They echo or are an homage to the old Brownies.

I don't know much about this joker but it looks modern and cheap, perhaps from China. There do seem to be the Palmer Cox Brownies, or perhaps a modern reinterpretation of them.

Like these fun little imps? Perhaps you'd like some fun with some lovely pin up girl jokers and other erotic jokers

Or, if you are curious about the other US Playing Card Brands, perhaps the Bicycle Jokers would interest you. There are also the Congress Jokers and jokers featuring Betty Boop!

Lastly, many people wonder Why there are jokers in decks of cards?

1 comment:

  1. Here's an amazing website about the National Card Company. I'm linking to the page about the Brownies:


Thanks for your input and for reading and thinking about jokers.