Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stepping Out With a Star (UPDATED)

One of the things I love most about writing this blog is the contact I have with other Packer fans worldwide, although it sometimes takes me a while to act on that feedback. Reader Jim Prebil sent me this question a few months ago:
I have a question regarding a t-shirt that a fellow Packer fan and friend of mine wore once. As an avid reader of your blog, I was shocked when I did not recognize the logo at all. I know these days there are a ton of "retro" t shirt groups who give little to no care to historical accuracy (or to the legal rights of the team's name for that matter) and will slap on any logo, fade it, and call it retro.
This is the shirt in question, manufactured by Junk Food and sold by the NFL's online shop:

NFL Shop

Jim is absolutely correct about the creation of "retro" logos. It's very common for leagues to design new logos (often in an old-ish style) for events, games or teams that might not have had one at the time, merchandising then not being what it is now. This logo, however, is 100% genuine, and dates back to the late 1950s. At the very least, it was used on merchandise from that period, if never actually used by the Packers themselves. It can be found on this pennant, which was auctioned off by MEARS last month:


It's a striking image, with the player stepping out of the state of Wisconsin (Green Bay shining like a beacon behind him). They've solved the player-identification problem by giving him a letterman-like "P" on his chest, and I especially love the fact that Wisconsin is labeled. If anyone's interested, there's another one for sale at Scooter G Sports Apparel & Memorabilia in Appleton, Wisconsin, giving us a better look at the small figure near the tip:

Scooter G Sports

I love that little detail, a player backed up near his own end zone, punting the ball. The diagonal lines in the endzone are pure old-school football, and there's something about the crossed-goalposts that reminds me of those used in the Packers' 1950s logo.

Legendary Auctions

Thanks for the question, Jim. Your friend can wear his Junk Food t-shirt with pride, knowing that he's connecting with a little-known slice of Green Bay's illustrious football history. UPDATED 04/04/11: Reader Mark Schneider of GLORY DAYS Sports Pub in LaCrosse, WI (who is also behind the Facebook campaign for shareholder Super Bowl rings) sends this:
I have scanned a rare pennant because I saw your story. This is the ultra-rare with the added national football league Champions. Note the goalposts on the end by the tip are located at the back of the endzone. This was done in mid to late 60's to avoid player collisions. This pennant is clearly not licensed by NFL or Packers because it does not have logo or trademark- they were officially THE Green Bay Packers. There is a video from 1965 that shows an outside vendor selling this pennant (without added champions)
Wow. Outstanding.

I didn't realize that about bootleg merchandise and the corporate name, but I'll be looking for it from now on. Thanks, Mark!


Travis said...

Goalposts were moved 10 yards back of the goal line in 1974, according to the 1974 Green Bay Packers Yearbook (you know, the one with Jerry Tagge on the cover!).

Mark Crosby said...

I saw someone with this on a t-shirt the other day. It looked great.