Your Scrappy Franchise Department at Work

Scrappy letter
Behold the Scrappyland National Gallery’s latest acquisition, and one of its most fascinating possessions. It’s a letter from Marvin S. Springer of the Scrappy Franchise Department — which we already knew existed — written on Christmas Eve, 1935, to the proprietor of the Dent Hardware Company, a one-time major producer of cast-iron toys. (It’s still around, though no longer in the toy business.)

Springer is following up on an earlier inquiry involving Dent licensing Scrappy, and he sounds eager — maybe even pushy — about closing the deal. If he and his Scrappy Franchise colleagues were always this aggressive, it helps explain why Scrappy was so remarkably well-merchandised, especially for a character who was never a top-tier cartoon star.

The sticker at the bottom of the letter is worth examining at a larger size:

Scrappy sticker

That’s a wonderful advertising slogan, but not a very good likeness of Scrappy — it seems to be a badly-redrawn version of a classic Dick Huemer image, and note that it looks nothing like the version on the letterhead. And neither of these Scrappies looked like the on-screen Scrappy did in late 1935. If Columbia wasn’t very good at depicting him, it’s no surprise that its licensees were often lackadaisical about the job.

So did Dent Hardware end up making Scrappy stuff? I’m not sure. I can’t find any reference to it doing so in the Film Daily, which seems to have done a good job of reporting on Scrappy merchandise deals. Maybe the metal Scrappy bank I wrote about in a previous post is a Dent. Or perhaps there are other cast-iron Scrappy toys out there somewhere, still waiting to be discovered.

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