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Popeye Knockout Bank
"Joe Socko" Novelty Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - November, 1970

70-11.JPG (19035 bytes)Two unusual prizefighting or boxing banks made of heavy tin or light sheet iron, as you choose, are our choice to be classified at this time. Popeye is No. 186 and Joe Socko No. 187 in the numerical classification. Both banks represent cartoon characters and this, of course, adds to their interest and appeal. This is particularly true with respect to Popeye. Like Mickey Mouse the Popeye toys of the earliest vintage, late 1920’s and 30’s, have become quite desirable as collector’s items. There has as yet not been too much activity with respect to Joe Palooka as compared to Mickey Mouse and Popeye. The bank Joe Socko is actually Joe Palooka and apparently for some reason or other the name Joe Palooka could not be used.

Each bank well represents the character of the cartoon figure as portrayed in the comic strip sections of various newspapers throughout the country. Joe Palooka was a boxer of the highest type and principle, and Popeye was frequently fighting with some big rough tough character usually rescuing Olive Oyl from the rough individual’s clutches.

The two banks shown are from the writer’s collection and are in excellent original condition. They were made by a company called Straits of Detroit, Mich. Popeye has the following wording and dates along the bottom back side of the bank "Straits Mfg. Co., Detroit U.S.A." "Copyright 1919-29-33-35 King Syndicate, Inc." Appearing on the front is "Pat. App. For "American Made Toys For American Girls and Boys." Joe Socko has the following on the front "Joe Socko" Novelty Bank (Pat. App. For)," along the side and back "American Made Toys For American Girls and Boys." Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. by Straits Corp. Detroit U.S.A. Apparently Straits changed their name from manufacturing company to a corporation at some point during the productions of the two banks.

Colors on Popeye are as follows: The bottom and top of the base is blue. The sides are yellow with drawings and wording in red. The two figures, Popeye and his opponent, are a nickel or cadmium type finish. On the front of the bank base appears Wimpy eating a hamburger with a large plate of hamburgers beside him, to his right is a pail of spinach. Popeye is saying "Git out ya swab I needs fresh air." On the back appears his opponent knocked out of the ring and seeing stars, Olive Oyl in the audience says "Oh Popeye you hit him," next is Alice the Goon and she has her musical notes in the caption. Going around to the side of the bank the Sea Hag is saying "The rat," and finally Eugene The Jeep is calling out "Jeep Jeep." An attractive bank with good lithography. And, by the way, on Popeye’s opponent’s trunks there appears a skull and cross-bones.

Colors on Joe Socko are the same blue top and bottom on the base. The sides of the base are red with black figures and wording thereon. On the front are heads of many people and "I got dough on Joe," "Hurray for "Joe Socko." On the back are more people and "Geeve it to heem," "Sock him Socko," then "Geeve heem the woiks." On both ends are additional people’s heads and "On the button Joe." "He can’t take it," Yeh," Joe," "Giv’m the 1-2.’ The figures of Joe Socko and his opponent have the same finish as Popeye.

Both banks operate in the same fashion. The figure of Popeye is turned clockwise to the position as shown in Figure 1. When a coin is deposited in the front top slot Popeye whirls around swinging his right arm and glove knocking his opponent down causing him to fall over backward. Reset both figures for further operation.

Figure 1 shows the front view of both banks with Popeye on the left. Figures 2 also shows both banks rear view with Popeye on the right.

In closing it bears mention that there is a Popeye still bank just like the base of the mechanical. There are no figures on the top and the coin slot is to the right center in the top. All lithography work is the same as on the base of the mechanical.


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