Lunch boxes – those trusty little companions from our grade school years. There's something about the clasp, that satisfying click, ensuring that your afternoon treats are well-protected until the lunch bell rings. It's like a vault of childhood memories, packed with sandwiches, fruit snacks, and maybe a small (embarrassing) note from your mom or dad. It's a portal to simpler times – when your only worry was who you would be trading your apple slices with.
But lunch boxes weren't just about keeping your food cozy; they were about self-expression. From superheroes to pop stars, the artwork on these beloved boxes showcased our idols. They were walking billboards, proudly displaying our passions for all of our peers to see.
Today, as adults, most of us don’t carry lunch boxes to the office, but the nostalgia for simpler times still lingers. Vintage lunch boxes have become collectible, tokens of our youth that can be cherished for generations.
Here at Julien’s we’ve had the pleasure of auctioning many noteworthy lunch boxes, including an E.T. lunch box from the estate of Frank Zappa, David Cassidy’s own “Partridge Family” lunch box, and a vintage Beatles “Yellow Submarine” lunch box. And in our current online auction, from the collection of Eve Plumb (aka Jan Brady), we are offering her personal “Brady Bunch” lunch box – complete with thermos – together with a host of additional Brady Bunch ephemera!
Taking a popular live action television show or movie and turning it into an animated series is a time-honored tradition that is still carried on today. RoboCop and Rambo had animated series in the 1980s, same with Men in Black and Dumb & Dumber in the 1990s, and more recently there have been Jurassic World and Fast & Furious animated series. These shows rarely reach the heights of their source material, but for younger viewers these animated spin-offs allow opportunities to see their favorite characters in fantastical situations that their live action counterparts could never venture into.
In the 1970s, one of the most popular properties to turn into an animated series were sitcoms. Take The Brady Kids for instance (the cartoon spin-off from The Brady Bunch) which focused on the six children from the live action series. The Brady Kids aired twenty-two episodes over the course of two seasons, from 1972–1973. All six of the original actors voiced their characters for the show’s first seventeen episodes, with the voice actors for Greg, Peter, and Marica Brady being replaced for the show’s final five episodes. The Brady parents and Alice the housekeeper were never featured on The Brady Kids. Instead, the animated series introduced animal sidekicks for the kids to get into mischief with. These included Mop Top – a dog, Marlon – a talking mynah sporting a blue wizard’s hat and a propensity for magic and bad imitations, and Ping and Pong – two pandas.
As you can gather from the presence of talking animals and magic, the adventures of The Brady Kids were more high-concept and outlandish than the everyday, relatable ones featured on The Brady Bunch. In the show’s first episode, The Brady Kids crash land in a hot air balloon on a deserted island where they first meet Marlon and Ping and Pong, as well as Father Nature who is suffering from hiccups that affects the weather in crazy ways making it impossible for the kids to leave until they can find a remedy for his ailment. The show also featured episodes where The Brady Kids thwarted jewel thieves, traveled back in time, and even teamed up with Superman and Lois Lane. The Brady Kids is also notable for being the first ever television appearance of the character Wonder Woman.
There were many other animated spin-offs of live action series from this time: The Dukes - based on The Dukes of Hazard, Jeannie - based on I Dream of Jeannie, The Fonz & The Happy Days Gang - based on Happy Days, to name a few. As well as animated versions of Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and even The Little Rascals.
It was not uncommon either for these shows to take a more high-concept angle for their animated spin-offs, often taking these original series and adding a science-fiction aspect that was easier to achieve in animation as well as trying to make the cartoon more appealing to a younger audience. Shows like this include Gilligan’s Planet, The Robonic Stooges, and Partridge Family 2200 A.D. The Brady Kids itself even had its own spin-off, the Rick Springfield-centric Mission: Magic!
In the upcoming Julien’s online auction Brady Bunch and More: Eve Plumb’s “Jan Brady” & Career Archives, you’ll have the chance to bid on lots containing ephemera from The Brady Kids. Some of these items include an original animated cell of The Brady Kids rocking out while playing in their band (because every episode included a song, obviously), an annotated lyric sheet for the show’s theme song, and hand-colored costume design pages for the six main characters. Register now to already start bidding and be ready for the auction when it goes live on October 2, 2023 at 11:00am PDT.
With a nickname as esteemed as “The Father of Art Deco,” Erté (born Romain de Tirtoff in 1892) has certainly lived up to his label. Throughout his lifetime, the Russian-born designer ventured into many artistic realms including fashion, jewelry, costume and set-design for film and theater, interior décor, and more, and Julien’s has had the pleasure of auctioning off examples from his vast catalog, with high results.
Erté’s artistic journey began after moving to Paris in his teenage years, where he dabbled in sculpture design and, in 1915, landed a fashion illustrator role at the legendary magazine Harper's Bazaar. From there, Erté began a promising career in fashion design and illustration, creating for prominent names including French dancer Gaby Deslys and Mata Hari, as well as crafting pieces for the stage and screen, as seen in productions such as Ben-Hur, The Restless Sex, and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1923. And as with his fashion illustrations, costumes, and all of his work, Erté’s jewelry was heavily inspired by striking silhouettes of the Art Deco movement.
Today, Erté is remembered fondly as one of the most accomplished multidisciplinary artists of the 20th Century, with an influence that has spanned designers, creators, and Hollywood celebrities of all genres and backgrounds.
Available now to bid on in our current online auction, from the collection of Eve Plumb (aka Jan Brady), is a pair of photo-matched sterling silver Erté Mouvement art deco earrings with onyx and coral stones (first designed by the artist for a series of 1924 fashion drawings) housed in a red velvet jewelry box with "CPA" and Erté’s signature gilt-stamped to the inside. The earrings come together with a photograph of Eve Plumb wearing them and a collector's receipt signed by her in pencil.
Register to bid now for your chance to own a piece of Art Deco history!
What do Donny Osmond, Little Richard, and Elton John all have in common? No, we’re not thinking of the fact that these legendary showmen are all fire signs (though they are), rather that each of them has had a larger-than-life 1970s-era stage-worn jumpsuit up for auction
From the young Donny’s black silver-studded number seen in the Osmond Brothers’ 1972 performance of “Yo-Yo,” to Little Richard’s kingly turn in a flamboyant golden polyester jumpsuit and crown at Rockefeller Center in 1975, and Elton John’s tangerine-piano-key suit worn at a performance in Tucson that same year, these ensembles set the tone for lavish stage attire for years to come, influencing hair metal rockers and pop divas alike.
Showy personalities require showy outfits, and entertainers going back to the “King of Rock and Roll” himself, Elvis Presley, have often turned to an embellished jumpsuit to make a statement on stage.
Keep your eyes peeled for more iconic jumpsuits from Julien’s Auctions – and register to bid now so you don’t miss out!