Friday, December 12, 2014

Mid-Century Christmas: The 1956 Western Auto Christmas Catalog

This is a blog post that originally appeared in December 2013.  I thought if you hadn't seen it before, you might like to see it now.  Perhaps you remember looking through this old Christmas catalog yourself, as a child!

The 1956 Western Auto Christmas Catalog

In a previous post, I shared the cover of a 1956 Western Auto Christmas catalog that I found at an estate sale.  I thought it might be fun to share some of the pages inside the catalog as well. 

First, a little company history:

Western Auto Supply Company, Western Auto for short, was a chain of hundreds of retail stores founded in 1909 by George Pepperdine, who also founded Pepperdine University in Southern California.   

Throughout the year Western Auto offered automobile supplies and accessories.  At Christmastime, however, Western Auto's aisles were filled with everything from baby dolls to toy trains and so much more.

Let's check the mail from December 1956, and see what we might ask Santa to bring us for Christmas.  (Some of the pages are out of order, but we can still hopscotch down Memory Lane.)

First, a vinyl Bride Doll, Cindy Strutter Walking Doll, and Tiny Tears.

Betsy McCall cosmetics case, a child's tea set, a pink play stove and a jack-in-the-music box.

Boys' toys by Buddy-L, a Wyatt Earp double holster set, and a tiny piano.

 More dolls, and plush animals; doll carriages and more.

 More tea sets, and small appliances.

 Musical toys and furniture.

 Cootie, Sorry and other games.

Service station, toy phones, toy typewriters, and lots of sets for pretend jobs.

 Toys for little kids.

 Disney and other character toys.

The boys had been waiting to find their pages!  Metal farm sets, an Army Jeep, airplanes....

Outdoor toys.

Note the Dragnet police car.

Lots of TV cowboy toys.

 (The train under the tree was really for Dad, wasn't it?)

 "Robert" the Robot and other high-tech toys.

 Every kid should have his own radio station for Christmas.

More trains.

 Western Auto's house brand of bicycles.

Mickey Mouse and Roy and Dale watches.

More outdoor toys and accessories....

...including an air rifle for Ralphie.

And finally, we get to some gifts for older kids and for adults.

If you get Mom one of  these appliances, Dad, don't forget that she might like something else more romantic, too. 

 Gifts for the house.

Christmas decorations.

And, finally, the last page of the catalog, with hobby horses for the young equestrian in the family.

So what would you ask Santa to bring you, if you were enjoying Christmas in 1956?

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