Monday, March 26, 2012

I Brake For Bears

I thought that it might be fun to share one of my collections with you today.

Postcards: Bears Meet Tourists!

I'm not sure where this fascination comes from but I absolutely love these postcards. Back in the day, many of the well-traveled touristy areas that were populated by bears completely encouraged tourists to go up to the bears and to attract them to their cars. Of course, the bears got used to getting food and would approach cars easily. Not safe for the bears or the tourists, if you ask me.

It's definitely a little sketchy but still, I love the nostalgia factor of these cards. Tourists going to the mountains always hoped and expected to see bears. I have to admit that in all of my mountain trips, I've never seen a bear out roaming around on the road. However, there are many ghastly roadside attractions around here where you can see these poor, beautiful creatures chained up and living on concrete. We're hoping to get those places outlawed one of these days. Maybe that's one of the reasons that I love this genre of postcards. The bears were at least roaming free, making choices whether to accept pimento cheese sandwich scraps or to forage for berries. Whether to whack a tourist or not. Nature as it should be.

Here is the back of the above card:

I love the inclusion of the line No Trouble Yet. I'm not sure if those boys are referring to the lack of bears or if they're anxiously crossing the state line for another reason. I mean who among us hasn't had a reason to rejoice making it over a state line or two? Either/or - I love the idea of putting No Trouble Yet on all of my future postcards.

Here are some of my other favorites from my collection:

This one looks like a sassy waitress at a cook's window.

Carl! The Martins have been waiting on their club sandwiches for twenty minutes!

Look at that wee one hanging on that car!

I especially love the one above. It says on the back: This bear wandered out of the woods on to the highway. Although they seem friendly and harmless, one should not feed or get too close to wild bears.

Ya think?? Don't you just love how the mothers of these kids are standing safely in the background, encouraging the kids to get some nature action? Why, it's not a vacation if someone doesn't get facial reconstruction surgery!

This card veers a little away from the bears and cars collection but is equally as touristy:

Greetings from Tennessee. Feeding Bruin is very dangerous but makes for a pleasant picture in this Dextone Beauty Scene.

Trust me when I say that if that bear weren't taxidermied within an inch of his life, Carol would be drawing back a nub for her game of hide-and-go-seek with Bruin there.

Thanks for touring one of my favorite collections with me. I'm sure it will continue to grow. Since these cards also appeal to vintage car image collectors, the competition means that I don't find them that often - but that makes the hunt even more fun!

Until next time,
x's and o's,


Kitsch and Curious said...

I absolutely adore these! (Of course.)

What Remains Now said...

Love them! I'm a post card collector too. If I spot any "bear" ones, I'll send them your way.

Floyd Lawson said...

Notwithstanding all the death and dismemberment, I can’t image how much damage a bear could inflict on an automobiles paint job. I have a sneaky suspicion that it would be like having Freddy Krueger or Edward Scissor Hands wax your car.

kelly said...

my dad used to work for the forest service. one of his jobs was to dress up as Smoky the Bear.

DearHelenHartman said...

No trouble yet. I plan to incorporate that in my correspondence from now on - except in times when trouble has found me. Then I will just write HELP!

Andrea Fisk said...

Thank you, I needed that. After a day in which I lost my focus on the good things... these are fantastic!

Rae - Say It Aint So said...

oooo i love them! especially the red car with the little bitty baby on the window. i need a picture of myself feeding a taxidermy bear! i have a silly vintage picture of a couple posing with some bears like that. not quite as cute though!

i feel like i have some pictures of a bear from my parents car when i was a little kid. we aren't feeding it though. we went to one of those terrible bear pits on our anniversary trip two years ago because i remembered it being fun as a kid. it was so sad and awful! they gave us brown apples and dog biscuits to throw at them.

Sara In AZ said...

OMG, that one with the family - I'd be literally terrified if I was that girl. That is SO insane!!!! I can see wanting to view the bears in nature and all, but they are really living on the edge here!

I super love your postcard collection! Awesome!!!

Lisa said...

How! Cute! My dad told me about a museum they used to have in the Smokies in the 60's when he went on family vacation, in which several items bears had torn apart were on display-- coolers, trash cans, grills, etc. I share a genetic interest in such items. Think it's still there?

Also, "it's not a vacation until someone has to get facial reconstrucive surgery". Cracked me UP. Amen! What kind of people approach bears?! I would be the mom in the car, with my arms crossed, yelling "It'll serve you right if it mauls you! Do you hear me? IF IT MAULS YOU!"
No trouble yet,

Stacy @ Stacyverb said...

"No trouble yet"--love it. YET being the key word there. I have a very vague memory of going to one of these parks as a kid. And the taxidermied bear reminded me of a much less frightening bear-related encounter my hubby and I had a few years ago:

SUZY8-TRACK said...

Oh wow! Wacky stuff!! ;)

Andria Crowjoy said...

Hi! I just discovered your blog and you immediately inspired me to ditch work and grab an estate sale where you must have psychically guided me for I scored a HUGE box of post cards and a HUGE box of maps. So you may find me this weekend repapering my bathroom and sending ridiculous notes to my silliest friends! Thanks and nice to meet you! :D