BENDY Radio Mascot designed by Maxfield Parrish

Let me introduce you to Bendy.  This little chap stood 47 cm high and was the American GENERAL ELECTRIC RADIO’s advertising mascot, used to hold cards at point of sale and presumably frighten you into submission. He was made in the 1920s, a fully jointed doll wearing band leader’s uniform complete with tall hat, gold buttons and baton.  I was amazed to discover that he was designed by Maxfield Parrish, a famous American artist best remembered for paintings like waterfall.

Waterfall, for the 1931 General Electric Edison Mazda Lamps calendar

Although I find it hard to believe that they could be by the same artist,  Parrish’s paintings were commissioned by General Electric for their Mazda Lamp Calendars from 1918 to1934.  Parrish was a profilic artist and had an unusually commercial approach to his art.

This character is even scarier and attributed to the same chap.  He is said to have designed four different ones, so there are two more out there somewhere. They look like early Star Trek to me.

There was also a lightbulb display designed by Maxfield Parrish for General Electric in 1925 and used in hardware stores for customers to test their bulbs before purchase.

I prefer this little chap myself, but that’s another story ….

Picture of the famous dog Nipper - His Master's Voice

Radio Row, Lower Manhattan

Photograph of Radio Row, looking east along Co...

Photograph of Radio Row, looking east along Cortlandt Street towards Greenwhich Street, Wired New York; New York Red Book (New York: Interstate Map Co., 1935) by Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) from her “Changing New York” Works Progress Administration/ Federal Art Project. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have a little time to spare, enjoy this amazing piece of social history. It’s fascinating to hear people talking about their lives spent in the six square block area around Cortlandt Street in Lower Manattan.  For over 40 years this area was home to the largest group of radio and electronics shops in the world.  No longer there today, it was flattened in 1966 to make way for the ill fated new World Trade Center.   ‘Radio Diaries has won every major award in broadcast journalism and produced some of the most memorable documentaries ever heard on public radio’  I have to agree with them.