Another nostalgic rambling post
I’m afraid because on Friday morning as I went to pick up the post there on the doormat was something I hadn’t seen for over 30 years, a catalogue from Joke Shop by Post
! I was delighted, these catalogues shaped my life opening my eyes to the wonderful world of practical jokes and novelties! A world of hand buzzers, squirting flowers, whoopee cushions and horror masks
! I knew about them having seen the ads in various Marvel comics but I couldn’t order them, they were either out of date or limited to the US customers only. But now I could order them! I would read these catalogues over and over, committing them to memory and then promptly save up all my pocket money and get my mother to convert them into postal orders for me! Happy times! Joke Shop by Post was the brainchild of one Mr Andrew Mulcahy
, who having read ‘The Lazy Mans Way to Riches
’ by Jo Karbo in the early 1970’s was inspired to start his own mail order business. He wrote a book aimed at teenage boys on how to get 100 Girlfriends and started selling it by mail order advertising in various pop and football magazines. Be a Hit with Your Friends
’ which featured a list of practical jokes (stink bombs, joke teeth etc). As the orders for jokes started to come in he followed it with a second renaming it ‘Jokers Corner
’ and running it under Matchrite Publications.The Bargain Place for Lots of Fun
’). They even combined forces with TV prankster, the late Jeremy Beadle
in creating his Jeremy Beadles guide to Practical Joking
video (find out more here
). They continued to advertise in comics and this is where I came in, having seen their advert in Whizzer and Chips
, I sent away for a free catalogue and when it arrived I was amazed at the range of products available.
I buried my nose in the catalogue, filled with excitement and plots at revenge occasionally looking up and disgusting my mother by listing products such as Sick in Gift Box (‘give to mother, girlfriend or sister
’). When I took it to school however it had the reverse effect and the catalogue would be regularly passed around at break times and orders would be combined to save on postage. As I did this I harboured aspirations of someday running my own joke shop (in later life I got fairly close to doing so, but that’s something for another day) I had big plans on joining the Jokers Corner Club and becoming a Matchrite agent but it all just stopped. I’m not sure why, I never stopped buying practical jokes. According to their website
, having sent out over 1 million catalogues it seemed that the joke market fell into decline during the 1990’s but interest in magic tricks increased and so Joke Shop by Post became Magic by Post
. Their adverts appeared instead in specialist magazines until the advent of the Internet when they became one of the first magic shops (if not the first) to have a website
and that’s where you will find them today selling to magicians all around the world. They still sell jokes too so be sure to check them out
and restock on Disappearing Ink, Sneeze Powder, glow in the dark snot and Blood Capsules!
My sincere thanks to Mr Andrew Mulcahy for 40 years
of supplying us all with these gags and novelties and making our childhood fun.
© Arfon Jones 2015. All images are copyrighted throughout the world