Wyeth Pharmaceuticals promoted their Davenol Cough Linctus in a novel way. They distributed large Happy Families cards to pharmacists and possibly doctors. They began with one family (the Hacks) and with each bottle of cough syrup they gave away a smaller die-cut strip of the full Hack family.
Large cards 125 x 185 mm
Smaller cards 88 x 57 mms
The backs of the cards had publicity declarations with the emphasis on the tangerine flavour of the medicine.
The earliest drawings were inspired by Jaques Happy Families characters.
The promotion must have been popular because they went on further with the idea. Next came the Gasp Family, followed by Bark, Croak, Gruff, Harsh, Hoarse, Grate, Husky, Rasp, Sore, Splutter, Tickle and Wheeze. There are 56 cards in all but sets of only 32 cards are also found.
They may have stopped doing the large cards after the first few sets because they must have been quite expensive and all their pharmacist customers may have had one given to them already, or else run out of shelf space!
More smaller cards
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Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.
His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.
Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.
Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.
His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.
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