THE ROMANCE OF HELEN TRENT
Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:23 pm
Does anyone know if there was a cameo pin offer from the sponsor of this show? I can't find anything on it anywhere, but my mother has an old cameo pin that she says was offered right after Helen Trent received a cameo pin.
I hope this is the correct place to post this message. If it isn't, I apologize.
Any info on the cameo pin would be greatly appreciated.
Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:28 pm
I don't have the answer, but it may be obtainable. "Premiums," as they were called, were offered on many programs back in the early days of radio. Fans could send in a box top, coupons, or other proof of purchase plus a small amount of money in exchange for specified items.
Soap operas were well represented among shows employing this practice. My notes on the 9/21/39 broadcast of Bachelor's Children indicate that listeners could send in twenty-five cents plus the windmill pictures from two Old Dutch Cleanser labels and receive a 14-carat gold floral spray pin. In The Great Radio Soap Operas, Jim Cox writes that "serials like Ma Perkins, Today's Children, Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories, The Romance of Helen Trent, One Man's Family and others dangled flower seeds, photo albums and other trinkets at fans" (p.47). In the year 1940, he notes, "Libby glasses, recipe books and jewelry were all proffered in mailhook promotions on daytime serials" (p.127). The soaps Stella Dallas (p.236) and Lora Lawton each offered a necklace, the latter a "lovely chain necklace just like the one designed and worn by Lora" (p.103). A cameo pin would not have been at all out of place among such an assortment of premiums. Determining which sponsor provided it could be a chore. Among sponsors of The Romance of Helen Trent listed by Cox are Edna W. Hopper, Pharmaco, and American Home Products (p.202).
I think there have been scholarly books and articles written about radio premium offers. It might be worthwhile posting the question on the online OTR Digest. Many leading OTR authorities are subscribers (it's free), and are very generous about trying to answer queries from fellow readers.
Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:41 pm
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question! I will try posting on the site you gave me and let you know if I find any more information on the cameo pin.