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Fan Mail of the Past

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by D'Snowth, May 28, 2011.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    One thing that's been intriguing me as of late is how exactly fan mail worked in the past.

    In the days before the internet, where we could easily obtain addressed to which we could contact our favorite celebrities, performers, writers, etc while fan mail slowly became discouraged, fan mail was widely encouraged, especially in children's fare: how many Saturday morning shows back in the day had characters interrupt the closing credits to say, "Don't forget to write, keep those cards and letters coming!"?

    Jack Wild once said when he was doing H.R. Pufnstuf, he got letters from stoners all the time saying things like, "Yeah man, I know how you feel, I talk to mushrooms too, and I never get any help from these guys," and was thinking, "What? !" Meanwhile, both Sid & Marty Krofft said even though it was the youngsters who were encouraged to write in, it was the college kids who they got the most mail from.

    Janice Karman tells a "sad story" about how horrible she felt back in the 80s that Alvin and Theodore were getting more fan mail and Simon hardly got any, but once they started writing more for Simon and evolving his character, his fan mail quanity increased.

    Even the SSU book printed various little notes that kids sent in to the various Muppets on the show over the years.

    But how was it all done back in the day? How did kids get the addresses to send their fan mail to? If kids didn't know or couldn't find the addresses, how did they know where to send their mail? Did they just write a character's name on the envelope and send it in hopes the postal workers knew where to forward it to? And what of the postal workers themselves? How odd did they find it at first to see mail addressed to fictional characters as opposed to real people? And when did the trend begin coming to a stop, when characters no longer acknowledged viewers to write in, and references to fan mail during the actual program (like Rocky and Bullwinkle used to do) disappeared?
  2. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Well I think they used to have addresses included on the TV screen during or at the end of programs. Or parents could have just sent the letter "Care of ABC Networks." Perhaps the Yellow Pages helped out in this area as well.

    Love that story about Simon, btw, he was always my favorite! : D
  3. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Oh and my mother pointed out that fan magazines were a huge resource for addresses! :)
  4. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Yep. Fan mags like "Dynamite"...yeesh... boy am I dating myself with that one... :o

    And people still write to the programs care of the TV networks. I'm going to try and get Jim Lehrer to autograph one of his books for me by going that route. Many studios, too, have street addresses that could be looked up by enterprising young souls who grasped the concept of library reference materials (Disney, Hanna Barbera, etc...the old "Who's Who" books could sometimes be VERY helpful).
  5. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Thank you for saying that; kids today need to know that libraries can still be very useful places! ;)
  6. Xerus

    Xerus Active Member

    I remember writing in and becoming a member of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan club. My number was 7073. And I also joined the Spumco fan club, "The studio that created Ren and Stimpy."
  7. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Funny...I was just looking through my MST fan club stuff last night! Though I got mine from the address in HOPkins, MN (to voice Tom Servo-style) flashed on at the end of every ep. I still have numerous collected newsletters and things. Surely there are shows which still advertise fan club addresses (or at least websites) sometime during the show? Yes?
  8. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    The one fan letter I sent as a kid was to Walter Lantz. I got his address from Elvina Green, a cel dealer here in Atlanta who I had bought animation art from. He replied and sent an autographed photo, which I framed and have to this day.
  9. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I've sent probably half a dozen fan letters out as a kid, and only got responses to two of them: one was from Kevin Clash, while he didn't respond to the letter itself, he DID send a colorful autographed photo of him and Elmo (people always ask, it's of him sitting with his arms folded, while Elmo appears over his shoulder), and the other was from Kathy Greenwood, who also sent an autographed photo, and responded to the letter as well.
  10. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I wrote to Sesame Place when I was a kid and drew pictures of all the characters; a very ambitious undertaking, lol. I got a letter back saying how much Big Bird and Grover and the others loved the drawing, lol, and an "autographed" photo of Big Bird. Not Carrol Spinney, literally it said "Big Bird." Probably not worth much but I still have it, hehe! :)
  11. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    That's killer, heralde!
  12. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Hehe yup, I wish I still had the letter, but I remember reading it for the first time like it was yesterday. : D
  13. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    Cool; I don't believe I ever did this is a kid, though I did regularly write to Santa! And in Canada he has his own address:

    Santa Claus
    North Pole
    Canada
    H0H 0H0

    Best postal code EVER!
  14. Sgt Floyd

    Sgt Floyd Well-Known Member

    I just want to point out that a few official facebook pages could be used to "send" fanmail. There are some that actually are monitered and you will get a responce from either staff or the character themself. I am really impressed with the level of fan recognition on the Dan Vs facebook page
  15. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    I'm sure back in the day a lot of people sent the letters to the local stations airing the shows and they forwarded them to the network/shows.
  16. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

  17. Yorick

    Yorick Active Member

    That is so great! Congrats! I like all the other stories too, but I just had to mention how cool the Walter Lantz one is!


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