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Crazy Christmas Cards from 1955!

I got a pretty exciting package from my mom recently: A container of my grandfathers’ Christmas cards from 1955. These aren’t personal Christmas cards, but rather leftover cards from my grandfather’s failed attempt at starting a greeting card company a few years after WWII. Here is a picture of the original Bradwick McGinty from around that time.

My dad said that instead of going to church on Sundays, my grandfather would often go “Irish fishing,” which entailed leaving before sun-up and returning late in the day with a bunch of stones. My father was never allowed to go with him, because he was half woman (on his mother’s side).

Anyway, that picture wasn’t in the package. But this one was:

A few years after my Grandfather returned from the war he decided to start a greeting card company. Armed with one terrible idea and no artistic ability whatsoever, he turned to someone he had met during the war for help, a young Japanese solider he had shot in the face named Haruo. My grandfather spoke no Japanese, and Haruo spoke no English, so how they actually got together is beyond me or anyone else in my family. The idea involved creating American-style greeting cards for both the Japanese and the American markets. It also required Haruo to create all the artwork and handle all of the printing. My grandfather would simply mail Haruo photos of what he wanted, and Haruo would see to the rest. The above picture was taken in the office of my grandfather’s lawyer. An interesting side note is that my grandfather had to travel all the way to Grantville, Georgia to use a “colored” lawyer, due to the fact that the Irish were considered “colored” in Georgia until 1963.


The story of my grandfather’s failed card company was pretty well known in my family. My grandfather always insisted that it ruined his life and was the cause of his “whiskey fits.” Not only did he blame Haruo for the fiasco, but all of Japan for his financial ruin. He even went as far as to contact the Irish Press in 1956 with a completely fictitious tale about being swindled out of his money while trying to stop a Japanese murder plot against the Pope.

No one in the family had ever seen any of the cards that were produced. It was thought that my grandfather set fire to all of the cards (and the boat) the moment they arrived in the states. That is, until my mom stumbled upon this ammo case in the attic:


I can’t even tell you how excited I was to finally see the cards that “killed my grandfather” and drove my family into extreme poverty. I actually think Haruo did a pretty good job interpreting my grandfather’s original sketch, considering the severely confusing nature of his drawing. It’s anybody’s guess as what my grandfather expected to get back, but needless to say it wasn’t this beautiful card:

Why not make my grandfather happy and send some of these cards to your friends and family this holiday season? That’s right, I’m offering what is left of my grandfather’s hopes and dreams for a mere $5!

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93 thoughts on “Crazy Christmas Cards from 1955!
  1. Brad, I’m not sure if you know this, but you are an unreal talent. A true genius. Everything you do is just so fun, visually quirky and unique.

    With each project you’re releasing, I get further and further envious. Thanks for inspiring me!

  2. I look forward to sharing these ancient relics of merriment with my friends and family. It’s gonna get ’em right in the ol’ Celebration Bowels alright!

  3. Thanks guys!

    Justin- That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. Thanks so much. I owe a lot of that to you, for getting me on dribble. I never realized how many good artists there were out there. Felt like I really needed to step it up. Hopefully we can all keep each other in check and help support each others projects.

  4. Brad, Justin posted this link this morning, and between my sister and me, we’ve ordered 22 of your grandfather’s cards. Not only that, but it’s led me to discover your work on this website. Truly, your grandfather’s work is now a gift that keeps on giving, and it’s great to see that the talent you now possess definitely has its roots in your family!

    Also, my sister said she plans to make a three dimensional sculpture of this design so that Stomach Prince may grace our family’s Christmas displays for many years to come.

  5. Too cool to be true! Sunk my pick no gimmie them cards 🙂 The story behind it all was well worth the cost of the cards. Thank you Sir 🙂

  6. A good try. But clearly a hoax. I might have fallen for the art but It’s so tricky to fake a period photograph. The half tone was a nice touch though!! Bravo.
    Whatever the case, that’s terrific art on the card.

  7. These are incredible Brad! My wife and I already own two of your derby prints! Your art is fantastic! I do a little toy art myself. Battle Babies. I’ve sold two waves of 12 in our ETSY Store and just launched wave 3 last week. 6 are gone and only 6 remain. Check em’ out! I’ll get stacey to order some of these post haste. Here is our Etsy store http://www.etsy.com/shop/GeekyVixen?ref=si_shop and here are pics of some that have already sold http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150329478640653&set=a.10150329468755653.343090.645160652&type=3

  8. Hey Brad! I’ve seen those on weirdo toys! Such great stuff. I also remember you two from Heroescon. I’m looking forward to seeing Justin’s paintings based off the line. Thanks for the order!

  9. I’m so happy I stumbled across these cards, It’s hard to make words. Also, one of the best stories i’ve heard in a hot minute. Can’t wait to get these!

  10. I posted these on Skullbrain, (a forum dedicated to Japanese Kaiju toys), and people are eating them up. Hope to order a set in the next couple of days. Really Rad work.

  11. Thanks Michael! I got an order or two form that board. That board is great. I love looking at old Kaiju. I think I have spent half my life staring at Coop’s Kaiju collection on Flickr. If you haven’t seen those photos hunt them down! Amazing collection.

  12. Woooo! Ordered the twenty bones special 😀 Finally a Christmas card that my friends will truly appreciate! And with a few left over to decorate our house. Maybe strung together as some kind of banner for our fireplace mantle? Can’t wait for these to arrive!

  13. This whole story is amazing and transformed my day into something magically. Shut up and take me money indeed.

  14. Those wacky Japanese and their Satan Claus and their tentacles and stuff

    japanese people have tentacles, right?

    ho ho ho indeed

  15. I love these Xmas cards — they’re incredible!
    Can you ship them to the UK? Simply must have. Please!
    Jamie Smith, Bristol UK

  16. Marvelous! great story, great cards! everyone I sent this link to was appropriately amazed as well. And I ordered some analog cards too.

  17. Oh em gee these are AMAZING! Thank you so much sharing them with us! I can’t wait to send these out for the holidays, along with the story of how they came to be (^o^)/ If you’re grandfather were making these today, he’d be living large! Best. Christmas card. EVER!

  18. These cards are just wonderful. I have been on a very long search for just the right Christmas cards to fit our theme. Our decoration scheme is “A Japanese Christmas” this year. My husband and I lived in Japan for several years and accumulated a collection of crazy and interesting Japanese holiday decor. In Japan as long as it lights up or sparkles it’s fair game for Christmas. These cards will be the cherry on top to our holiday festivities. I can’t wait for them to arrive.

  19. Hee hee that’s a fun & crazy postcard.

    Psssst… just between me and you I heard
    Haruo’s grandson just found a pile of these
    postcards among his grandfathers’ ninja
    star collection is trying to sell them too.
    Only difference is the back and the front
    sides have been switched with each other.
    Thought you’d like to know.

  20. Just ordered some of these, they are as beautiful and touching as the story about them. I can hardly wait to see the expression of delight people will surely have upon receiving such a heartfelt holiday greeting.

  21. Great illustration. Funny no one’s picked up on the ‘coloreds only’ sign in the background yet. Hahaha. Amazing story, true or not.

  22. Do you still have the cards
    I would like 10
    I really want them please let me know how I can pay
    I live in Toronto though

  23. Are these still available? I’ve tried clicking the buy buttons and all it does is refresh the page. I’d absolutely love to get my hands on a bundle!

  24. I had no idea Jewish people had “seasoning”. That’s awesome. I guess Jewish people are truly “tasty”… ;-D

  25. HAHAHAAHHAHA! Awesome, and the Japanese is spot on. Well, for a crazy translation of crazy English. Love this. These are awesome.

    American expat in Japan,
    Made in DNA

  26. What is the meaning of this card? The only interperatation I can think of is anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Jewish propaganda. Am I wrong? Otherwise, it’s hilarious.

  27. Oh darn, did you close off the sketches with purchase? I was going to have to take on some tokusatsu cyborgs

  28. Yeah, I had to cut off the sketches. I got too many orders. I offer sketches for early orders mostly. Keep an Eye out though, There is another chance to get some christmas elf sketches coming up this week!

  29. I already ordered 22 of these and am already considering getting more. Could you possibly e-mail me an estimate of how many you have left?

  30. Dude, your art is fantastic. I ordered 20 or 22 cards for xmas on like the 1st or the 5th and i still haven’t received them. i’m starting to get nervous.

  31. I just ordered these and they came in the mail. I love them, and I’m sure all my friends will, too! These are awesome. Now I can spread holiday cheer to everyone’s celebration bowels.
    <3

  32. Ditto on the shipping RE: notification. I’m sure you’re crushed. Just hoping they’ll be here within the week so I can amaze all my loved ones with my impeccable taste in art…

  33. They’re in the mail Niki. No worries. You ordered on the 11th, and they were in the mail on the 13th. It will probably take about a week to get to you. I’ve responded to everyone via email who has left a comment about shipping. I just thought I should post a reply here as well. Hopefully people will read this and be comforted. I was a little overtaken with orders for the past few weeks, but have finally caught up. So if you would like to order some cards feel free they will go in the mail box the day you order!

  34. Brad…found on your cards via BoingBoing (or Neatorama?). Just got them in the mail the other day, and they’re badass…I’m regretting not buying more. I guess five lucky friends will be getting the best cards of the year. Thanks, and awesome work!

  35. I was under the impression that these were actually the original cards from 1955. The website url printed on them suggests otherwise. Is any of this story true?

  36. Hey Brad,

    You are a man of your word — got my cards in the mail Saturday. I assume I must be on the American Christmas Devil’s “nice” list.

    But seriously, they’re killer. And the personal note is a nice touch. Thanks again and happy holidays!

  37. All my special spooky Creepmas friends that I sent these cards to have loved them. Thanks for creating something unique for us people that like to celebrate the holiday season in our own special way!

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