Maybe you can find it.

I’m looking for a United Way poster from the past. I’ve been searching the Internet trying to gain access to archives, but I’m turning up nothing. It’s also possible that it’s not United Way, but it’s March of Dimes. It’s from the late 1950’s, possibly the early 1960’s, and it’s one of those posters featuring an attractive, smiling Poster Child who is either thanking you for your support or reminding you of where your donations are going. It’s possible that it’s specific to Stratford, Connecticut.

The Poster Child is my dad.

He did not have polio, nor did he have cerebral palsy. But at one time he was a budding child star with a burgeoning singing career, going by the name of “Little Johnny Ribon.” He told me he used to occasionally appear on a popular radio show singing alongside a young Wayne Newton.

And yes, this does sound like another one of Dad’s tall tales, like when he told me there were landsharks in Palm Springs, or how the reflective bumps on the road were so the blind could drive, or how he once told my sister the number of spots on a dalmatian puppy signify the number of months it has to live, but Mom insists she once saw this poster, many many years ago.

Dad told me a few times about the photo session, and I remember always being skeptical, but now that Mom swears she once saw the thing, I’d love to find a way to locate it. I have to imagine the poster is in somebody’s archives somewhere. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

15 thoughts on “Maybe you can find it.

  1. Any idea where/who the talent agency was that your dad used? Are they still around?

    Have you tried the local UW or MOD folks in Stratford to see if either has some sort of archivist/library?

  2. I didn’t go to library school for nothing! Well, maybe I did, but I can still try to help you. The Library of Congress has an archive of American advertising here: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/ListSome.php?category=Advertising

    Also, they have an “Ask a Librarian” section, where real librarians will research your question and email you back.

    It would probably also help if you had information that would distinguish this particular poster. What did your dad look like? Any words on it that you know of?

  3. You might ask The International Poster Gallery (based here in Boston) if they run long-term searches. They are a reputable outfit and other vintage poster companies use their database for online sales. Worth a try if the Library of Congres lets you down (never!).

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