Cat and JOL Boys & Girls Hand in Hand against Fence, Germany, 1935

IMG_8676

This diecut has eluded me since the inception of my collecting interest in vintage Halloween collectible memorabilia. A fragmented remnant (the JOL boy against fence) surfaced in the early part of this century piquing my curiosity and likewise what was to become my unrelenting quest to discover what, exactly, was the entire perspective. I was fortunate to discover this exceptionally well preserved, fully intact German masterpiece late last summer, quelling a decade of speculation.

This exceedingly rare item is surely one of the diecut designs sold only to Canada in 1935. These diecuts tend to have more unusual imagery and are typically coveted. The irregular border and lattice design, exacerbated by its imposing size, makes finding a complete example, like this one, near impossible. Consequently, I’ve only seen a handful of remnants surface in my 18-year tenure collecting vintage Halloween memorabilia. I suspect the structural integrity of this artistic achievement was problematic and therefore unsuccessful. Measuring an astonishing 28”, this is, by far, the widest German diecut made. This unique design has some prolific nuances. For example, at a glance, the boy cat’s pant leg is checkered while the other is a diamond or harlequin pattern. Look closer, or rather from afar, and the shorts have a solid diamond or checkered pattern, depending upon the viewers perception. I’ve never seen this design ingenuity incorporated into any other German diecut. It is difficult to ascertain whether this was intentional or simply happenstance. Equally unusual is the comedic undertone of the JOL boy’s lifelike cat-head appliqué resembling that of a domesticated house cat; a stark contrast from his hand clenched cat faced friends. This heavily embossed finely detailed diecut measures 7” h x 28” w.

As an aside, tenured collectors familiar with 1930s German windowpane diecuts will notice fence and tufted grass similarities. Interestingly, the JOL windowpane’s fence panels are adhered by rope and nails while the Bird & Cat windowpane incorporates neither.