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Duncan Everybody Everywhere Plays Yo-Yo poster (1931)
Exhibit #3940
Size432mm tall
Width381mm wide
OwnerRick Brough

A great piece of early Duncan ephemeron from 1931. This 432mm (17 inches) tall by 381mm (15 inches) wide poster likely hung in a store's display window or front door window. I imagine a box of Duncan yo-yos would have been seen near the poster, too. The poster itself, advertising the Genuine Duncan Gold Seal "77" Yo-Yo, came out at a time when the toy was quickly becoming a popular fad across America, even among famous Hollywood actors. Promoting the toy were professional Filipino Duncan yo-yo demonstrators who traveled the country -- in a suit with a pocket square, dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes, no less -- teaching youth and adults alike. First class!

Lillian Roth, a famous American singer and screen and stage star, was described on the poster as a "yo-yo addict." The poster also described Lillian's recent movie work with Jack Oakie. Based on that information, I was able to deduce that the movie was Sea Legs, released December 1, 1930.

Charles "Buddy" Rogers, an American film actor and musician from 1926 through 1968, was described on the poster as "... fall[ing] for the Yo-Yo Fad."

No doubt seeing these two young, popular Hollywood stars on a poster, each playing with a Duncan yo-yo and wearing broad smiles, was powerful marketing clout among children and adults more than 90 years ago.

Unfortunately, the poster does not name each Duncan demonstrator seen in the group photo. Notice how all the sharp-dressed gentlemen posed with their "77" yo-yos on the floor in front of them, strings extended. This pose was often used among groups of Filipino demonstrators in the early days of Duncan yo-yo promotions.

Central to the poster's design was the description and diagram of eight classic tricks you could learn while using a Duncan yo-yo. These core tricks formed the basis of nearly every yo-yo contest that would occurred over the next 70 years.

If the rest of the poster did not convince you to buy a Duncan yo-yo because everybody, everywhere -- young and old -- was playing yo-yo, there was the poem Yo-Yo at the bottom for that final heart-string appeal. Great stuff!

Of interest...
See a slight variation of this poster in a Duncan store window display from 1931! The viewer lets you zoom in/out on the photo or drag the photo to move your view. Courtesy of the Duncan Family Yo-yo Collection at the National Museum of American History, Archives Center.

The poster describes the little known yo-yo trick (at least by its original name) Kentucky Derby. Can you find where?
Other Views
Poster, large
Main text panel
Lillian Roth and Charles 'Buddy' Rogers
Filipino Duncan demonstrator group photo

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