A natural in the realm of promotions and publicity, legendary baseball owner Bill Veeck gained notoriety, acclaim and criticism for outlandish stunts such as a midget player and an exploding scoreboard. Prior to those infamous endeavors, Veeck was a spokesperson for the Campbell Shirt Company and posed for this 1949 advertisement. This amazing point-of-sale relic includes a fully functioning electric display box (11-7/8 x 15 x 4”-deep). Accompanying is an 11x14 Vitavision glass plate on which a color likeness of Veeck clad in an open collar “Sportshirt” is accented by a Cleveland Indians mascot. An on-off switch on the right border facilitates illumination and a 3-D effect. This is an absolutely stunning survivor from a bygone era of wholesome endorsements! More on our website.
In 1949, the S.J. Campbell Company, a sports shirt manufacturer with offices in Chicago and New York City and a manufacturing plant in Madisonville, Kentucky, contracted with various sports celebrities to endorse their sports shirts.
As part of the advertising campaign, a new process called VitaVision was used to photograph the sports celebrities. The process created a plastic transparency which then was laminated to glass.
When the 14” x 11” x 1/4” glass photographic plate was placed into a light box and the rear light turned on, the image projected was and is three dimensional. It was stunning then and remains so to this day.
The plan was to distribute the three dimensional photographic plates and light boxes along with other related promotional items to shirt retailers in the areas where the sports celebrities were most popular. They were to be placed in the exterior store display window to attract customers. A mock–up is shown below.
Just as the advertising campaign was being launched in 1949, a strike at the plant caused shirt production to cease and production and distribution of the photographic plates and light boxes to be halted.
From this advertising campaign, only four different VitaVision 3-D photographic plates are known to have been produced and to have survived. They are of Ted Williams (Boston Red Sox), Hal Newhouser (Detroit Tigers), Lou Boudreau (Cleveland Indians) and Bill Veeck.
Before the strike, contracts had been signed and plans had been made to produce VitaVision 3-D photographic plates of Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Ralph Kiner, Paul Brown and Otto Graham. However, they are not believed to have been produced. If they were, none are known to have survived.
Presented for your consideration and bidding is one of Bill Veeck, then the owner of the 1948 World Series winning Cleveland Indians. He is shown in his office, pen in hand, while holding a statue of the Indians’ mascot, Chief Wahoo.
This Bill Veeck VitaVision 3-D photographic plate was produced in 1949. It is one of only two such Bill Veeck photographic plates known to exist. The plate has been carefully preserved and is in near perfect condition with no known defects. The light box that is being offered was recently custom made.
The Bill Veeck VitaVision 3-D photographic plate and light box will be on display at the 2014 National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland July 30th-August 3rd. There you will be able to observe the stunning three dimensional effect which was made possible by the unique VitaVision process.
Bill Veeck will be sitting lifelike in front of you.