Days of Our (Carnival) Lives
On Monday, November 8, 1965 (just about two years before ICGA was born in Indianapolis), the NBC television network launched a new daytime television series that would become one of the longest-running series in television worldwide. Each episode ran only 30 minutes until April of 1975, when it was expanded to its current format of 60 minutes (due to popularity). In the 53 years since its debut, it has aired more than 13,300 episodes. It is one of the few remaining soap operas on daytime television in the United States, and thus far, it has been renewed through 2019.
Like carnival glass, Days of Our Lives (or DOOL, as its fans call it online) was initially targeted towards women, but later expanded its fanbase to both men and women. Like carnival glass, its revenues were small at the beginning, but now bring in much more money than ever before. Like carnival glass, it has groups of people who talk about it all the time, who create clubs to discuss and share it and spread information about it globally online. And like carnival glass, it is a soap opera with ups and downs, lots of stories and controversy, all in a never-ending cycle. They say if you skip a year watching DOOL, but then blip it on, not much will have changed and you will be able to follow along with little problem. In many ways, carnival glass collecting is like that.
We have had our fair share of events and stories in carnival glass that seem pulled from the script of a soap opera. O. Joe Olson, one of the first big pioneers of carnival glass collecting, thrived on controversy and used his newsletters to castigate or praise various people like the Hearst publications of old. There are some who would feel slighted if they weren’t poked by Olson in a newsletter quip.
Carnival glass has seen its share of nefarious people in positions of powers in various clubs who were caught pocketing funds for the club, only to be caught and forced to give restitution. We’ve had people buy glass at an auction, only to leave without paying for it. We’ve had people steal collections from a loved one and try to sell them to a knowing crowd later who would report them to the loved one who was wronged. We’ve had switcharoos and phantom bids and late night van discussions about auction purchases. We’ve had armed robberies that nearly left the poor collector nearly dead.
We’ve even had Elvis.
We’ve had a beloved collector kill someone in a moment of passion and end up on a bridge with one state’s police force on one end, and another state’s police force on the other end. We’ve had the case of the beneficiary of a beautiful collection buying other people’s glass with auction proceeds so they could immediately give the glass to another auctioneer, sell that glass and achieve a legal loophole that allowed them to have their inheritance “right now.” We’ve had the big weddings, the horrible divorces, and the heartbreaking deaths of so many beautiful, wonderful stars. We’ve had the inappropriate behavior at conventions and at auctions.
We’ve had the big wars between two major characters that lobbed (virtual) bombs at each other, sending everyone running for cover. We’ve had the people who did it all for love, and we’ve had the people who did it all for the money (and like in a soap opera, we’ve seen people in one camp switch to the other). We’ve had multiple generations of collectors in the big carnival families (just like the way DOOL is about the Hortons and the Bradys). We’ve even had our own Godfather.
In the 51 years of carnival glass, we’ve seen as much turmoil and fun as on a 53 year-old soap opera. And some people actually ask, “why do you collect carnival glass?” For me, the answer is “why wouldn’t I collect carnival glass?” It’s way too much fun and way too addicting (kinda like watching your stories on daytime television, as people have done since right before ICGA was created). And the best part: You get to watch it all in person at a convention. So grab your popcorn, your desire for something wild and crazy and tender and a little on the edge, and join us in July in Indianapolis (“the scene of the crime” in 1967) for our convention. I guarantee you, you will see and hear some things from the many people attending that will sound straight out of a soap opera.
And that is NEVER boring….