Friday, May 23, 2014

Flag felt decorated How I Met Your Mother set

A century-old B6 48-star United States felt flag tobacco premium
was used as set decoration on How I Met Your Mother.
Yesterday I presented a piece on the use of an (reproduction) 1889 Allen & Ginter tobacco card advertising poster as set decoration on the FX cable television cop show Justified.

Today I'll show you another example that seems to suggest that at least one Hollywood set decorator is a collector of vintage tobacco cards and premiums.

For much of the nine-season run of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, I've noticed that on the set the represents MacLaren's Pub, a favored hangout for the principal characters, there hangs on a wall near the back of the tavern a felt flag tobacco premium.

The felt "blanket" depicts the United States (48-star) flag. It was originally issued circa 1910-1912 as part of a series of dozens of national and other flags that were collectively cataloged as B6 National Flags in the American Card Catalog

The "regular" size flags are about 8" x 5" and were originally given away with the purchase of a package of cigarettes. They were in a small paper envelope that was paper-banded to the tobacco package. Flags of selected countries in a number of larger sizes were available by accumulating the coupons inserted in the cigarette packs.

These mail-in premium flag felts are known in sizes of about 12" x 9", 15" x 10" and 16" x 28", and probably a few others.  I'm no judge of relative size, but I'd guess the flag felt on the wall of the MacLaren's set to be about 15" x 10".

The U.S. flag from the B6 series can be found with several different background colors and border trim designs. Multiple examples are available at any given time on eBay and other internet venues. The smaller standard size can be had for $10 or even less, with the price going up from there for the larger formats.

The U.S. flag on the HIMYM set is not the only time I've seen the flag felts on the set of a television program. Some months or years ago I noticed on the wall of another sitcom set -- the name of the show escapes me now -- a wall hanging made of about 20-30 of the standard size felt flags. This was in keeping with the way in which many of the felts were used a century ago; they were sometimes sewn together into blankets, quilts or other decorative pieces.

The B6 felt flag premiums, circa 1910-1912, can be found in a
variety of sizes and colors.

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