C. Carey Cloud

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C. Carey Cloud - Crackerjack Bradenton Artist Designed Prizes

Crackerjack Bradenton Artist Designed Prizes
       Robert Kyle
       St. Petersburg Times, February 4, 1973

Whadaya get when you've gotta have something and it's gotta be sweet and It's gotta be a lot and you've only got a dime, whadaya get?

The question Is asked by a freckle-faced boy in a television commercial. The answer, of course, is cracker jack - that universally appetizing mixture of popcorn, peanuts and a small plastic toy.

A toy designed by C. Carey Cloud, now of Bradenton.

For 24 years Cloud designed and manufactured the billions of plastic gadgets that went into the Cracker Jack boxes - usually at the bottom but "you can't blame me for that," he said.

Cloud got his big start In 1937. At that time he was a commercial artist for Campfire Marshmallows and the Cracker Jack prizes were being imported from Japan.

But a farsighted Cracker Jack official predicted war between the United States and Japan and realized that would mean no more plastic tokens unless someone else could be found to design the toys.

That someone turned out to be Cloud. "I wasn't too enthusiastic about the idea of making those little plastic things" he said. "But I designed some little animals and they ordered 6-million of them. I said to myself, ‘Where have I been all my life.'"

Designing small toys, he added, is not an easy business. "You have to think ‘toys' all the time," he said. "Your mind has to be conditioned to watch for anything that could be developed into a toy. I was lucky. I have a childish mind."

Once he had the Idea, Cloud said, he carved the toy Into a block of wood four times the size of the toy that would go Into the box. The carving would be reduced in size by several engravings and then a mold would be cast.

And up to 40-million plastic gadgets would be molded. "I never charged them a cent for designing the toys," Cloud said. "I just wanted a royalty on the production."

He designed hundreds of toys for Cracker Jack, only one of them a failure. "It was a sea captain with a pipe in his mouth," Cloud said. "Someone wrote in and said It looked like Stalin, so we took It off the market."

He also designed the gadgets offered as prizes in Post breakfast cereals, which was advertised on the Little Orphan Annie and Superman radio shows. ‘Once I was riding in a cab with a man from one of the agencies and we were talking about the Superman thing," he recalled. "When we got to the train station, the driver jumped out and grabbed my hand and said, "I just wanted to tell my kids that I shook hands with Superman.' I couldn't disappoint him."

And now, after contributing more than 7-million "play hours" by his own estimate, Cloud maintains homes in Bradenton and Brown County, Ind., where he paints.

He calls his style "realism in depth" and he paints "anything with old wood." His paintings have extremely fine details ("that came from designing the Cracker Jack toys"), showing veins in the wood and individual leaves on the trees and sharply defined shadows to add "roundness."

C. Carey Cloud - Crackerjack Bradenton Artist Designed Prizes - pt 1

C. Carey Cloud - Crackerjack Bradenton Artist Designed Prizes - pt 2

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