THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
August 27, 2020 posted by Steve Stanchfield

The Good Habit Kids and the Mysterious ‘House of Puzzy’

With school starting up here next week, I’m attempting to get as many things in neat little piles as possible- between doing home stuff and Thunderbean related. Finish some inbetweens/ sand the new (old) desk and start prepping it for stain. Dub and mail some pre-orders/ fix the window in the bathroom. Write more curriculum lesson plans/ take the dogs to the ol’ fishing pond. There’s at least some normalcy!

I almost always write the Thunderbean Thursday post on Wednesday night. I hope to *start* Thursdays in the coming semester have it in early since it’s a busy year. I’ve also started quite. A few articles on some of the new stuff and will keep whittling at them. I’m really looking forward to a little deeper-dive as projects finish and are properly ‘out the door’.

This week, we’re having a lot of fun finishing off animation for the Rainbow Parade volume 1 title sequence. Getting this title done is a big milestone — it’s been in progress for four years! Flip will be similar — two projects that felt like they would never be entirely done.

No less than six ‘Special’ sets are now basically done, and we’re trying to get seven projects out the door at the same time right now. Between that and helping on finishing several ‘non-Thunderbean’ projects, all the computers are humming here.

This week I thought I’d ask all of you to try and figure out a little bit of a mystery.

This is Puzzy. He’s a bank from the late 40s. He showed up at an outside antique show in Midland, Michigan back in the late 80s, and has been hanging out with many of my other figures ever since. On finding him, I laughed immediately, so the $9 he set me back has never been regretted.

I always thought the name Puzzy was a little odd — but whatever you do don’t type just Puzzy into a search- it will bring you to a series of images and terms not at all related to our poor little cartoon character. I promise you, you don’t want to do that.

Type in ‘Puzzy Doll’ instead, and you’ll find a series of images of this little guy – here’s some of them:

Puzzy, at least from a basic internet search, appears to have been the creation of ‘Herman Cohen Dolls’- and he’s one of the ‘Good Habit Kids’ from ‘The House of Puzzy’ (is it just me or does that sound like some strange sort of cult?). Some sources say that there was a comic strip with these characters, and some say that they appeared on children’s products. I’ve really searched for both of those things over these years and have come up empty, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I can imagine him having a chain of restaurants (like Big Boy) and charming up with that sort of half-smile he’s doing.

‘The House of Puzzy’ couldn’t stand TOO long, however — it appears to have stopped in 1949, a year after our dear ‘Good Habits Kids’ seem to have been invented. Puzzy and pals just didn’t cut the mustard.

From the pictures here, it appears that Puzzy was quite a styler when he wasn’t being a bank- his clothes are really fun in these pictures (but who knows how many of them are original).

Puzzy clearly owes some of his design sensibility to the Cupie doll as well as Fleischer and Iwerks cartoon characters from about 15 years before his appearance. I had always hoped that the lost Puzzy cartoon series (in Brewster Color or something) would show up some day, but of course nothing like that exists. I wish I could find more information about this little guy, but for now I’l use him to stash some pennies to help pay for an upcoming Thunderbean release.

Ok – so, what do you know about Puzzy? Be careful— it’s a dangerous internet out there while trying to find more on Puzzy- you’ve been warned!

Have a good week everyone!

13 Comments

  • No idea about Puzzy but how many editions of “Illusion of life” do you have ?

  • The girl doll’s name is Sizzy. So I suspect that “Puzzy” and “Sizzy” are simply baby-talk for “brother” and “sister”.

    By the way, may I compliment you on your tasteful and elegant Oberon Ale T-shirt. I remember going to Bell’s Brewery when my puzzy — that is, my brother — lived in Kalamazoo.

  • The Stripper’s Guide site notes that the Puzzy strip was being offered in Editor and Publisher’s annual syndicate offering book…but in 1953. Jack Fitch is the name tied to it. Don’t know if this is the same guy who did the contemporaneous “Tenderloiner” strip (1947-1961). Around 1950, Fitch also tried to market “Sunny Sue” through the A.S. Curtis Features Syndicate, also via Stripper’s Guide.

  • These dolls shed new light on the Cabbage Patch doll craze of the 80’s or Troll figurines from the 60’s. It seems that the American public has always had a thing for weird, creepy dolls.

    And I was taken by Steve storing his large coffee table-size film books on their sides. I always put them in my book shelves upright and their sheer weight put much pressure on their book bindings. Can’t believe I didn’t think of this before.

    See. Selfies can do some good in this world at times….

  • What about the Herman Cohen connection? He was an animator for Leon Schlesinger and other shops, also he worked in TV commercials in the 1950s. Puzzy was a creation of “Herman Cohen Dolls”, so there may be an animation connection there. Perhaps Mr. Cohen wanted to do a stop-motion film with the Puzzy and Sizzy characters?

    • I don’t think it was the same Herman Cohen. According to dollreference.com, Herman Cohen Dolls was founded in the 1920s. Herman Cohen the animator was born in 1913.

    • It’s Herman Cohn NOT Cohen

  • I would love it if there was an animation connection too- haven’t found one other than some likely cartoon and comic influence. I really like the little guy and wish I knew more about his personality. He would probably hang out with Skippy and the Reg’lar Fellers- maybe pinhead would be his best friend.

  • Puzzy is well named.

  • Newspapers.com sheds a few rays of light.

    An 8/27/47 article gives a brief mention to “House of Puzzy” as a “Baltimore MD makers of children’s outfits”.

    This want ad ran in the Baltimore Evening Sun from 12/31/48-1/3/49:
    SALESMAN. Calling on drug, children’s & dept. stores to sell Puzzy & Sizzy. Good Habit Products, House of Puzzy, 24 Hopkins Place.

    An 11/11/49 ad in the Wilmington DE Morning News offers “Curity Diapers” from “House of Puzzy”.

    A Baltimore Sun 10/2/47 ad sells the “Good Habit Kids” Dolls, Sizzy and Puzzy, each $2.98. “If you’re a good little girl or boy like Sizzy and Puzzy, the “Good-Habit Kids”…maybe Mother and Dad will get you one of these little dolls for your very own! Dressed exactly as you see them on the Good-Habit Kits…fully jointed and 15 inches tall.”
    The same ad also sells the “Good-Habit Kid Kits”, $1.25 each: “Sizzy and Puzzy make it fun to teach your children good habits…with these wonderful kits that encourage clean hands and tidy hair! Sizzy Kit for little girls has toothbrush and toothpaste, talcum, soap and toilet water. Puzzy Kit for little boys has toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and 2 cakes of soap.”

    So it seems like “House of Puzzy” was basically a Baltimore children’s clothes company, jokingly named after high fashion “houses” like “House of Dior”. And Puzzy and Sizzy were the company’s mascots, but the whole thing never really caught on or made it very far out of Baltimore.

  • One thing I can help you with is to stop searching under Herman Cohen. His name was Herman Cohn and we can find a number of entries in the Jul-Dec Copyright Register for 1953 on page 232 https://books.google.com/books?id=rDMhAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA232&dq=%22herman+cohn%22+copyright+entries&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj-8Ke4lL_rAhUQUt8KHTgfDeEQ6AEwAHoECAEQAg#v=onepage&q=%22herman%20cohn%22%20copyright%20entries&f=false
    The listing is under House of Puzzy

  • My Wife has both Sizzy & Puzzy since around 1948, about 65 yrs. What can sell for?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *