Monday, October 27, 2014

A Vintage Brooklyn Squeak Toy - Rempel's HoJo the Dodger 'Bum'

I can finally say that I've got HoJo the Brooklyn Dodger 'Bum' in my collection.

Featured here is a circa 1940's-1950's plastic squeak toy manufactured by Rempel Manufacturing, Inc.  The company was founded in 1946 by Dietrich Gustav Rempel, a Russian immigrant, and was based in Akron, Ohio.  As you may have noticed in the photo below, the name Fred G. Reinert is imprinted on the reverse of the toy.  Reinert was the artist who designed the toy for Rempel Manufacturing.

This specific toy was named 'HoJo' - as indicated on its original packaging (not shown here).  From what I understand, Rempel did not specifically make this squeak toy for the Dodgers and its fans (it was not a licensed toy), but fans identified with it for obvious reasons.  As you may know, the Brooklyn faithful called the the Dodgers their 'Bums,' and the classic 'Bum' image was further marketed by the artwork of newspaper sports cartoonist Willard Mullin.

BTW, Rempel also made a very un-PC plastic squeak toy of an Indian (Native American) that looks a lot like Cleveland's Chief Wahoo.  That toy was also not made specifically for Cleveland fans, but has been closely identified with the club for the same reason as the 'HoJo' toy. 

The 'HoJo' toy was produced over a number of years and variations exist in both color and reverse stampings.  Unfortunately, I do not have a clue as to what colors or markings are more scarce.  So, if you have some insight into that please let me know.  My 'HoJo' toy is wearing a black tuxedo jacket with white vest.  A 'HoJo' in green pants with a yellow vest also exist.

These toys can range in values depending on condition and rarity.  I purchased my 'HoJo' for the rock-bottom price of $22 delivered - which ain't too bad considering its condition.  Much cleaner versions can sell for a couple hundred dollars, or more if included with the original packaging.

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  1. Hi, my HoJo is in really good nik but has the squeak hole underneath the bottom of the toy (doesn't squeak anymore either) with the markings "Made in Taiwan" I bought it at a second hand market stall about 28 years ago and it was old then. Any idea if this is still considered a collectors item?
    Thanks for reading if you do.
    P.S I live in Australia.

    1. If it's a Hojo by Rempel then it's highly collectible; no matter where you are. Although, it probably has a more active market in the states than in Australia.

  2. I have the Green pant's, Yellow vest version. I was born in 1958 and this was the first 'baby toy' I received from my parent's. And that fact, is recorded in the 'baby' book my mother kept. I still have them both.


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