Buster Brown and Tige
ALONG WITH HIS dog, Tige, Buster Brown started life as a comic strip character created by the great R. F. Outcault.
The strip appeared from 1902 through to 1926 and Outcault died in 1928.
In 1904 Outcault travelled to the St Louis World’s Fair where he set up a booth and sold up to 200 licenses to the Buster Brown image.
The Brown Shoe Co became the most prominent licensee and many people mistakenly think Brown Shoe Company was named after the much-loved Buster Brown character. In fact the company was 25 years old before adopting the Buster Brown shoe brand.
THE BUSTER BROWN SHOW
Brown Shoe made marketing history when it sent on the road a series of midgets, each dressed as Buster and accompanied by a Tige, the dog. They toured the entire country selling Buster Brown shoes as they performed in theaters, department stores and shoe stores. In those days, such a touring show generally brought out the whole town.
Although many are familiar with Buster Brown’s merchandising success, few are aware of the character’s comic strip origins. Buster’s companion dog, Tige, is said to be the first talking pet in American comics.
NOT JUST SHOES!
Buster Brown and Tige can be found on the products of other license holders and these items often command a higher price than the Brown Shoe Buster and Tige.
The Forbes Tea and Coffee Co of St Louis used Buster and Tige on their spice tins among other things and depending on condition, the tins generally sell for upwards of $45.
In the early 20th century Buster Brown Bread was popular on tables and a match holder, advertising Buster Brown Bread sold recently for $355.
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