Giant plastic log cabin ad, 1960

I imagine these things must have been incredibly flimsy, but the ad design itself was rock solid -- looking at this thing for five minutes this morning had me trying to figure out where I could install a log cabin in our flat. Also: holy gendered ad copy, Batgirl.

Size Approx. 3 ft. high—9 ft. square, 23cubic ft. inside. Endless hours of play run. Big: enough for 2-3 kids to ‘Live’ in this cabin of their very own. Constructed of specially treated, safe… flameproof and waterproof DuPont Polyethelene. Use year round, indoors or outdoors. No tools needed, nothing to assemble. Sets up in a jiffy, folds compactly for easy storage. Walls and door are realistically imprinted in authentic brown split-log design. Peaked roof is in contrasting color. In a youngster’s imagination it quickly becomes a RANCH HOUSE… FARMHOUSE… PLAY-HOUSE or A LIFE-SIZE DOLL HOUSE FOR GIRLS. A Bunkhouse — Jail house —Sheriff’s Office—Secret Clubhouse for Boys. This King-size cabin is our greatest bargain in years. A comparable $3.98 value now only $1.00. This sale price is made possible by your buying directly from factory. We are the largest mfrs. and Distrs. of playhouses in the U.S. Over 260,000 satisfied customers. They make wonderful gifts. Buy several. Add 25c each house, postage and handling charges. Sorry, no C.O.D.’s. Special Offer: 5 for $4.00. GUARANTEE: Try without risk or obligation for ten days. Let the kids play in and enjoy it. If they are not delighted return for immediate refund.



  1. Art Speigelman did a comic about this very item in his BREAKDOWNS book. He actually purchased one as a child, and yes, it was terrible!

  2. speaking from experience, that ad should have declaimed: ‘card table or dining table not included’. it was a plastic sheath that slipped not so squarely over a standard fold-up card table.  the peaks were held upright with wood dowels, i believe. 

    hard to remember as it only lasted about 25 minutes on the friday night my mom let us try it out.  definitely not for out doors.

  3. Is that price right? One dollar? Seems way too cheap, even for 1960. Although as easy to make as a plastic bucket, how was the design printed for that price? Wouldn’t the whole thing blow away in a light wind?

  4. If the interior is 23 cubic feet, this is not “9 ft. square”, but 9 square feet, i.e. 3×3 ft. The claim should not be “Big enough for 2-3 kids to ‘Live’ in”, but “Big enough for 2-3 kids to fit in and still live, at least briefly”.

    The refrigerator crate my kids had so much fun in years ago measured over 36 cubic feet, (that’s a small fridge), and they got to cut windows and decorate it any way they wanted.

  5. I talked my mom into buying me one. It was nothing more than a printed plastic sheet that had to be draped over a folding card table. Two cardboard triangles sat on top of the table to provide a peak for the roof.

    Definitely a POS and a big disappointment for my 6 year old self.

  6. Yeah, according to Spiegelman, you got a crummy plastic bag/tent printed with a log cabin design that you were supposed to drape over a card table.  

  7. It’s prolly in this book:Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads!

  8. Wow.  When I saw the ad, I thought (as many a disappointed kid probably did) that they were representing something like one of these, one of which my kids have, purchased second- or thirdhand at a yard sale for $50.  Since the new price is $400 (plus shipping), I was amazed at the screaming deal the kids of yesteryear got.

    But of course the plastic card-table tent is actually worth about $1 (in today’s money), so my excitement has waned.

  9. Well, if you really want one, I’m sure there are still dozens of these polyethylene monstrosities in pristine condition at the bottom of hundreds of landfills.

  10. We know where you live Billy. Doesn’t matter how strong the door is… Or the walls are… Or the windows are, Billy. You’re going to need more than a gun and a coonskin cap to stop us.

    We’re coming Billy. Coming to your fancy log cabin, Billy. Coming to finally settle this score.

  11. My dad was a general contractor, and for our playhouse he brought home a small cabin that I’m pretty sure started life as a Little League ballpark snack shack (it had a big, open window on the front), which he put on stilts in the back yard and made a sandbox underneath it. We were the envy of the neighborhood. 

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