Lewis & Reilly's Sparkie Club

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Red illustration of the character Sparkie surrounded by red text on a white background

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The character seen here is a puppet named Sparkie, from the children's radio show Big Jon and Sparkie.  The radio show ran from 1950-1958 and centered around Sparkie, an "elf from the land of make-believe" who acts just like a real boy.

To be part of the Sparkie Club, a company had to sponsor the show. Many companies were part of a merchandising program where child fans of the show could mail in proof (for example, ten milk bottle caps or milk carton lids) to get a specifically branded Sparkie Club Button.

Lewis & Reilly’s is a shoe store that was opened in 1888 by Welsh Immigrant Jennie Lewis along with David Reilly and Mary Davies, who later left the company. In 1952, they opened a new branch in Scranton, Pennsylvania under the slogan “Always Busy”. Jennie was known as the region’s most successful businesswoman for being involved with the company’s daily business operations until she died in 1941. She was a director of the Young Women’s Christian Association (now YWCA), a social justice organization that has fought for women’s rights since 1850, as well as a member of the Quota Club, a faith-based organization that seeks to help struggling communities.


“Big John and Sparky (Big Jon and Sparkie): No School Today | Old Time Radio.” Www.otrcat.com, www.otrcat.com/p/big-john-and-sparky.

Sponsor Magazine. (1952, August 25). How to get the most out of a kid show. Sponsor, 32-35, 83-85. https://archive.org/details/sponsormagazine-1952-08/Sponsor-1952-08-2/

The Lackwanna Historical Society. (2021, March 15). When you pass the Lewis & Reilly building in the 100 block of Wyoming Avenue, did you ever wonder what [A grainy black and white scan of a photo of Jennie Lewis Evans, an elderly woman with her hair in bun wearing glasses] [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/lackawannahistory/photos/a.431753288810/10158079937248811/?type=3

Catalog ID CL0690