Saturday, December 02, 2006
ROCKIN with Tom Snook, THE automotive toy man
Tom Snook is my dear friend, colleague, and mentor. As a collector of automotive toys, I've learned everything I know from this man. Tom's now 82. Only a few years ago he had one of the largest automotive toy collections in the world, since pared down greatly. Tom took me to a hundred toy shows, and, as Huck Finn would have said, "learned me good." To this day, I can visit a toy show with thousands of vehicles, and pick out the Top 50. Tom and I even collaborated on a book that's yet to be published, THE WORLD OF AUTOMOTIVE TOYS. Tom was a road-surfacing contractor for many years; the photo of young Tom was taken in 1952, next to his '39 GMC.
It was my huge pleasure yesterday to visit Tom in his Benicia, CA home and give him his copy of ROCKIN'. He enjoyed it hugely. I had a big grin on my face for hours afterwards. There's Tom looking at the page with Annette Funicello's comic book illustrations.
My wife Jane says I can have all the automotive toys I want, so long as they fit in the display case in our dining room. Tom's wife Velma pretty much gave him the same ultimatum (and Tom had two houses full!)--because otherwise automotive toys become a disease that spreads. But I did sneak into my office a wonderful collection of truck cranes!