|"Baltimore Bingo" mixed media on board|
(30" x 24") 2014
Bingo was the game we played on rainy days at the beach or weekend nights with our babysitter. The manufacturer's name of the home version that we had escapes my memory, but I remember the excitement upon hearing the letter and number being called out. We would frantically examine our card to see if we matched it and then place the brittle plastic disc on the corresponding number announcing our victory when we had enough for the winning pattern. Who did not love to yell BINGO!
In the early 1980's when I moved to Hampden in north Baltimore I saw bingo buses picking up passengers and transporting them to various bingo halls for grownups. I guessed that some people just loved the excitement of the game and spent their evenings in the casino-like atmosphere with other bingo lovers. The prizes could be as big as a TV for some lucky winners I was told back then. Now I think that this game is bigger and more serious. I never boarded the bus so it will remain a mystery to me as I continue to fantasize about Baltimore bingo halls which are still very popular.
In my journey to collect vintage ephemera I stumbled upon a bingo card made in Baltimore by the National Novelty Company. Their address is 334 N. Howard Street - right in the middle of our once bustling Baltimore shopping district. Additionally I found a letterhead dating from 1901 with an address at 106 East Saratoga Street in Baltimore…right around the corner. Perhaps this is where they manufactured the cards.
Well since my imagination does not give me much rest I just had to do something with my bingo thoughts so I created this mixed media piece based on the vintage bingo card in my collection. It is 30" high by 24" wide. I like the size and the big friendly numbers. I'm also creating 8" x 10" archival canvas reproductions on panels that are ready to hang on your wall.