Sunday, December 26, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - The Christmas Bus

Many people think that there was a conspiracy by General Motors and other companies, starting in the 1930s, to dismantle the nation's streetcar system so the companies could profit from increased sales of buses, tires, and automobiles.  Here is irrefutable evidence, from a 1913 card, that the trend started much earlier and was masterminded by none other than Santa. He looks so determined.

What child would want to ride a streetcar, when he could ride Daddy Xmas' gift-laden party bus instead?  Click here to read more about the Great American Streetcar Scandal.

The message to Walter Till reads:

To Brother Walter from Susan Frank Georgie Robert  + Francis Weaver we all wish you a very Merry XMas + a Happy New year with lots of love.


  1. What an awesome Christmas postcard. Can you imagine if it was this bus instead of the sleigh as the tradition!?!

  2. So cool! And "Daddy Christmas" - I haven't seen that before!

  3. This is a great card! Hope you had a very nice Christmas.

  4. That info about GM was interesting. I had always heard that about L.A. but wasn't sure it was true.
    What if we had given the money to GM with the stipulation that they had to remake trolley cars instead of cars?

    Also it's a very cute card.
    Merry Christmas to you, Christine.

  5. Beautiful card.
    Just wonder whether can the motor bus moving so fast in the snow.

  6. That is the most peculiarly proportioned bus I have ever seen... The child's arm blocking some of the lettering makes it look like it says 'Diddy Xmas' to me, but that sure looks like Santa, not Puff Daddy. Lay Hoon, perhaps the bus is moving so fast because it is out of control and Santa can't stop it, but he appears to be intent on getting wherever he is going!

  7. Nice card! Were there open-topped double-deckers in the States, Christine? I'd heard about the "Streetcar Scandal" in bits and pieces; I've also read that the buses' route flexibility contributed to the enormous decline of streetcars. Best wishes for the New Year. Jack/Y-town

  8. I always thought the Roger Rabbit plot line was based on history--thanks for the link. Daddy Christmas! So colloquial for an old fashioned Santa.

  9. Jack,
    You're absolutely right. While there may have been a conspiracy of sorts, other factors also played a role, including flexibility of routes, ability to pull up to the curb instead of letting passengers out in the middle of the street, and the public perception of streetcars as antiquated.

  10. Aimee, that "Daddy" struck me, too. At first I thought it was derived from some urban, jazz club colloquialism. (Think slang, like "daddy-oh"). I guess the German printing makes it more likely it came from "Vati" or "Vaeterchen", something like "Dad" or "Pop". Just a guess. Jack/Y-town

  11. Jack,
    Yes there were open double-deck buses in the U.S. See this post from March 3 of this year for a picture of one from about 1917:



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