Today, these vintage advertising posters are proudly featured in the offices of the Original Wisconsin Ducks®. The posters, an impressive 28” x 44”, which depict boat tours of the Upper and Lower Dells and the Ducks rides, have a kitschy 1960s style to them that anyone who loves advertising art will instantly appreciate. When asked about them, owner of the Ducks, Dan Gavinski, said there were others and pulled out a scrap book with black-and-white photos of posters displayed around town to prove it. Many of the attractions still exist, like the Tommy Bartlett Show, Wisconsin Deer Park, and of course the Ducks and boat tours. Others have been lost to time and tourists’ tastes, like Storybook Garden and Fort Dells. The signature of the artist is distinctive – it was Valentine with a heart over the “I” and a swoosh for the middle of the “e.”
Tommy Barlett Show owner Tom Diehl helped fill in more blanks. As Diehl recounted, the artist, “Val” Valentine was first hired by Tommy Bartlett to create a promotional poster for the ski show. Interestingly, it’s the one poster of the bunch not signed by Valentine.
Somewhat formulaic in design so they would all “hold together” when displayed as a group, each has a word or two in the upper right hand corner ending with an exclamation point. Spectacular! Enchanting! Astounding! Wonderful! Fantastic! Welcome Aboard! Funny, those posters may be decades old, yet they’re not far off from the Wisconsin Dells brand is promoted today.