Entrepreneur ensures PFF calendar didn’t go pff!

PFF Bank made it through the Great Depression but couldn’t weather the current depression. One bit of fallout from their failure that hadn’t occurred to me is the end of the bank’s long-running series of calendars featuring vintage citrus crate labels.

Stepping in to fill the breach is Randi Marshall of La Verne, who sells labels online on his eBay store. I read about this in John Weeks’ column in the Bulletin on Saturday. Marshall told Weeks he’d been selling PFF calendars for the past five years. “When I found out that the PFF calendar would not be printed this year, I took the liberty of printing one myself,” he said.

Marshall’s calendar doesn’t appear to say PFF anywhere, but each month has an image of a fruit crate label, just like PFF would have done. You can find the calendars here for just $5.99, plus $2.99 shipping. August’s art is from the King label in Claremont that appears from the thumbnail art to depict a lion. And here’s Marshall’s main page.

(While I was on his store, I couldn’t resist buying the Newsboy crate label for my cubicle.)

But back to the calendar. Cool of Marshall to continue one PFF tradition. Alas, I don’t think he’s offering free checking.

Anyone collect PFF calendars or have any particular memories of getting them?

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  • Charles Bentley

    The hardest part of starting 2009 was knowing there wouldn’t be a PFF calendar to mark the days. As far back as I care to remember, the PFF calendar was a part of the holiday season. My mother would start asking (in July? August?) if the calendars were in. No matter what, each year when I got the first one it went to her.

    Friends who now live back East always received one as part of the Christmas gift package I send each year. I bought them a calendar this year, adding in the package that “there will be no more PFF calendars.”

    I still have quite a few past PFF calendars in my possession. I’m looking forward to the day I’m in a local antique shop and see some of them for sale amidst all the bric-a-brac.

  • ren

    yo mr. allen I just came back from pff and the young lady told me they would be out in about another week thank god I have been getting them since I was 16 glad to hear that they changed there minds.

    [Really? That’s good news…although late January is a bit late for a calendar! — DA]

  • Bob House

    I have a small collection of PFF calendars, but have somehow manged to lose my favorite. I believe it was from the mid-’80s — one month featured a label with an Indian maiden who was holding two large grapefruit in the crook of her arm. The two grapefruit were placed precisely by the artist (who I have to assume knew what he or she was doing) to appear as though the maiden was showing off an ample pair of breasts — quite amusing!

    Thanks to Randi Marshall for upholding the tradition. I’ll be buying this year’s calendar and, as a lover of fruit crate labels, visiting the website as well.

  • Robin

    Bringing back the calendar is a good first move for the new bank. My biggest concern, however, is that the huge Millard Sheets mural at the main PFF building on N. Garey be honored and preserved.

    It’s a fabulous piece of art, and seems to be overlooked by the online community. I have not been able to find a photo, or even a mention of it on lists of murals and works by Mr. Sheets. It is a depiction of the history of Pomona and California from native inhabitants, to Spanish conquest and missions, to gold discovery, to American settlement. There are lots and lots of horses. Ahh, the horses!

    David, if you aren’t already familiar, you must see the mural inside PFF at Garey Ave. and Center St.

    [I’ll have to admit I haven’t seen it. I guess I feel a little sheepish walking into a strange bank to look at the art. Actually, I had only heard of the Sheets mural inside the former Home Savings Bank at 2nd and Garey, not a PFF mural. — DA]

  • Robin

    The Home Savings commissions by Sheets are well documented. The Pomona First Federal commissions are only partially documented, from what I’ve researched online. Pomona First Federal in Pomona (main branch) and Claremont both have Millard Sheets murals. IIRC, there are tile murals on the exterior of the Claremont bank, similar to the 80 mosaic panels he made for Home Savings.

    The grand mural inside PFF should not be forgotten. It should be treasured and preserved. It was painted by Sheets and assistants. I believe Susan Hertel was very involved, and perhaps another artist whose name I can’t find at the moment. The paint is applied to imitate mosaic tile. I know I visited the mural at least twice as a child, on a history (of Pomona) field trip, and again to hear the story of how the mural was created.

    A few years ago I tried to find a signature on the mural, but the lower right corner was covered by a fake potted plant. I asked a teller to look behind and read the signature to me. Shortly thereafter, the plant disappeared, and now the signature is visible again.

    Aha, I just tried another search and found this photo. B&W does not do it justice, nor does the scale. Go in person! See! Enjoy!

    [Thanks for the clarification, and the photo! — DA]

  • Bob House

    Are the PFF branches with Sheets’ murals (mosaics?) former Home Savings; is that how they came to have Sheets’ work? I’m pretty sure that’s the case with the current PFF branch at Foothill and Indian Hill in Claremont. Has that branch closed? I know PFF has fallen on hard times.

  • Tad Decker

    Bob House — no, the PFF offices with Milliard Sheets’ murals are not former Home Savings locations (although the Claremont office certainly looks like it could have been one!); they were built as PFF branches, with the Sheets works commissioned by that formerly esteemed financial institution.

    David — you mentioned in response to Robin’s comment that you had not heard about the Sheets mural at PFF’s main office on Garey and Center. Actually, I think that you may have heard about this — from me, on your blog! I am not sure about this, but I believe that I mentioned (in a long-ago comment) the Sheets murals in the Home Savings office in Pomona, and in the PFF offices in Pomona, Claremont and UPLAND as well.

    Thanks again for all your work on this blog, David!

    [And thanks for your comments, Tad. Even if I may not always remember them later. — DA]

  • mvarney

    I ordered the Randy Marshall 2009 calendar and it came today. What a beauty. Thanks for the heads up on this!

    Amazingly fast delivery too!

  • PPerez

    The calendars are out!! They do say US Bank on them and retained the same retro feel and quality of the past calendars. The front crate label is the “Request” brand. I guess the calendar was made because of all the “requests”????

    [That’s good news. Thanks. — DA]

  • David,

    Thank you sooooo much for writing your wonderful article and for putting a link to my store in it. I have been selling the PFF Calendars in my store to people all over the world who do not have access to a free one because there aren’t or I should say weren’t any Pomona First Federal Banks in their state or country. They are truly treasured all over the world.

    I, like so many people, found out in late November that because US Bank had taken over PFF, they were going to discontinue the calendar. I am an avid collector of citrus crate labels as well as a graphic artist and I reproduce my own labels and sell them at an affordable price in my online store to people, like myself, who find the artwork so beautiful and a colorful piece of early California history. I thought to myself that I could easily create a calendar that was similar to the PFF ones and that way I wouldn’t let my customers down.

    So many of my customers come back to me year after year because they want the PFF Calendar. That was what motivated me to create the calendar and I want to thank all of you readers who have come into my store and purchased it. I also now have the new US Bank one in my store for the people outside of California who cannot get free ones from going into US Bank.

    Lastly, there is one more thing that I want to say regarding your article…. I am not a “he” I am a “she.” My name is Randi with an “i” not a “y.” No harm done, just thought you should know! 🙂 Again, thanks so much for all of your kind words!

    [You’re welcome, Randi. — DA]