The year is 1934, and it is the age of radio. The era of the heroicized gangster seems to be coming to a close, and in the public's mind, much of the credit goes to the Special Agent In Charge of the FBI's Chicago Office-- a man named Melvin Purvis.

In July, Purvis and a group of agents from the Chicago Office brought John Dillinger down in a hail of gunfire behind that city's Biograph Theatre. The next day, the likeness of Purvis graced the front page of every major paper in the United States. J. Edgar Hoover had been furious, having wanted the spotlight not on Purvis but on himself and the Bureau. Four months later, the ink is just beginning to fade when the Chicago Office closes another high-profile case with a spectacular shoot-out. This time, it is George "Baby Face" Nelson's death that brings headlines, and again the name on everyone's lips is not "Hoover", but "Purvis." The jealous Director is so enraged that he begins a campaign of harrassment against Purvis, and in 1935 succeeds in obtaining the resignation of his star Special Agent.

In 1936, one year after leaving the Bureau, Purvis inks a deal in which his name and likeness are used in a promotion for Post Toasties breakfast cereal. Comic strips are printed, a radio serial is aired, and thousands of children mail in two Post Toasties box tops in exchange for an appointment to the Melvin Purvis Junior G-Man Corps. Each new recruit receives in the mail a package containing the following:

  1. The operative's shiny new official Junior G-Man badge! (The Girls Division badge is smaller, but it has wings!)
  2. A Manual of Instructions that details the basics of law enforcement includes the Junior G-Man pledge, and carries a message from Chief Special-Agent-In-Charge Melvin Purvis himself!
  3. A catalog of other exciting "free" prizes!

The new operatives of the Junior G-Man Corps learn about secret codes, fingerprinting, self-defense, why Melvin Purvis himself eats Post Toasties for breakfast every morning... and all the other neat stuff1 they can get for sending in more Post Toasties box tops!

For about a year, bank robbers, kidnappers, and organized criminals don't stand a chance against the Toasties-fortified, premium-equipped operatives of the Melvin Purvis Junior G-Man Corps, and crime takes a sharp dive. Too soon, though, the promotion draws to a close, and with nothing to stand in its way but J. Edgar Hoover and his beleaguered FBI, the underworld again runs roughshod over the law-abiding citizenry.


Notes
1. This is not an exhaustive list

Sources and Images

http://www.lavasurfer.com/cereal-post2.html
http://www.bairdco.com/bkmelpurvismanual.htm
http://www.bairdco.com/bdgmelvinpurvisjrg-man.htm
http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2sz69/tpnc/premiums.html
http://historytogo.utah.gov/tuning.html
http://www.geocities.com/jdillinger34/chronology.html
http://chicago.about.com/library/blank/bl_Baby_Face_Nelson.htm

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