Recently my brother Mike, who happens to be my "picker," purchased a curious set of three figures at an auction. Made by a Chicago company named Rittgers, they depicted a stern Army general expecting a proper salute from a soldier who is distracted by a bathing beauty.
My figures and others, often depicting sports-related themes, were the creations of the Lafayette Rittgers Studio of Chicago. Made of painted chalkware, they were produced in the late 1930's through the 1940's. You will find the factory mark and date of manufacture on the base of one of the figures:
An umpire trying to ignore the arguing baseball players:
Photo Credit: Lelands
There definitely is a skill involved in depicting humorous situations with figures such as these. I think the folks at Rittgers did a fine job:
Photo credit: Sports Memorabilia Museum
Rittgers figures are a rare example of figures that appeal to men. They can be quite valuable, too. I found examples that sold at Skinner's Auction in 2008 that sold between $400 to $600 per set. I'm thinking of listing my set on Ebay, where I think I'll of get the best price for it.