Pope John Paul II ruled the Roman Catholic Church for nearly 2 decades. As a man intent on improving relations with other religious and administrative bodies, he also became the most well traveled pope in the church’s history.
As a result of this he became a media celebrity and his visits introduced an atmosphere that approached the carnivalesque.
People captilised on this popularity through officially sanctioned products. Plates, mugs, badges and all kinds of figures, including bobbleheads, were available.
Caricaturists also had a field day. The postcards reproduced here offer proof of that.
Ditto the response to the Pope Mobile. Though originally developed for his predecessor, it became a matter of personal safety after an assassination attempt and is still linked to him.
This image is from a 2010 parade in Cleveland, Ohio.
Perhaps the most curious gadget is the Popescope. It enabled spectators to peer over those who would have otherwise blocked their view.