My second post with the work of Gust Pufohl, so we know he loved his work enough to have had it documented with at least three real photo post cards (as if we didn't already know by the title of his exhibit scratched into the emulsion as a caption)
See wonderful whittling exhibit of world's greatest whittler Gust Pufohl Monona IA Real Photo Post Card c. 1923
Ranch. The Greatest Generation, AKA "squares"...had one thing right. Low, sleek, not much adornment and cheap as can be. A style which looks best with virtually nothing expensive inside or out. In the 1950's, ranch accounted for 9 out of 10 houses being built. After the mid-1960's houses started getting taller, but not better. They also started having manufactured materials rather than organic, staples rather than nails, dry-wall rather than plaster and were being built to last as long as the rat-ass shag carpet. There are millions upon millions of small, cheap, solid, simple ranch houses out there waiting to be fixed up without "elevated rooflines" to heat. And since there are no jobs left and none coming, I'm afraid...they make good places to hunker through the sundown on the union. These images are from a 1956 National Plan Service brochure. NPS printed the catalogs and let individual builders and lumberyards stamp them with their imprint. Most are a modest 1,000 square feet. Two cool sources. Atomic Ranch Magazine and Mid Century Home Style.
Modern Ranch Homes Brochure 1956 34 Pages Collection Jim Linderman
General Arnulfo Gomez "El Hombre Sin Vicios" had shaved to prevent recognition, but was tracked down nonetheless. Condemned to death in Tepcelo at one in the morning and shot as the sun rose hours later. He had two requests. First, that his eyes be covered. Second, that the command to fire be silent. The commander had no problem with either. He raised, then dropped a silent hat to signal. Gomez...Fue aprehendido y fusilado por las tropas federales en 1927.
The Photographer is unidentified, as is the artist who cropped the photo with such a heavy hand the original image is all but gone. I imagine Mexican photographic facilities in 1927 were less than ideal. Was the film carried across the border to be developed and enhanced?
Gomez is a footnote in the troubled history of Mexico. He is mentioned on page 222 of "Mexican Suite: A History of Photography in Mexico" (linked at right)...I do not know if the working photographer who took this photo is mentioned anywhere.
"The end of Gen Arnulfo Gomez" Heavily embellished press photograph, 1927. Collection Jim Linderman
It's been a long time since I owned a piece of pottery made by Dave the Slave, but I can show you a picture of it. Doesn't look like much, I know, but you should see it in the collection it lives in now. A brown jug with the initials "LM" inscribed in the clay, salt-glazed. It holds a few gallons of water, but I never put any in it. I was made around 1840 in South Carolina when Dave was owned by Lewis Miles, he being the "LM" of course. Dave did the pot with his huge hands and he signed it with his owner's initials. I paid more for that piece of pottery than Mr. Miles paid for Dave.
The Jug was likely made to store or carry foodstuffs. Pickles maybe, or chunks of meat. They were made thick and baked to be strong enough to last a trip on your wagon as you skirted holes in the road. That this jug has lasted some 150 years is testimony to Dave's skills.
So the Poet in the post title? See, another thing about this jug is that it's maker, Dave the Slave, could both read and write at a time in South Carolina history when Black Men were forbidden to be taught either of those skills. He not only wrote his owner's initials on his jugs, on quite a few he wrote entire poems of his own composition, three of my favorites follow:
Dave belongs to Mr. Miles
Wher the oven bakes & the pot biles
I wonder where is all my relations
Friendship to all – and every nation
A pretty little girl on a verge
volca[n]ic mountain, how they burge
I hadn't thought of Dave or his work for a while. Then a rude, insolent White man from South Carolina decided to yell at a Black man who was addressing him and others from the podium before all three branches of our government. in fact, he was addressing ALL of us, not just those in attendance, and I was watching. I do not know how many times Dave was yelled at in his time...but I have some idea of how much it probably hurt.
My jug now lives in a private collection of African-American Art in the same room as works by Romare Bearden, James Vanderzee, Richmond Barthe, Elizabeth Cartlett and Augusta Savage. I'm glad it's there, it belongs. I was honored to own it for a while. More information on Dave, including all his poems on pots (though now called "vessels") is available if you look.
Images from Boy-Craft. 208 pages of Real fun, Real play and Real work for Boys 10 - 16 years old. Diagrams and more by U.S. Huggins, Frank Solar and Martha King. 1928. (A Masterpiece) Collection Jim Linderman
Lund's Scenic Garden of ten acres in Michigan included these life-size figures propped up among the pines. Mr. Lund was a minister, artist and professional magician. His best trick was living to the age of 100, but he died in 1999. The garden, which was located between Leland and Glen Arbor, MI has been dismantled.
Postcard circa 1960 Collection Jim Linderman
DULL TOOL DIM BULB Centerpiece of the Jim Linderman blog network. A blog about surface, wear, form and authenticity in art, antiques, design and photography. Dull Tool and Dim Bulb were the only swear words his father ever used. Items from the Jim Linderman collection of vernacular photography, folk art, ephemera and curiosities. Weird, wonderful, wicked, smart, essential and DAILY. http://dulltooldimbulb.blogspot.com/
TAKE ME TO THE WATER: IMMERSION BAPTISM IN VINTAGE MUSIC AND PHOTOGRAPHY 1890-1950 Photographs from the Jim Linderman collection with a CD of historic early recordings. Produced by Steven Lance Ledbetter. Essays by Jim Linderman, Luc Sante. Published 2009 by Dust to Digital. Reviews, Film, Press Releases, etc. A published hardcover book 96 pages with CD 2009. Site contains film, reviews, press-kit, links. Available from Amazon and direct from the publisher. http://jimlinderman.blogspot.com/
THE PAINTED BACKDROP
The art of the hand-painted backdrop in 19th Century American Tintype Photography, this book will open a new dialog on the relationship between painting, art and photography. With stunning illustrations from the Jim Linderman collection and essays by prominent writers. To be published in a limited edition with a target date of early 2010, this will be the first book available with the "Dull Tool Dim Bulb" imprint, a new small press endeavor striving to produce unique, beautiful and profound books for the artistic audience in conjunction with Dust-to-Digital. http://thepaintedbackdrop.blogspot.com/
old time religion Vernacular religious detritus from the Jim Linderman collection of photography and ephemera. Jesus is my jet plane and I have the Lord on speed dial. Old Time Religion is a natural line extension from Dull Tool Dim Bulb, where posts of this nature occur every Saturday night while the rest of you are sinning. Wake up, it is Sunday morning! Praise the Lord and Click to Enlarge! http://old-time-religion.blogspot.com/
THE WONDROUS WORLD OF FRANK WENDT
Behold the wondrous world of Frank Wendt. Late of the Bowery, New York City and Boonton, New Jersey. HEREIN LIE MARVELS of HUMAN and ANIMAL WONDERMENT! Astounding feats of photographic portraiture created by the illustrious Frank Wendt from 1890 to 1900 entirely for your pleasure and amusement. Your eyes do not lie. You will most certainly tell your friends and family. You will return again and again! Presented by Jim Linderman. Step up, Scroll down and Click to Enlarge!
I was, of course, a Beatle fan...we ALL were, and according to the recent success of the perpetual reissue program, everyone is still. Fine with me. In retrospect (and 45 years down the line) they were and are all good guys. Simple as that. To this day, there is little better than a surprise from Sir Paul like the recent rooftop appearance, and he and Ringo continue to be modest, pleasant fellows at every turn. When John died, I spent two days listening to the radio and painted my house. 6 months later I moved to the city he was shot in and lived there for the next twenty-five years. I was too young to be obsessed with them, and spent more time listening to the Stones when I was older. I am not nostalgic in the least. There is always something new to find and feel. They'll be tinkering with that sound as long as there is anyone around to buy it, and I'd rather listen in mono anyway.
Just as everyone is either canine or feline, in my generation you were either Beatles or Stones. When I got a bit older, I realized both groups had taken their inspiration from others, and I've spent my time since learning more about their influences than the mop tops. Rather than buying the reissues, or humming along to one of the gorgeous Lennon-McCartney studio melodies, I'll keep digging for more obscure things I can learn from rather than just enjoy. When a billion people watch the same thing at the same time on TV it just scares me too.
As I write, I'm working my way through a five disc bootleg of George Harrison out takes. That's right, more than 5 hours of studio experiments with Eric Clapton, Billy Preston and other collaborators he worked with most of his entire recording life. It prompted my post. They weren't meant to be heard and they weren't meant to be released, but someone glommed onto them like the children outside the Ed Sullivan studio grabbed at the Beatle's hair. I don't condone bootlegs, but they are part of the world and my world. At this moment I am hearing the fifth version of an embryonic "Wah-Wah" in a row. It's a good riff and once in a while I lean back and listen closer...George seems to be getting it worked out fine, but for the most part I am just glad to be around to hear it for the first time.
In the late 50's, ads like this began appearing in Custom Cars magazine, this one from the May 1959 issue. "The Baron" is Baron Crozier, a pin-striping artist who painted drag strip cars. Roth is of course the larger than life Big Daddy Roth, creator of anti-Mickey Mouse Rat Fink (you'll remember him if you ever walked into a model shop in the 1960's) and other disgusting designs hated by mothers. Which was the whole point. Roth is still inspiring contemporary artists, though he blew his engine for good in 2001. These Weirdo-Shirts, which you can see were unique, one-of-a-kind paintings created on demand... not only launched Big Daddy's career but created something you pass a hundred times a day without thinking about it. Give-up? The printed T-shirt. Seriously. You can trace every damn t-shirt you see today right back to the Roth studios and this tiny little advert.
Although Big Daddy made millions on his designs, he always considered himself a hot-rod and bike designer more than cartoonist. His mission was creating the unique design in a world which favored conformity. The whole idea of customization ran against the cookie-cutter, rubber-stamp world he found himself in. After founding Chopper magazine in 1967, he had some serious problems with the Hell's Angels and regrets about the bad influence his work had on kids. He closed the studio and converted to Mormonism, but never gave up on his experimental road race designs.
There is a Big Daddy revival every few years. It is curious the last major one emerged out of the Seattle grunge world, as Big Daddy felt rock and roll killed the hotrod business. “Guys were spending more money on music—records and guitars and sound equipment—than they were spending on cars.” Roth wrote an autobiography, but it seems to be out of print...used copies are priced at far more than Ed sold his shirts for. Wait for the next revival.
Ad from Custom Cars Magazine May 1959 Collection Jim Linderman
A 1941 Bellboy race in Austin Texas. I believe the acceptable term today is Bellman (and i'm not even going to mention the name a reporter gave them on the reverse of this photo) but I love the action. I would bet on the only one with a foot touching the ground, as it is impossible for bellhops, page boys, doormen, porters or a concierge to fly.
Want to read about the most interesting bellboy in history? Google Ted Serios. I'm Serious.
Press photograph 1941 Collection Jim Linderman
A week ago I was all proud of myself for posting a vending machine which sold worms from back when. Well, a friend took the time (and probably went out of her way) to send the attached. THANK YOU JANET! (To date, no one has forwarded a photo of their local book vending machine, and the public terminals at your local Holiday Inn don't count)
Want a project? Try to find out how many people lived in North America before the rest of us did. Estimates vary from 8 million to a whopping 112 million. Don't feel bad, it's only an "academic debate" according to the literature. By the way, there is no proper term for the people who lived in North America before the rest of us did. Well...there ARE, but there are nearly 500 of them and most are hard to pronounce. To see a few who used to exist on your land a few generations ago, click HERE. Once at the map, keep clicking until you find your Wal-Mart.
Postcard of "A famous landmark" No date Collection Jim Linderman
Frank Wendt has always been unfairly placed in the shadow of Sideshow Freak photographer Charles Eisenmann, his mentor. Wendt took over the Eisenmann studio on the Bowery in 1893 and ran it for five years before moving it to New Jersey. He continued making pictures there for a number of years, some quite extraordinary. In 1979, just as interest in collecting circus freak photos was rising (in part as interest in Diane Arbus was rising as well) a book on Eisenmann was published which dismissed Wendt's work as "perfunctory" and that the production of those years has all but been "obliterated." Au contraire! As we are just learning, MANY exceptional images remain. The photos here are certainly not obliterated.
Wendt specialized in the unusual, of course as you can see. But he had a wider clientele than Eisenmann. He shot all manner of performers, not just the strange. In fact, some of his most beautiful work is normal looking actors and child performers, who would use his cabinet card photographs as trade cards, mementos and such, frequently selling them to admirers for a dime each. Often the performers autographed the cards on the reverse, personalizing them to fans and the freaked. In the case of the carnival performers, vital statistics were often provided though frequently exaggerated. In fact, Wendt would take his pictures to emphasize the particular trait or deformity being marketed. As traveling shows passed through New York and New Jersey, they would stop to replenish their stock. Sometimes Wendt would republish Eisenmann's work on his own cards, but frequently a new photo was taken, and the same performers often appear in later pictures, with different imprints or logos on the cards.
I have posted work by Frank Wendt on this site before, they are worth looking at. As research continues, I plan to expand on the story with a book and exhibition.
Frank Wendt Five Original Cabinet Card Photographs circa 1890-1900 Collection Jim Linderman
SOON I WILL MOVE THESE TO THE WONDROUS WORLD OF FRANK WENDT
A site I am constructing.
The Subconscious Outsider Artist who Married a Billionaire and won over Houdini (!) Marian Spore Bush
Marian was born Flora May Spore in Michigan and became the first female dentist in Bay County, Michigan. After her mother died in 1919, she had a major transformation. She gave up her dental practice, moved to Guam and began painting. According to her sister, she had never shown any inclination towards art until that time. Like all aspiring artists, she soon rented a studio in Greenwich Village. Having her own style, self-taught, she laid the paint on deep, building the canvas up so thick at times it looked like sculpture.
A good story, but now it gets weird. Apparently Spore could somehow channel dead artists and attributed her skills to the spirit of her late mother. She explored her ESP talents with Dr. Prince of the Boston Psychic Society. Her paintings became a sensation, being exhibited at the finest galleries in NYC. The American Weekly printed a story titled "Pictures my Mother sends me from the Grave." No less than anti-spiritualist Harry Houdini was taken with her work and said, I am not kidding, “It is a great exhibition. I am certain of Miss Spore’s honesty. I have never excluded the possibility of supernatural intervention from my belief. I have been engaged in the exposure of criminal fakers… there is no question of that here. Miss Spore has something beautiful and is conveying it to her fellow men.”
With her success as a painter, which at the time was apparently extensive, she opened a soup kitchen for the hungry on the Bowery. Now 1/3 artist, 1/3 soup kitchen worker and 1/3 socialite, Marian met Billionaire Irving T. Bush, another whole story as big as the painting shown here...who married her in Reno one hour after the divorce from his second wife was finalized.
Now, at least seemingly, the artist has been forgotten. The last time her work was shown was a retrospective in 1946, the work has not been seen in public for over 60 years. I for one would love to see it. She wrote a book about her spirit paintings entitled "They" in 1947. Except for the incredible, detailed, extraordinary wiki profile HERE, on which I relied completely for this article, the remarkable work seems to have vanished into thin air. In fact, a Google search turns up only one photo of the artist and none of her work.
I found the photograph here at an antique show, it was taken in 1938. I've cropped it, labeled it...and I will be more than happy to share the entire photo and credits with any art scholar who can show me more of the work! There is a SERIOUS book tale and exhibition here...anyone want to do the work? I don't have the energy.
Jack Webb Stiff Dick with Deadpan Delivery The FIRST annual Dull Tool Dim Bulb Lifetime Achievement Award™
It was fashionable among my peers growing up to lambaste Jack Webb. At the time, he was busting happy hippy hedonists on TV but they looked like the GOOD guys to me. Of course, this was the second incarnantion of Dragnet, the one with the future Sherman Potter of M.A.S.H, one Harry Morgan, who was raised in Muskegon Michigan just 12 miles north of here. ( By coincidence, so was young James Osterberg, nee Iggy Pop, who just might be the winner of the second Dull Tool Dim Bulb Lifetime Achievement Award™ but that is another story or two) In retrospect, it turns out Jack Webb was not only a cool dude, the fellow you saw walking around on TV stiffer than a cast-iron Viagra pole was exactly the same fellow in real life, and how many actors can you say that about?
Big Jack was born in 1920 and suffered from asthma his whole life. A trait I identify with, but you never saw jack turn from the camera and take a puff of albuterol. He was born in a slum in L.A, so he comes to his toughness through authenticity. He was a crew member of a B-26 bomber during the big one, and that assignment had just about the highest mortality rate in the war. So Jack was tough as nails as well as stiff as one. After the war he commenced his lifetime advocacy for the rule of law and hatred of the nefarious. He first played hard-boiled detective Pat Novak on the radio, where he delivered with sound waves as flat as his crewcut. Later, he played a character in "One out of Seven" who stood up against racial discrimination long before it was fashionable.
Of course, Dragnet is the stiff stuff of legend. There were two, the first black and white from 1951 to 1959. From this came "The story you are about to see is true, the names have been changed to protect the innocent." The second, the one I grew up laughing at, started in 1967, in glorious anti-psychedelic color, and ran 3 more years. How many actors can you think of who starred in two TV series, both with the same name...with virtually no acting talent?
Jack spread his dragnet over some serious tail as well! He loved Jazz and played the cornet, so he romanced and married the most luscious MOR jazz dame of all time, Julie London. It was the first of FOUR marriages (including another hot score not of a musical scale, Miss USA Jackie Loughery)
At the time of his passing, Jack was working on another revival of Dragnet. Remaining true to his tight moral standards, he turned down the role of Dean Wormer in Animal House. When he hung up Badge number 714 for good, the flags of Los Angeles were ordered flown at half-mast.
So how can you get close to the now dead legend? First, read his book The Badge, fabulous true crime stories he wrote in 1958. Tough as shoe leather but easy to find on Amazon. Second, see if your hands measure up to his on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Third, listen to Jack's silver chords on the Rhino records compilation of singing actors. Fourth, watch his 1962 short subject The Commies are Coming, The Commies are Coming. (which features hot little minx Billie Jo from Petticoat Junction) also available on Rhino. 30 minutes of red-baiting bliss. Finally? The stunning minute long tirade below. Take THAT Hippie!
Illustrations hand-embellished additions to Jack Webb's Safety Squad Coloring Book, 1956. Collection Jim Linderman
Fred T. Horton's 500 foot long sermon of rocks, Arkansas City, Kansas.
Original Press Photo, 1925 with crop marks and subsequent clipping. Collection Jim Linderman
(Also posted on Old Time Religion Blog)
Pocket Books vending machine for paperbacks, Original Press Photo 1946 Collection Jim Linderman
Worms vending machine (open all night) Original Press Photo 1957 Collection Jim Linderman
Sound is so central to life we often enjoy it but take it for granted...that is until it startles you. Imagine how startled was the first person in history to hear his own voice come back to him. The ability to RECORD sound is equal is to any of the most dramatic accomplishments achieved, and yet how easy to forget only a few generations ago it became possible. And like most stories one looks into, the commonly understood origins actually lie muffled far deeper than we thought. We think of Marconi, of Edison and of Alexander Graham Bell because our textbooks drum the names in. Dust-to-Digital has done our collective being a favor by releasing the very first intelligible recording of the human voice, and in a format that all with an interest in things audible will appreciate...a 7 inch disc which plays at 45 revolutions per minute! The sound? A 20 second recording of "Au Clair de la Lune" which lay stored away in an archive in France. I will not give away the story (which is detailed in the liner notes and involves smoke) nor am I qualified to discuss the technical aspects, but I know beauty and this is it. Once again enlisting the considerable talents of one of the the most innovative designers working in any medium (but who has chosen music) Susan Archie (who did the label) John Hubbard and Rob Millis (an artist with such a dense list of accomplishments I'm not quite sure WHAT to link to) who did the package, this is a little marvel of art, technology and the senses. A limited edition published by the new wing of Dust- to-Digital. I won't give away their slogan or too many of the graphics, go to the source.
Chalk Talk. A throwback to the days when convincing the already convinced was entertaining and a bit nuts. As you will see by watching this clip of the master at work, one Peter S. Ruckman. To be fair, he does more than speak in tongues, but if you are interested, other clips of him at work will be seen by those who seek.
Chalk Talk for Young People J. W. Van De Venter No date (1900?) 96 pages
Chalk Talk Made Easy William Allen Bixler 1932 128 pages
Both Collection Jim Linderman
Last bathing opportunity of the season here (and the last swimming suit post of the year) The water temperature is around 65 degrees but that won't last long. The fences are going up on the beach to prevent drifting snand (a mixture of snow and sand). The Pronto Pup is closed and one may legally ride a bicycle through the 4 block long "downtown" again, though I don't think anyone was ever ticketed. The image is a tintype which will appear in the forthcoming book "The Painted Backdrop" in 2010. To see my other swimsuit posts, click blue subject heading below.
Untitled Tintype Photograph, c. 1890 Collection Jim Linderman
I always try to figure out my own posts. Witness this ad for a product claiming to cure alcoholism. I found it in the 1952 issue of My Romance (Actually, that would be a good post too, so here ya go!) Good enough...kitschy, graphically interesting, a nice cartoon image of a fellow in the throes of drunken misery. So, end of post, cool pics, g'night. I dug around a bit. The product is an emetic, that is, it makes you violently hurl (and I don't mean hurl your bottle at that hole in the plaster). The makers of the product were taken to court for mail fraud some 22 years after this ad appeared. Note the small print in the ad. "MAY BE TAKEN IN SECRET, a few drops eliminates desire for more alcohol" The manufacturers intended for troubled spouses to sneak it into hubby's drink and make him vomit himself into sobriety! Not good medicine, as the experts testify. Fascinating reading of the case HERE.