Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Deception of the Innocent! Cheap-ass Comic Characters by Charleton

The landmark congressional hearings on the obscenity of children's comic books in the 1950s lead to Fredric Wertham's famous book "Seduction of the Innocent." Well, how about Deception of the Innocent? Examples of knock-off imitations all produced by cheapskates Carelton Comics here give an indication of the lengths companies will go to infringe on successful characters without incurring copyright violations. I give you Timmy the Timid Ghost (Not Caspar) Goofy Rabbit (Not Bugs) and Atom the Cat (Not Sylvester) All from ONE ISSUE! In a brilliant preemptive legal maneuver, they prominently placed the letter "T" on Timmy's pale chest lest there be no mistaking him for any other well-established cute flying ghosts.

Also shown here are notable knock-off Charleton characters including the legendary Masked Ranger (not Lone) and Li'l Genius (who isn't a menace named Dennis) and Freddy...basically "Archie" with one girlfriend instead of two, and neither as hot as Betty or Veronica. Want more? Charlton's "Son of Vulcan" was a fake Thor and "Pudgy Pig" who I can only assume was "related" to Porky. I am sure there were more.

I once tried to trick my nephew into eating yogurt by claiming it was ice cream. He was three years old and couldn't even count, but he COULD shout "That's not ice cream, it's YOGURT" I Iearned my lesson. So did Charleton...they went out of business in 1985.

Cheap Imitations by Charleton, all from "Timmy the Timid Ghost" special issue for R & S Shoe Store 1960 Collection Jim Linderman

Skydancers Betty and Benny Stunt

Betty and Benny Fox in the Death Taking Sky Dance. 18 inch Disc Dancing.
Group of Three snapshots, (with details) circa 1935 collection Jim Linderman

Sleaze Superman Style (!) Shuster's Sadomasochistic Side

Does this look a bit cleaner and more professional than most sleazy girly gags? It should. JOSH is in fact Joe Shuster, co-creator of Superman way back in the late 1930s. The story of how he was screwed out of royalties is familiar to most cartoonists and fans, but what was certainly NOT well-known until last year was his work as a fetishistic, sadomasochistic, bondage and sleaze illustrator in later years.
When I came across this drawing in an issue of "Snappy: Perky Pinups and Lively Man's Gags" (Yes, I have an issue of Snappy) from the 1960s I recognized the lines. Earlier in the year I had read Craig Yoe's astounding book "Secret Identity" linked at right and knew the story, but I was familiar only with the notorious Nights of Horror digests he produced. Sure enough, Yoe points out Shuster did some one-off cartoons and this is an example. YOWSA. If you are interested in vintage sleaze or Superman...the book is fascinating and goes to show what an artist can and will do to pay the bills. 35 years after giving away his rights to the billion dollar man of steel, Warner Communications (then parent company of DC Comics) belatedly granted Joe a near poverty level pension of $20,000 a year. "Josh" passed away, nearly blind, in 1992.

(A simultaneous post on my VINTAGE SLEAZE blog)

Real Body Building and Real College Humor

From the incredible magazine insert "Body Odour: The Magazine for all Viral Body Builders" (For Men who want strength, health, and mental effeminancy) a collaborative effort produced by The Cornell Widow from 1949. A masterpiece of classic college humor, and I haven't laughed so hard since the Harvard Lampoon morphed into the National Lampoon, thus providing my generation with a monthly dose of genius. The Cornell Widow never achieved the legendary status of the Harvard Lampoon, which is I believe the longest running humor magazine in history...but based on the issue from 1949 I am reading tonight, they could have given them a run for the Dean's endowment fund. There was, I am sure, a camaraderie among the fellows who put these things together, and I'm not sure uploading a brief film hosing your dorm mate up to You Tube quite matches it.

An Artist in the Family

I guess it should come as no surprise to followers of this blog that there was an artist in the family. That he appears to have been as eccentric as I should also be expected. A drawing by Dell Linderman 1906.

"Untitled" by Dell Linderman 1906 graphite Collection Jim Linderman



Crowd Pleasers Photographs by Reno Bush

Four Daredevil Photographs from Reno Bush, Photographer (Souvenir, Air Views, Cameras, Film, Photofinishing) Bloomsburg, PA Circa 1930 Collection Jim Linderman

Mixed up Confusion! The MYTH that Bob Dylan Went Electric

One of the greatest misconceptions and misunderstandings about music in the 20th century is that Bob Dylan "went electric." This concept has become so central to "understanding" his myth and oeuvre that it is basic to rock and roll history. One of those commonly understood notions not questioned at all. Dylan went electric at Newport, someone yelled "Judas" during the tour with the Hawks and the next thing you know howling acid rock has ruined youth from here to Carnaby Street.

Only it is wrong...and like virtually everything we assume to be true, it doesn't hold up.

Want to know who REALLY went electric? Muddy Waters, and he did it when Bob Dylan was a toddler. It wasn't done to startle the establishment (another myth) it wasn't done to "create shockwaves in popular culture" and it certainly wasn't done to piss off Pete Seeger. It was done so Muddy could be HEARD. Chicago wasn't Clarksdale, Mississippi, and Mr. Waters wanted to be noticed in the loud, smoky juke joints of the south side of Chicago. So he plugged in and played, amplification simply being natural to any musician hoping to entertain a dancing crowd.

Know who else went electric? George Jones, the finest country singer alive. Among his earliest recordings were the tunes cut by one "Thumper" Jones. A shameless attempt to cash in on the Rockabilly scene, but again, a decade before Dylan supposedly gave the music world an electric shock to their ass.

And who else went electric? Dylan HIMSELF years before Dylan! Released as the b-side to Corrina, Corrina in 1962, Mixed-Up Confusion is a song written and recorded by Dylan with an electric band on November 14th 1962 during the sessions for his second LP. You can find it...and you can rock out to it, well before Peter, Paul and Mary got rich off Blowin' in the Wind.

In a curious little aside, Dylan's drummer during the 1965 tour was Levon Helm, who quit the tour claiming he was tired of being booed at, but was more likely upset Bob was usurping his role as leader of the Band. Which wasn't the Band yet, but still. There is also speculation Levon didn't get along with Dylan's wicked manager, Albert Grossman. This year Levon snatched "Best Americana" Grammy from fellow nominee Bob Dylan. Revenge is sweet, even if 40 years later.

By the way, the illustration here is a painting by Bob Dylan from around 1967. I guess painting was something he did long before we think too.
Jim Linderman

Spend Saturday Night Encased in Ice with Rella

Girl number six was Rella Finney, who I can not tell you won, but she did emerge to sign this card. My understanding is that the trick here is no trick...you hope the ice preserves your body heat, but then I haven't taken the time to research it. Sometimes mystery is fine. Real Photo Postcard, c. 1940? Collection Jim Linderman


Daredevil Real Photo Postcard circa 1910 Collection Jim Linderman
(NOTE: Browse above for similar, no less dramatic stunt!)

A Yard of Heaven! Panoramic Pair of Bible School Participants from Grand Rapids Michigan

(click to enlarge)

A yard of Heaven! "Yard Long" or panoramic photographs are frequently seen but seldom as crisp as this pair showing 1942 Bible School Students and their teachers from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Too big for my scanner, and a shame as they are splendid. There is a slight "row" in one row...(second row on the left, detail shown) but all in all, the little monkeys behaved and each holds their little Bibles with respect. Photographed at the height of World War Two, it is exceptional to realize virtually all these children had a father serving in the Armed Forces. We can also surmise most of the teachers had husbands or sons serving. A beautiful pair of integrated images at a time when segregation was still common, and together a splendid example of what panoramic photos are for. The special cameras used for these giant pictures were developed as early as the late 19th century and their high resolution is still a marvel.

Harshberger began commercial photography in Grand Rapids in 1921 and closed the shop in 1949.

Two Panoramic photographs, each 8" x 28" Charles I. Harshberger "Photos of Quality...Groups any time or place in Michigan" 1942 Collection Jim Linderman

Also posted on the old time religion blog

Tragedy Real Photo Postcard, Bullock's film and the start of Motion Picture Journalism Collinwood Fire

What can we learn from a single real photo postcard? For one thing, the horror depicted here resulted from the Collinwood School fire of 1908, which killed 172 students and two teachers trapped in school just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. The event led to regulations requiring safety bar door releases in public buildings. So every time you push your way out of a public space rather than turn a knob is directly traced to this event.

However, as this is a blog about the visual...there is an even more remarkable aspect to this event. It was captured on FILM in 1908! The film was shot as the fire smoldered by twenty-three-year-old William Hubern Bullock, a moving picture operator nearby. Bullock rushed to the fire on a streetcar with his motion picture equipment. A week later he was SHOWING THE FILM in the Nickelodeon which employed him until Police, responding to complaints from grieving parents, forced him to stop. The film was discovered in the archives of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound division of the Library of Congress in 2008, 100 years after the young cameraman filmed it. It is believed that recently discovered footage represents only a portion of what was originally filmed.

It is a haunting, extraordinary film. No bodies are shown, but the silent, stark and steamy film will stun you as you are virtually seeing the invention of modern journalism. In fact, THIS VERY SCENE is captured in the second portion of the film! As Bullock pans the crowd, it is quite likely the photographer who shot this photo is shown. That certainly makes this one of the most remarkable real photo postcards imaginable, and gives testimony to their value as cultural and historical artifacts.

Some 30 years later, "The March of Time" was a staple in American Motion Picture Theaters. Today, as we watch events like Haiti unfold in real time before our eyes, one might think of young Mr. Bullock as he rides to tragedy with his bulky equipment.

Collinwood Real Photo Postcard 1908 Collection Jim Linderman

VISTASCREEN! From the Littered Landscape of Photographica

The landscape is littered with camera technology failures. Something about capturing an image brought out the inventors, and today there is even a collector category known as photographica. They collect camera detritus. There is no shortage.

Competing technologies drive the market and pictures of pretty woman drive men.
Thus, the Vistascreen! An enterprising gent named Stanley Long in the UK decided to get into the three dimensional photographic business in 1956. View-master was up and running, but unlike Long...they were short on babes. The only thing better than a beautiful woman is one who is poking her whatnots out at you, so capturing a babe in 3-D has always equaled the moon shot as a noble goal for man. (Having just been to the Grammy awards and suffering a headache along with the rest of the well-heeled audience during the Michael Jackson "extravaganza" I can tell you not only has 3-D not progressed far, it certainly is NOT going to save Hollywood. 30 seconds into the flick, the stars were taking off their glasses to see what Celine Dion was wearing) But I digress.

Vitascreen faded with time and the Glamour shots Stanley took and sold faded as well. Today they are collector items...and guess what? REPRINTED. Modern re-issues of Stanley Long's Lifelike British Babes are available again, but the link doesn't work. I'll try to post it later


Dull Tool Dim Bulb Special Snow Blizzard Post RPPC

"Big Chief Petoskey" Snow Sculpture East Jordan Michigan Real Photo Postcard circa 1950
Collection Jim Linderman

Mr. T. B. Jackley, Sore Foot Fortune Teller and his 25,000 Mile Honeymoon (Grifters with Blisters?)

Mr. T. B. Jackley is shown with his new wife as they embark on a 25,000 mile hike, hopefully not the entire distance wearing wooly chaps. Mr. Jackley, a fortune teller from Boise, Idaho decided to walk from San Francisco to Maine on a $1500 bet and apparently depended on the kindness of strangers...this card was handed out along the way for donations. Did they make it? It appears so. In 1915, they arrived in New York City, blabbed to the press, and started walking BACK to claim their money! This wasn't the first trip Jackley took...note similar card which indicates he took a long bike ride with his brother too! (A note from the editor...as "fortune tellers" have an unsavory reputation, and I can not verify the route...if a train ticket for a pair of grifters with blisters turns up one day, I won't be surprised)

Mr. T.B. Jackley and Mrs T. B. Jackley Post card, 1912. Collection Jim Linderman

Where the Whirligig Comes From Folk Art Sculpture

The second Vernacular Photograph of sailor whirligigs and others for sale. See HERE for earlier ( and more dramatic) photo documenting a Nantucket Sailor Whirligig Maker. This snapshot likely shows two travelers, circa 1930, who stopped to take pictures near a whirligig maker on the roadside. Familar Whirligig forms include the "Indian in a canoe" and a "Sailor" full bodied whirligig along with an unusual wooden bird in a hoop and a form I do not recognize (whirling!).

Anonymous Snapshot Untitled "For Sale" Whirligigs c. 1930 Collection Jim Linderman

Land of Big Trees Serious Big Wood

Click to make Big Wood even bigger.

Collection of Giant Tree Postcards and Real Photo Postcards 1880-1940 Collection Jim Linderman