Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Elmer the Optician Optical Goods Eyeglasses Folk Art Trade Sign RPPC Collection Jim Linderman


I suppose most know the folk art trade signs of figural form from days gone by were intended to identify the store for those who could not read. The technique was obviously particularly important in the case of eyeglass makers, as their clients couldn't read OR see!  Consequently, the giant pair of glasses is one of the most common and recognizable early trade signs.

The sign here, mounted on Elmer the Optician's place in Muskegon Michigan dates to 1920.  Elmer was Elmer P. Heimer, who had the top floor.  It appears a  shoe sale was going on below.

Elmer the Optician Perfect Fitting Glasses Optical Goods Trade Sign Real Photo PC circa 1920 Collection Jim Linderman

Hottest Women Musicians? The Hour of Charm Girls of COURSE (With short Phil Spitalny)

Phil Spitalny runs his girls through the paces! The card above allows loyal listeners to pick their favorites, and you can tune in and see if the women play your pick on the radio JUST FOR YOU! 

For a time, the centerpiece of the all-woman band was Evelyn and her magic violin…she actually chose the musicians, but other than playing hot fiddle solos stayed behind her man…that being Mr. Spitalny, she stayed quiet.   The radio show around ten years apparently, which is a miracle when you think of it. Why? Because female musicians sound just like any musician on the radio! I guess Phil didn't think of that. But then, you couldn't see Edgar Bergen not move his mouth on the radio while Charlie the dummy spoke either, and he made a bundle! Oh well…the yokels bought it. 

According to the "Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio" Phil made the women weigh under 122 pounds when they auditioned and there was a committee to approve dates. I don't find any record of Phil doing any "couch" auditions, but he did eventually marry Evelyn! Her last name was reported in the New York Times with her obit. Thank you, paper of record. Nearly every mention of Evelyn omits her last name. 

Phil also forced the group to rehearse six hours a day, and if any of the women had the gall to get married, they had to give 6 months notice! Like ALL musicians, Phil was short. I know, a stereotype. But he was 5 foot 3 inches tall. I am more than sure a good handful of the workers were taller…and I am also sure a good many of them could kick his ass. 

Fortunately there is a hot rag filmed record! Check out a few lifts of the action! I think this is from an Abbot and Costello film. 

The stars of the show, all women, and shown here on the Radio of Yesterday site. Most of them are real knock-outs, and the drummer Viola is leaning into her kit like a churning train. 

Request Postcard for the Hour of Charm Radio Show Collection Jim Linderman

Rich Lesser Sons Who Fell Far From The Tree Romney Bush and Their Offspring


Since President Obama's handlers won't say it, I will.  The Republicans are running yet another rich, far lesser son of a more impressive father.  It astounds me how anyone could possibly think another privileged seed which fell so far from the tree could help this country.

I grew up in Michigan when George Romney, young Willard "Mitt" Romney's father,  was active, Governor and much admired.  He was a man and a good American.  He was smart, fair, a working man who respected other working men and labor.  When he became chairman of American Motors, he saved the company by deciding they should make small cars rather than, I quote, "gas-guzzling dinosaurs" way back before any else would say it.  A smart man.  He also ran for president, but was smart enough to know the pentagon was selling him a line of goods about Vietnam, and when he said so out loud, his own party abandoned him.  We went on to kill near one million innocent people and some 50,000 of our own.  You don't hear many folks today saying the Vietnam war was a good thing.  It wasn't.  It was the most horrendous thing which happened in my lifetime, it shouldn't have happened and I was right to protest against it when I was young.  It wouldn't have happened that way if George Romney was elected, a man I respect and still do.

I also lived under the presidency of George Bush number one, the father of poor student and privileged  son young George.  Father Bush was smart enough to run the Central Intelligence Agency, and believe me, that takes a smart man even if you don't agree with what they do.  He was a war hero and still is.  He is a good American.  He was smart enough to rebuild the Republican party as chairman after another Republican beacon, Richard Nixon,  resigned in well-earned disgrace.  He was a moderate and knew how to work with the other party to advance the country.  He favored banning the import of semiautomatic rifles (for which the NRA abandoned him) and he raised taxes because he was smart enough to recognize there was a need for it.  So of course, the rich men who ran his party abandoned him too.   I did not like him, but I respected him and still do.  Unlike the Republicans today, he knew the future of the country depended on compromise and intelligent reason…which he had in considerable quantity.

George's son "W" went on to trash the American economy by spending a trillion dollars on a war which killed some hundred thousand innocent people who had nothing to do with 9/11 or the WTC ( which I also lived through) and a good many or our own.  You don't hear many folks today say the Iraq war was a good thing.  It wasn't.  It was the second most horrendous thing which happened in my lifetime.  They still haven't counted the dead, and can't.  There were far too many…and we will be paying for it with our ruined economy for a long, long time.

I love my country, but sometimes I wonder how stupid some of the voters are.  Do we really want yet ANOTHER less than adequate rich son of a respected father as president?

By the way, I am smart enough to recognize I am not the man MY father was either.  

Life, Love and Folk Art During Wartime Pistol Packing Mama of Wood collection Jim Linderman

A lonely soldier writes his mother from the front.  As noted on the reverse, "Pistel Packing Mama" was carved by Bill Nicewater from company L.  Now some speculation.  The young soldier writes "Remember Righting me about this Mom?"  I think Mom warned him about those woman available to soldiers.  More information on Pistol Packing Mama and dames with guns is HERE (my article on the origins of the armed pin up.)  Will there ever come a time when boys who aren't even old enough to spell won't have to leave home to kill their brothers?

Note rudimentary bars constructed on the window of home.  This was most likely not to keep out animals...but the enemy.  I hate every single thing about war except the humor young men are able to retain under the most horrible circumstances

World War Two Snapshot of a folk art carving by Bill Nicewater.  Circa 1943.  Collection Jim Linderman.

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Tour de Wichita The Great Kansas Bicycle Race collection Jim Linderman

Okay, so there are no hills (and the trail looks straight as a preacher) but still excitement abounds at the Wichita Eagle Bicycle Pageant!

MAN DOWN!  Flat tire anyway.  Lucky he has professional assistance to get back into the race.  No steroids here.  In fact, I doubt many of them have even dropped their voices yet!  

The Wichita Eagle, the local newspaper, sponsored the event, so I am going to guess these are the newspaper delivery squad, and some of those hats might even be made from "extra" newspapers...which as I recall from my paperboy days didn't really mean extra, it meant I missed someone.  Well...they'll let the paper know.

Set of original snapshot photographs, circa 1920  The Wichita Eagle Bicycle Pageant Collection Jim Linderman

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Phenix Sin City of the South and the Negro Apostolate Divine Savior

Phenix City, Alabama used to be ground zero for organized crime in the south.  You can look it up, and even though the city has tried hard to make you forget it, the stories persist.  Shooting, prostitution, gambling, bootleg liquor... and most of it there because the army trained thousands of hormone-filled young men nearby at Fort Benning, a considerable naive market for the criminal to prey on.  How many towns are called "The Wickedest city in the United States" even taking into account that cesspool of smut up north called Calumet?  (Heh Heh...Calumet.  Sin City and Phenix of the north!)  There have even been movies and songs written about Phenix, and a famous fictional guy named Maggot was from there!

Well, it is no wonder the African-American population chose another course for their children.  Mother Mary Mission and her Negro Apostolate of the Divine Savior.  It is still a happening place, and they even have a Facebook page.

Postcard, No Date.   Society of the Diving Savior Mother Mary Mission Phenix (Negro Apostolate of the Divine Savior)  Collection Jim Linderman.

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Sparks Withington Says Suck on THIS Deluxe Tube Television!

Screw your flat screens, man.  Here is a tube you can enjoy without even turning on what passes for news and entertainment today.  NO wonder they call it part of the designer series.  It has a record changer and a radio as well.  Fake flowers and what seems to be a fake Buddah extra.

It appears Sparton was a Sparks Withingon manufacturer in Jackson, Michigan.  Founded in 1926 as a radio company, they were one of those who spent more on the box than the guts.  Like the reputation Magnavox used to have among audio purists (who, back then, were called "Hi-Fi Guys" and spent their time pouring over Lafayette parts catalogs.  I think Lafayette was absorbed into Radio Shack, who is trying to rebrand as the hip "SHACK" but it won't work.  They'll all close up too.  Who wants to go to "The Shack" when you can sit on your increasingly wide rear and order online?

Anyway, This box rocks.  They produced until around 1956, about when this beauty was made.  It was so good it put them out of business. 

Sparton Three-Way Imperial TV Chassis postcard Collection Jim Linderman.


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Folk Art Calligraphic Dove Asks to Limit Wheat Consumption Collection Jim Linderman

I am not sure which land fight, crop failure, state line or health concern motivated a young woman named Angel to produce this piece of art, but it does add a bit of mystery to the drawing.  I do know whatever it was took place in the mid to late 19th century, and the wheat shaft being consumed by an insect might provide a clue to the solution.  Maybe it is that little bugger who should eat less.

19th Century original Calligraphic Dove with message "Eat Less Wheat" by Angel Carnegessi. Collection Jim Linderman

Art  and Photography Books From the JIM LINDERMAN COLLECTION (An e-books for Ipad ($5.99 each) are available for browsing and ordering HERE.  Please time the time to browse.  Thanks You!

The Saga of Cactus Mac (!) Rare Photographs of Canadian Hillbilly with Cactus! Hillbilly History

Cactus Mac Collection Jim Linderman

Cactus Mac Collection Jim Linderman

Cactus Mac Collection Jim Linderman
Cactus Mac tends his dusty garden!

Not all guitar players take their monikers seriously, but I have the scarce photographic proof that Cactus Mac walked the walk and grew the cactus!

Cactus Mac was an obscure performer on the CKNX Barn Dance (called "Canada's Largest Traveling Barn Dance" in an equally obscure book.  It was a radio program which broadcast out of Wingham, Ontario on Saturday nights from 1937 to 1963.  According to the North Huron Museum in Wingham, Cactus Mac was a beloved performer…and though he was on the radio, he mugged like a TV Star in the photograph they own.  Could be as Cactus Mac was a comic as well.  

The website Hillbilly Music is seeking more information on Cactus Mac…well, if they are looking, now they'll know he was a botanist!  

At least one recording is known, but since the show ran so long I am sure there are many.  The CD Saturday Night Barn Dance volume 1 contains Mac's version of Little Brown Jug.

Three original snapshot photographs of Cactus Mac circa 1950 Collection Jim Linderman

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Original Salmon Paint Antique Weathervane

Original Salmon Paint.  Three of the finest words one can put in a row if you collect folk art or primitive Americana. An early "full-bodied" rooster weathervane.  It is a full body, but not too full.  Two pieces welded together atop a directional.  Found in Michigan  Collection Jim Linderman

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World's Biggest Ice Cream Cone fights Midwestern Heat!!

I gotta say, this summer of 100 degree plus days and apocalyptic, biblical quality drought is starting to bother me...but then I moved to the mitten after reading the day would come when water would be more expensive than gasoline.  I can go dip it out of the lake with no problem, but as it has been sullied by mankind, I hate to think of all the wood I'll have to chop to boil it first.  

Oh well, junior here isn't worried about the heat.  

Real Photo Postcard, circa 1890? Collection Jim Linderman

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Announcing Hoofers and Sweethearts : The Little Women of Frank Wendt.  The newest photography book by Jim Linderman from Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books.

Sideshow and circus freak photographer Frank Wendt had another line of work.  He made hundreds of cabinet card photographs of early vaudeville child actresses to be sold by the performers as souvenirs.  Collected for the first time, these turn-of-the-century photographs have never been shown together and come from the collection of Jim Linderman.  Young women "earners" from the tawdry and tainted early days of American show business when child labor laws did not apply.

Available in paperback OR as an Ebook download for only $5.99.  Preview and Purchase HERE


Asa "Ace" Moore African-American artist from Ohio Black Folk Art Circa 1935 Collection Jim Linderman


A group of the recently discovered erotic fantasy comic illustrations by Asa "Ace" Moore, African-American from Ohio, circa 1935.  First time ever shown!  Share them around the joint, Comic-Con Folks!
All Original Drawings collection Jim Linderman


House of David House Band ! RPPC

The Women's band at Eden Springs, the House of David commune at Benton Harbor, MI.  To see Dan and Debbi Geib's wonderful "virtual tour" of the House of David site and history visit HERE.  The site is created with vintage photographs, real photo postcards and even films.  Much recommended! 

Real Photo Postcard collection Jim Linderman

Slave Made African American Folk Art Figure ? Civil War Jekyll Island Georgia Collection Jim Linderman

A little Civil War man from Jekyll Island, Georgia.  Circa 1865, made as a whimsey from lead, I believe, and I assume the same lead used to make bullets.  That is a guess.  When I obtained the little fellow, he was in two parts, which is not surprising as lead is soft and he was buried a long time.  I have rejoined him temporarily for the photo.  You can see what he was found with below…relics.  Relics of a war we have still not come to grips with. How can we?  African American Slave Made Folk Art Figure? Or Mere Whimsey.

When I purchased this fellow, I had not mere whimsey in mind.  I was thinking of the famous slave-made iron figure also unearthed, but from a blacksmith's shop and slave quarters in Virginia, not a Civil War resting place.  The figure which has been written about by scholar John Michael Vlach is frequently used to illustrate African craft, sculptural traditions and skills which were transmitted across the Atlantic…setting the stage for a war fought over freedom and commerce just before the industrial revolution.

The similar stance, diminutive size and presence was evident immediately.  Were there slaves (or African-American freedmen) around the campfire in Jekyll Island when this fellow was melted in a spoon and shaped in the sand?  Or was this simply a way for a bored soldier, of either side, to spend some time.

Jekyll Island is called "an affordable Georgia Beach family vacation spot" today.  As with much of the low-country along Georgia and South Carolina, what was once plantation is now golf course.  Fifty years AFTER the importation of slaves to the United States became illegal, they were still coming to Jekyll Island.  The second to last shipment of slaves imported to the states arrived there in 1858…some 450 men torn from their homes and made to work.  I do not know how many men were on the boat when it left Africa, but one source says the ship Wanderer arrived with 409 slaves.  The mortality rate for passage was 12 percent, so that would be about right.

The people who arranged the illegal shipment knew what they were doing and knew the rewards.  They choose to profit. 

The Union Army arrived on St. Jekyll Island in 1862.  By that time the plantation was deserted, but after the war the man who owned the island returned and split it up among his sons.

So is my mere whimsey a more profound object now?  It is to me.  Did it just happen to be found during the same dig, but made earlier by an African-American man who lost his home but retained his esthetics?

"Relic" man  Metal (lead?) circa 1860  Height 4"  Collection Jim Linderman

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