Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit





Outsider Art Fair Post In Absentee Asa Moore Drawings

Because it is Outsider Art  Fair weekend, and I would be there except I moved...It is a nice day to show a few pieces by Asa Moore, circa 1935.  He qualifies.  Click to Enlarge.

Three works on pencil by Asa Moore, circa 1935 Collection Jim Linderman

SUPERMAN and SUPERWOMAN superboy and supergirl RPPC collection Jim Linderman


Real Photo Postcard circa 1950 Collection Jim Linderman

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Tom Mix ? Or Just a Big Cowpoke ? Dull Tool Dim Bulb Cowboy Mystery

Whoa, boys,  It's silent oater star Tom Mix (or is it?)  "Tom" is sporting a pair of homemade chaps and an ACTUAL pear so his big size can be determined.  I purchased this wrangler at an antique show for a price so low it doesn't matter, but since he was called Tom Mix I'd like to know. 

I can't find any big dolls of Tom Mix online.  Is this an amateur sales stimulator put in a toy shop?  I dunno!  All his duds are homemade (and old) and there is on six-shooter made of lead.  He WAS a cowboy, as the hard composite boots are attached (as are the hands and noggin) but the body is soft.  The kerchief appears to be a found object, and the holster is handmade.  The chaps and vest, leather, have cool leather applied stars.  He really isn't very cuddly...so I don't think he is a doll.  I think some kind of display thing.

So is this Tom Mix, or a city slicker posing as him? I am going to put him on the Collector's Weekly "Show and Tell" pages and call him a unsolved mystery.  Someone will know.  Was there a commercial trade figure or toy 24 inches tall of Tom Mix?

Cowboy doll with homemade clothes.   Collection Jim Linderman

The Glory of Taxidermy (or Going Rogue) Dull Tool Dim Bulb

I am not sure why taxidermists so often freeze their subjects in fight rather than flight.  It makes for dramatic presentation, but most animals I have come across in my life have been either running or skulking away.  I even came upon a mother bear and her cubs once, and while it was us who did the running, I don't recall even a nasty look from mom.  She was just lumbering along the top of a ridge with the pups, but if I shot her and turned her over to the taxidermist, she would come back to me full grimace with extended claws.

It does make for an incongruous snapshot.  Kitty, Little Betsy and Rover…God's creatures frozen by embalming fluid, the camera shutter and a command respectively.

Our taxidermist uses a photography trick I use as well.  Putting a white sheet behind the subject for contrast.  In my case, it is seldom to hide anything from the neighbors.  I don't have a posing rock pedestal either. 

These photos all came from the same fellow, and I am pleased to see he was into his hobby deep enough to have visited a museum of same.

 If it sounds like I am being critical, I'm not.  If someone wants to mount a trophy, or even refer to a living creature now dead as a trophy, it isn't MY thing, but I am tolerant and secure enough in my own beliefs so as not to force them on others.  Usually.

I'll see if there are any interesting taxidermy facts online.   WHOA.  For one thing, I'm clearly living in hunting territory, as the first ten hits are for guys in my county who will mount your kill for you.  Thanks google…your search protocols are so effective, but my query is of a intellectual nature, and I do not have anything in the trunk needing gutting.

Well…taxidermy started with Egyptian mummies.  Fish are harder to do than mammals.  Freeze-drying is becoming taxidermy of choice.  The technique of creating jackanapes and such (fake Frankenstein creatures as a joke) is called "Rogue taxidermy" and is sneered upon by true taxidermists…but of course that is the folks I will link to.   


Lot of Taxidermy Snapshots circa 1930-1940 Collection Jim Linderman

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Sliding Dead Man in a Box Folk Art Whimsy Coffin Folk Art

Slide him in boys.

Hand carved folk art whimsy circa 1920?  Collection Jim Linderman

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Charles Cole Folk Art Miniature Architectural Houses of Cigar Boxes

Miniature cigar box tramp art houses by Charles Cole of Racine, Wisconsin.   Mr. Cole created an entire city, in magnificent detail, from cigar boxes he collected from Rehl's Book Store in Racine, and that was the city he recreated in meticulous, remarkable detail.   Actually, Mr. Cole created an idealized city, bringing in prominent buildings from Madison, Chicago and elsewhere, but he placed them in his perfect world. 

There were 75 buildings, of which four are shown here.  As far as I know, one is the only unfinished piece (unpainted, anyway) which shows some of the detail work before he painted them.  Precision cut with laser skill, though the laser was still fifty years in the future.  As you can see in one piece here, (with bolts and nuts shown for size) many of the houses were wired for light.  Which is probably why the unpainted house has SEVENTY-TWO windows!                                                                                        

Here is the kicker.  Cole made each house IN TRIPLICATE!  One for each of his children.  

Mr. Cole's work, or at least one set,  was apparently purchased as a lot and is now being dispersed on your favorite online auction site.  A shame, it could not be kept together, but then Charles may have been tickled to know how far his little creations have been spread. 

Some of the most remarkable buildings I know which were made of cigar boxes, and I aim to keep them together.

Four miniature houses, circa 1935, by Charles M. Cole  collection Jim Linderman


The Eldoras Delicate Act of Balance A Different Novelty colllection Jim Linderman

It is a delicate "balance" of art, skill and athleticism as one of the Eldoras avoids looking up the skirt of the other Eldora.

The Eldora's (sic) A Different Novelty Real Photo Post Card Undated (circa 1940?) Collection Jim Linderman

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Call to the Colors Paint Set by Gold Medal Transogram


Call to the Colors Paint
To celebrate the inauguration,  I would love to paint you a perfect picture of harmony...but I don't want to mess up my perfect cakes of star paint!

Call to the Colors Paint Set circa 1940  Collection Jim Linderman

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Alligator Dance on the FLOOR An Obscene Dance from My Youth Confirmed!

 Alligator Dance.

If you try to tell a forgotten story every day, as I do, you will find despite billions of bits and bytes, the internet frequently lets you down.  There is no substitute for the library kids…just  remember that.

In researching the snapshot above, from 1955, showing an African-American man writhing on the floor, I was reminded of a brief fad from my junior high school days.  A dance move so bold, so racy, so damn filthy that the minute ONE boy did it, the party was OVER.  At the least, the offender was yanked up and sent home with a phone call to his parents .

It was called the Alligator.

To do the Alligator, when I was a kid, was to drop down and feign the male humping of intercourse on the floor of the gymnasium.  That's right.  To fake the fug.  To plunge to the floor and rut like a dog right near center-court when the chaperones were busy looking for smokers in the boy's room.  When I found and bought this snapshot  I was determined to bring it back.

I expected deep Gullah roots or something… a juke joint origin from the early days of rock and roll, when the Devil's music was just starting to ruin America's youth.  

Imagine my dismay when the almighty internet traced it to a 1980s move from Bob Saget's completely neutered TV show FULL HOUSE!  What a crock!   As in Crocodile, not alligator.   SURELY I wasn't wrong…and surely whatever the Full House claimed as their dance step involved fewer real humps than a camel without any.

To my great dismay that is where the trail ended, almost.  I still remembered back in my youth the big scandal and hallways in school following sock hops when so and so was yanked up off the floor after a brief, furtive "alligator rock" down on the floor.

I persisted.

And finally I found what I was looking for.  Read it yourself.  Sure enough, I wasn't crazy, and the dance had spread to Cincinnati.  The UPI even picked it up!  The date was exactly when I remembered it too!  1966!  Of course, in the original photo here, you can see, as always with dance, the brothers did it ten years earlier than we did.

But that is about all I found.  So the next time I am at the Dance floor at the Lincoln Center Library, I'll see what else I can find.  Obviously, the web sucks.

Original Anonymous Snapshot, 1955 Collection Jim Linderman



LET'S RIDE ! Bowlegged Early American Folk Art collection Jim LInderman

 Bowlegged Cowboy Folk Art

"Howdy Mam.  Can I get a drink around here?"  Obviously having ridden all day and night, a cowpoke finally makes it to his destination. Bowlegged...that is unless our unfortunate cowpoke suffers from Genu Varum.  I think he does, actually.

Horse and Rider Folk Art circa 1900 Collection Jim Linderman

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Six Hoops at once! Arthur Ward and his assistant Florence Dane. Fifty Years of Juggling

Francisco Alvarez in his book Juggling: It's History and the Greatest Performers mentions Arthur Ward practicing the same 6 hoop trick for hours at Bothner's  Gymnasium on 42nd Street. Whether Florence Dane (below) practiced with him is unknown.  In fact Florence is unknown, period.  But Arthur?  check him out…the "dash of humor" is his facial hair.

They say all press is good press, but not the one below, which I cribbed from the Miami News in 1951, in which Florence is not only referred to only as "a shapely lass clad in black" sucks because Arthur dropped his hoops!  He shoulda practiced a bit longer.

Jeez, cut him some slack.  Arthur is reported doing the same act FIFTY YEARS EARLIER IN 1915, unless there was more than one Arthur Ward, the Hoop Juggler.  Can you imagine being on the vaudeville trail fifty years?  I wonder how many shapely lasses he went through!    He got good, as for quite a while he was the ONLY six hoop performer and held the record.  At that time, his assistant  was referred to as an "eccentric dancer" which makes me think I would have enjoyed the act, then taking place in Canada.  What exactly is an eccentric dancer?  Elaine at the Christmas party on Seinfeld?   

I do see he redeemed himself with a good review in 1935.  Persistence.  In 1950, the LA Times calls him "toothy" but I can't tell if they mention his traveling partner than, as the paper requires a "Pay per View" just like Arthur and Florence.  He WAS clearly using Florence two years later though…in Spokane.  At the time he was traveling with a bill which included "Brats, unicycle and trampoline…monkeys…and sway pole."

Miami showbiz scribe Herb Rau reviews his act briefly that year, but he is far more impressed with a bird which whistles tunes. 

IN 1959 Arthur was still a juggler, comedy dancer and 72 years old according to the American Guild of Variety Artists.  But that's about it I guess, and sadly even his record has been broken.  Some other juggler has mastered SEVEN hoops, I am afraid.

What about Florence Dane?  Well, she's mentioned appearing with Arthur at intermission of the First Annual K.C.  Aviation Ball in 1953…just before the article mentions the door prizes will be an electric toaster and a set of steak knives.  Good gig!

Super sexologist Gloria Brame, who I have been fortunate enough to cyber-acquaint myself with, ran this very picture of Florence, but I think she cribbed it before I bought it on ebay.  Alas, I fear Florence will always be playing second fiddle with the hoops.

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Original Photograph of Florence Dane with press clippings collection Jim Linderman

Photo of Arthur Ward from ebay.

Hotpoint Man Head Sales Stimulator Designed by Joseph Kallus of Cameo and Kewpie designs Creepy

Hotpoint got their name from their first product, the electric iron in 1911.  The hottest point was the point.  They dicked around with General Electric for a while, but now it is fully owned by Indesit, an Italian company. 

I have no idea why Hotpoint had to sell to GE when their marketing was as good as the goon above…(snicker) but his name was "HOTPOINT MAN" and he dates to the 1930s.   They propped him up in stores to keep the kids busy while Mom and Dad bought modern appliances, and I think they sent a few home too. Gee...a doll you just couldn't help to love.

Hotpoint Man was designed by Joseph Kallus of Cameo and today he is pretty rare apparently, so i'll just make do here with his head.  Kallus was a sculptor and designer who is associated with the Kewpie doll.

 "In 1916 Kallus himself founded the Rex Doll Co. to produce composition Kewpie dolls, as supplies from Germany were halted by the war.  These dolls were distributed by Borgfeldt, who controlled all production rights to Kewpie dolls and figurines.  With permission from Borgfeldt, the Rex Doll Co. also made a line of composition Kewpie dolls that were distributed by the Tip Top Co., a distributor of carnival prizes." according to the website of the Cameo Doll Company

Well, the guy above ain't no Kewpie, so I guess Kallus could design cute AND creepy!

Believe it or not, and if you can believe Wikipedia, Hotpoint branded products are made by GE Consumer in Louisville, Kentucky.  In the United States!

Head of Hotpoint Man Composition sales stimulator doll circa 1930  Collection Jim Linderman

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Antique Lanky Limberjack dances a Jig Folk Art Bull Dog Sal

This lil fella can dance, and I made an academy award winning (not) short to prove it. Music graciously provided by copyright expired and unfortunately dead "Ashly and Foster" playing their stomper Bull Dog Sal. 

Limbjack collection Jim Linderman
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Howard Campbell Folk Art Collector and Collecting. A Piece I Won't Sell

As this is the fifth anniversary of the Dull Tool Dim Bulb Blog I thought I might revisit the very first post, from 2008, and a piece which still sits in my office.  I love it, of course, but that isn't the only reason it still sits next to me as I write this.  It sits here because the person I obtained it from told me to keep it.

Howard Campbell was one of the most interesting men I ever knew.  I'm not quite sure how to describe Howard, and those of you also fortunate enough to have known him will readily agree with me.  Let's see…a shock of white hair higher than a mountain?  Bare feet?  Bib Overalls, even in the most formal of places?  (Howard didn't go many formal places, if he could avoid it)  He didn't go to many places he couldn't be barefoot either…including his back yard covered in snow, which I myself saw him do several times without even a slight grimace. 

Howard was a folk art collector in the mountains of North Carolina.  A good one.  His house,  precariously placed atop a mountain, was for him a refuge, but for me a museum.  I cherish my visits there still. 

When Howard was a young boy, he visited a wonderland of small woodcarvings created by Earl Eyman of Oklahoma.  Eyman carved hundreds of tiny figures…you can see a few here I used to own, but Howard never owned any.  The house was a miniature museum of circus figures, baseball games, patriotic scenes and more.  He charged a dime to get in.  The Eyman environment was dispersed, and over the years I would find them at shows and such, love them for a while, and then trade them to Howard.  He loved them even more than I.  For me, an Earl Eyman carving was as good as cold cash at the Howard Campbell mountain museum, and I squeezed a few things out of it by dangling the little carvings in Howard's face over the years.  I got good at picking them out at folk art shows and such, and I did it for Howard.  No small feat, as the figures were tiny and their provenance was lost, having been dispersed and eventually tossed into boxes with more important things.  Two I found are here.  I found an astounding little carving of a woman holding a flag once, and Howard got that one too.  

When I met Howard for the first time, we shared another interest.  I had just quit drinking, and he was trying to.  I told Howard, who would mask his vodka in bottles of Mountain Dew soda, that I would always be there to help him if he wanted to chat.  I succeeded in quitting and have been sober a long, long time.  Howard didn't.   I don't think that is a secret either of us kept to ourselves really,  so I can share it here.  It was appropriate a decade or so after I met Howard, that many of the 22 boxes holding his collection of books on Southern folk art were sold out of cartoons which once held vodka and whisky bottles.  I don't know if it killed him, but it couldn't have helped.  My offer to help keep him sober may have ultimately allowed me to purchase the piece you see above.  It was one of Howard's favorites too, and he had a standing offer from me to purchase it whenever he was ready to sell it.  For YEARS.  And every time I visited and saw it there, the offer went up a bit, but he would wave me off.  To this day, although I never asked him, I believe he allowed it me to finally purchase it out of his own regret for failing to conquer the bottle.  After five years of my offers, he had two requirements.  One was the price, which was fair, and the other was that I never sell it.  People say that, but he meant it.  I won't ever sell it, and I have already moved it 800 miles once.

The piece is a handmade desk, dresser, chest, whatever with an attempted decorative scroll and the original mirror.  It dates to the late 1800's and was likely made by an African-American man who was a former slave who ended up in Tennessee, which is where Howard found it, and he told me so.  There is a name in pencil on the inside I have never even tried to research.

Howard Campbell was a brilliant man. That is an overused term.  It applies here.  Amy and Steve Slotin, auctioneers north of Atlanta who sold a large chunk of Howard's collection while he was living (to benefit the American Museum of Folk Art, as he wished) asked him to write his autobiography for their auction catalog.  A portion follows:

"I was always a collector. As a small child on our chicken farm in N.W. Arkansas, I dragged a horse skeleton out of the woods and tried to re-assemble it. The time was WWII. Mom and Dad were getting white rocks from hatchlings to broilers in seven weeks. I was dragging stuff out of the woods. I was an only; a self-absorbed/contained little kid. The parents (God keep them!) would ask me what I wanted for Christmas, birthday, whatever, and I would answer, “A little brother!” Because they had different rhesus factors it was 1947 before advancing medical technology gave it a chance. My little brother was born on Valentine’s Day in 1948. He and my sister-in-law don’t want any of this stuff! Being of sound mind and judgment, but realizing that a tree could fall on my head tomorrow...

But enough about me. Amy and Steve asked me to write some kind of bio-sketch that would emphasize my philosophy of collecting.

Philosophy, Schmilosophy! If it made me laugh, or chuckle, or snort, and it wasn’t too expensive, I dragged it home, where it was immediately lost amid the other junk...If it should affect others likewise, please bid and keep bidding! My poor widowed mother needs new shoes. That last sentence was a lie... My mother went to Heaven over five years ago. Like me, she hated shoes. Imelda Marcos she wasn’t.
Mom came close to being a Zen Master. She begged her children, grandchildren, etc. NOT to buy her ANYTHING for Christmas, birthday, whatever. And she meant it! I understand more and more what she was saying. Who wants to spend his last years dusting the bust of the deceased Duke?
It’s simply the thrill of the chase, or of the find, gentle readers. The money’s worth less (one Euro = $1.30) as I write. So keep bidding... 

An English gentleman (Thomas Rowlandson - borrowed from Hippocrates) wrote “Life is short, but art is long...”* Remember that and keep your paddles in the air. Your kids don’t need expensive Nikes, Converses, etc. either. They’re better off barefooted. Watching out for broken glass or dog doo will serve to sharpen their perceptions. Believe me, I know."

Well, that's Howard, and he talked like that too.  He was funny.  He was hilarious.  He could paint too, and while I can only find one online, it's a good one, a one-eyed dog and a young boy I believe is Howard.    I wanted one of his paintings too, but he never delivered.

Portions of the Howard Campbell collection of American Folk Art was exhibited at the William King collection in Virginia and the Hickory Museum of Art in North Carolina.  Once in a while, he would truck down some smalls and put them in an antique booth in Banner Elk, North Carolina.  He served in the Navy.  His bathtub was hand built of stones from around his house, and he listened to the radio, bluegrass usually, from a space taller than the towers which broadcast it.

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