Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


The Ventriloquist who refused to be a Stripper

Here is a sordid little tale from the annals of talking dummys. According to the information on the reverse of this press photograph from 1937, "She didn't mind traveling about the country gypsy-like when Ellis K. Short, her husband, quit his bank job, Mrs. Annabelle Short testified in court yesterday. But when he ordered her to work as a strip-tease dancer she quit him, according to her testimony. Photo shows Mrs. Annabelle Short, who is a ventriloquist, with her dummy, after judge Charles has granted her a divorce." There is no quote reported from the dummy (or "vent figure" as they are properly called)

Original Press Photograph 1937 Collection Jim Linderman

Handmade Book of Crap! The Homemade Book of Useful Information

A homemade trove of useful useless information! Constructed by an eccentric somebody from Cleveland around 1920, there are nearly 50 pages of teriffic tidbits clipped and glued in this used composition book. As blank pages towards the end ran out, maker started to panic and began layering them, so there are leaves and leaves of true facts, one over the other. Gifted by my dear friend Anne, a long lost but now found friend who has retained the charm and beauty of a high school sweetheart.

The world's largest tree? Who invented the parachute? The size of Lincoln's Hat? How much would a million dollars weigh? It is all here, in glorious yellowing newsprint. When a newspaper couldn't fill in all the spaces, the call would go out for a few of these little tidbits. And what would that call be?

Jay Thorwaldson, a long-time member of a printing family, wrote the following to describe these little filler items:
"Galleys of short "filler" items—such as a paragraph telling how many llamas there are in Peru—would be kept on hand to fill up small spaces at the bottom of stories. These items were also called "crap," clearly a double-meaning word that came to be synonymous with "filler." Thus, when a printer said someone’s head was "full of crap" it could be a compliment of sorts, meaning the person knew a lot of miscellaneous facts" They would be inserted, glazed over and forgotten. Except for our obsessive bookmaker, who seemingly created the first of the successful "Bathroom Reader" series.

As the newspaper continues to wither, it is increasingly unlikely we will hear anyone scream "I need four inches of crap" but facts are facts, and if you need to know where Jefferson Davis was born or the full first name of Baseball player Ty Cobb, I can tell you.

Useful Information circa 1920

The Invention of the Dashboard Camera Art Crime and Photography

By Jim Linderman from Dull Tool Dim Bulb
The mounted dashboard camera, as we all know from “America’s most horrible ruckus” on the flat screen, is de rigueur today for every cop car. Sideswipes, weaving drunks, runaway crackheads…we see them all through the electronic eye of the police car windshield. But did you know the apparatus was invented by a Weegee like ambulance chaser named Mell Kilpatrick who took accident photos for Los Angeles Newspapers in the 1940s and 1950s?
Mell Kilpatrick was a self-taught master photographer with Weegee skill and fortitude. In fact, the precious few times his name is mentioned, Weegee’s often follows. 

Living in Orange County when it was literally a county of oranges, Mell was attracted to photography young and certainly had the right eye. In the only photo I’ve found of him, he is posing as if squinting into a lens finder. Like a Weegee in sunshine, he traveled light…camera, flash, tripod and a trench coat when the road was slick. But he also had a camera mounted on his dashboard pointing through the windshield These photos were shot with it. Like a hard-boiled P.O, whenever California blood was spilled, he was there. Crime, Crash, Insurance Fraud…he squinted through them all in black and white. A James Ellroy with a speed graphic camera and a police-band radio. 

Mell is probably best known for the iconic photo “It’s lucky when you live in America” which depicts a car overturned in a field after having crashed through a billboard advertising a mountain fresh brand of beer. These photos of Mell’s skid marks, so to speak, are mild compared to the gruesome carnage shown in his work (and which should be shown to every driver using their cellphone)

In an extraordinary article which draws comparisons with the car crash silkscreens of Andy Warhol and the car crash fetishists of J. G. Ballard, writer Nathan Callahan attributes Kilpatrick’s vision to those he saw while working as a projectionist at the Laguna and Balboa Theaters in the late 1940′s, where he watched film noir masterpieces while waiting to change the reels. He learned well and got used to the dark. All these photos have his identification stamp or notes, but only one provides the time: 5 am.

Kilpatrick’s negative collection, well organized and labeled, sat for 35 years until being turned up by photography collector and dealer Jennifer Dumas. She compiled them into a coffee table book “Car Crashes & Other Sad Stories” in 2000 published by Taschen, linked below.

Remarkably, there was another side to Mell. As Orange County turned into Disneyland (literally) Mell turned his camera to the construction. Soon he was loaning his darkroom to other Disney photographers, and Uncle Walt himself granted him full access to the construction site. Mell’s granddaughter has published no less than five books of his early Disneyland photographs. As Callahan reports, she “sold the most gruesome ones…they brought a bad vibe to the house.”

Forensic Photography would seem to be a growth industry, what with all the teenage texting going on at 75 MPH. It was probably a good gig for Mell…even if most of them seem to have been taken at 5:00 AM.

Original Accident Scene Photograph by Mell Kilpatrick circa 1952-1953 Collection Jim Linderman 

Black Herman and Robert Johnson Hoodoo Voodoo Mumbo Jumbo Magic Spells Charms Death and the Grave

Robert Johnson would have been 102  today, some say. Johnson's music was seeped in voodoo, hoodoo, black magic, spells, charms and the devil. There is only one thing wrong with Robert Johnson's music...there won't be any more. The last missing track, version two of "Traveling Riverside Blues" turned up in 1998. Where did his mumbo-jumbo imagery come from? Maybe from Black Herman.

One of the most obscure folks in history, and one of the few African-American magicians I can think of, died in 1934 just two years before Johnson made his recordings.
Actually, Black Herman died MANY times as it was a regular part of his act.

Black Herman was Benjamin Herman Rucker. I don't know if he is related to Darius Rucker, A.K.A "Hootie" or "Blowfish" but with genetic testing we might be able to find out. Herman did the medicine show routes and sold an African tonic. Like most tonics of the time, pretty much all alcohol. He abandoned that ruse as his magic skills increased, and soon he was performing numerous conjuring tricks which included, most notably, his own death. For a big finish, Herman would be buried alive and placed in "Black Herman's Private Graveyard" from which he would miraculously reappear THREE DAYS LATER and continue his act. There was just one problem. One day Black Herman died for REAL.

Some folks even claimed he died on stage and everyone thought it was part of the act, but this has been shown to be false. He just croaked. But that still wasn't the end of the act. His assistant charged admission to the viewing in the funeral home, where paying customers were allowed to poke Black Herman with a stick.
The above is an advertisement for his only book, appropriately "ghost-written" titled "Amazing Secrets of Black Herman" which appeared long after his death in a 1943 pulp magazine...the October 1943 issue of "Gay Love." (A magazine title which should be resurrected today like Herman) A similar ad, with a drawing of Herman decked out in his turban appears in the April 29, 1939 issue of The Afro-American, so someone was still making money on him long after he croaked...just like Robert Johnson!

Herman has a Wiki entry, but the best historical examination by far is on the Magic Tricks site HERE. And how could you NOT want to read more.

Black Herman Ad from Gay Love Stories October 1943 Collection Jim Linderman


Make-Do Love Coloring Book "Value Added" Pulp

A Make-do coloring book created from a "Love Fiction Monthly" pulp magazine from July 1942. Every lip quivering story has been embellished by hand. I suspect the hand of the little sister, and I also suspect the volume has been rendered valueless to a REAL Pulp Fiction collector, but to me, this makes the steamy tales all that better.

Hand Colored Love Fiction Monthly July 1942 Collection Jim Linderman

Robert Frank, Photographer (But Filmmaker) The Rolling Stones, Exile, Drugs, Law, Art

I'm still not sure the legal status of "Cocksucker Blues", the second of two legendary films master photographer Robert Frank made in 1972. When I lived in New York City, once in a while someone would show a bootleg copy of it at a party, and for fund raisers the Anthology Film Archives would be given permission to run it for a night or two. Boy, was that a heavy audience. Want to feel really, really special? Go see "Cocksucker Blues" and tell all your friends you just saw "Cocksucker Blues." I guess today you could tweet a link to the entire "Cocksucker Blues" to all your friends (I'm straight, but I love typing that film title) Frank did another legendary (and prescient) film way back in 1959, Pull My Daisy, which is just as beautiful and as far as I know the only film written by Jack Kerouac. Oh, these kids today. They think Lady Gaga is SO special. Pffft.

Black and White movies of folks on too many drugs are on my mind as I've been waiting for the remixed release of Exile on Main Street, probably the best (and going out on a limb here, the ONLY) real blues album ever made by white people.

Some fun facts about the disc? Bill Wyman plays on only a few tracks as the level of drug use was so extreme he left in disgust. Mick Taylor, the temporary Rolling Stone slide guitar master you forgot about gives a mighty contribution. And Dr. John, a genuine hero, plays piano on a track or two.

I usually try to avoid the strings of contributed blather on websites, as they alternate between stupid and stupider, and always leave me thinking the human race is in trouble. But listening to tracks from the album on youtube I found a few worthy of printing, and I present them here. Let the great unwashed speak!

"I've probably worn out, smashed, had sex on, melted, lost, scratched, and replaced 100 copies of Exile. Still, I never tire of listening to it."

"This album was the rock & roll bible in Plattsburgh NY in the late 70s. For the juicers, anyway. The douchebags all listened to the Eagles"

"like... you are entering a kingdom"

For the uninitiated, I present here excerpts of a film Robert Frank made of the "anti-Beatles" wandering around the ghetto in search of authenticity they already had by virtue of their copious drug use. It was shot as the Stones were finishing up the album. I'd link to the other films, but I'm still not sure it is legal. This film, quite beautiful, has sound problems. They clear up and return. It just adds to the murky, junk daze. The album is being released on May 18, and yes, there is a vinyl version if you need something to roll joints on.


AMERICA'S MOST FAMOUS ARTISTS and the 100 Million Dollar Picasso

You know, the recent record-breaking sale of Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" has me thinking about investing in art, so I did a little research to make sure I didn't plunge into anything too quickly. I found a list of America's Most Famous Artists and intend to make my purchases wisely from this list.

Famous Artists Schools from "inside cover" of Inside Detective Magazine February 1964

Jefferson Machamer Teacher, Girly Gag Artist, Cartoonist

A funny and talented man, Jefferson Machamer was that rare comic artist who was not only a fine gag, gam and garter artist...he was successful out of the basement! THIS close to be recognized as a REAL artist, he was also a joke writer in Hollywood WAY back, and he authored the strips "Petting Patty" and "Hollywood Husband" during his illustrious illustration career. He also worked as a writer on the films "Cute Crime" "Fun's Fun" "Gags and Gals" and believe it or not "Koo Koo Korrespondance Skool" in which he played himself...thus satisfying the rigorous award criteria for vintage sleaze "clever use of alliteration." Born 1901 in NYC, he ended up in Hollywood where he passed away in 1960, so the work here should be counted among his last. His most important contribution, other than the slightly perturbed dames like these he "tossed off" (but always took time to pattern their dresses) is his book "Drawing The Female Figure" which shows his generous side...he made it easy for thousands of young pervs to practice the fine art of pulchritudinous penning and his clever, humorous instruction made drawing the figure easy indeed. One page is shown here. A master, and for his persistence in drawing hot babes despite success in other endeavors, even to the end of the last ink bottle, hereby recognized as an unrecognized genuine genius. Bonus points for his marriage to a hot Hollywood actress who starred in 25 Hollywood B flicks

Jim Linderman

Original Drawing "The Date Caper" by Jefferson Machamer, circa 1955 Collection Jim Linderman

Monster Sighted in Duluth Minnesota

Prize Winning Float Duluth, MN
Anonymous photograph Dated 1926
Collection Jim Linderman

Diana Korzenik Andy Warhol and the Objects which Help Children Become Artists

A while ago I posted a theory of mine on a possible childhood influence on Andy Warhol with some striking implications for students, researchers and even the casual fan of our most famous Pop Artist. (Who I was fortunate to see several times and meet once in NYC) When he passed, unexpectedly, there was an empty chill of the parts of the city I loved most. Not just the glitz and glamor life he lived, for he managed to live a lower life at the same time. First, the 26th Street Flea Market, which was where I always began my Saturdays and Sundays at 6:00AM. Andy was often there...The only difference was that I was alone, he came with whoever he hadn't gone to sleep with the night before. Second, one of the most extraordinary things about Warhol, he could not STAND to have a club, or restaurant, or gallery open without him seeing it first. So there he was, at noon, on the opening day of the Tenth Avenue Jukebox Cafe which was on my block, at 45th and Tenth Avenue. There he was. He pulled up in a limo, got out, sniffed around and left.

A LONG intro to this post which is actually on Diana Korzenik. She contacted me immediately after my above theory was posted to support it and such. Turns out she had seen a few of my earlier posts on Childhood art objects and folk art, a interest of mine as well. For years Diana collected "Objects of American Art Education" as it relates to teaching and learning tools. She is Professor Emerita, Massachusetts College of Art, and author of Drawn to Art: A 19th Century American Dream. I was honored to hear from her, and we had a brief correspondence in which her charm was obvious.

The images here come from the splendid book published upon the donation of her collection (1000 items and 500 books) illustrating the types and techniques of childrens art tools to the Huntington Library. You will get the idea by the several illustrations here I am taking liberty to post. The catalog is Objects of American Art Education: Highlights from the Diana Korzenik Collection from the Huntington Library Press and I was fortunate enough to purchase my copy from Amazon. A brief search finds it available from other sources as well. The Huntington Library, which is simply splendid, is surrounded by the most beautiful botanical garden I have ever seen...a bonus! The day I was there, we arrived too late to tour the museum, but the succulent and cacti gardens are extraordinary, and my nephew was able to watch a Venus flytrap have an early dinner.

Convoluted Postcard! Drugstore Cowboy, Tad Dorgan, Las Vegas Kim, Gus Van Zant, James Fogle and the Great Train Robbery (Whew!)

A "Drugstore Cowboy" was a loafer in slicked-up in cowboy duds who hung around trying to pick up women. Decades later, Gus Van Zant popularized the phrase by filming the book of the same title by James Fogle (who spent 35 of his 53 years in prison) and now the term refers to one who gets high with purloined prescription drugs.

The phrase was actually invented by a cartoonist named Tad Dorgan, who was born in 1877. An accident at age 13 took three fingers off his right hand, but he overcompensated and learned to draw with his left so quickly he was hired as a newspaper cartoonist a year later at age 14! Soon Tad was the highest paid sports cartoonist in the country. Known as the "Saloon Sloganist" we can not only thank Tad for "Drugstore Cowboy" but "Dumb Dora" "Twenty-three Skidoo" "Cat's Meow" "Dumbbell" "Yes, we have no Bananas" and "Bonehead." That's plenty of hokum for one fellow to conjure up. I am damn jealous.

Unfortunately, we do NOT know anything about "Las Vegas Kim the Cowboy Artist" who drew this risque image in 1934. If I had to guess, Kim probably loitered around the drugstore coming up with ideas for his doodles while trying to pick up women. Here a drugstore cowboy in chaps he couldn't even walk in takes indecent rootin' tootin' liberty with a red dress.

The card is obviously a sexist parody of the old western cliche in which a cowboy fires his six-shooter at an hombre and orders him to dance. But where did THAT come from? It started with the Great Train Robbery! The now forgotten film from 1903 was the very first to depict a tenderfoot getting the treatment. Watch here at exactly 7:17. Scroll to it, you'll laugh like Gabby Hayes.

All that from one postcard, and I didn't even use a stamp.

Primitive postcard, 1934 by Las Vegas Kim Collection Jim Linderman

Jim Linderman "Writer to Watch Out For" by ARTslant

ARTslant has featured my posts and selected me as "one of the blog writers to watch for" Nice!

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My featured posts on ARTslant HERE

Doctors Drawings 19th Century Milford Michigan Medical Notebook

Pages and illustrations from a Doctor's Notebook, circa 1890. Milford, Michigan Collection Jim Linderman

Photograph Manipulation When Pictures Lie (ALWAYS) The Art of Painting a Photograph

(Click to Enlarge)

It is a very short walk from enhancement to deception. I suppose manipulating photographs (and by extension, the masses) is an art as old as photography. We often forget what happens after the shutter is snapped is really what photography is about. Even a monkey can take a picture, there must be a photo of a monkey operating a camera release on the web. (Note to self...commission a monkey to take some photos)

However, it is a serious subject, and I don't just mean the obvious historical examples we are all familiar with. Trimming the fat of supermodels for supermarket checkout lanes, eliminating Stalin's rivals with the stroke of a brush, etc. It is a serious ethical problem which is increasingly ignored. In 1982 the National Geographic moved no less than the pyramids closer together to fit them on their cover. It is insidious and shameful...but it isn't new at all. We've been had for centuries. If it weren't so widely practiced and so commonly accepted, it would be collectively known as the greatest and most pervasive hoax in history.

Paint Shop and Photoshop certainly made it easier. The programs have been around a long time now, and in an increasingly visual world where text is shortened to less than a caption, that we can not rely on what the eye sees is unfortunate and it could someday have tragic consequences. I guess.
I have collected examples of the art of photo manipulation for a while now. It was the practice of the press to "highlight" or embellish photographs for publication. I find these examples striking and beautiful, if fraudulent, because they were all done by hand with a paintbrush. All were treated prior to publication and reproduction in a newspaper, where inadequate newsprint printing process made the craft necessary. But they never told us.

One from my collection, the firing squad here from 1927, was recently used in a small spread in Foam Magazine. Had the photo been taken moments later, the paint artist would have certainly wiped up the blood (or highlighted it I suppose, depending on intent) I reprint it here as an extreme example since virtually no photo remains, it is as much painting as picture. The other examples, none too nefarious that I can tell, but deceptive still, are shown more to illustrate a lost art. By the way...I have cropped some, but not "treated" in anyway. Like the press, I wouldn't tell you if I did. Being a music fan, Chuck Berry in the Clouds is a particular favorite, but then you can hardly beat a pipe which smokes "HEALTH."


Group of Original painted, embellished and manipulated press photographs, 1920 - 1971
Collection Jim Linderman

Moves Which Killed the Cat

(Quite a few folks have enjoyed this post on my Vintage Sleaze blog, so I am repeating it here. I've only watched the first two minutes of the video, truth be told...but those two are fantastic and not to be missed)

Lilly Christine isn't a bad stripper name, especially when your real handle is Martha Theresa Pompender. Known far and wide (at least from Bourbon Street to Dumaine) as the Cat Girl, she is shown here in an astounding video and the postcard which led me to it. Lilly was born in 1923 and lived only 42 years. It was rumored she committed suicide, but it was Peritonitis which killed the 37C-22-35 cat. Mike Todd's Peep Show and Prima's 500 club are joints the Cat performed her "voodoo love potion" dance. Lilly was by far one of the most photographed cover girls for sleazy pulps in the 1950's, despite her claims she was not a stripper...she was a belly dancer. That's her in red teaching young students how to "draw."

Guess what contributes to Peritonitis? Having a washboard stomach (diffuse abdominal rigidity) and excess flexing of one's hips. Clearly the Cat had some serious workplace disability. These moves do not come without flexing the abdominals. And that's what the Cat did.

Lilly Christine The Cat Girl Postcard, circa 1955 Collection Victor Minx

School Brain Cultivating and Hide Tanning Vernacular Photograph

Handwritten photograph, Date Unknown, Anonymous Collection Jim Linderman

Joni Mitchell S.T.F.U.

Okay, because of that warbling waif Joni Mitchell, once again the ridiculous claim that Bob Dylan is a plagiarist returns. Joni Mitchell...who I once saw stumble over her own feet and nearly fall to the ground in Central Park as she was lighting a smoke. Maybe she should have taken a big yellow taxi.

One last time, here we go. EVERY MUSICIAN CRIBS FROM THE PAST. It is what makes a song. More than anything, and believe me, after 40 years of listening, there is MORE than anything and much much more...Dylan is a blues based musician. He started out learning the chords to blues records, and in fact some of his very first recordings were playing harmonica with Big Joe Williams and Victoria Spivey. Yes, he is that old.

In blues music, there are floating verses. Hundreds of hundred-year old couplets which are reused, recycled and reapplied. In countless places and songs. Over and Over and Over again. Folk Music too...They're ancient. That's what makes them songs and that's what makes them folk. They're handed down, passed around and relearned by every single musician and singer.

One example here is Bob Dylan's "Where are You Tonight" an amazing song from 1978, one of his quote "low" points...Joni should have such low points. I count no less than three word for word cribs from Robert Johnson, bluesman extraordinaire, and I bet Greil Marcus or Michael Gray could find more. And you know what? Robert Johnson cribbed them TOO. The "juice runs down my leg" phrase was used most famously by Led Zeppelin. I guess they plagiarized as well.

Now Joni? Why don't you go write a fake Jazz album and put one of your paintings on the cover? You know...one of your original paintings of something no one has ever painted before.

Just for the record? The song is about Junk. And more. And one of the things about Dylan is that he throws out so many of his OWN ideas, nearly every sentence would equal a dozen songs from anyone else, Miss Mitchell included. And this album, one of 50 or so by Zimmerman, wasn't even a good one.

Want to know ONE musician who was original? Big Joe...He invented dissonance by hanging beer cans in front of his amplifier because he loved the buzz...and he also played a 9 string guitar.

There's a long-distance train rolling through the rain, tears on the letter I write.
There's a woman I long to touch and I'm missing her so much, but she's drifting like a satellite.
There's a neon light ablaze in a green smoky haze, and laughter down on
Elizabeth Street
And a lonesome bell tone in that valley of stone where she bathed in a stream of pure heat.
Her father would emphasize you got to be more than street-wise but he practiced what he preached from the heart.
A full-blooded Cherokee, he predicted to me the time and the place that we'd part.

There's a babe in the arms of a woman in a rage
And a longtime golden-haired stripper onstage
As she winds back the clock and she turns back the page
Of a book that nobody can write.
Oh, where are you tonight?

The truth was obscure, too profound and too pure, to live it you have to explode.
In that last hour of need, we entirely agreed, sacrifice was the code of the road.
I left town at dawn, with Marcel and St. John, strong men belittled by doubt.
I couldn't tell her what my private thoughts were but she had some way of finding them out.
He took dead-center aim but he missed just the same, she was waiting,
putting flowers on the shelf.
She could feel my despair as I climbed up her hair and discovered her invisible self.

There's a lion in the room, there's a demon escaped,
There's a million dreams gone, there's a landscape being raped,
As her beauty fades and I watch her undrape,
But I won't, but then maybe again, I might.
Oh, if I could just find you tonight.

I fought with my twin, that enemy within, 'til both of us fell by the way.
Horseplay and disease is killing me by degrees while the law looks the other way.
Your partners in crime hit me up for nickels and dimes, the man you were lovin' could never get clean.
It felt outa place, my foot in his face, but he should have stayed where his money was green.
I bit into the root of forbidden fruit with the juice running down my leg.
Then I dealt with your boss, who'd never known about loss, who always was
too proud to beg.
There's a white diamond gloom on the dark side of this room and a pathway that leads up to the stars.
If you don't believe there's a price for this sweet paradise, just remind me to show you the scars.

There's a new day at dawn and I've finally arrived.
If I'm there in the morning, baby, you'll know I've survived.
I can't believe it, I can't believe I'm alive,
But without you it doesn't seem right.
Oh, where are you tonight?