Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


How to Make Your Own COMET and Fly It!

The Comet Model Airplane and Supply Company was probably responsible for more envy among depression era kids than anything other than a square meal. The kits were wood. Priced at 50 cents or less at a time when even a Buffalo Nickel was hard to come by, I am sure even the catalogs were prized. I also suspect many an enterprising young man was proud as can be of his own flying machine constructed with painstaking care.

Nancy Kapitanoff's father was a salesman for the company in 1933, the same year these catalog images were produced. At the time, could there have been any other better job? He somehow had the foresight to bring a MOVIE CAMERA along with him as he traveled from miniature air shows to company meetings. Nancy has produced a documentary created from her father's historical material. The site HERE for her film "The Comet Model News" provides some magical clips of these balsa beauties being flown a mere few years after Lindbergh captured the nation.


Bettie Page from the Rear by Rudolph Rossi Circa 1955 Original Photograph Hand-Painted by the Photographer (Cropped)

High-quality art prints of selected original images from the book Camera Club Girls: Bettie Page, her Friends and the Work of Rudolph Rossi available!

For Information
see the Artslant shop for Dull Tool Dim Bulb Editions

Bettie Page and her...
By Jim Linderman

Things to be Happy For, and Extraordinary Comic Book Placement

I know the economy is sinking deeper than Mel Gibson's and Lindsay Lohan's butts on a casting couch, but there are still a billion things to be thankful for, and one of the greatest is "Things you Never Knew Existed" the slogan of Johnson Smith and Company. Officially, Johnson Smith is a Mail-Order Retailer, but then so are those jerks who pitch "HeadON" "ActiveON" and several other really expensive placebos, but at least Johnson Smith products work. Some day I'll do a post on HeadON but until then I'll just keep it as my ring tone. I love it when someone calls me while I'm in the library.

Oh wait...Johnson Smith also sells a product known as "Anti-Gray Hair" pills and "Anti-Wrinkle Capsules" so I spoke too soon, but at least they had the good taste to spin off the "Health" aids category into a separate catalog known as "Full of Life."

Johnson Smith has been selling authentic great crap for decades. I'm not sure if the above examples are still available...after all, fake fighting roosters don't stay on the shelf for long...but at one time their catalog was over 500 pages, so there are plenty of things still as good.

How great is Johnson Smith? Well, they had the prescient good taste to advertise in Action Comics #1. You know, the one which introduced Superman, a copy of which once sold for over one million dollars? They might not have reached the audience they were after with that "super-media placement" but they are sure reaching the "upscale" market with it now. They also had an ad in the comic which first introduced Batman. Now that is a good sponsor, but if anyone does come upon those original ads now, it will be with white gloves and tweezers.

In several years, the company will celebrate 100 years of business on these shores. They started off selling rubber stamps, but check their website and wiki article...to say they branched out is like saying Proctor and Gamble is diversified.

Plus, according to their website they are HIRING. (Well...they have a few jobs listed from prior to the recession) So don't go flocking there like gold rush tenderfoots or Oakies looking for gold paved streets ...write first. They are a Mail-Order Company, after all. Throw the also failing post office a bone and buy some gags!

Los Angeles Cult Murder and Mayhem 75 Years Before Charlie Manson

Aieee! A pair of related religious nuts, and dangerous ones at that. Shown here is Mrs. May Otis Blackburn and Ruth Angeline Wieland A.K.A Ruth Rizzio. Tell me, did you ever hear of the Divine Order of the Royal Arms of the Great Eleven? No? Count your blessings.

This mother and daughter team of freaky prophets attracted over 100 converts to the same neck of the woods as Charlie Manson 75 years earlier, and it appears they baked at least one of them to death.

Let's start with the Angels. No, not the baseball team, nor the ones who flutter down in white feathered wings to grant wishes. I mean the "Angel Michael" who spoke to May in 1922 while Ruth was working as a taxi dancer (read "hooker"?) and dictated to her "The Lamb's Book of Life." It took 42 months. I presume Ruth helped but took time off for a few close, slow dances with Mr. Lonely Heart, but that is a guess. It must have been a good book, for soon Ruth had 100 cult members living with them a stone's throw from where Charlie would set up camp decades later. What is it about the Santa Susanna mountains? I don't know if Charlie had an agenda other than sending hippie chicks out on murderous creeps and touching off a race war... but this mother and daughter team of gospel grifters seemed only to be seeking God's reward on earth! However, like the Mansonites, the cult did dance around naked.

You can wiki up the Blackburn Cult and A good account of the sleazy sect is found HERE

A Post also on old time religion the BLOG

Al Jaffee Comics Mad Magazine and a Blog Post which Sucks

Did your parents allow you to read Mad Magazine? Not that it would have mattered, I'd have stolen them anyway, but as you might be able to tell, mine did.

Al Jaffee was one of their prominent cartoonists. Still is! Amazingly, only one issue of Mad since 1964 has failed to include an original drawing by Mr. Jaffee. He has been a regular there for 55 years. Al invented the back cover "fold-in" and on his 85th birthday, Stephen Colbert satirized them (and honored Al) by showing a giant fold-in which revealed the phrase "Al, you are old." I hate to say it, but I think subconsciously Al Jaffee had more influence on me than all my teachers and sunday school lessons combined.

This post isn't about Jaffee really, it is about ideas, invention, commerce and the straw. Just like life gives you lemons and you make lemonade, I'm going to make something out of the straw.

Now I do not know when the "sip-top" was invented, nor who owns the patent for it. Jaffe drew this cartoon for a Mad Magazine number 275 which was published in 1983. It ran in a feature entitled "Low Tech Inventions for Everyday Needs" and was intended to be satire. He called it the "Hip No-Drip Sipper." A good gag...People DRINKING IN THEIR CARS!!! HA HA HA! Imagine THAT!

I think Al should have sent his drawing to the Patent Office rather than Mad.

Original Drawing by Al Jaffee, with Acetate Overlay 1983 Collection Jim Linderman

C-Monster Art Book Contest Jim Linderman

C-MONSTER The premier contemporary Art Blog in New York City is running a contest with the prize being FREE copies of several of my books! All you need to do is comment and the most (or least) clever WINS. While there, bookmark the site. Not only is it the best survey of the New York Art Scene (and frequent jaunts elsewhere) there is attitude a plenty with serious, unique criticism, and the links alone are essential. DO NOW.

C-Mon Giveaway Extravaganza Girls Girls Girls Edition HERE

It Rains, It Pours

Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photographs by Jim Linderman, Luc Sante and Lance Ledbetter was awarded "Best Historical Reissue Pre-War" by Living Blues 2010. An Honor! Copies available at right, or from Dust to Digital

Masks of the Dead B-list Stars

BOY, there was big time entertainment around the house when the Norge 4 star review life-sized masks arrived! Jack Carson (sour comedian) Ed Wynn (Fey voice man) Danny Thomas (Father of Marlo, who had a normal nose) and Jimmy Durante (Who didn't)

I'm not sure who invented the notion of the "B-list" actor but I am now pretty sure it was in 1951. Anytime you require FOUR hosts to carry one show, you might rethink the concept. It certainly was being applied early on the "Out of the World Revue Show" which was to air every week on NBC. The Reverse of each mask, once constructed, contains an entire hilarious monologue by the "Star" written in their own inimitable style!

There appears to have been about 20 shows which ran from 1951 to 1953. The Show had more names than sponsors..."All Star Revue, Four Star Revue" and the already mentioned Out of this World. The material was written by Bob Schiller, who earns no mask...but at least one of his credits is writing for Flip Wilson, 30 episodes exactly 30 years later. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and is he finished with Flip, he did OK.

One show had, Jimmy Vey, the DANCING XYLOPHONE PLAYER! Dammit...THAT'S the mask I was hoping to get!

Four Norge Appliance masks and some funky smelling Mold. Circa 1951
Collection Jim Linderman

Dull Tool Dim Bulb Art Photography Blogs Reach ONE HALF MILLION Clicks

The group of blogs under the Dull Tool Dim Bulb umbrella will reach 500,000 hits this weekend. The counter was installed August 9, 2009.

Tumblr...The Greatest Stunt of ALL! Internet Jobs Rant Tumblr The Depression and Stunts Stunts Stunts RPPC

We are clearly in a major and permanent depression, as the internet has replaced every job which required manufacturing, boxing, stocking, racking, packaging, shipping, typesetting, retrieving records, printing, filing, directing phone calls, ringing up prices (bar codes) and even advertising agencies. (A monkey can purchase click-ads with selected market parameters)

We seem about a year away from selling apples on the street, and I don't mean Ipods. I hear reporters over and over again say "when the jobs come back" and I wonder, have you EVER heard a commentator say "We are losing jobs because of the internet?" I suspect it is because they don't want to spread bad news.

When I shop at the grocery store, I leave my empty cart askew somewhere in the back forty of the parking lot simply because I know the company will have to hire at least one kid to bring it back.

I recently looked up some information on the most recent internet success story of late, Tumblr. Tumblr has 3 million users, gains 15,000 more every day, and the system handles 15 million posts a week. Guess how many employees Tumblr has? Go ahead....guess.


That's right. One of the most successful internet launches in years, and the company has eleven employees total. TOTAL. They created a huge population of folks who steal photos and help build their content, but they sure aren't paying any of them. Even if Tumblr announced "a major hiring flurry" of, oh...let's say ten percent they would only increase the staff to 12.

So how come we don't see pole sitters, sky dancers, waterfall walkers or dance marathoners anymore? When I pass a fellow with a sign reading "will work for food" I often wonder why he isn't laying on a bed of nails or living on a billboard for a month.

My guess is regulation and such...to set the world's longest record for goldfish eating today, you would probably need insurance and a permit.

Here is an assortment from the glory days of stunts. Click to Enlarge.
All Original Photographs and Real Photo Post Cards Collection Jim Linderman

Jim Linderman Articles on Artslant

Link to Linderman 2010 articles HERE

Zallah Knows...But No One Knows Zallah! Psychic claptrap from a Medium Skilled Medium

When I read a non-fiction book about times in the early 1970s, as I have just done, (A true tale of rural Texas when kids were just starting to learn about popping pills) I am astounded at how much credence was given to psychics at the time. I am especially surprised as I thought they had done been debunked decades earlier.

I mean, how stupid... ehh. I give-up. I even have folks around here who believe Glenn Beck.
I give up.

So here is Zallah. An Uri Geller in Drag. A schmatta wearing female fraud. Years ago I learned the way these con-men in skirts make their living is by limping along on the dollar or two stolen from grieving widows, troubled husbands, lonely wives...all while waiting for the one BIG score which usually meant the "go to your bank and draw out your available funds" gambit. (A cop told me this...He said they usually go three or four months in between real scores, and when they hit, the daughter or son takes over the business while they go to Florida and bask a while)

Zallah here appears to have slipped town with her ill-gotten gains. Certainly she is on her way to greener pastures of plenty. There is nothing on the web about this criminal. If I could conjure up some dirt, you would certainly get it. One thing I know...when they took Zallah's fingerprints, be Zallah man or woman...they also got Zallah's real name. Unfortunately, I do not have it.

Zallah! The Woman with the Penetrating Eyes! Tradecard, circa 1930 Collection Jim Linderman

Conway Twitty Turducken Topped with Fruit! Horrors in Wax #15 The Terrible Taste of the Twitty Burger!

This is the 15th "Horror in Wax" I have posted. Some of you may think I have been running out of wax statues to disrespect, but not to worry, I've been holding Twitty in reserve. Wax Conway is shown here along with Wax Loretta, who is a saint I will not besmirch.

Twitty was really Harold Lloyd Jenkins, named after the silent film comic, and if you finish this post, you'll be laughing like the front-row at one of his flicks.

Actually, I am a fan of Conway Twitty as well, since he had the good taste to let a 17-year old Levon Helm play drums for him some 60 years ago. Twitty was raised near Levon's home in Turkey Scratch. Helena, Arkansas, holy ground for the meeting of Blues and Hillbilly music, being the original site of the King Biscuit Flour Hour Radio Show. But it is Twitty's LACK of taste this post is about.

Twitty had over 50 number one hits on the country charts. FIFTY. A record broken only by George Strait, another great singer I suspect less than 1 in 1000 New York City residents could name.

My main concern here is...TWITTY BURGER! Way ahead of his time, Mr. Twitty had another potential mine as gold as the most golden record...a hamburger topped with bacon. Yep...40 years before every chain today relentlessly promotes their killer bacon fatburgers on childrens TV, Conway was hoping to clog our veins with his own invention, but his had a special festive taste twist. Each Twitty burger was to come with a GRAHAM CRACKER CRUSTED PINEAPPLE RING on it. That's right. Straight from the land of fluffernutters, Twitty was able to persuade his friends to invest $100,000 each in his plan to cover the nation with hamburgers smothered in fruit from Hawaii.

As you would expect, (and as one day the turducken influenced KFC Double-Down will as well) the Twitty burger died a quick death. In a complicated legal battle with Uncle Sam, Conway was tried for fraud and such over the financing of the franchise, but he had the good fortune to draw a judge who loved the singer. The judge not only found in Twitty's favor, he sang Twitty a song he wrote for him after reading the verdict. All true in Wax Hell.

To read all the Horrors in Wax posts, click the blue subject heading below.

Wax Museum postcard collection Jim Linderman

BEES! Swarm Nest Hive Grist Cellphones Doug and a "Passel of Pictures" Bees Bees and Bees

There are plenty of names for groups of animals. Colony, Rookery (Albatross) Congregation (Alligators) Flange (Baboons) Shoal (Bass). Camels are a Herd, Cats are a Destruction, Cheetahs are a Coalition, Caterpillars are an Army. A group of snails is known as a Rout. In some parts of the animal kingdom it seems there are more names for a cluster than there are animals! You can call a group of Whales either a Pod, a Gam, a Herd, a School or a Mod.

Bees are of course a Swarm, but they are also a Nest, a Hive and a Grist. At least they used to be before cell-phone towers screwed up their navigation skills and they started dying off like newspapers. Which is more than a shame...since if we do not pollinate our dirt-based food sources, we die too.

When I was young, I would tempt fate by catching them and putting them in a buzzing mayo jar of death. They always looked REALLY pissed off in there. The younger kid down the block was impressed too, and he reached into a rosebush and grabbed his own bee, thrusting his hand upward in victory and shouting "I GOT ONE!" He got one awright...and a trip to the hospital for a Bevy and Gaggle of life-saving antihistamines for his swelling little fist.

in High School, my genius friend Doug was given a room upstairs to grow his own bees. He installed a glass fronted hive, and we would thrill to their activity...the little fellows would fly out their tiny tube to the world and return with pollen on their limbs and share it with their buzzing buddies. We soon learned if you leaned close to the glass and hummed a certain note, the frequency would make all the bees freeze like statues. I still don't know what caused it, but it was remarkable. There were no cellphones then, but the hive died out anyway. Doug blamed it on bee diarrhea.

Group of Original Press Photographs, 1951 -1961 Collection Jim Linderman

Maud the Mule takes a Ride RPPC The Flying Mule of Knoxville Tennessee Rare First Hand Account!

Maud the Mule was hoisted to the top of the Burwell Building in Knoxville Tennessee in 1908. Popular Mechanics magazine of June that year heralded the event with another picture saying "When Maud started skyward 3,000 voices cheered in unison with the blowing of whistles." Maud likely was named after a cartoon Maud the Mule which first appeared in Hearst Newspapers in 1904. As most Maud comics simply ended when she kicked someone high into the air, perhaps this was a way for the construction workers to get even.

I am proud to reveal this rare first hand account of the legendary Mule raising of Knoxville, Tennessee. "This was quite a stunt - and every one and his dog came to see it. This mule has been used around the building for some time and when the iron work (?) for the last story was put up they hoisted the mule up to the platform that you see and she made a speech a la mule. Could she have talked no doubt she would have used some strong language"

Maud the Mule Real Photo Postcard 1908 Collection Jim Linderman


Hose Units for Watering the Lawn? Early Fire Sprinklers?

Built by the Boy Scouts 1920

First Scout Troop Riley School 1920 Miniature Farm and Town
Photograph by E. Buchstaber, Indiana Harbor, Indiana collection Jim Linderman

Sideshow Herpetology From the Past (Antique Dames with Snakes) Summer "Retread Reread"

Howdy, I'm still taking a short break to "work" on other projects, so this post slithers back from the past. Browse OTHER things a while, or read any of the books linked at right!

This post from my Wondrous World of Wendt Blog.

Snake Women! Frank Wendt, Photographer of the Sideshow 1890 As you can see, women with snakes were not entirely uncommon around 1890, but then if the circus came to your town once year, they must have been quite noteworthy. All these cabinet card photographs were taken by one man and each became a pitch card for the performer to sell to admirers or anyone with a dime to spare. 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, though he did have a somewhat poorly realized sense of contrast at times.
Wendt specialized in the unusual, but 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. 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.

Group of Frank Wendt Photographs circa 1890 Collection Jim Linderman