Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


The Asbestos King who Married 13 Fire Hot Times!

In 1858 the John Manufacturing Company was founded. Their main product was fire-resistant asbestos roofing material. (At the time, virtually nothing was worse than fire...entire towns could burn to the ground while waiting for the horses to get hooked up and gallop to your block with a tank of water big enough to put out a campfire) Well...as we now know Asbestos was a mixed blessing. So mixed the lawsuit commercials pepper late night TV like flutters of fibers falling from a roof being torn down even today.

But the point of this post is not asbestiosis, not even the pulmonary fibrosis which killed the founder H.W. Johns HIMSELF some forty years after founding the company. This post is actually about a fire of a different sort...a fire of love which burns deep in the chest of a billionaire's rotten son...One Tommy Manville, who became "the asbestos heir" after his father merged his Manville company with the Johns company to become Johns-Manville By 1925 they were producing over 200 asbestos products. They were listed on the Fortune 500. But at the very same time, their executives were learning what their products did...and they paid some quiet lawsuits during the 1930s. But the cases kept coming and eventually Johns Manville was little more than a trust set up to pay off claims of the dead and dying. But the real hero (no...let's make that the real boob) of this tale is not the founder, not the buyer, not the victims, not the lawyers...it is the goofus son. Thomas Franklyn Manville Jr.

What great invention of commerce, or political office, or educational institution did he found? Umm..well...I can't find any. But he DID MARRY THIRTEEN WIVES (!) and not a clunker among them!
Was young Tommy groomed to take over the company lethal business? Nah..after being thrown out of EIGHT public schools for misbehaving, he decided edjucatin' wasn't for him. He married his first wife at 17. Florence Huber was a Ziegfield Follies showgirl. Natch. Tommy had to lie about his age, and when Daddy found out he was outraged...Tommy and Florence had to cross the river into New Jersey and marry again using his real age. The marriage, surprisingly, lasted 7 years. When it ended, Daddy gave Flo $16,000 as a settlement. Tommy as now free for number 2, his father's personal secretary, Lois McCoin! Not surprisingly, this shocked his father into a heart attack and within months, Tommy had a two million dollar trust fund and 25,000 shares of stock.

New found wealth apparently gave Tommy notions of new wedded bliss, as he paid off wife number two with a guaranteed 20 grand a year for life.
For wife number three, Tommy went shopping at the Follies again. Another bombshell named Avonne...that one lasted 30 days. With a Mexican divorce and over $100,000 in gifts, the pretty bride left with a pretty penny. Wife number 4 was a spicy blond who lasted four years of fighting...she hit the road with twice the purse...$200,000.

Number 5 was a 22 year old showgirl Tommy met while judging a beauty contest. That marriage lasted 17 days. They were divorced the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. Prescient, as bombshell number 6 was waiting in the wings. Billie Boze.
Billie was 20 and lasted about as long as you would expect. Two months and Tommy gave her the asbestos-sole boot. No payoff was reported, but I suspect she left the house with more than white fibers in her clothes.

Sunny was next. Now Sunny Ainsworth had already been married. FOUR TIMES! And she had yet to reach her 20s. Sunny was a sunny 19. Her age wasn't the only record she would hold...as Sunny's marriage would last...are you ready? Seven Hours. Wife number seven lasted seven hours. When I was a sexy, single, and most importantly straight bachelor in Manhattan, a good number of my DATES lasted longer than seven hours. A settlement? Yes.

Number eight was a reporter, one Georgina Campbell. They had a few good battles and made up several times, but when the reporter sniffed out a story taking place in Tommy's bedroom with his secretary, there was a little problem. Georgina was in it for the long haul though, and it was an automobile accident which took here out of the picture.

Mere weeks later, number nine was in place. Anita Frances Roddy-Eden. It lasted ten days and she left the house with $100,000. Number 10 was...jeez, let's see...A SHOWGIRL! 26 year old Pat Gaston. A 6 month marriage.

Now, it gets complicated...as Wiki says, "the record is confused" since two of ten listed here were married to Tommy Twice. So that makes TWELVE marriages. And who was lucky number 13? 20 year old Christina Erdlen. That one appears to have lasted until Tommy croaked in 1967, but I am not quite sure. Much to my chagrin, I have not been able to find pictures of the last two.

See my published books


MAN DOWN! Vernacular Snapshot of a School Football "Game"

A striking snapshot I found the other day. Literally striking...as in he got struck. There has been much in the press of late about bullying and the psychological damage it does to kids. Here is another form of damage...

"According to Gail L. Rosseau, an AANS spokesperson and a neurosurgeon in the Chicago area, an estimated 300,000 football-related concussions occur each year in the United States, and nearly 45,000 football-related head injuries were serious enough to be treated at US hospitals in 2009.”

Now I do not know if the revenue generated by football ticket sales at schools is enough to pay for the training programs...but given the latest dismal rankings of United States educational achievement compared to the rest of the world I suspect we would be a bit better served if we spent more money on the library and the science lab, and a little less on the jocks. Not to mention the cheerleaders. Have you seen what a fall from the top of a pyramid can do?

Original snapshot, circa 1940 Collection Jim Linderman

See my published books

Patriotic Pins of Trite Sexual Innuendo "Pin me Down, Sailor"

A coincidence all these somewhat risque and trite platitude pins are patriotic red white and blue? Nope...and I'll tell you why. During World War Two, not only was there a shortage of able bodied men at home, it was also virtually a woman's responsibility to nurture our soldiers...even to the extent of, well...encouragement.  This could be meeting troops on the train headed to training, or serving meals to the boys.  Rosie the Riveter in a skirt! Pins were a way of welcoming the boys to a USO club, a way of adding humor to a pretty dismal time in our history, a way of adding some encouragement to a kid who would soon be leaving (or returning) to battle. These pins indicate even sexual sleaze played a heroic role for the greatest generation, trite or not...and the heroes in this case were offering warm, humorous appreciation with implied comfort to other heroes on the way to a future unimaginable.
Collection of patriotic sexual innuendo pins, circa 1940 Collection Jim Linderman

Eye Flirtation Sign Language (Speaking with your eyes) Rules for Cyber Screen Shots

Now that we all have handheld devices to show our mugs, and chat roulette is bringing faces from the furthest corners of the world right to our palms, I present here the necessary techniques of Eye Flirtation.
You can thank me with your fingers.

From Undated Pamphlet "All About Girls" circa 1900.
Collection Jim Linderman

See my published books

Ball Handling Basketball Broadcasters Black and White and a Bleak, Stark Reality

Despite a million voiceovers and enough color commentary to delay the beginning of my favorite show the Simpsons, it always comes down to ball-handling. No more, no less...you can dribble down your chin for all I care, but you can't say anything else. Ball handling.

A local photographer, local from who knows when or where, couldn't bother to focus, but he recorded some beautiful kids doing their best to look pro. Stark black and white reminders of our shallow, brief lives and the time we have on earth? Or some pictures of ball handlers.

Group of anonymous "sports heros" photographs, circa 1950? Collection Jim Linderman


Jim Linderman Posts on Collectors Weekly and More

Collector's Weekly is fast becoming the "go-to" site for the collectibles market. I love it, I contribute to it HERE (in the popular "show and tell" section) and I suggest you follow it as well.

They have a Facebook Page and the direct site is
See my published books

Ghosts of Ombromanie Shadow Art Shadowgraphy and Art which doesn't Exist! Get thee before a LIGHT!

Are ghosts real? Yes, in two cases. One, when you see a dead celebrity walking around on television. Pick one from the past...let's say Humphrey Bogart. Long gone, but there he goes, in mysterious flickering grey tones, eerily bashing the nose of some gunsel at the conclusion of a dime store novel plot.

The second proof of ghosts is the hand shadow. Lost art, entirely free and available to anyone with the sun or a light bulb (though the curly ones we use today don't throw as warm a temporary canvas on the wall.)

I was always impressed with modern installation art. Whole room constructions which leave in a month and never return. Nothing to buy, but a true exhibit of an artist's talent and nerve. Sure, there was usually an edition of something for sale at the counter and portable pieces of the artist's work available in the back room, but the intention was usually to build an artist's reputation and "wow" the audience. The fleeting nature (and the bragging rights of having seen something no longer available to others) made the experience all the more special.

Hand Shadows is an even more temporal art form in that it exists for a shorter time. In fact it really doesn't exist at all. Can't be owned, can't be captured, has no physical form or shape. Largely forgotten now, the hand shadow is an art exhibit which isn't even there, and depending on the shaking and quivering of the artist, it might not even work for the few seconds one tries to throw it up there. The ephemeral here briefly and gone in seconds shadow.

Everyone can make one or two, but the early practitioner who would travel from gig to gig (or birthday party to school assembly) often had a patter to go along with the work...moral tales, jokes, and frequently an agenda of either the person paying for the show or the artist. But it wasn't necessary. The mere, temporary existence of the work was enough. Like the chalk talkers I love so much, the art form was often, and is today when you can see it, frequently hijacked by the religious prothelesizer. Get thee before a light! I don't think they do any "in and out" shadows with a circle and a thrusting digit, but that is probably the most popular example today, and usually made in a dorm room or, if you can find a spot, a well-lit corner of the local tavern.

It has a name...Ombromanie. It probably started with the Chinese, but the most famous old time practitioners appear to have been fussy French folks. The classic texts go way back...even before motion picture ghosts. You can look them up yourself, and you can find books which will allow you to reconstruct the lost art form. Get good at it and you can also entertain your friends. Get REALLY good at it and you could bring back the form!

Jim Linderman
See my published books

Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books Catalog HERE

Travels of the Arkansas Traveler Song

I guess when you are given lemonade, you make a state song. In 1930s through the 1950s popular media, anytime a goofy "Slackjaw" was depicted, the Arkansas Traveler would play in the background. It was the "go to" song for down home goobers. A real "sligh tapper" if you wish. The original song melody was written by one Colonel Sanford C. Faulkner of the Confederacy.

There are as many versions as there are Arkansanianers. It became a generic melody for all manner of rhymes and tales, most of them involving some flashy fiddle playing, drunk jokes and one tooth yokels. Aw, huck, gawrsh, that's a purty song, I feel like dancin, Ayup! The song even became the unofficial theme song of Foghorn Leghorn! "I'm telling you, that's a JOKE son! "

In vaudeville, it was an excuse for a country bumpkin' to poke sly fun at the city slicker. There is a well-known version in which a goofus named Bocephus grabs a bumblebee and puts it in his mouth. He hurls it back up after being stung, all accompanied with frantic arm pantomine!

School children used to sing the song before naptime...in their version, a red nosed hillbilly puts off fixing his roof because a sunny day will come soon, so why bother?

The versions I am most familiar with are by the Skillet Lickers and even earlier, the one by FIddlin' John Carson. In his version, a trippy drone overwhelms the entire melody, but if you lean in close, you can pick out the "turkey in the straw" like tune. Both are great, but Carson creates a real mood...It sounds almost psychedelic...maybe that is why Jerry Garcia later recorded it.

Check it out.

Far and far away down in Arkansas There lived a squatter with a stubborn jaw. His nose was ruby red and his whiskers gray And he would sit and fiddle all the night and all the day.

The Laurel and Hardy short The Music Box, also known as The Piano Movers uses the tune briefly. Now THAT is high honor.
This may be one of the few songs with Arkansas in the title, but still, it seems an odd choice for official state song, but that is what it was for some 20 years...an expunged version was commissioned by the state...gone were most of the h'yuk h'yuk references, and we are left with golden grains waving in the wind. It lasted until being put out to pasture as the state "historical song" in 1987.

Now you state historians don't bother writing in...I just wanted to post the John Carson song here...so take no offense and don't bother to correct any mistakes.

You can not do any better than Bill Monroe (no matter what you are trying to do) so here is his version. You can yell yehaw after any solo.

Real Photo Postcard collection Jim Linderman circa 1910See my published books

Ephemeral Folk Art Figure Photo Fat Scarecrow Resting

Ephemeral Folk Art well-stuffed Figure. Common use of the phrase "ephemeral folk art" derives from the remarkable photography book Ephemeral Folk Figures: Scarecrows, Harvest Figures and Snowmen by Avon Neal and Ann Parker. Published in 1969, the book was the first to illustrate decorative and functional constructions like this fellow. The pair went on to publish numerous photo essay books on other forms of vernacular art. Worth looking for!
Anonymous Snapshot circa 1935 Michigan Collection Jim Linderman


The World's Most Wonderful Horses Frank Wendt and The Wondrous World of Wendt Carnival, Show and Sideshow Horse Photograph Cabinet Cards

These pictures were taken during the the agrarian United States on the cusp of Industrial Society. The horse played a role in both, and it is no wonder it also played a role in the traveling circus.

Horses with long tales can swat flies easier, but the mane seems purely decorative. Depending on genetics, many horses can grow spectacular heads of hair, but normal wear, tear and snags usually keeps the mane at a manageable length. Show horses are often allowed to grow it longer. They will even have it braided and let loose before the show in an attempt to create perfect waves, but even their splendid "dos" pale compared to a wild horse, of which I recently heard there was some 30,000 roaming in the states today. A number increasing through abandonment...it is expensive to maintain a horse, often costing far more than the horse is worth.

Horse were also taught tricks. Fake tricks, but then all tricks are fake. When you see an educated horse clomping off a count, or solving complex mathematical problems, it is usually because the trainer has tipped Trigger off. It is a fairly easy trick to teach your horse to go get their food bucket. Even a dog can do it without training. Teaching your horse to shake his head yes or no is easy as well, and we're not even into Mr. Ed territory here yet. But for the math genius horse who knocks off numbers like an accountant? Usually he has been taught to respond to cues from the boss, not to operate a calculator in his head.

First up is Mascot the Talking Horse. Looks like Mascot could shake hands and push a lever in addition to talking. What? You don't hear anything? Neither do I. Mascot was active in Connecticut, and the Syracuse University also holds one of these cards in their collection. Note the photo of the Professor making out with Mascot...the backdrop depicts hoards of painted customers watching in awe.

Next is Chief. The reverse of his card can tell you all you wish to know about the Shetland with the tail of steel. At right is Edward Daley, Chief's chief groomer. If you wish to avoid reading the small print, Chief travels first class in his own little baggage car.

The next horse has no name indicated, but someone has taken the time to point out his particulars. Eighteen feel and nine inches of tail!

Elsie Sutliff is the trainer, not the horse. The Syracuse University Library holds another Wendt image of Elsie, and in their copy a large dog is standing on the back of the horse, so Elsie must have trained several animals. (A "Dog and Pony" show.)

Happy Jack was "The original and world famous Lone Pacer" according to the barely visable text embedded in the image. Also shown is trainer Frank Schneider and Charles Fose the owner. A Lone Pacer is an archaic term for a lead horse which sets the pace, I believe...at any rate, the time shown (2:03) is for a mile. Happy Jack is also reported to have run the mile at 2:13 in Louisville, Kentucky in 1897.

There were several horses named Linus, and in fact one reason was so the folks in one part of the country would think they were seeing THE Linus, when the real Linus was appearing somewhere else! Suffice to say, "carny" folk aren't usually thought of as being the most honest cards in the deck. At least the two Linus horses follow here and both are the real deal. The website "Messy Beast" has the whole story, and numerous examples, including several photos of these same horses. A whole herd named Linus!

Linus and Linus II were both Long Haired Oregon horses. Through genetics and a little hocus-pocus, it seems the Linus long hair was a trait passed down among generations of Linus breeders.

Most of the horses shown here have extensive notes, personal history and such either printed or noted on the reverse.

All Photographs Frank Wendt circa 1890-1910

All Original Photographs from the Jim Linderman Collection.

above by Jim Linderman from the forthcoming book
"The Wondrous World of Wendt"
and copyrighted!
Not to reproduced without writing.

See ALL the Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books CATALOG HERE

See also The Wondrous World of Wendt (In Progress)

AmplifySee my published books

ICP Baptism RPPC Exhibit and More Take Me to the Water International Center of Photography

Curator Erin Barnett has posted an announcement about the upcoming Take Me to the Water exhibition of Real Photo Post Cards (along with numerous photographs) at the International Center of Photography blog Fans in a Flashbulb, as follows:

"In January, ICP will be presenting a small selection of postcards of river baptisms, drawn from a treasure trove of over 200 images, which was donated by collectors Janna Rosenkranz and Jim Linderman in 2007. Since there’s not enough room on the walls, here’s a peak at some of the wonderful images that won’t be in the show (but that can be found in the Grammy-nominated publication and CD Take Me to the Water."

MORE INFORMATION and PRESS RELEASE HERE Exhibit will run from January 21 to May 8, 2011

See my published books