Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


The FIRST Elvis Impersonator was a DAME! Elvira Presley 1957

The First Elvis Impersonator Elvira Presley!

Complete with guitar-shaped pasties, Elvira Presley hits the stage in 1957 in the not-so legendary strip dump "The Near and Far Club" operated by Al and Mal Warner in Los Angeles.  They were looking for a sensational act to celebrate a club makeover, and when they heard of a model who looked like the "Mississippi Peckerwood" Elvis, they convinced her to put on Levi jeans and then immediately take them off on stage!  Complete with Elvis gyrations which even Ed Sullivan would have enjoyed.

Elvira was thus not only the first Elvis Impersonator, she was the first with 38-28-37 measurements!  Like the real Elvis, she came from Mississippi. 

The act began with the house orchestra playing "Don't Be Cruel" while Elvira made her entrance with a guitar.  As the band continued performing without paying royalties to the illegal immigrant Colonel Tom Parker, Elvira pops out of her Levis to "Blue Suede Shoes" and then out-hip-shakes the hip shaker with "Hound Dog" while tearing off her bra revealing sequins shaped like a Nashville guitar-shaped Swimming Pool!

Elvira became the first to set the standard Elvis Impersonator patter.  When interviewed by the press, her answers are filled with "I hope he would be flattered" responses, but she avoids the "it's not an imitation, it's a tribute" banal platitude adopted by every single Elvis imitator since.  It was an imitation for sure.

Uncredited Photographs appeared in Modern Man Magazine 1957


Homer Tate Self-Taught Artist who Created the Thing!

Artist Homer Tate made the thing. Even though "The Thing" was supposed to be a mystery and a secret, it is likely the most famous thing Homer Tate ever made.  Homer made sideshow gaffes he sold to carnival and sideshow businesses. Shrunken heads and such created to lure rubes inside. Sales of his animal hide "human mysteries" were good.  I am sure you have seen some on those "wacky true history" shows. He'd make a thing for 25 bucks.

The Thing is on Wikipedia! 

I am afraid Homer's lesser known paper mache tableau "old west" tourist attraction things don't get seen as often. They filled his place.  I don't know where they are.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress and photographer Russell Lee.  Yes, the same Russell Lee who created some serious photos.  Taken 1940.  Complete photo set HERE at the Library of Congress website.

I'm Not at the Outsider Art Fair Paris 2019 Edition post Anonymous Drawings of Startled 1950s Women

A surprising group of drawings by an anonymous west coast shut-in at this point known only as Ms. Daisy.  Each is 9" x 12" and there are hundreds. Each drawing has the date created on the reverse and most have a weather report!  (Cloudy today, sunny and hot, smog, etc…)  She lived into her 90s, and while institutionalized drew one every few days from 1952 until tapering off in the 1960s.

I have never had such a large group of work consecutively dated. The artist's work improves a bit over the years, but each retains this rather stark, naive singular look. One note in the reverse indicates "there is a convention on television so we can't watch our programs" leading me to guess these are an assortment of entertainers, soup opera stars and models of the 1950s.  Another note reveals workers are "removing the trees across the road." Only a few are identified by name but many could be identified.

I cannot say if the artist had training, or if the results were produced through practice. There are no duplicates.  Hundreds of 1950s women, each which reflect the times and the persistence of the artist. The overall effect of a dozen lined up is wonderful.

I will scan a few more soon. 

Six anonymous (Ms. Daisy?) Drawings of women 1957 - 1958.  Collection Jim Linderman

You might also enjoy the book Eccentric Folk Art Drawings: Obscure Drawings of the 19th and 20th century, a 250 page book of similar discoveries available from Blurb.com in softcover or an affordable ebook.  The link leads to a ten page preview and ordering information.  Thanks!

A few of the other outsider art fair posts are available HERE

Regine Gilbert Outsider Artist or Flower Child? A Forgotten Primitive Painter

In 1956 Artnews referred to Regine Gilbert as "a sophisticated experimental primitive" and that  "Her eye has combined Henri-Edmond Cross and van Gogh."  Ten years later,  the Palm Beach Daily called her "the only living American primitive painter" which seems even more of an exaggeration. As far back as 1951, Newton Galleries were representing  Ms. Gilbert as "Brooklyn's most exuberant and imaginative primitive" in a press release.  A year earlier, a New York magazine called Cue reviewed a Gilbert show as "...another of those primitive painters who periodically invade the art galleries, this time a "Grandma Moses" of Brooklyn. Her floral paintings, gay, decorative and flat are particularly effective." Another paper once called her a flower child!
Regine Gilbert was born in Austria in 1907.  In the 1930's she immigrated to the United States and lived in New York city until the 1950s. Relocating to Palm Beach, Florida she continued to paint. Apparently an ardent self-promoter, the artist affixed numerous reviews and clippings of her work to the reverse of her paintings. 

Pair of Flower Paintings by Regine Gilbert  Oil on Board circa 1950 Collection Jim Linderman

Greatful Dead Fan Art

A few physical reminders of fan's love for the Grateful Dead.  On the Internet Archive, there are some 600 examples of decorated envelopes sent to the office for tickets.  Worth a look and a smile!
See them all HERE

Books and affordable Ebooks by Jim Linderman available HERE

The Moses Tabernacle Bernstein Model

O. O. Bernstein's traveling exhibition!  Real Photo Postcard circa 1920. Collection Jim Linderman

Big Head from Clyde Beatty Circus 1962 original snapshot

Big Head from Clyde Beatty Circus 1962 original snapshot dated on reverse.  Collection Jim Linderman.

Risque Space Panties Gift Certificate c. 1960

Risque Space Panties Gift Certificate c. 1960 Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Handmade Baseball Miniature Book Folk Art Scorekeeper 1926

A young fella keeps track of his favorite team with a handmade record book.  Appears to have been the rainy season.
Miniature Made by Hand booklet inscribed.  Collection Jim Linderman

Back to School Boys

Sketch of the school hierarchy by George Foster circa 1925 collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb courtesy Natalie Curley

Vintage Folk Art Handmade Fabric Activity Book c. 1960

A Vintage Folk Art Handmade Fabric Activity Book c. 1960.  Each cloth page provides learning tools for a young child.  Button which button, a working zipper (with "cowboys and indians" era figure in a teepee) and other dexterity tools.  Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Foam Rubber Doll Nude Woman / Teaching Tool / Display circa 1930 - 1940

Circa 1930 Foam Rubber Doll with considerable age.  Stand appears to be original, the wire has created a "tan line" on the woman's back.  I believe this is a latex foam figure.  VERY soft to the touch.  Whipped latex was introduced in 1929.  Relative explicitness suggests this was some type of display device (educational purposes?) rather than a doll.  Any guesses?

Antique Female Form of rubber, circa 1935 - 1940  Height 12 inches.  Collection Jim Linderman

Love During Wartime Nookey Ration Card

"Tear off a piece" ration card 1943.  Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb
Love During Wartime appears in periodic posts on the blog

Vernacular Travel Photo

Vernacular Travel Photo (Museum of Natural History, NYC March, 1971)
Collection Jim Linderman Dull Tool Dim Bulb

The Human Living Whirligig

The Human Living Whirligig of Norwich, CT is presented by the Smith Wood Working Co. in 1957.  I checked...the float didn't win first prize.
Original Snapshot collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Miniature Folk art Carnival Spinning Wheel Gambling Antique Toy

An antique miniature carnival spinning wheel / gambling toy only 9 inches tall.  Primitive and handmade construction, but interestingly the wheel is covered with paper printed numbers.  The thin paper was applied to the wheel before small nails were pounded in. There is a "catch" cog, so the wheel works and clicks like a real one. I am guessing this was part of a very old "commercially" available toy set?  Think tramp art with old lithograph paper.  The old patina is real.  Maybe a novelty prize item from a very early carnival gaming booth?  
Late 19th, Early 20th century made by hand spinning wheel 9" tall, 3" wide.  
Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Folk Art Mickey and Minnie Mouse Handmade Cartoon Characters

Folk Art Mickey and Minnie Mouse Handmade Cartoon Characters circa 1950.  Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb the Blog.  Books and Ebooks by the author available HERE

Early Adopter John Willis and his Electric Bungalow

Two miles from where George Washington crossed the Delaware, on a tiny island where he had been living some thirty years, electric wizard Jim Willis rigged his modest bungalow with 100 dry cells of electricity.  He also tapped into the nearby trolley line for another 600 volts.  There were over 150 electrical connections which animated the place from top to bottom. In 1912, the Popular Electricity and World's Advance described the wonder thus:  "…when all the switches are closed, it is almost impossible to move a muscle or touch a thing without receiving a shock or turning on the lights or  ringing an alarm bell.  If you pick up a book, a pipe, or lift the lid of his tobacco jar, you start an alarm.  You can't even take a pin from his pin cushion, or a toothpick from its holder, nor can you even turn the water into the lavatory without the same result."  Willis also created an electric clock out of an empty tomato can which would automatically draw the shades when the lights came on! 

He welcomed visitors and averaged a few thousand a year.  If anyone attempted to swipe something, a gong alarm would sound.

Willis' Electric Bungalow Willis Island on the Delaware.  Real Photo Postcard c. 1912 Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb.
Preview or order Books and Ebooks by Jim Linderman HERE.