Saturday, November 28, 2009

Featured Pipe Smoker: Santa Claus

click to enlarge

For the next few weeks I'll be featuring graphics of a pipe-smoking Santa leading up to the holiday. These artworks will all be from the hand of Thomas Nast, who probably more than any other artist is responsible for our contemporary image of a rotund, pipe-smoking Santa Claus.

First we have "Seeing Santa Claus" from 1876.

For many more images of Santa with a pipe, just click on Santa Smokes a Pipe.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vintage Ad (1940s): Kaywoodie Carburetor

Click to enlarge.

Here is an ad from my own personal hardcopy collection. I do not have an exact year for this one, but based on what I know about Kaywoodie ads, it's safe to say this one is from the 1940s.

The Carburetor was another of Kaywoodie's gimmicks. There is a hole in the exact center of the bottom of the bowl that is reinforced with metal of some kind--probably aluminum. The idea is that when drawing on the pipe, "cool" air is also drawn through the carburetor hole to mix with the "hot" air coming from the top of the pipe, thus providing a "cooler, drier smoke" (naturally!). I do have one Yello-Bole Carburetor (Yello-Bole was Kaywoodie's seconds line) and it is an okay pipe but I don't think the extra hole makes a whole lot of difference.

Pretty much every shape Kaywoodie made also came in a Carburetor version.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Featured Pipe Smoker (Fictional?): J.R. "Bob" Dobbs

J.R. "Bob" Dobbs (c. 1930s - 1984?)

"If you act like a dumbshit, they'll treat you like an equal."

"Just because some jackass is an atheist doesn't mean that his prophets and gods are any less false."

"You know how dumb the average person is? Well, by definition, half of 'em are even dumber than THAT."

"I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

J.R. "Bob" Dobbs was born in Dallas possibly sometime during the 1930s or so, the son of a pharmacist. He became wealthy at an early age by playing the stock market over the telephone. In 1953 he saw an image of God (which he called JHVH-1) on a television he had built himself and it inspired him to found his own church, called The Church of the SubGenius. He married his primary wife Connie in 1955, worked as a model and a novelty gag inventor, and preached on weekends "strictly for the money." He was assassinated in San Francisco in 1984, but has allegedly returned from the dead several times since then.

According to the Church, "Bob" is the greatest salesman who ever lived. "Bob" is never seen without his pipe, and his pipe is always lit. Because of this, some have speculated that the pipe is not a conventional pipe at all, but an alien symbiont that has attached itself to his mouth.

Nevertheless, "Bob" is said to smoke an herb called habafropzipulops, or "frop," which can be grown only on the graves of Tibetan monks and must be fertilized with Yeti dung. We don't know for sure what brand of pipe he prefers, though as to shape he always uses a straight billiard, and there is strong indication that it could be a Dr. Grabow.

For much more information on "Bob" and the Church, follow the link above. But be warned, because in the end you will pay to know what you really think.

The graphic above was scanned by myself from the cover of The Book of the SubGenius, with a hand scanner many years ago. As anyone who has ever used a hand scanner can tell you, it is almost impossible to scan-and-stitch a large picture with an old hand scanner because the different scans always come out slightly different sizes. This is the only large graphic I was ever able scan and stitch that didn't come out lopsided. Coincidence? I think not. The slack was strong in me that day.

The animated gif below illustrates one of the profound mysteries of the Church of the SubGenius: is "Bob" smoking the pipe, or is the pipe smoking "Bob"?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vintage Brochure (1950s or '60s): Dr. Grabow

Dr. Grabow brochure inside 1

All graphics click to enlarge.

Submitted for your erudition is this old Dr. Grabow brochure. Undated, but I'm guessing 1950s- or '60s-era. This brochure was mixed in with a lot of estate pipes that I once purchased via eBay. After making these scans and saving them for my own future reference, I promptly sold the brochure for a profit like any good SubGenius would. I remember it was purchased by someone in England; the postage to send it there cost more than his winning bid.

This brochure has many nuggets of trivial information that may be usefully inconsequential for the pipe smoker and/or Dr. Grabow collector (come on, I know you Grabowers are out there). For example, at this time there was at least one line of pipes that were being pre-smoked with Carter Hall. We also get a cool sketch of the smoking machine and learn that it was featured in Ripley's Believe It Or Not. We also get to see color illustrations of some of their pipes at that time (with model names and numbers), and an explanation with cut-away illustration of the Ajustomatic system.

Perhaps most importantly, we are given a strong clue as to the origin of "Bob". If you are unfamiliar with "Bob", he will be covered soon in the Featured Pipe Smoker series.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Featured Pipe Smoker: Gerald R. Ford

Gerald Rudolph Ford (1913-2006)

"I'm a Ford, not a Lincoln."

Gerald Ford was born with the name Leslie King in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents divorced after his birth and eventually his mother remarried. In 1935 he formally changed his name to that of his adopted father, legally becoming Gerald R. Ford, Jr.

During his boyhood he joined the Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout--the only president ever to hold that distinction.

He was a star football player at Grand Rapids High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also played football for the University of Michigan, where he was known for being an excellent defensive player (check out his football photo at Wikipedia, it's pretty cool). His number--48--has been retired by U of M.

He graduated in 1935 with a degree in political science and economics. He turned down offers to play pro ball from both the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers so he could take a coaching position at Yale and apply to its law school.

He graduated from law school in 1941. During the 40s he also worked occasionally as a model. He received a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1942. The details of his military service are beyond the scope of this post, but can be found easily. For his service, he earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with nine engagement stars for operations in the Gilbert Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, Marshall Islands, Asiatic and Pacific carrier raids, Hollandia, Marianas, Western Carolines, Western New Guinea, and the Leyte Operation. He also received the Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze stars for Leyte and Mindoro, as well as the American Campaign and World War II Victory Medals.

Ford became a congressional representative for the Grand Rapids district in 1949 and held that post for 24 years. During that time, he was a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. In 1963 he was elected Minority Leader. He was also appointed to the Warren Commission.

In 1973, Spiro Agnew resigned his position as Vice President, and Ford was nominated to fill the post in accordance with the vice-presidential vacancy provision of the 25th Amendment. When Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency in 1974, Vice President Gerald Ford became president. Thus he is the only president to hold that position without being elected to it.

As far as I can tell, Gerald Ford is the only president to pose for his official presidential portrait with a pipe.

In 1974, he gave former president Richard Nixon a full pardon, which cost him a lot of support and probably even cost him his chance at being elected during the next presidential run. At present, many believe that pardoning Nixon was actually the best thing he could have done for the country, although it was probably the worst thing he could have done to himself personally at the time.

In 1974 he was also voted People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive."

His tenure in office was an eventful and perhaps even chaotic time. Most notable was the end of the Vietnam War and the fall of Saigon in 1975. In that year he also survived two assassination attempts.

In 1976, Ford defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination for president, but then lost in the general election to history's greatest monster. He remained close friends with Carter for the rest of his life.

On November 12, 2006 he officially became the longest-lived president by surpassing Ronald Reagan. Ford had the second-longest post-presidential life, after Herbert Hoover.

In my local area, Ford is also (in)famous for what is referred to as The Great Tamale Incident.

Gerald Ford passed away at his home on December 26, 2006.

See also Gerald Ford's Official Whitehouse Biography.

Thanks to JR of A Keyboard and a .45 for emailing me the photo at the top.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vintage Ad (1947): Hollycourt pipes

Not 75%, not 80%, but exactly 77.7% drier, PROVED BY ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC LABORATORY SMOKING TESTS. Okie-dokie.

I have never heard of Hollycourt pipes aside from this old ad which I found somewhere on the internet, but here we have another gimmick pipe with some kind of aluminum doohicky incorporated into the stem that was supposed to prevent clogging(?!) and create a 77.7% drier smoke.

Unfortunately this graphic is kind of low-res and it's hard to read all the fine print, but you may also notice that these pipes were pre-smoked, and I'm pretty sure it says "by Linkman's Executive machine." So I suspect that this pipe was an offshoot of Dr. Grabow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sherlock Holmes illustrated by Daniel Perez

Monday is library day at my son's school. They get to check a book out of the school library and return their previous book. Today he came home with a kid's graphic novel version of my favorite Holmes tale, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Well, I like it. One of the first things I checked was the cast of characters on the first page, and was pleased to see a lean, dark and handsome Dr. Watson instead of the bumbling oaf that popular culture has so often inflicted upon us. My only quibble was that, for some reason, his first name had been changed to Henry. [Correction: Although he is listed as Dr. Henry Watson among the cast of characters, the one time during the story that his first name is used, it is John. The other listing must have been a misprint.]

I flipped through the pages mostly to look at the illustrations and was glad to see the following panels.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Graphic Revolve) is a new book, published 2009, (re-)written by Martin Powell and illustrated by Daniel Perez. The illustrations are dark and hauntingly fantastic. Very cool.

And Holmes still smokes his pipe.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Featured Pipe Smoker: Michael Richards

Michael Anthony Richards (b. 1949)

Born in California and raised as a Catholic, although his publicist has claimed that he is Jewish (after he was accused of making some anti-Semitic remarks). He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Evergreen State College in 1975. Drafted during the Vietnam War and stationed in Germany where he produced and directed shows (ironically) dealing with race relations and drug abuse.

His breakthrough on television arguably came with his casting as a regular on the comedy skit show Fridays in the early 80s (one of the highlights of the week when I was in college). After having several character actor roles on various sitcoms, he finally hit it big, of course, as Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld.

The role of Adrian Monk (TV show Monk) was created for him, but he lost it due to comedic typecasting. Personally, I think he would have made a great Monk, but then, Tony Shaloub makes a great Monk, as well.

Richards holds a 33rd degree in Scottish Rite Masonry.

And then came the Laugh Factory incident, wherein he shouted racial remarks at some people who he said were heckling him. Everybody has already heard about it, so no need to detail it here. I'm sure the video is still on YouTube, if you want to look for it.

The picture above looks a little squished because I scanned it myself from the cover of a TV Guide with a hand scanner many years ago. If you've ever used a hand scanner, you know how difficult it can be to get a decent scan. This photo is from the Seinfeld years, when his character sometimes smoked a pipe. It's hard to tell from the angle in the photo, but I think his pipe might be a Kaywoodie. The logo on the stem could be a cloverleaf, and there's an obvious demarkation between the stem and the shank that could be the edge of the screw-in fitment. It could also be a Dr. Grabow, but I'd hate to think that someone with his money would stoop to using a Dr. G.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vintage Ad (undated): Granger road sign

Here's a photo of an old Granger pipe tobacco road sign ad that someone found in a junkyard.