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Shepherd Ball-B-Q, Pride of Canada! (Model 300)

Shephard Ball-B-Q

I have seen this style BBQ before, but never in person. We were at the Alameda Antiques Faire and on the way out we saw this BBQ gleaming in the mid day sun. The classic design embodied modernism, and demonstrated how design was delivering new kinds of lifestyles into the Canadian experience. One of the first barbeques with an integrated cover, the Ball-B-Q combines a domed top which rolls over a double stack of racks and a rounded pan joined to a single curved pedestal. The shape of the ball somewhat resembles the castors that are the main product of its manufacturer, Shepard Products. The spun aluminum top emphasizes its use and contrasts with the intense red of the pedestal. A black wood sphere acts as a handle and allows easy and safe opening of the hood. The Ball-B-Q was the recipient of both Design Canada and Association of Professional Industrial Designers Ontario awards.”


Mel and I shot over to investigate it. We knew it was too cool to leave behind, so we nabbed it!


This is in overall good condition, but it needs a little cleaning up. It appears to have never been used.


I am trying to locate the original paperwork for this BBQ. When I purchase something, I like to make sure I make it as complete as posssible.


This grill has such a thoughtful design. I have to really hand it to the designer.



Look at all the variations! So many options!


Here is the patent paperwork submitted in 1968. Such a cool design!


We found this matching tray on eBay and are anxiously awaiting its arrival. This will make a nice set!

Carter The Great

Ok….I know what you are probably thinking…this is earlier than the time frame I usually focus on. “What is this crazy cat doing?” But, you might remember an earlier post where I covered circus posters and how I love the imagery. This huge magician poster was made in 1928. I saw this on Craigslist a while back and wanted it soo badly but funds were a little short (taxes lol) so I wrote it off as just a dream. Then a day or so ago I saw it on Craigslist again by the same seller. This time I had a little more scratch (money) on me so I arranged to see it. It blew me away when I saw it in person. The colors are really vibrant and the condition is really nice.

This thing is huge, it measure 106 inches long and 80 inches wide. I am going over to my good buddies at Wholesale Art and Framing to see if they can frame it to help preserve it. They always cut glass and frame things for me.

The great thing about this particular poster is that it has soo much activity depicted on the front.

These posters were originally in sections and were put together wherever they were displayed. This particular poster has been mounted on a sheet of fabric to help preserve it better.

Here is one of his famous tricks….The Marked Bullet!

In this part of the poster you see him sawing a woman in half, levitating a woman & making a piece of fabric dance.

This is a great image of this Asian guy in his decorative robe making a bowl of fish levitate. In the background you can see some curious owls.

Otis Lithograph Co. produced this fantastic poster.

This appears to be the company that mounted the poster on the fabric backing.

This will look great once framed. I have no idea how I will get it home once it is framed. I will figure something out!

Here is some great background info on Cater The Great with some pictures of some of his other great posters!

Charles Joseph Carter (June 14, 1874 – February 13, 1936) was an American stage magician, also known as Carter the Great. A native of San Francisco, California, Carter began his career as a journalist and lawyer. As time passed, he grew an interest in magic. Due to stiff competition from the number of magic acts on the American stages at the time, Carter opted to pursue his career abroad, where he achieved his greatest fame. Among the highlights of Carter’s stage performances during his career were the classic “sawing a woman in half” illusion (an elaborate surgical-themed version with “nurses” in attendance), making a live elephant disappear and “cheating the gallows”, where a shrouded Carter would vanish, just as he dropped at the end of a hangman’s noose.

Carter’s first theatrical experience occurred at the Herzog’s museum and Pat Harris’ Masonic Temple in Baltimore at the age of 10, where he appeared as Master Charles Carter the Original Boy Magician.

A fictionalized account of his life can be found in Carter Beats the Devil (ISBN 0-7868-8632-3) by Glen David Gold.

Carter purchased the famous Martinka Magic Palace in 1917, a time when he was unable to continue his world touring magic show. The story goes that he kept his lion, Monty in the back room of the shop and when it would roar, the startled customers would run for the door.

Carter’s home in San Francisco was rented by the Sumitomo Bank of California in the 1980s-90s and used as a residence for the Bank’s President. Carter used to put on shows in the basement and you can still see occult references in the stained glass windows. The house is in the Seacliff District of San Francisco near the Pacific Ocean. It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the “Houdini Mansion”. It is now used as a foreign consulate.

Following Charles Carter’s death from a heart attack in 1936, his son Larry Carter took over as Carter the Great.

A variety of vintage posters, advertising his shows, are on display at the House on the Rock in Wisconsin.


Fred G. Johnson: A One Man Circus

I love the feelings these canvas pieces of art conjure up. They make me feel that there could be some creature or person yet to be discovered with amazing abilities or freakish talents. I remember when I was growing up my dad use to get free tickets for the circus from the Union Pacific railroad (He was a manager with the UP). We would go to the Arco Arena and watch “the greatest show on earth”, Barnum and Bailey Circus. I remember how excited I was and how cool it was to see all the acts and characters that would entertain us. Anyways, I know some of you are freaked out by clowns or sideshow entertainers but these pieces of art scream Americana! Today I will discuss the best known sideshow banner artist Fred G. Johnson.

Fred G. Johnson is considered to be one of the finest sideshow banner painters in the history of the circus and sideshow world. He had a 65-year career of banner painting, creating many works that are still prized by collectors and museums around the world. He worked for the O. Henry Tent and Awning Company in Chicago for 40 years from 1934 – 1974.

Known as the ‘Picasso’ of circus art, Fred G. Johnson designed advertisements for the Century of Progress Exposition, the 1933 World’s Fair held in Chicago, the city’s old White City and Riverview amusement parks, traveling shows throughout the country, and all the great circuses, including Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey and the Clyde Beatty Circus.

His banners have been exhibited at the State of Illinois Building, some now hang in museums, and others were auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York.

A native of Chicago, Mr. Johnson started running errands at age 14 for the United States Tent & Awning Co. Banner painter H. D. Cummings was looking for someone to clean pots and do odd jobs and took Mr. Johnson on. The older man taught him to paint, something he learned well without any formal training in figure or scene drawing.

Fred Johnson was the oldest living sideshow banner artist until his death at 98 years old in 1990.

His works were exhibited in July of 1989 at the State of Illinois Art Center Gallery as Fred G. Johnson’s Sideshow Banners. They also hang in the circus museums in Baraboo, Wisconsin and Sarasota, Florida.

Among his banners auctioned at Sotheby’s in 1981 were Minnie Ha-Ha the Monkey Girl, Josephine the Electric Girl, Albert the Rubber Skin Man, The World`s Strangest Married Couple and Dickie the Penguin Boy.


These canvas painting could get pretty large. The colors are vibrant and the imagery can be kind of strange but in my opinion they are very cool. These would be great framed and hanging on the wall in a game room. I have not had the opportunity to purchase one of these yet but my eyes are always searching. As with any piece of art condition is very important and these pieces of art were prone to paint loss. If you get a chance to grab one of these at a reasonable price then jump on it.

Norma Jeane Baker

To me there has never been anyone in Hollywood that had such a seductive nature as Marilyn Monroe (except for my Mrs. Kitty). I am old school in what I think is attractive. I am not attracted to string beans, I think women should have a little meat on them. It seems that today’s women needs to be a size zero to be considered attractive by society, that’s crazy thinking. Look at Marilyn, how could you think she was anything less than stunning?

With measurements of 36-23-37 all you can say is wow!

As an actress she was sometimes considered a dumb blond and was portrayed that way in many movies, but I am not sure if that title fits. She may have not been a Rhodes Scholar but she was always convincing in her roles. Maybe she was just the reflection of what Hollywood or society had of women during that time. Anyways she acted in 30 or more movies and is considered the sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.

Here are Marilyn’s top 10 movies and they are must see for all you cats that dig Marilyn. These really showcase her abilities. My two favorites are “Some Like It Hot” and “Misfits”.


Niagara (1953)

A suspenseful film noir, uncharacteristically shot in color, features MM as the femme fatale. Uncompromising in her sinister portrayal of a young wife plotting against her older husband, MM shows her real talent to act in a dramatic role in this film. Niagara is full of plot twists as MM and her husband in the film, played by Joseph Cotton, continuously double-cross each other, leading to a dark fate for all concerned.

Here she is on the set of Niagara. She was so great in front of the camera.


Some Like It Hot (1957)

Billy Wilder’s hugely successful comedy featuring MM as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, a singer and ukulele player in an all-girl band, and Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as two musicians who unwittingly witness a mafia massacre and must flee for their lives, hiding in drag in Sugar Kane’s traveling band.

Here is a publicity shot of Marilyn playing her ukulele in "Some Like It Hot".


The Seven Year Itch (1955)

MM stars in this iconic turn as “The Girl” of a married man’s fantastical affections during the dog days of summer in New York. The film is famous for the scene in which MM’s character tries to cool off by standing above a subway vent while the gust of the passing train blows her skirt up. Tom Elwell, who plays her enamored neighbor, is a perfect foil for The Girl’s charms.

Here is Marilyn in one of her most famous scenes, the subway vent scene in the movie “The Seven Year Itch”.


Bus Stop (1956)

After studying a year under the tutelage of Lee Strasberg at the Actor’s Studio in New York, MM was determined to combat the unfavorable criticism of her acting ability that had plagued her career. The result was Bus Stop, a dramatic piece that highlighted MM’s full range as an actress. As Cherie, a small-town cafe singer with big dreams, MM was able to showcase a range of emotions and distance herself from the one-dimensional comedy/musicals that Hollywood management continuously assigned her.

Here is another publicity shot of Marilyn in "Bus Stop".


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

A tongue-in-cheek comedy romp about pretty showgirls and their suitors. MM stars as Lorelei Lee who travels along with her best friend, Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell), across the Atlantic on an ocean-liner filled with rich men, imposters, and detectives. The film contains another iconic MM cinema moment as Lorelei sings “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

Here is Marilyn using her persuasion in "Gentleman Prefer Blondes".


Don’t Bother to Knock (1952)

MM’s first starring role in which she plays a darkly disturbed babysitter, a character far from the lighthearted showgirls and singers that would bring her fame. The violent outbursts and hysteria MM exhibits as Nell Forbes convey a talent for playing an unstable character that was sadly never utilized the rest of her film career.

Here is Marilyn staring alongside Richard Widmark in"Don't Bother To Knock".


How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

MM’s character, Pola Debevoise, is part of a trio of gold-diggers including Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall) and Loco Dempsey (Betty Grable) who have sworn to never get involved with poor men again. But can they go through with their plans of following their heads instead of their hearts? And is it possible for MM’s character Pola to follow anything when she insists on taking off her glasses and fumbling through life in near-sighted blindness?

Here is Marilyn in "How To Marry A Millionaire".


The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)

Unfortunately the film as a whole suffers from a slow pace, but that does not detract from MM’s performance as Elsie Marina, a showgirl wooed by the Prince Regent of Carpathia (Lawrence Olivier). This film is a rare case where it is easy to contrast the performances of an actor from the stage (Olivier) and an actor from the screen (Monroe). Although Olivier’s reputation as one of the greatest actors of the 20th Century is well-established, it is MM who shines on the screen here, giving evidence to the assertion that acting for the stage and the screen are two separate talents.

Marilyn playing opposite Lawrence Olivier in "The Prince & The Showgirl".


The Misfits (1961)

A depressing look at the end of the legend of the American West, written by Arthur Miller (MM’s third husband) and directed by John Huston. Co-starring Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift as cowboys at different stages of their lives, the film’s heart is centered directly on MM’s character, Rosalyn Tabor, who voices the dismay and tragedy felt by all as they live through the times of broken dreams and abandonment.

Marilyn opposite Clark Gable in "The Misfits".


All About Eve (1950)

All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle (1950) were the first films that brought MM to the attention of Hollywood movie executives. Although her role as Miss Claudia Caswell, a graduate of the Copacabana School of the Dramatic Arts, in All About Eve does not have much screen time, it is interesting to watch the film with the foresight we have today of the legend that MM would eventually become. In this role as in many others that were to follow, she plays a starlet with dreams of showbiz fame but here she is strategically juxtaposed with the film’s real ambitious star-to-be, the title character Eve. Miss Claudia’s beauty far surpasses Eve’s, but there is an innocence to Miss Claudia’s character that conveys her flirting and shimmying around to gain attention would stop at some moral point, unlike Eve’s intentions which have no moral boundaries.

Wow, look how young she is. Though her role is small in this movie this is the role that got her discovered.




I dare to say there will never be another Marilyn.

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