The Famous Shoe-On-Fire Photo

The Famous Shoe-On-Fire Photo
One day at the Beale apartment, Chuck decided it was funny to light his shoe sole on fire.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Stringbean Murders

Chuck had eclectic taste in music: Sixties rock and pop, punk, r&b, and old-time country. One of his extant cassettes has Merle Haggard on one side and Curtis Mayfield on the other.

We all grew up with Hee-Haw, a sort of cheap-ass self-deprecating country comedy and music variety show, and were all familiar with Grandpa Jones, Junior Samples and the appalling Lulu. I don't know about the Barker household, but during the 70's at the Brookmans' it was the assumed viewing during the Saturday at 7 time slot. It functioned as a showcase for new and old country music talent and as a sort of last chance saloon for the dying generation of country comedians including Grandpa Jones, Minnie Pearl, and the sad clown with ultra-baggy pants and vertical eyebrows drawn on, the tragic figure of this piece, Stringbean, an excellent banjo player and singer of usually comic songs.

In 1973, Stringbean and his wife, Estelle, were gunned down in a botched robbery attempt at their cabin in Tennessee. Stringbean was known to flash wads of $100 bills, and, well, you can't do that if you want to continue living.

Who knows how he found out about it with no internet yet invented, but at least ten years later Chuck became interested in this unlikely showbiz murder and talked about it frequently for a while.  I mean...someone named Stringbean murdered...that is pretty funny particularly considering how goofy the man looked as part of his act.  I don't know how much he unearthed, but in honor of one of Chuck's many offbeat interests in this entry I present Stringbean's story and excellent coverage of his murder. Read on!

WFMU's Stringbean Page: Required Reading

Peter Cooper's More Recent Coverage of the Stringbean Murders

Once again, Chuck was on to something. Given the photographic and performance evidence, Stringbean was a great performer, and one of the last great American eccentrics.

Contemporary human morphology no doubt inspired by Stringbean!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

More from the Tom Copenhaver Memorial Collection

Tom Copenhaver, still digging through his mighty Charles Foster Kane-like treasure trove, unearthed more Chuck-related items and had this to say: "Chuck loved the Changeable Charlie.  Every time he would come to my house, he would play with this toy.  I had two of them and eventually gave him one of them, probably when we were in the third or fourth grade.  Attached is the one I kept.  Years later Chuck found a related toy, Changeable Charlie's Aunt and passed it along to me."

To me, your humble blogger,  playing with Changeable Charlie's Aunt is an exercise in monster creation. I remember a much later exchange between Chuck and Bill Hill. Bill, after Chuck bragged that he had found something cool probably at a yard sale or flea market: "Chuck, when did YOU become interested in monsters and monster-related items?" The world may never know.

Charlie could be among other things a normal cigar-chomping pillar of society

Charlie's Aunt, on the other hand, is just too ghoul for school. Uncle!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Rare Bill Hill Comic from Richmond Zine

Another A+ entry from the Copenhaver Collection, here's a rare Bill Hill comic from a Richmond zine. Chuck, like all of us, loved Bill's comedic genius.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Artwork by Joey Cheatham from the Tom Copenhaver Collection

To all who would be reading this, it is obvious that Joey was part of the ol' gang, the very same one that housed the shenanigans of Chuck. Another of the gang, Tom Copenhaver, recently came across two pieces of Joey's artwork, a watercolor done in the late 80s, and a Xmas card made while Joey was incarcerated. That's right. A jailhouse Xmas card.

I like the wiggly lines of the arm and man's odd lumpy face.
Here, the connection to Chuck's drawings is very clear. Those floating heads look a lot like Chuck's work. I think a can of Fancy Okry (translation: "okra") is a fine Xmas present. You could heat it up and eat it up right then and there.

Thanks, Tom. Let us know if you find any more.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Happy's Flea Market in Peril!

One of Chuck's favorite places to search for "valuable gold" (records and other collectables) was Happy's Flea Market in Roanoke. Recently, HFM has been cited as in violation of various building codes:

City may condemn Happy's Flea Market - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Apparently now they are making progress so that the next generation of young people scouring the bins, boxes and baskets for Warner Brothers character glasses and Earl Carter lps will have a place to go. Whew!

Happy's Flea Market actually has a website. I can't believe it either.