Friday, July 28, 2006

Bluto & Skip Williamson

Bluto and Skip Williamson

Although we visited Skip Williamson the 2nd or 3rd day I held him off as the best until last.
Bluto has been a Skip Williamson fan for a long time. I have been a fan for a fair amount of time, since I saw his work in The Realist, Playboy, and Bijou Comics. Skip had created a comic character named Sammy Smoot which he fined tuned and it was very good cartoon work.

We drove over to Skip’s house which is on the other side of town. He lives around the corner from my sister. While we were shaking Skip’s hand his wife Harriet came out on the back porch and gave me a hug. She said she hadn’t seen me in a while, I should come around more often. I felt like a jerk.

Skip showed us all over his studio and his latest projects. Then we left and I gave Bluto and Skip and tour of downtown Marietta on things I thought would interest them. We also visited some Civil War skirmishes sites near Kennesaw Mountain.

At that time period I was fascinated with Cheatham Hill, which is across from where my parents are buried. There was a big fight there in a big area and many soldiers on both sides were killed or injured. While the fighting was going on a brush fire started. There were dead and wounded soldiers lying there with the fire quickly approaching them. Suddenly, somebody called a truce and able bodied men from both sides ran out and picked up the incapacitated and carried them to their rightful sides. Each side helped each other drag men to safely. While they were mingling they complemented each other on their shootings, joked, swapped chewing tobacco plugs, and realized each were humans. The officers on both sides were not happy the men on the lines put a face on the enemy.

That was the Cheatham Hill Battle Field. Now, it is a huge park that mostly runners take advantage of.

We went to the Marietta City Cemetery. There were some famous people buried there that I wanted to point out. I think the most written about person buried there is little Mary Phagan. At age 13 she was raped and killed at where she worked in Atlanta, at a pencil factory on her off day. She had went to work to get her paycheck. The owner, Leo Frank, Jewish, was accused of the murder. There was a trial and he was convicted of the crime and was sent to the State Prison in Milledgeville.

One night, I think about 1915, a caravan of cars with masked men inside drove to the State Prison – all the guards happened to be looking the other way when the men found the prison doors unlocked and even Leo Frank’s cell unlocked. They carried him back to Marietta and hung him.

There has been many books written about this crime and hanging. There is evidence now that Leon Frank was innocent…. Governor Jimmy Carter pardoned him, posthumously.

There is proof that the group that planned and orchestrated the Leo Frank hanging were the city’s elite. The judges, mayors, representatives, and bankers.

That is why the group had no trouble getting in the prison and why no one was near to prevent them. The warden was told if he made it easy for them he would get the new prison wing he had been begging for. Which, they pulled the right strings and the new wing was built.

Next we visited Jon Benet’ Ramsey’s grave at St. James Episcopal Church Cemetery. Also, there are some other graves here of historical significance – but only to me. I doubt if Skip or Bluto would care about who in this cemetery that streets were named after. You would have to have grown up in Marietta to appreciate that I think.

After visiting that cemetery we went for lunch at Betty’s Famous Hotdogs. Betty’s Hotdogs is now owned by Brandi and it is Brandi’s Famous Hotdogs.

Both Skip and Bluto seemed to appreciate the spicy chili on the hotdogs. We sat at the counter at ate. While sitting there, within earshot of Betty and her daughters Skip and Bluto used such words as Goddamn, Shit, Fuck, Mother-Fucking, Mother-Fucker, Ass-Hole, and well, just normal talk behind the shed. They did not keep their voices down, they talked normally. Each time a FUCK or GODDAMN flew in the air Betty’s eyes would widen and squint in disapproval. Betty was helping her daughter preparing the hot dogs and also running the cash register as somebody came up to the counter to pay. You could almost read by their facial expressions and body languages what Betty and her daughter were saying about Skip and Bluto. Like Bluto might say, “Do you believe that SHIT?” And Betty’s eyes would pop open and way saying silently, “Did you hear that? I don’t want that vulgarity in here!” Betty turned 73 about a month later, it was in the paper that she was selling her restaurant and retiring. Her daughter, under 50, with her hurt look, was silently saying, “Just take it easy Mama, I haven’t seen two of them before, they probably won’t be back, just don’t cause any trouble.”
And Skip might say, “FUCKING A!”
Again Betty’s eye popped open wide. The soothing daughter, silently saying, Maamaaa … easy, easy.”
And this went on and on.
After we finished we paid at the cash register and Betty yanked our money from us, and sent us on our way… I noticed she didn’t say, “Come back!” like she was telling other people.
Next we went to Kennesaw Mountain and rode up top to look down on Marietta one way and Kennesaw the other. Then, we started talking about Dent “Wildman” Myers. Skip and I both know Wildman. Wildman is a councilman in Kennesaw and also owns a business in the Downtown Historic district. He is responsible for one city ordinance of Kennesaw that made national news: In Kennesaw, if you live within the city limits you must own a handgun – period.
Once I asked Wildman, who is an arch conservative wasn’t telling people they must own a handgun a form of gun control? For an answer he gave me a glare.
He wears his gun, fully loaded, in a holster on his gun belt.
But to give credit where credit is due, I read that Kennesaw has the lowest rate of crime than any other town of that size in the United States. Besides, no one, as yet had to pay a fine or any other punishment for not owning a gun. The law had been declared unenforceable.
Before Dent Myers opened up his Civil War Shop in Kennesaw he worked at Lockheed. Back in the ‘70s we had a green Gremlin with a round red, white, and blue sticker, with the peace symbol within the circle. Wildman also had a green Gremlin with something to the opposite way of thinking on the back of his car, maybe something like “Bomb Hanoi!”. He and Anna used the same parking lot. She worked for, as she does now, for the Department of Defense. At times they would past each other in the parking and greet each other with the finger.
Wildman has written several books about the different fights on Kennesaw Mountain and is considered an expert. He has served as technical director for at least two Civil War movies I know of.
We decided to visit Wildman in his shop. For him it is a good thing we did, Bluto spent over a hundred bucks in tee shirts, books, and right wing literature. He claimed he only studying that type of mind – but I wonder.
Wildman was quiet impressed with Skip – as one Wildman to another Wildman, and of course Bluto slinging money around. And he probably recalled my face from someplace in his past but not quiet sure where at, but I am easily forgotten.

Another night Bluto went to Atlanta with Skip clubbing. I guess I have grown old. I hate the superficial life in clubs. They went to a club at the Clairmont Hotel on Ponce de Leon at the Corner of Monroe Drive. There were plenty of strippers there ready to party. So, Skip and Bluto told me on our next adventure. There was a black stripper there named Blondie. She was named Blondie because she had a blond wig. She had a special talent not many women can do or probably haven’t even thought about doing. She can crush beer cans with her tits, even if they haven’t been opened. Blondie also writes poetry.

Another day we just hung around Skip’s studio, he had some work he had to catch up on.

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