Tattooing By Stoney - Monday, November 16, 2015

In the world of side show banner art, it is somewhat rare to be able to actually identify the performers depicted in the advertisements painted on the sheets of canvas that often stretched ten feet tall, eight feet wide (the conventional dimensions used to draw attention to the different acts and serve as a barrier between curious passersby and paying customers).  The American Treasure Tour has on display significantly smaller reproductions painted on leather by our favorite local artist - Joan Fay.  Since our banners were created to commemorate the ads of old, they do not attempt to achieve the same sizes (although we do have a handful of authentic side show advertisements on display as well).

So, today, we are going to celebrate Stoney St. Clair, a prominent tattoo artist who devoted many seasons to travelling with the circus side show to off his expert talent. Born Leonard St. Clair in West Virginia, he was a boy when he contracted rheumatoid arthritis.  His father, a coal miner, used up the family savings in medical bills for Stoney's treatment at Johns Hopkins, where the boy developed his drawing skills.  While working for the circus, he learned the tattoo trade and devoted the remainder of his life to that - travelling with the circus in season, then at his winter home in Tampa, Florida. Regarded as an exceptional tattoo artist, Stoney in no way appeared as he was presented in the banner advertising his show.  His achievements in life were all the more impressive considering he was confined to a wheelchair his entire adult life.  Stoney was 68 years old when he passed away in 1980.
QUESTION:  In what year did James O'Reilly patent the first American tattooing machine?
A)  1881
B)  1923
C)  1954
D)  1981

PIPELINE.  Alaska, the 49th state of the United States, is known for a number of things.  To name a few, gold, beautiful scenery, Sarah Palin, and oil.  Of course, the one with the longest-lasting importance to the "lower" 48 states is the last, the oil.  But what is the value of oil if it is too expensive to transport it?  Well, on this day in 1973, President Nixon signed into law the act to build the trans-Alaska pipeline, which would span the length of the state from the northern Arctic region of Prudhoe Bay to the port community of Valdez in the south, where it could be easily transported via ship.  The pipeline would be around eight hundred miles long. 

THE PENGUIN.  Today we celebrate the birthday of Burgess Meredith in 1907.  For his nine decades on the planet, he acted for seven of them in well over a hundred movies and television programs.  An impressive record for a man who is known today mostly for two iconic roles - The Penguin in the 1960's Batman television series (not to be confused with the much darker Christopher Nolan trilogy), and for playing the trainer to Sylvester Stallone's boxer in the early Rocky movies (not to be confused with the later Rocky movies).  

QUOTE:  I'll just take amusement at being a paradox. - Burgess Meredith

ANSWER:  A)  1881