Ernest Tubb and His Texas Troubadours

Poster for Ernest Tubb and His Texas Troubadours, City Auditorium, Salem, Missouri, December 11, 1957

Born on a cotton farm in Ellis County, Texas, in 1914, Ernest Tubb spent his youth working on farms throughout the state. He spent his spare time learning to play the guitar, yodel and sing. In 1936, with the aid of singer and musician Jimmy Rodger’s widow, Tubb was offered a recording contract with the RCA Corporation, recording two unsuccessful records.. He switched to Decca Records in 1940, recording six records with the company. It was his sixth Decca release, the single “Walking the Floor Over You”, that gave Tubb stardom and a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America late in 1965.

Ernest Tubb and his band, The Texas Troubadours, joined the Grand Ole Opry in February of 1943. His first band members were Chester Studdard, Ray “Kamo” Head, and Vernon “Toby” Reese. Tubb and his band were a regular on the radio show for four decades; and Tubb hosted his own radio show, the Midnite Jamboree, which followed the Grand Old Opry each Saturday evening.

Ernest Tubb surrounded himself with some of Nashville’s best musicians. Guitarist Jimmy Short added to the Tubb sound with his single-string guitar picking and clean, clear riffs. Steel guitarists Tommy “Butterball” Paige and Jerry Byrd, who eventually replaced Jimmy Short, added their sounds to Tubb’s recordings. Billy Byrd, who brought jazzy riffs to the instrumental interludes of the songs, joined The Troubadours in 1949 and added the four-note riff at the end of his guitar solos that became a recognizable part of Tubb’s songs. Billy Byrd would remain with Ernest Tubb until 1959, when he left to make several solo albums, later returning to play again with Tubb.

In 1949 Ernest Tubb teamed up with the famous Andrew Sisters to record a cover of Eddy Arnold’s “Don’t Rob Another Man’s Castle” and the western-swing “I’m Bitin’ My Fingernails and Thinking of You”. This two-song record sold 750,000 copies. Later that year, he teamed up with singer and musician Red Foley, recording “You Don’t have to Be a Baby to Cry”. The duo of Tubb and Foley released seven albums together, maintaining a friendly ‘on-the-air” feud over the years. 

Known for having one of the best bands in country music history, Ernest Tubb was inducted into the County Music Hall of Fame in 1965. In 1970, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Tubb inspired some of the most devoted fans of any country artist; his fans loyally followed him though out his career, long after his songs stopped making the charts. He remained a fixture at the Grand Ole Opry and continued to host his Midnite Jamboree radio show. Tubb appeared as himself in Loretta Lynn’s 1980 autobiographical film “Coal Miner’s Daughter” along with fellow country stars Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl. 

Tubb’s singing voice remained intact until late in life, when emphysema developed. He still continued making over two hundred appearances, traveling with an oxygen tank, shaking hands and signing autographs with every fan who stayed after the show. His health problems eventually halted his performances in 1982. Ernest Tubb made his final appearance at the Grand Ole Opry on August 14, 1982. He died in 1984 and is buried in Nashville’s Hermitage Memorial Gardens.

Chet Phillips

Chet Phillips, “Austin Bats”

Chet Phillips, living and working in Austin, Texas, began his career as a freelance illustrator in the early 1980’s. He has created work for advertising agencies, design firms, book, newspaper and magazine publishers and corporations. Trained in traditional media with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing, Phillips made the transition to digital media in 1992.

Hernando Villa

Hernando Villa, “Pacifica Island Art Chicago World’s Fair 1933″, Vintage Railroad Travel Poster, 1933

Hernando Villa was a commercial artist and easel painter, best known for his work for the Santa Fe Railway. He studied at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design in 1905 and, after a year in Germany and England, he taught at the School for two years.

Villa established himself as a commercial artist in his home town, illustrating western magazines and creating advertising for the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Santa Fe Railway.  He enjoyed a forty-year relationship with the Santa Fe for which he created his best-known images including the Santa Fe Chief emblem.

Hernando Villa also executed easel paintings throughout his career which he showed primarily in California.  He worked in oil, watercolor, pastel, and charcoal.  His most frequent subjects were Native Americans, Mexican vaqueros, California missions, and coastal views.  Villa created a mural for the New Rialto Theater in Phoenix, and won a gold medal for a mural exhibited at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in 1915.

Chung Ling Soo

Artist Unknown, “Chung Ling Soo”, 1908 Advertising Poster

This rare 1908 poster advertised a tour of the talented magician Chung Ling Soo. It is one of eight different known posters of the magician’s tours.

Born William Ellsworth Robinson in Westchester County, New York in 1861,Chung Ling Soo was a behind-the-scenes designer of magic tricks for headliners Harry Keller and Alexander Herrmann before he struck out on his own. Around 1900, while in Europe, he adopted the Chung Ling Soo persona.

Robinson went to great lengths to preserve the illusion, limiting his speech on stage to the occasional bit of broken English and relying on an interpreter to talk to journalists. Robinson in his persona of Chung Ling Soo performed a bullet catch trick at a show in London, England in 1918; it was one of the big theatrical showpieces of his performances. Instead of catching the bullet on a plate, the bullet hit his chest. Robinson died a few days later at the age of 56.

Odessa

Artist Unknown, “Odessa”, 1930s Vintage Poster

This vintage 1930s travel poster was designed to encourage tourism to the USSR before the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War, which essentially closed off the Soviet Union to westerners.. Advertising flights and train routes through the Soviet Union, they were published by Joseph Stalin’s Intourist Company, founded in 1929.

Kellar the Magician

Keller the Magician Poster, “Levitation”, 1900-1909

Harry Kellar was an American magician, a predecessor of Harry Houdini and a successor of Robert Heller and Isaiah Hughes, under whom he apprenticed. Referred to as the “Dean of American Magicians”, he is shown here performing one his most memorable stage illusions, the “Levitation of Princess Karnac”.

Cigarette Cards: The Parisian

The “Parisian”, 1888, Commercial Color  Lithograph,  Issued by Allen and Ginter Cigarettes, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This trade card was from the “World’s Smokers” series (N33) issued in 1888 in a set of fifty cards to promote the Allen and Ginter brand cigarettes; the company was located in Richmond, Virgian. Printer’s samples were included in the set, as well. The printer’s sample cards are on a thinner card stock without printed text.

Each card in the series measures 2.75 x 1.5 inches. One card was packed in each box of ten cigarettes.

Mothra

Promotional Poster for “Mothra”, Columbia Pictures, 1962

A kaiju is a Japanese film genre that features giant monsters, usually attacking major cities and engaging the military and other monsters in battle. It is a subgenre of tokusatsu entertainment, which deals with science fiction, fantasy, or horror.

Tokusatsu has its origins in early Japanes theater, specifically in kabuki with its action and fight scenes, and in bunraku, which utilized some of the earliest forms of special effects, specifically puppetry. Modern tokusatsu, however, did not begin to take shape until the early 1950s with the conceptual and creative birth of Godzilla, one of the most famous kaiju monsters of all time.

Mothra is a kaiju that first appeared in Toho Company’s 1961 film “Mothra”, developing into a recurring character in the Godzilla franchise. She is typically portrayed as a colossal sentient caterpillar or imago moth, accompanied by two miniature humanoids speaking on her behalf.

Unlike other Toho monsters, Mothra is a largely heroic character, having been variously portrayed as a protector of her own island culture, Japan, and the Earth. She became one of Toho’s most poputlar monsters, second only to Godzilla in its total number of film appearances.