Champion Spark Plugs - The mothership connection.

Here's the Champion mother ship, guiding a happy family on their "vacation tour" through, uuh, El Paso, if the picture on my salsa jar is accurate... and salsa's never lied to me before.
I wanted to complete the P-Funk joke with some kind of "flash light" reference, in connection with the picture in the ad, but I came up empty on that. Note to self: have the assistant editor leave out that last sentence in the final post. No one must believe a joke was stillborn on my watch.

So, to hear Champion tell it, all you need to do is check your plugs and all you'll have to worry about on your "vacation tour" is adjusting your carburetor every 45 minutes due to the changing climate as you drive south into the salsa label. Oh, and watch those corners. Your tires are probably bias ply, as opposed to radials. They'll deform badly under side loads... not that your 75 horsepower Oldsmobuick can achieve a speed likely to make that happen. Old cars are fun to look at, but just believe your modern car is a better thing to drive. Sorry, Dad.
So anyway, somebody spent a lot of time airbrushing that giant spark plug. This was 1941, and computers were still grunting and banging rocks together. So, there were no P-Shop All Stars just yet (Yes! Funkadelic joke redemption!). Everything in that spark plug was masked with frisket material (adhesive film), cut with an X-Acto knife and sprayed with an airbrush. The detail in the metal knurling (yep, that's what it's called) on the spark plug must have been an absolute chore to do. Eff that.

Who did all that work? We do have a hard-to-read signature. In a demonstration of the frreaky power of the web, I searched on "ickery" and "artist" a few different ways and came up with John Vickery. Is it him?
Well, there are a few posters like this one that look like the same artist painted them. But, the clincher is his signature, found on "identifyartistsignatures.com". Scully, we have a match.
Vickery was an Australian artist who did a lot of commercial work but also did lots of interesting modern stuff, it turns out. It's always interesting to see what people prefer to do when they're not on the clock. Wikipedia doesn't seem to know about him at all, but the exhibition page in that link says he died in 1983, just when the video game industry crashed. Coincidence? Yep.

Lastly, here's a piece of sciency weirdness I found out while I was looking up bias ply tires in preparation to ridicule them: the steel wire bead in car tires generates a magnetic field when you're driving. What the eff? Not scary or life-changing, but very weird. Here's the study by the Berne University of Applied Sciences.


craig f. said...

Other artists revealed during "ickery" and "artist" google search:

Vance Dickery - Illustrated covers for "Incontinence Monthly."

Bilbo Hickery - Drew cutaway centerfolds for "Fittings and Things."

Schlomo Fickery - Cartoonist for "Screw."

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Dammit. I wish I'd thought of doing an "other ickerys" list, such as:

-Ricky Ickery - Lesser known jingle writer in the tin pan alley years.

-Old man Hickory Mickery - Famous hobo lord of the early 1920's.

- Rickety Dickery - 1931 congressman who held office for 21 minutes before being indicted.

...but no, I didn't think of a list. That's why we need Cragf.

Well listed, sir!

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