Sunday, December 8, 2019

Caroll Spinney - Dec. 26, 1933 - Dec. 8, 2019

Everyone who knows me knows my adoration for many, but one hero flies high above the others which is Caroll Spinney.

Back in 2016, I had a chance to meet him, and that reflection can be found by CLICKING HERE.

It was an amazing experience to shake his hand, to see him in person, to hear his voice and his stories that he shared with me.

Today, though, the bad news comes from several communications that he's gone on to feather his nest elsewhere.  Extremely saddened by this news, my immediate thought was to sit down and create - just as he'd inspired me all my life to do.  I created this little tribute to him.

I'm so thankful I was able to grow up with one of my best friends who only met me in passing at a convention, who didn't even know how much adoration was being sent in his direction.  I got to watch Big Bird grow and learn at the same time I did - that was certainly magical.

I thank his family for sharing him with us, too.  Deb Spinney is one of the most wonderful spirits there is, and meeting her was as wonderful as meeting him.  My love goes out to the family as well.

I'll continue to grow and learn and create.  I think that would be a grand dedication to a life well-lived, to not only meeting his own dreams and making them come true, but bringing us new dreams and inspiring us to make them come true.

Indeed, fly high like a big bird should, Caroll.  We'll see you around the corner one day.

To repeat the final portion of the story about my having met him:

AFTERWORDMuley and my signed collectibles back in the bag, I thanked both Caroll and Debbie and walked toward the exit curtain.  There stood my pal, Lori, "Well?"
"Big Bird said 'Hey' to me," I said with a quivering lip.
Lori smiled, "You can fan-boy now." Yeah, I did.

Sesame Workshop remembers Caroll.

Local Memphis 24

Hollywood Reporter


Fox 13 Memphis

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Patrolman Edward Thomas Broadfoot's Headstone Dedication

I think the best way to tell the story about the headstone dedication on Sunday, November 17, 2019, at 2 p.m., is to share my speech given that day.  Special thanks to the Memphis Police Department's Color Guard, Deputy Director Mike Ryall, and Deputy Chief Dan Crowe.  Special thanks to Jennifer Russell at Crone Memorials for making the after event refreshment gathering work so well.  Special thanks to Stephen Guenther of Historical Haunts Memphis for participating with us and speaking to the many hearts gathered there that day.  Special thanks to Angela Freeman of Snapper Photos for taking the pictures of the event.  Most especially a HUGE thanks to Officer Jim Schmedes and the Old Allen Precinct, without whom this couldn't have happened!

Photo of Ed Broadfoot that appeared in a 1980s article when his name appeared on a fallen officer's
plaque at the Memphis Police Department - his daughter Flora Lee (Jacobs) provided it.

WMC-TV 5 had a blurb about the event, but Local Memphis 24 did a story (if the video is too large for the player, you might have to click the link to watch it):

This is my speech that day:

Here, I am delivering my speech, this story on the blog.

I am a puppeteer and cartoonist. I'm a fan of history. Since childhood, I've always loved cemeteries and headstone's, and today I work at Crone Memorials, a headstone company. I like telling stories. I like tales of ghosts and spooky things. All of that culminated in the fun part-time job that taught me a story that I want to share with you all today.

Stephen Guenther presents dialogue and importance of safety.

While working as a tour guide with Historical Haunts Memphis, I learned the story about a fallen police officer who died in the building from which the tours begin, and to this day the basement rafters still exhibit his blood stains. I became fully invested in researching his story having told it so many times. This created a bit of a connection between me and him, and what led us to this moment today.

Deputy Director of MPD, Mike Ryall.

On February 23, 1918, Patrolmen Edward T. Broadfoot and L.C. Dowdy were dispatched to La Preferencia Cafe at 546 South Main Street, Memphis, Tennessee, to investigate three men who were behaving suspiciously. Upon entry, Patrolman Broadfoot noticed that there was a bag left by the door and other cases by the table of the three men. The officers told them they would have to submit to a search.

Deputy Chief Dan Crowe makes a Final Radio Call for Patrolman Broadfoot.
I got emotional during this and, yes, I bawled.

Tony Wilson from Glendora, Mississippi, had hitched a ride with the other two men into Memphis, and submitted to the search with Patrolman Dowdy. Broadfoot approached the table.  One of the other men, John Latham, had his hand in his coat pocket. Broadfoot told him to take his hand from his pocket, he said, I ain't got nothing, boss," as he pulled an automatic pistol from his pocket shooting Broadfoot over his right eye, and once in the chest - Broadfoot's gun remained in its holster.

The Memphis Police Department's Color Guard

Due to a faulty cartridge, Dowdy could not get a shot off, but was shot four times (he survived after months of rehab).  Tony Wilson was shot in his arm, the bullet passing through into his lung. Dowdy and Wilson were taken to City Hospital. The two perpetrators escaped, one running up Main Street and turning right on Calhoun - modern day's G.E. Patterson Street. Wilson said that he only met "John" in Glendora, Mississippi, and rode into town with him - Wilson died later that day.

I removed the covering unveiling the monument

Shooter John Latham fled to Pensacola, Florida. While in Pensacola, he met a woman to whom he bragged about shooting a police officer in Memphis. At some point in the relationship, she became a "scorned woman" and turned Latham in to the Pensacola Police. In October, 1918, Memphis Chief Detective Hulett Smith received a photo from the Pensacola Police Department that they had arrested John Latham whose description matched the shooter of Broadfoot. The photo was verified by Patrolman Dowdy and other witnesses. Latham was returned to Tennessee for trial.

The event's first view of the monument.

Over 100 years since the death of Patrolman Broadfoot, no marker has ever been installed for him or his bride, Maude, until now. Researching multiple websites locating family proved unfruitful - until one great-granddaughter reached out to me recently after the details rose on GoFundMe, a fundraising website.

Stephen and I pose with the monument and Ed's portrait.

Which brings us to today. Officer Jim Schmidt is of the Memphis Police Department old Allen Precinct heard my plea for help in placing this marker, and in the course of just one weekend help me raise almost all of the funds for the marker other than what historical haunts Memphis and myself had already invested into this headstone. Crone memorials help with pricing for a stone that would stand tall and be easy to find since Broadfoot has been unmarked since 1918. My design includes an early 1900s star-shaped badge with patrolman Broadfoot number Cullen four. To not be ignored, a rose of Love decorates mod side of the marker.

Broadfoot's niece, Vicki Frederick, and grandniece Leah were able to come!

At his death, Ed was 37 years old, with a 35 year old wife named Maude, and three children, daughter floralea 5 years old, daughter artist 8 years old, and Son James 11 years old. Patrolman Broadfoot End of Watch was at approximately 2 a.m. on February 23rd, 1918 - coincidentally the same day that he was to testify against the Memphis Street Railway company and a murder case. That is another story with its own controversy.

Ignore the "follow the badge," which was only here to help during the day of the ceremony.

The officers, joined by PST Anthony, joined us at the after-event gathering and shared more information with us about Broadfoot.

Special thanks to Sam and Bonnie Davis (my parents) for their creation of the beautiful bouquet!

Thanks to Bob and Barbara Roy for loading all my stuff in the van while I talked, and to other friends who came to support the event! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Original Proton Pack Sketches by Kevin L. Williams

The following are scans of Ghostbusters' Proton Pack, Ghost Trap, and PKE Meter artwork I found that were my original sketches in the 1980s (after pausing the movie a bazillion times, mainly the scene where Ray runs down the hall only to find a slimed Peter), and photos of my 1st construction about 1989.

My original proton pack exists in parts in my attic now.  It was never very fancy, although it did have some lights, and was good enough to make some folks think they were looking at the actual prop!

Enjoy these original sketches!

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