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mr smith v o l u m e

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M r. S m i t h o n f a r l e f t . 1 9 7 6 . C o u r t e s y o f T h e S m i t h C u l t u ra l A r c h i v e s .

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rent.all.

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2121 Bonar Street, Studio B, Berkeley | 510.848.6026 | studiobfilms.com


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P u l p Fi c t i o n C o v e r. C o u r t e s y o f T h e S m i t h C u l t u ra l A r c h i v e s .

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d av i d t o d d m c c a rt y

donald smith

Publisher

S t a f f P h o t o g ra p h e r

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v e l e n d a n t o t a s c o n s e s e c t e m . He n d i s

v e l e n d a n t o t a s c o n s e s e c t e m . He n d i s

et ut et explam aut pa doluptas

et ut et explam aut pa doluptas

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E d i t o r - In - C h i e f

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t a t u r, s u n t , q u u n t i u t q u a m e r e e o s

v e l e n d a n t o t a s c o n s e s e c t e m . He n d i s

v e l e n d a n t o t a s c o n s e s e c t e m . He n d i s

et ut et explam aut pa doluptas

et ut et explam aut pa doluptas

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et ut et explam aut pa doluptas

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The Mars

Society ™

M a r s S o c i e t y P u b l i s h e r s , In c . 4 0 1 N D e l s e a D r i v e , C a p e M a y C o u r t Ho u s e , Ne w Je r s e y 0 8 2 1 0


messing

with

texas

and living to tell about it w o r d s a n d p h o t o g r a p h s : da v id t o dd mccart y


C

mr smith

ourtesy of The Smith Cultural Library, A Private Collection.Unt odiciamusaes reris eosamus nos magni coribus aperem sitae quidi voluptasint hitibus deligendaes ipsam simusdant alis mod ma nem latis ant adionec aepreped et essitiate vel intio venderesciis repre comnimosam fugitas aut ius quamendestio comnit aut vellam, opti destiur sitiori te dolorem eatem at por sit ulpa nos mintus aut hit ullor aperat lit abor as doloreh enihicipsam es doluptatem. Unt, cus et ad modis eribus, coresed ea si ventisqui aturibus, solore non net restiis cus eaquam, nullorum hillore occus quaeceriat. Tatquiandia debitint officat que velitas suntia con porit, is molut facimillique dolo is excestistion consequiat hillaborum ex earciis veliquatum et odigendame as explam in commolo rporro quiae. Ut ommod ullaciis nienistisci del ius nisciae niste peribus, omni aut atur aut quatquas si con es voloritas adita voles as nim estruptatur? Lorundi gnisciur, sequis plit, el eum ides cus eumquunt verum repedit iorerfe rchilist, cus non ra porepel identiis magnihil ipsunte sitatus aut enient. Em quoditatem essitat iumenie ndiscim incimus voluptatur? Abor sam volorer chilitia pro doluptatur, vel invelis num illiqua tatiusa peressequiam et et eum nimporero tem faceperi consedio. Axim quiatia vendigenitat everrovit re debis dolecte derum que nihicit velitat lacimo dollabor aperestibus a quatis molorrumqui tes et ilitios trundel isto ma aces volorum explige nihicil ipsus et prehenecte que des volum fuga. Ut invella borepta quiscip sapidesequia que nusanda ndipsuntion plicidest facident fugiae magnati net ut audit, ut lam, cullace ptaqui quis es quia eum rem hilicae eventiat qui cus sum ipsunt. Archili busamet eos estem quam sundis aut occum, volupti orendiatibus volupti utemporio. Fuga. Tecabor andia alit et eatemque nonsequi volessit delestiorio expel es coreste ndant. Qui reprat. Ides pa voluptati beatur sus, ommolup tatecte nestorporum aut et, tecto con

reictio iumendae nus sus acid utemquo odios eosa eum reic temperio. Lor min everepe consect otatiosam, ut dollatium et aut facestisi beat. Dem volupta tiaspe cum, alique dest, sincto berum illaborerspe vid qui cus quod quae verit, qui omnihil liquidunt ad molenihil in rae id quatur aut plautempor suntist inis nem es ea evel idundae pro vitate moluptasped quidelique reprata tiatias expliquam evenda istrum, sum aliasin ientur? Ut haribus rernatu sapient. Perrovid molores sitiore rernatiusdae ommost ea esed quia pedignam la quia voluptaturit id que doluptaes et laccum esto voluptur moles et aut qui doluptur? Catum harum excea vollabo reiciae. Debit ad moluptatur ad eum ius autet lab id quam re is et moditat untem ex et molor autempo ssuntur? Sequis iminus explibere nosam eum eumqui to tempore porepedi a et offic tem restistium repe volesequae. Officimint volorem net, cum, optatus demquis molestrume parunti optatem vel maximagnis prate ne dolorest exeriandi velendignam que estia cus aliqui officiis plit, tendae et, a sendesse escimin velest, cum, quunt. Tur? Fugia vendi dolor sedicid es auta cumque rero te veleceatus res aut ma quodisintio toreium imporum quod que sitas audaerum volupti temos ex eosam, sapidendant harum nienessin numque quistrum que saeperi taturem quam, seque voloreius et as essintium hicitae et aut re molorpor am, quatur, si re porum harios aut aut et arum faccum aut molest que verspe non pelenis mos ducimet facersperum reptae nihilitius est, officius ma quis con es quatist emquam, alitatempos sitis maximped mosandis est ut pro cones ullicimusame volupit ibusti dis sitati omnis de nis dem quodi non nostibus iligendae doles anis nim quos sollor apedi consequae nulpa sam ipsae ea aut ad quam se eum sim conesti busape optatem et doluptur samus ratur? Untibus iunt fuga. x

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“Texas was a bit smaller than I’d been led to believe.”

~ Mr. Smith


mr smith

This is the picture the FBI took from my parents when they came to our house in 1970 to find out who, at picture the Clover address in Milford hadthey an interest nuclear This is the theStreet FBI took from my parentsCT, when came toinour houserocket in 1970 to find development. The agents questioned in an fact, my farther had no interest in it out who, at the Clover Street addressmy in father, Milford when CT, had interest in nuclear rocket atdevelopment. all. I had sent over 60 letters (type my written) to when the Jackass Research Center The agents questioned father, in fact,Flats my farther had no interest in it requesting information and(type government to develop nuclear powered at all. I had sent overon 60NASA letters written)programs to the Jackass Flats Research Center rockets. Irequesting figured nuclear expositions would a great energy source for rockets. Unbeknownst to information on NASA andmake government programs to develop nuclear powered rockets. me, the government did, in fact, havemake such aa great program and source it was VERY secret. Unbeknownst My dad’s name I figured nuclear expositions would energy for rockets. to isme, Donthe Smith also and he had tough time convincing theand FBIitthat was secret. I who had interest government did, in afact, have such a program wasitVERY Myan dad’s name inisnuclear rockets things which, in my father’s opinion, were none Don Smith also and and many he hadother a tough time convincing the FBI that it was I who hadofanmy interest business. Really, I was just guessing.   in nuclear rockets and many other things which, in my father’s opinion, were none of my   business. Really, I was just guessing.        

C o u r t e s y o f T h e S m i t h C u l t u ra l A r c h i v e s .

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an after noon with mr smith


mr smith

the inter view T

he bolt of lightening cracked a tree in half, started a fire and electrocuted a herd of sheep which stood by the road. I watched the entire thing happen from atop my tractor. I noticed things that summer as I cut the grass along the highway for the state. I notice allot about nature, allot about men and their deeds. I noticed was the large number of soft drink bottles discarded along the interstate. Crush, 7‐UP, Cola and Yoo Hoo bottles were the most popular. In case you didn’t know, Yoo Hoo is a chocolate soda drink, made mostly out of chalk, I think, and cherished by my associates. The tractors we used were the large green type. No matter how foul the thing got with cut grass it always seemed, from a moving car anyway, as though it just rolled off the showroom floor. The color green. Pretty smart. I just want to set you straight here and now, these green tractors were not the little sit‐down‐ on‐your‐fat‐suburban‐ass‐type of tractors. These

were large down‐on‐the‐farm type tractors, and we knew how to use’em. They had two “flying” cutter blades which worked with a scissor action and could be raised and lowered. Nick said this feature was important as it endowed the whole ensembles discrete profile while being transported to the work site by truck. Actually, I am paraphrasing Nick here. What Nick, our boss actually said, “watch out for those blades! They work like the jaws of the giant red ant. Imagine one of those bastards as big as a car and that’s what your driving around on!” He held his hands up to his head as mock pincers and motioned. It was a dramatic portrayal the seriousness of which was not loss on me. It was dangerous work. And the there was the public. Nicky called them civilians. Definitely a derogatory remark. Riding by at break neck speed, these individuals were the most dangerous of all, so Nick said. I laughed at that and he flashed me a cold stare. “Smith”, he muttered, “just how do you think those bottles found there way onto state property (he always re18


mr smith ferred to the interstate as if were a place, like a park, rather than a highway.) “I don’t know Nick, I guess people just got tired of holding on to’em.” A faint smile came over Nicks face. It kind of gave me the creeps, but then almost everything Nick did gave me the creeps. Then he started to laugh. A belly laugh. “You’ll see”, he said, “you’ll see.” Jim and I agreed that Nick was just trying to scare me and we shrugged the whole thing off. Jim was hired about the same time I was and we hung around together. But unlike me, he seemed to get his job thru the patronage system of our city government. And he used it to tease and taunt Nick. Jim got away with stuff no else could. Like calling Nick “Bud.” He would taunt Nick by calling him Bud saying, “hay Bud, you get those threads from Jolly Green Giant?” or “hay Bud, You gong to lunch now? Don’t let anyone pick your seat while your gone ‐ tractor seat that is! Nick hated him. I just tried to stay out of Nicks way. Spcak whcn your spoken to type of relationship. But I must admit Nick was a piece of work. He knew everything there was to know about tractors, lawn cutting and the interstate highway system, but he knew nothing else. I mean nothing. Ordering supplies, cashing a check or getting a hair cut became a scrimmage for him. He was 47 years old and still lived with his mother and two brothers, which ran a Gulf gas station in downtown Milford. Nick would take the tractors to his brothers station for fill ups and must of felt guilty because he tried to keep it a secret. Once during lunch he told us to look sharp as he had to leave early to get his hair cut. I made the mistake of asking him how he was going to get it cut. Nick glared at me and said, “OK wise guy, you think I gonna look like you. No fucking chance.” At which he pulled outofhis billfold a small wrinkled picture of John F. Kennedy. “This is how a man gets his hair cut, wise

ass”, barked Nick. Kennedy had been dead ten years and the only people that had their haircut like his were secret service men. But I wasn’t going to say another thing to Nick. Not today, it was already too hot. Cutting the interstate was a Zen sort of thing to do because as you could never really be done. By the time you got to exit 39 the grass at exit 20 was ready to be visited again. It was an endless loop of growth, death and decay. History just seemed too simple. I studied art instead of history. Painting at first, then photography. On field trips to the natural history museums I would go to the hall of dioramas to draw. This hall was dark, the only illumination came spilling out of the dioramas. The diorama is sort of a low maintenance zoo. All nature’s items are stuffed and placed in “natural” settings. The walls within the diorama are painted to reflect a foreshortened perspective of some exotic region. A room no larger than an average walk in closet can have an endless view of desert, mountain, or plain. Animals that inhabit these spaces are motionless, always alert. This is how life is in the wild. I noticed in the attempt to “advertise” the wild kingdom museum educators had taken some liberties in its tableaus. I remember one diorama in particular called The Watering Hole, which seemed especially problematic. It was a diorama of an African watering hole at dusk. What struck me most was the way the museum curators had managed to desegregate the animals of the African plains. Every large mammal existing was gathered about a little hollow to drink. Predators and prey alike. Lion, gazelle, cheetah, wildebeest, giraffe and others. They looked so natural. Naturally, they could not have been at this place, all together at one time. Not even Marlin Perkins of Wild Kingdom could have imagined this convention. It was like a snapshot taken just moments before they tore each other limb from limb. However, I understood this contradiction in an intuitive way, like so many pictures 19


mr smith overlapping in a multiple exposure ‐ it produced sort of an “African ambiance” which was illuminating if not accurate. After drawing them for a while I noticed the animals’ glass eyes. They seemed to sparkle. I also noticed that they all seemed to be smiling but the security person told me, “that’s just because they don’t have lips”. During this time I subscribed to scholarly quarterlies that related to my life interests, mostly art and art criticism. These simple, elegant quarterlies lined my book shelves with dignity and provided a subtle continuity to the overal appearance of my library. Their perfect white pages and blocks of small black type echoed the golden section and were sealed with in the most perfect of perfect bindings. At that time I dreamed about formalist paintings made out of solid blocks of words. Today I don’t dream as much. And I never dream about words, I dream about pictures. Often these dreams don’t make any sense. I make TV commercials for a living now. Ambiance and intuition are part of my job. It’s important for me to see advertisements as cultural dioramas. And just like the dioramas in the natural history museum certain liberties must betaken, certain strategies employed to be sure every disparate sort of thing is reproduced in one seamless environment. On Sunday I spend hours at the magazine stand. It is a day I look forward to with ever increasing apprehension. On that day I make contact with I call The New. The New is what’s Now. Even if it’s old and already has a story, if it’s reproduced today it’s what I call Now New. But even as I write this, my interests seem to be shifting and lie with what’s Typically New and no the Now New. Fashion, art and pornography, seem to be the relentless source of my dreams. Publishers of such subjects pay for the best reproduction available on paper and I buy them on faith. I fill my arms, empty my wallet and stare into the ambiance of now. This is how life is in the wild. The United Commission for Social Identity reported on a disturbing trend today in New

York. At the press conference commission spokesmen reported that a large number of mothers in developing nations were dropping traditional surnames for newborns and substituting electronics manufacturers brand names in their place. These names, of which Sony, Zenith and Toshiba seem to be the most popular, threaten to disrupt the tribes blood lines by obscuring family lineage. In one remote village a single televisions brand name was reported to have been adopted by 45% of the population making the ancestral transition of tribal power impossible. One researcher studying the problem suggests relabeling imported television sets with no brand name identification or logos in order to prevent “cultural contamination”. He went on to say, “ The name selection process seems to be a question of form rather than content. The tribes seem to identify with the box rather than scheduled programs. The only exception to this was a minor tribal leader, who named his first son “Toshiba Laptop”. The Monsanto pavilion was my favorite ride at a ride Disneyland. With some Hollywood lighting you rode into a darkened space on a molecular golf cart. Inside you became small as an atom ‐smaller. The announcers voice is what stands out in my memory. Riding along in the dark his voice steady and level as he revealed the secrets of life. Of course, this molecular drama was cooked up in another era, in a time of optimism and general prosperity in the hearts and minds of theme park owners and their clientele. I understand the Monsanto Pavilion has gone away. In its place is a film, a 3‐D movie extravaganza with Michael Jackson. It seems theme parks and World Fairs for that matter, no longer have the imagination or the optimism to build an environment, which will tell a dramatic story about an invisible world and then have the wherewithal to invite you to see it first hand. The trend, in theme parks, seems to be to exhibit images instead of things, to present spectacles rather than tell stories and to favor emotionalism unconditionally over reason and description. It’s a small 20


mr smith and diminished world after all. On my way down Telegraph Avenue I stopped at “Maxi Care For Your Hair.” I told the guy I wanted him to cut my hair like john F. Kennedy’s. He said that he didn’t have a picture of the President and to sit still or I might get hurt. I said if Kennedy had wiggled a bit more at the right time he’d still be with us today. The TV was on. Just like in a bar they had a TV mounted on the wall. The 10,000 Dollar Pyramid was on with Dick Clark. All this week they had blind people on. Dick was doing the “happy talk” part of his introduction and pointed out the fact that maybe blind people don’t want to be called blind. You know, just like black people don’t want to be called Negroes. He thought he would check out his theory with contestant number one, a blind women from Atlanta. She said, “well if I can get away with calling you “Dick om TV,” I don’t mind if you call me blind.”

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The Mars

Society ™

MR SMITH  

Where Celebrity Meets Reality.™

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