Filed under: Chiro-Picker, chiropractic history | Tags: 1920's period dress, BJ Palmer, BJ Palmer costume, Chiro-Picker, chiropractic history, Todd Waters
by Todd Waters, aka “The Chiro-Picker” – SpinalColumnRadio guest blogger
Well, it’s Halloween time again!
“This year I chose to dress as BJ Palmer. I felt I could duplicate his look from the 1920’s but becoming ‘Depression Era BJ’ was not easy. You can’t exactly go into a costume shop and ask for their ‘Fountainhead of Chiropractic’ rental. This is a costume you have to build piece by piece….”
Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. Everything looks different for awhile. The leaves turn to bright colors and fall to the ground. Pumpkins and cornstalks decorate homes. And skeletons and ghosts walk the streets at night trick-or-treating or on their way to a party.
It’s a fun, unusual time! And it’s a creative time.
“You can become someone else for a day and be encouraged to ham it up.”
I actually still have nightmares that Halloween Night has arrived, and I haven’t a costume yet. Weird.
I wasn’t planning on writing a Picker article on my costume, but Dr Lamar made a point that my chiropractic collecting has transformed me into someone else… Well, it is Halloween after all. But he is correct that I had to use my picking skills to put together my BJ Palmer costume. To get the materials I went to my favorite picking haunts: The Salvation Army, church rummage sales, craft stores, and the World-Wide Web.
As a picker, you need a plan. If you don’t have a goal you will spend too much time looking around and not gravitate towards anything. But you must be selective, otherwise you will just gather a bunch of random junk. You are using your eye to pick the best collection of items that appeals to you and, hopefully, others. This time my goal was a costume. I had to plan Halloween early this year. I had a beard to grow.
This year I chose to dress as BJ Palmer. I felt I could duplicate his look from the 1920’s but becoming “Depression Era BJ” was not easy. You can’t exactly go into a costume shop and ask for their “Fountainhead of Chiropractic” rental. This is a costume you have to build piece by piece: a pageboy hairstyle, beard, flowing white shirt, black dress pants and vest… and lastly a cigar for garnish.
For me, the hair was the most important component. If the hair wasn’t right, nobody would be convinced I was BJ. I shopped around several stores looking for a burnet,pageboy-type wig… but had no luck. I had to settle for a long, sultry woman’s wig named “Sylvia.” I knew a good haircut would whip it into the shape I needed. It sufficed for a good caricature look of BJ Palmer but my picker eye kept searching for something more real. Finally, I shelled out a few more bucks for a nicer wig from a website. While it’s always best to hunt for the best bargains, in this instance, I invested in a quality and quick-ship item.
“One good wig on the head is worth two in the rejection pile.”
Period clothes were also an important part of this costume. I felt I could use some artistic liberties with the outfit. The clothes didn’t have to be from the 1920’s. However, they needed to look good. I pieced some clothing articles together from shopping at various church rummage sales. Slowly the outfit of the essential white shirt, black vest, and dress pants began to come together. But that didn’t stop me from expanding the wardrobe. Just today I found a vintage, three-piece suit that just happens to fit me! Amazingly, it actually looks like something BJ would have worn.
BJ would wear a mail coach or waterfall-style black tie. I found an internet article on making old-style ties that helped me complete my look. Click here for an example.
Lastly, the rest of the costume — and what makes the it all the more believable — were the accessories. Most photos of BJ show him with a cigar, so I bought one to make my costume more authentic. Just holding a cigar can make you take on different mannerisms. You suddenly feel a sense of importance, duty, and luxury. I quickly found that this helped me get into the BJ character and escape my inhibitions.
I become my own idealized version of BJ Palmer wearing his clothes, wig, and holding his cigar. While my version of BJ may not be 100% accurate, it sure seems to “light up” some chiropractors when they see me in costume.
“They are already at Disneyland but have not seen Mickey.”
Hopefully I can bring that to them this Happy Halloween.
‘Til next time. — CP
The DC Angle:
I’ve seen Mickey!
Just returned from another podcast gig at the Fall 2011 New Beginnings Chiropractic Weekends…. the long-standing, regular East Coast chiropracTIC philosophy weekend that looks to uphold the principles of chiropractic that the Developer of Chiropractic, BJ Palmer, laid down for our profession.
There were a number of things that made this particular New Beginnings special for me… but without a doubt, one of those things was meeting the Antique Collector, himself — whose BJ Palmer Radio Recordings Find kicked our podcast into high gear over a year ago — Todd Waters. And to see him redirecting his Antique Collecting Powers for the benefit of our profession, brings a tear to my eye… and his BJ Palmer Persona is pure genius in my opinion and certainly added to the excitement of the weekend for all DC’s in attendance.
Thank you Todd for your unique contribution to our profession. I value our friendship as it truly is a byproduct of the “Power of the Podcast.” I look forward to our further collaborations in bringing unique, entertaining, and educational chiropracTIC content to Spinal Column Radio. – tom
Dr. Thomas Lamar loves chiropracTIC and its involvement with radio. He podcasts, with the assistance of his audio-engineer son, Logan, on SpinalColumnRadio.com from his home studio in Kingston, WA. Lamar also practices chiropractic in Kingston with an emphasis on family wellness.
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