Johnny & The BIG PICKLE (WGSP)

***Updated with context, text, video and songs 8-10-19***

***Updated again with some new pix from Richard Barron 8-10-19***

In January of 1985, my friend, Robert Edison Stinson and I appeared as guests on the TONIGHT SHOW starring, my childhood hero. We were touring the nation with the World’s Greatest Siamese Pickle, aka WGSP. More on that story later. Many folks have asked me to see the appearance, and I am posting it here along with some of my favorite pix of Johnny.

Over 30 years later, I returned to the scene of one of the original and most popular pickle pix from LA.The video below shows our appearance on the show.

The pickle always enjoys a good bagel for breakfast. Photo by Richard Barron.

You probably will not recognize the photo below because of the disguise. However that is actually the pickle. Refer to this photo as Groucho Pickle or Pickle Incognito.

While on a June 2016 business in LA and Burbank, I drove by the studios where Johnny recorded his show for decades. The first thing I noticed is that they are no longer called the NBC Studios. They are now called the Bob Hope Studios. I am guessing NBC has combined its studios with Universal after they merged.

The three photos below show the progression of how we got the pickle on the show. The first photo, shows the area where you used to walk up to in order to get tickets to be in the audience. When Robert and I walked up to get tickets, we were late, there were none left. However, after we showed them the pickle, they directed us around the corner to the studio entrance, which is shown in the 2nd photo. We spoke to the manager of the audience (certain that was not his real title) and after he contacted someone, he directed us to go to the security entrance that is shown in the 3rd photo. It was a funny scene to walk up to the security gate carrying the big pickle and explain to the guard what we were doing!

As weird as it was, and we were weird, he phoned Shirley Wood, who was the talent coordinator for Carson and she booked the guests. When the guard called her, she invited us in to her office. When we walked into her office she was talking to Charles Nelson Reilly.When she hung up, she looked at us, chuckled and said something to the effect of “Whatcha got?” We showed her our pix and she loved them. She asked us for pix. I believe she left the office to go talk to Johnny, I presume, and then came back and told us that we would be on the show the following Thursday.She gave us some money to help with expenses and we were able to hang out in California for another week.

ON THE ROAD TO NOWHERE

We had lots of encounters with celebrities as a result of slugging the pickle all over the country. One of my favorites is shown in the photo below. It shows the rock group TALKING HEADS with the pickle in Times Square in 1987 (I believe).

Robert and I were on an East Coast tour and we decided to shoot the pickle in NYC. While setting up a shot in the middle of the very busy road with taxis whizzing by, I was very focused on getting the Hasselblad positioned correctly to show the pickle and all the lights, buildings, people, and frenetic energy that is Times Square.

Robert was a little distance away with the pickle holding it for the shot. I was not paying close attention to him as I was preoccupied the camera. All of sudden, I could see him flailing his arms. I didn’t really think much of it and stayed focused on the camera.

He kept on until he finally crossed the street and quickly came up to me with one of the greatest senses of urgency I have ever seen him display.”Talking Heads are here and they will allow us to take a picture with the pickle!”It did not register with me. His urgency became even more hastened, “Scott, THE TALKING HEADS ARE RIGHT THERE AND WE NEED TO TAKE THEIR PICTURE!”I finally paid attention, looked at him, and allowed the words to sink in. He was pointing to the curb where Talking Heads were patiently waiting.

I looked over and sure enough, there was Talking Heads!I hurriedly picked up the tripod and camera and got to them as fast as I could. They were very friendly and jovial. Their photographer, Chris Callis, was snapping pix of them laughing at the pickle. I quickly set up and took as many frames as I could.I signaled that I was done, we both thanked them, and just like that, they hopped in a cab and were gone.Robert and I were beyond giddy.

It turns out that the photo below was used on their next album called Naked. More on this story and others later.

Photo by Chris Callis

Photo by Chris CallisThe photo below, also by Chris, shows the scene that October 1987 evening with Talking Heads. On the far left is yours truly working the Hasselblad camera and desperately trying to get a decent shot and shows Robert to the right of me. Talking Heads have the pickle and are on the right.

Photo by Chris CallisHere is the actual CD version of the album. First the cover (left) and then the inside sleeve shot of them with the pickle.

World famous photographer Richard Barron has photographed the pickle many times. However, below is a picture of him with the pickle and a friend.

Richard Barron, his good friend Ann, and the pickle. (Photo by Robert Edison Stinson)
The above is a terrific photo by Richard Barron. It shows the custom satchel that was used to tote the pickle around.

And of course, what Siamese pickle doesn’t have it’s own bumper sticker?

The pickle has many talents as you can obviously see by now. One of the talents is allowing others to record songs about it. Below are two songs called “Pickled Tick.” The first one actually got air time on pop radio in Tulsa.Version 1

Version 2
Here are a few links to articles in the Tulsa World. The first is called “Tulsa Man Has Good Dill in Siamese Pickle.” The next article is called “Holy Moe“, which ticks me off because Robert calls the pickle “Moe” in the article. Its real name is Billy Bob. Gonna have to ask him about that one. You know, pickles have more than just entertainment power. They have PICKLE POWER. Read this article. Below are pix I took of all newspaper clippings. The first is from the University of Oklahoma newspaper and the second is from the Tulsa World.

We also were interviewed by local television stations as shown in the photo below.

One of many interviews. This one with KTUL in Tulsa.

Photo by Richard Barron

In the KOMA studios during a pickle interview. Photo by Richard Barron.

Below is a gallery of some of my favorite Johnny pix. Click on the image to scroll through the gallery.

SO NOW WHAT?

Many people ask, “What is next?” I think my good buddy Robert Edison Stinson just may have found the answer to that question. Check it out here on Imageer.net.The copy cats continue! The photo below was sent to me by world-famous photographer Richard Barron.

I guess they got squashed together...
I guess they got squashed together…

This summer (2019) I had a pleasant surprise from my own garden. Yep, it is another siamese pickle. Of course it is not as huge or as popular as the original, but nonetheless it still has #PicklePower!

AND_1929