Photo courtesy Special Collections, University of Memphis Libraries
When digging through the old Memphis Press-Scimitar files, housed in the Special Collections Department at the University of Memphis Library, I often come across the most interesting and intriguing articles, photographs, and other ephemera. And sometimes, when I feel like it, I’ll share them with you.
(Don’t you like that word “ephemera”? It’s a shame more parents didn’t use it as a name for their children.)
Anyway: Here’s a good example of the oddities that I come across — a nice photograph showing Teddy, the “1944 Grand Champion” steer, posed outside the posh trailer that apparently served as his home as his driver criss-crossed America as a promotion for Firestone Tires.
This rather futuristic-looking trailer/van featured picture windows to let the customers view the steer without always having to haul Teddy outside or, in this case, making him stand in the snow. And the whole thing, according to signs painted on the outside of the vehicle, was done with “Champion Farmers of America Cooperating.” Well, I’m glad they were cooperating.
Now, I am no rancher, though my leathered skin and crinkled visage might suggest otherwise, but I guess I wouldn’t mind looking at a Grand Champion steer for a few minutes, as long as I didn’t have to drive very far to do it. What I don’t understand, however, is the link to Firestone. Why use an exhibit — in this case, a fine-looking steer — that didn’t use, or need, Firestone tires? Or were the viewers actually supposed to be admiring the high-quality (and presumably heavy-duty) tires that were mounted on Teddy’s trailer/van? If that’s the plan, they should have made them easier to see.
Anyway, I still like the old photo. Maybe you will, too.
I wonder what happened to Teddy?