Giantess Jackie

Today’s Zippy takes us back to Kennedy Camelot times (January 1961 – November 1963), through the medium of a gigantesque Jackie:

(#1)

This is Bill Griffith’s work, so there is of course an actual giant statue of a Jackie Kennedy look-alike, a fiberglass Uniroyal Gal in Bolton NC (based on an original in Rocky Mount NC):

(#2)

(The hair color and bikini color on these roadside figures are easily adjustable, as is the thing on the giantess’s hand; and in fact the bikini can be replaced by more decorous clothing. But the basic figure and its stance are fixed in fiberglass.)

It took me quite some time to get from #1 to #2. I will now pretty much track this search in reverse order. Start with #2. From the Roadside America site:

Bolton NC: Private residence shelters three Uniroyal Gals on the property, created using molds from an original near Rocky Mount. Also many fiberglass animals on site. [Graham and Dolce Fiberglass, 24605 Andrew Jackson Hwy]

Uniroyal Gals? From another Roadside America posting:

The Uniroyal gal is another fiberglass fixture of the highway, far more rare than the Muffler Men. The sculptor at International Fiberglass who created the original molds for the large lady had a thing for Jackie Kennedy. She was issued with a dress, ready for shedding or donning depending on the community climate.

(#3)

Uniroyal Gals in Rocky Mount, NC; Gloucester Township, NJ; Blackfoot, ID

A list on the site:

Blackfoot, Idaho: Now stands in front of Martha’s Cafe, with new blond hairdo, hoisting a sandwich platter. A few blocks from the Idaho Potato Museum.

Mt. Vernon, Illinois: Can be seen at Stan The Tire Man, just off 1-64 in Mt. Vernon.

Peoria, Illinois: Rumored to have appeared in a Richard Pryor movie. On 1800 SW Washington Street, south of the downtown area near the Cedar Street Bridge. Near an ethanol plant, which emits a noxious, but oddly comforting odor. In a bikini until a car rammed her; now she wears a more conservative outfit.

Gloucester Township, New Jersey: AKA “Nitro Girl,” stands in front of a Uniroyal Tire dealership, Werbany Tire Town. Formerly known as “The Doll,” now wears superhero duds, same flip hairdo. This humongous honey taunts men with her tire. 1337 Black Horse Pike.

Chincoteague, Virginia: At a miniature golf course.

Rocky Mount, North Carolina: The Uniroyal Gal stood for many years at Mosley’s Shady Lake Motel along US route 30. She was moved when the motel closed in 2000. A local resident provided a new home — the Men’s Night Out club, a semiprivate park along NC 97. [Jackie Kennedy takes up sex work!] She still balances a ball in her left hand, but her bikini bottom has become a pair of cutoffs. She proudly displays a gold belly ring.

Byram, Mississippi: There is one placed seasonally at a fireworks stand (Exit 85 off of I-55 just south of Jackson). She has a yellow sweater and a blue mini skirt. [Lane Smith]

Gainesville, Texas: The Gainesville gal stands with a Muffler Man to her left, and a Big John to her right, at Glenn Goode’s Fiberglass and Sandblasting shop (Glenn passed away March 2015). Glenn fabricated a number of fiberglass giants to advertise his business in three north Texas locations. He told us the shortened right arm on his Uniroyal gal was a result of a cut and paste job to replace missing parts. And his Uniroyal gal has the most well-defined posterior we have seen (which faces the garage bay doors).

Lamesa, Texas: This West Texas titan is dressed in the uniform of a cheerleader for the local high school teams: the Tornados. She stands in front of the Bethel Tire Company on Business 87.

Unger, West Virginia: Joining George Farnham’s cluster of fiberglass figures that include a Muffler Man, Santa, and Beach Dude, this Gal (from Byram, MS) was modified into a Biker Chick in 2008.

Taber, Alberta: Steve Ming reported: “The lady on the right was spotted in Canada on Hwy. #3 at Kirks tire shop on the east end of town. Its mounted on a steel rack with casters so it can be positioned anywhere on their lot.”

The Taber Gal was reported earlier by David Ynaciw. Tipster Russell Janzen notes it stood in Lethbridge for many years before moving 30 miles east to Taber.

I got to this site from an American Giants – Muffler Men blog posting specifically about the Peoria figure (show #49, Peoria IL Uniroyal Gal, 8/20/13), with more of the story:

(#4)

These days the female version of the muffler man is a rare find and many muffler man hunters will drive out of their way to see her. Our case was no different when the American Giants crew deviated to Peoria, IL after visiting the Atlanta, IL Bunyan and before seeing the Gemini Giant in Wilmington. With only about 12 left across the country a uniroyal gal sighting is always a must if your in the area. I had heard about the one in Peoria before planning our road trip (currently being shown in American Giants Episodes) and found her unique in that she gets an outfit change every year. Turns out she is no stranger to Peoria and arrived there 45 years ago in 1968. She was part of a grand opening promotion for the Plaza Tire Co. and she was made by International Fiberglass for the Uniroyal Tire Company.

Uniroyal had dozens of these giant women made in the mid 60’s to promote their tires and the girls were set up for promotions at participating dealers of Uniroyal Tires. Around the same time she arrived in Peoria another uniroyal gal was shipped to Salem, IL about 210 miles to the south. After the promotion the giantess in Peoria was moved around the area to different businesses to help promote tires and other grand openings. After 4 years on the road she was retired in 1971 and given back to the Plaza Tire Co. Uniroyal was moving in new directions and discontinued the Uniroyal Gal program across the country. At this time the giants were either trashed or fell to private businesses or collections. At 17ft 6 inches tall and 450 lb she became a landmark in Peoria and has stood all these years in almost the same spot. Because people kept backing into her legs on occasion she was moved recently to stand on top of a wooden planter to keep her safe from cars. Interestingly if you look at her steel platform it is the same one that she was shipped with from International Fiberglass. All muffler men shipped on these platforms so the area reps could move them around to different promotions locally. She was recently restored and given a new paint job and renamed Vanna Whitewall! Uniroyal Gals came in a fiberglass skirt and shirt and had the option for these to be removed to reveal a bikini underneath. She is the only uniroyal gal I know of that still transitions between the two every year. During the winter she has on her skirt and shirt and when it gets warm off come the clothes to “announce pool season” as the guys there told me. They also took me in the shop and showed me the giant “clothes hanger” they use to hang her clothes on during the summer months. We got an interview and some great go pro shots while we were there and she was well worth the diversion!

Many of the muffler men and related fiberglass figures became features of local pleasure and pride: commercial icons, yes, but also a kind of public folk art, whose loss (like the loss of fancifully or strikingly designed diners, fast food places, motels, and the like) was often keenly felt.

I got to Peoria during searches for giantess statues, which took me first to public art in Chicago:

(#5)

(From Jackie Kennedy to Marilyn Monroe, both in the JFK theme.)

From Chris Miller’s Mountshang website on 7/17/11:

Seward Johnson’s 26-foot “Forever Marilyn” has been provoking some controversy upon its installation last week in Pioneer Court, just northeast of the Michigan Avenue bridge in Chicago.

Apparently another version of this Marilyn statue was installed in China, but it came to a bad end. From the American Digest website:

(#6)

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on June 18, 2014. The eight-meter-tall stainless steel statue, which weighs about eight tons, was made by several Chinese artists for over two years, based on the famous scene from her movie “The Seven Year Itch”. The statue was transported to the garbage collecting company early this week for unknown reasons after being showed outside a business center in the city for only 6 months, local media reported.

A poetic note (from the American Digest site): “La Géante” (“The Giantess”) by Charles Baudelaire, translation by Karl Shapiro, Person Place and Thing (1942):

When Nature once in lustful hot undress
Conceived gargantuan offspring, then would I
Have loved to live near a young giantess,

Like a voluptuous cat at a queen’s feet.
To see her body flower with her desire
And freely spread out in its dreadful play,
Guess if her heart concealed some heavy fire
Whose humid smokes would swim upon her eye.

To feel at leisure her stupendous shapes,
Crawl on the cliffs of her enormous knees,
And, when in summer the unhealthy suns
Have stretched her out across the plains, fatigued,

Sleep in the shadows of her breasts at ease
Like a small hamlet at a mountain’s base.

From America’s Camelot back to Baudelaire, with Giantess Jackie and Monstrous Marilyn, fiberglass and steel, in between.

One Response to “Giantess Jackie”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Rod Williams on Facebook:

    Don’t forget the Giant Amazon Warriors et al. in Auburn, California…
    http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2027

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