Friday, April 8, 2011

Fireball and the Venetians

I’m not sure why I haven’t already pounced on a pair of the great shell cordovan Venetians that made their way to marketplace in the last year or so. I love the anti-fuzzy fuzziness of them. And Ron Ryder and Leffot have hit home runs with their Venetian crafting efforts.
Even Quoddy did a cool little casual version of the Venetian.
And of course Mark McNairy and his Bass Revival Goat Rodeo threatens to offer a Venetian boat shoe but we know better. McSwaggert.
The Venetian is an easy shoe to eff up. Don’t believe me? Just check in here with my special needs older brother Tintin and take a look at his initial effort to resurrect a form of the Venetian from its antecedent-atiousness. The cheap leather resurrections end up looking like Corfam envelopes. Sorry but I think the Florsheim Yuma looks like shit. Shut up.
However, I would have been on this one like a duck on a junebug. Look at that toe. Who knew that Cleverley was a guest designer over at Bass in the '50's?
Fireball wore Venetians. The NASCAR boys in the early days wore street clothes to the races and they raced in ‘em as well. Hell, in the earliest days, they drove the stock cars to the stock car race...raced in them and then drove them home. Nobody had money for fancy racing togs. All the dosh went into the car.
Playing American Legion Baseball with the Zellwood Mudhens was where Fireball got his nickname. They say that Glenn Roberts could throw a fast one. 
The fact that he burned up, nearly to death on the track in Charlotte had nothing to do with his moniker. Rather portentous though I suppose. He languished until sepsis finally took him. My aunt, one of my mother’s six sisters, a nurse, was on duty when he died.
1964 was a dark year for NASCAR. Both Fireball Roberts and Joe Weatherly died tragically and perhaps avoidably. Fuel cells, fuel tank valves, shoulder harnesses, window webbing and fireproof race suits trace themselves back to Fireball and Joe. You see, none of those things were mandatory and had they been in 1964, Roberts and Weatherly might still be here. That's Roberts and Weatherly above...back when the boys wore high and tight haircuts and proper clothes when off the track.
Roberts in shades.
 The rancid slice of Americana that NASCAR has become was, at one time, simply a regional thing buoyed by a bunch of guys who liked to go fast. And Little Joe Weatherly was just another amiable guy who loved to go fast. 
And wear saddle shoes.
But he hated wearing anything other than a lap belt. And that's all his 1964 Mercury Marauder had to hold Little Joe inside as he threaded the turns at Riverside. 
And turn six proved to be his undoing. With the window down and a ribbon of lap belt obligatorily sashed across his waist; death was swift.
So here’s to Little Joe Weatherly and a little girl I know who helped me build his car…
…and to Glenn “Fireball” Roberts. LFG loved the fact that one of his cars was purple and she happily sprayed this one.
And finally…to safety precautions and my yet to be procured…Venetians.



Patsy said...

Marauder must have been a cool product name in the 60s. We have a Magnum Marauder with a Mercury outboard.

ilovelimegreen said...

My father had a pair of Venetians - although I did not know they were called that. I never ever liked them. I forgot about them until just now.

T said...

Huh. So they get a beefroll pass, but Pennies don't? Yes, I am pleading ignorance...not making a smart-ass comment.

Anonymous said...

I wish that many pro athletes today would take a page from their haircut and clothing style books.

David V said...

In high school, when all my contemps were running around in their pennies, I wore venetians. Rebel that I was.

Anonymous said...

"Huh. So they get a beefroll pass, but Pennies don't?"

I was wondrin the same thing, Mistuh T.

Preppy 101 said...

Love a good-looking boy in a flat-top and Venetians. :-) xoxo

NCJack said...

I had some venetians in high school, too, but alas the love affair ended quickly. I guess to us ol' boys raised on Weejuns they just looked a little unfinished.

I remember Fireball and Joe, and Banjo Matthews, Ned Jarrett, and up and comers like Petty and Yarbrough

Anonymous said...

A beef roll by any other name...

Say it ain't so, Joe.

Reggie Darling said...

Cool shoes, and another stellar post, Maxie!

Young Fogey said...

Venetians? Ug. Ug Lee, that is.

Well, OK. Maybe not ugly, but blah. Too blah for me.

I can't believe you'd even deign to notice their existence. Did Tintin ghostwrite this for you?

ADG said...

The "roll" ...while obvious, isn't anywhere near as gall bladder scar-esque as on the beef roll. The beef roll loafer is offense in its totality...not just for the side bullets. I'll do a post comparing the two and making my point.

T said...

See, I thought there would be some obscure reason why they chose that particular stitch for the vamp, like maybe the penny-holding leather saddle didn't actually require a beefroll stitch, yet the Venetian does. Honestly, could have fed us any line of b.s. on that one. I think only Tintin would have called you on it.

Anonymous said...

"The 'roll'...while obvious, isn't anywhere near as gall bladder scar-esque as on the beef roll."

Max, can you get it together already? Sheesh, I'll take over. And I quote from memory dated the day I fell for you absolutely and without reservation: "a bilateral elongated goiter, a remora clinging to the side of the mothership."

Pure literature, unadulterated foreplay.