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Little Golden Boy

Started by bingster, February 16, 2009, 09:00:51 AM

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bingster

You don't have to collect telephones for very long before you run across an image of Golden Boy.  Originally a Western Electric mascot called "Genius of Electricity, the statue was later appropriated by AT&T and renamed "Spirit of Communication."  From that point on, he graced the covers of millions of phone books (and AT&T's two headquarters buildings in New York).  For the last twenty years, he's been unceremoniously dragged around from place to place, probably wondering when he'll get some rest.  He's missing currently, and it's believed he's on his way to Dallas.

Last summer I found a little statuette of Golden Boy on ebay, and made sure I was the high bidder.  He measures an impressive ten inches tall, and is cast of brass.  The casting of the body is rather accurate, but the wings are shoddy.  The cable is bothering me, too.  It's positioning isn't at all correct.  I can't do anything about the wings, but the cable appears to be exactly the same gage as coat hanger wire, so I think I'll eventually reform the cable from scratch and install it in place of the one that's there now.  The lightning bolts in his left hand will have to be replaced, as they're obviously missing.

I don't know any details of it's origin, or why it was produced, or for whom, or even for what purpose.  There's a threaded hole underneath, so he was probably mounted to some sort of base.  But all in all, I'm happy with him, and thought I'd post a couple pics.
= DARRIN =



BDM

Interesting, not a bad likeness

--Brian--

St Clair Shores, MI

HobieSport

#2
Interesting.  Alexander Graham Bells' hood ornament? ;)  I'd never read about the original huge statue.  Now wouldn't that look nice as a lawn ornament? :D

Anyway, here's some info in Wikipedia and pictures of the original for comparison.
Yes, that is The World Trade Center in the third picture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_of_Communication

Dan/Panther

#3
Bingster;
In your statue there seems to be something else missing. How come the golden globes but that's it ??
My Mom worked for Disney for 32 years, and she has several bronze Disney character stautes, Jiminy Cricket, Tinkerbell. They are service awards.
D/P

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson

HobieSport

#4
Quote from: Dan/Panther
Bingster;
In your statue there seems to be something else missing. How come the golden globes but that's it ??

Hee hee.  Something is missing on the original statue also.  I found this humorous little historical statement (italics are mine):

"Golden Boy, which is officially known as The Spirit of Communications, has undergone its share of Article 16 transfers and anatomy adjustments during his 91 years with AT&T. The 24-foot bronze statue, which is covered in more than 40,000 pieces of gold leaf, has had quite a journey to his spot in front of the company's headquarters.

Golden Boy, the statue commissioned in 1914 by Bell System founder Theodore Vail, is the symbol of a company that doesn't exist. We asked him to look back on his long career.

195 Broadway, New York City, 1916-80

My mother is Evelyn Beatrice Longman who sculpted me in 1916. I was then hoisted 465 feet above street level to the top of AT&T's headquarters on Broadway in New York. And that's where I stood for 65 years. I had killer views during my glory days in downtown Manhattan and even made the cover of the phone book. I was a symbol of the power of America's telephone monopoly.

555 Madison Avenue, New York, 1983-92

My new home, post-breakup. Looks cushy, right? Think again. Not only was I gilded, I was gelded. They finally realized I was not just a boy. (AT&T feared offending mid-town shoppers. Did Michelangelo's "David" have to put up with that?) It was a symbol of what was to come. We bade farewell to the Baby Bells in 1984 and marched into computers, trumpeting Unix, our operating system. That flopped, so we bought NCR. We lost billions, laid off thousands, and wrote off our phone network. And we missed what could have saved us: the Internet.

Basking Ridge, N.J., 1992-2002

After we abandoned the Madison Avenue digs to those upstarts from Sony, I moved to the 'burbs. More space! Fresh air! But things only got worse. In 1996 we shed NCR, Lucent, and 70% of Bell Labs, our legendary research operation. More thousands of employees are laid off.

Bedminster, N.J., 2002 until today

Another decade, another office park. We deployed a risky strategy to spend $110 billion on cable companies. It drove us into the ground. We dumped everything but long distance, and then watched brutal price wars destroy the business. Maybe SBC will move me out of the parking lot--if it doesn't lay me off."

bingster

Quote from: Dan/Panther on February 16, 2009, 03:17:27 PM
Bingster; In your statue there seems to be something else missing. How come the golden globes but that's it ??
He's actually complete, it just doesn't show from that angle.  I'd take another photo, but the thought of taking a picture of this sort of thing gives me the willies.  Tee hee... willies.  ;D


Quote from: HobieSport on February 16, 2009, 03:44:27 PM
Hee hee.  Something is missing on the original statue also. 
:o
Funny, sad and weird, but true.  Apparently, as the new HQ was being erected... er... built, the statue was brought down from the roof of the old HQ so the statue could be prepared for it's new lobby niche.  The executives at AT&T were a bit shocked that the statue was not merely anatomically correct, but was overly anatomically correct.  Fearing swooning visitors, the decision was made to remove certain portions of the statue and replace them with much smaller certain portions.

The joke at AT&T in the 1980s was that once Golden Boy was gelded, AT&T's fate was sealed.
= DARRIN =



HobieSport

That is so weird, yet strangely amusing.  Why didn't they just cover the offending items with a bronze 302, as one would use a fig leaf? ;D  (Not with a candlestick...let's not go there.)

All kidding aside, that's a cool statue Bingster.  Are there any makers' marks?

bingster

Nope, no marks of any kind.  It's strange... you'd think there'd be a number or something cast into it, but there's nothing.
= DARRIN =



Dan

Looks like it was more soft plastic, not hard ::)
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright