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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Put Your Head in the Hole

It is very rare that one man can make two major unrelated contributions to western society.  Louis Pasture invented both the small pox vaccination and the process of milk pasteurization. 

Another such man is Cassius Coolidge.  Cassius's first creation was an imagine that is thoroughly entwined in America's culture and landscape.  You have seen this imagine time and time again and likely never stopped and though, "Gee, I wonder who painted that."

Property of Cassius Coolidge

Dogs playing poker.  A landmark in kitschy home decor.

For most men, such an iconic contribution would be enough, but not for Cassius Coolidge.  He created another masterpiece, one that you have probably seen at about any vacation spot across the country.

Coolidge invented the "Comic Foreground".  Paintings you could stick your head through form comic effect.  The effect is simple and classic, but it does not come without its own dangers.

I am always a sucker for these cut outs.  Here is my collection of photographs of cut outs from around the country.

White Squirrel Festival.  Bervard, NC

There are two types of people in this world.  Those who will put there head in the hole and those who will not.  My daughter will always put her head in the hole.

Cypress Gardens, SC

Tiger, GA

Key West, FL

Busch Bean Museum. Dandrige, TN
Mothman Festival.  Point Pleasant, OH

Atlanta, GA
On the rare occasion I can bribe my son into participating.

Weeki Wachee, FL

Or my mom....

Babyland General.  Cleveland, GA

Or my wife....

Hell, MI
Most the time, I have to resort to taking pictures of the empty foregrounds.  Which I actually find have a really cool vibe to them.

Helen, GA

Macon, GA

Maggie Valley, NC

The Old Jail.  St. Augustine, FL

Maggie Valley, NC

Helen, GA

Gatlinburg, TN

Nasheville, TN

Seale, AL

Plains, GA

Tiger, GA

Mountain Mall.  Gatlinburg, TN

Quaker Steak and Lube Charleston, WV

Shell Factory.  Ft. Meyers, FL
Here may be the grandest photo opportunity of them all at Santa's Land in Cherokee, NC.  Look at all those holes, just ignore the fact that none of them make any sense.

Santa's Land. Cherokee, NC
Let's all take a moment to thank Cassius Coolidge for his contribution to our family vacations.

The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to e-mail me at
and check out my Flickr Photostream


  1. "Injury, entrapment and strangulation" - wow, who knew they were so dangerous! I absolutely love this post....and this collection. I couldn't pick a favorite if I tried!

    1. Horrifying isn't it? Makes them sound like a public menace :)

      Thank you much, I probably couldn't pick a favorite either

  2. Great post. I'm currently working on my own design for an exhibit in March!

    1. Awesome! I'd love to see what you are working on

  3. I literally gasped out loud when I saw this jacob! I am obsessed with those and have asked so many people what they were called. I even tried to research it online and couldn't really find the right search teams. This makes me so so so happy! It is especially nice to know that they were invented by the same guy who did the dogs playing poker images.
    Also I am sad that i didn't see that christmas scene on our trip to santa land! I would have loved to be the christmas tree. usually i take a few pictures of us with our heads in different holes then photoshop them together, like this:
    my favorite ever is this one:
    I'm sad to report they replaced that one at loveless with a really stupid looking modern one. I wish I could have bought the old one or something.
    great post as usual!

    1. Its funny, its one of those things everyone knows about, but they don't have a real good name. "Comedic Foregrounds", it just too bland.

      I think I actually have a picture of my daughter in the Rock City one buried in my archive somewhere :)

      I'd love to get my own

  4. oh, and since i already left you a novel as a comment, have you guys been through metropolis illinois? there is a great superman museum and they have lots of comic forgrounds outside of it to take your picture with. if you haven't been there yet you need to go! there is a hollywood museum in town too that is weird and awesome.

    1. I have not been, but it is on my list! Hoping to hit it when I finally make my trek to Arkansas

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  6. The Old Jail picture, in St. Augustine, FL, depicting a white law officer and a black prisoner is racist!