Friday, October 31, 2008


Ok, this is going to be difficult to explain without sounding like a total degenerate. It's my favorite Halloween story, but it's not for the faint-hearted. It happened shortly after I moved to Oklahoma, early in the morning on the day after Halloween. I was living in Grove, Oklahoma at the time and was headed down Rt. 59 to reach Rt. 66 and Afton Station. The sun had not quite risen, and as I recall it was a chilly morning.

I've always been fond of what are commonly called "Muffler Men". Those are the large, 20-foot tall fiberglass images that have their origin in the '60s when a lot of them were made from the same mold by a company in Venice, California for muffler shops all over the country. The original statues were men with arms in front of them holding giant mufflers. Over the years, most of the statues have either disappeared or have been "modified" to be something else. For example, Atlanta Illinois has a Muffler Man that now holds a giant hot dog where the muffler used to be. In Wilmington, Illinois, the Muffler Man is now the Gemini Giant holding a rocket. You get the idea.

So anyway, on Rt. 59 between Grove and Afton is a former Muffler Man in front of a flea market/junk shop. He's dressed as a cowboy, with jeans, big belt buckle, and a cowboy hat. He holds nothing (except at Christmas time, when occasionally someone puts large candles in his hands). On this dark morning-after-Halloween I was tooling along as usual when, as is my custom, I glanced over at the Muffler Man. Wellllll....... my foot hit the brake and squealed to a stop that probably took a quarter inch off my tire treads. Fortunately, I was the only person on the road at that early hour. I did a complete u-turn and drove back, not believing my eyes! In front of me was one of the craziest and most elaborate Halloween pranks I've ever seen. I congratulated myself for always keeping my camera in the car, although I wasn't sure if I had enough light to take a decent picture. I tried it anyway, and was able to lighten it up later when I put it online.

Now, here's the thing. I've spent a bit of time just now trying to figure out how to post the photo without getting kicked off Blogger and/or really offending a bunch of people. Since I'm not entirely sure who reads my blog, I've decided to just offer my email address, and you can write to me if you want me to email the photo to you. A most impressive cantilevering job, I must say!

A few hours later, when I returned from Afton, the Muffler Man adaptation had been removed. I dare say I own probably the only photo that was taken of him that morning.

Happy Halloween!


Beth said...

I can only imagine...!

I love those guys, too, but I call them Giant Guys. I've seen the Hot Dog guy, and I have a picture of myself in front of the Gemini Giant!

Have a fun weekend!
Hugs, Beth

Ken Riches said...

I did not know the origin of the men on the route, thanks for the info :o)

Trevor Hilton said...

Hi Laurel.

My late cousin, Don Davis, owns that giant cowboy. I can use my imagination to guess what the "prank" is.

Jerry said...

Laurel, That is cool. I am doing some research on these dudes. I would love to get that photograph. I'll make a request to your email address. Nice article!

BTW, I rode my Harley back home to Nebraska on Route 66 this summer. What a hoot!