If this photograph were going to appear anywhere in a post, common sense dictates that it appear first, whether or not the connection with Berkeley were obvious. So – here it is, after that heavy dose of subjunctive.
I was about to say “subjunctive tense” but that would be wrong. The subjunctive is a mood, a grammatical feature of verbs used for signaling modality, which is a term in linguistics describing expressions of how something might or should be – expressions of necessity, permissibility and probability, and negations thereof.
I surely don’t remember that from my days with Warriner’s. I checked my Warriner’s. Here it is! “The only common uses of the subjunctive mood in modern English are to express a condition contrary to fact and to express a wish. These usages occur principally in written English and usually apply to only one verb form-were.”
The connection with Berkeley:
Elvis appeared at the Sahara Tahoe for 28 shows starting on July 20, 1971.
Ron Hulse is a big Elvis fan and is handy with metal. He made a motorcycle sculpture that he thought Elvis would like. He took his daughter Abby to the show at the Sahara. Through a little aggressive marketing, Ron and Abby were invited up to the Elvis suite. Elvis loved the gift. A perfect gentleman. Posed for this photo, apologizing for the bandaid on his right finger – a fan had tried to pull off his ring.
As for the “handy with metal” part – in 1962, Hulse and his wife Deanna opened Ron’s Berkeley Muffler at 2420 Shattuck Avenue. The location is now Giovanni’s Cafe. In 1989 he moved the business, one stop and then to 6432 Shattuck, “just inside Oakland” as the business card says. In other words – not in Berkeley. Despite the name. But this is, in my book, a big plus.
Muffler shops have a heritage of “muffler men,” figures constructed from discarded automobile mufflers.
These are not to be confused with giant fiberglass statues, sometimes also called “muffler men,” especially by RoadsideAmerican.com.
We are talking here about men made from mufflers.
Timothy Corrigan Correll is a folklorist whose research focuses on material behavior and folk belief. Patrick Arthur Polk serves as the museum scientist and archivist for the UCLA Folklore and Mythology Archives. Their Muffler Men book rocks my boat.
So – Hulse made muffler men which he displayed outside the shop. The population in 2014:
The population today is smaller. Theft (bad karma!), purchase, and give-away (good karma!)have culled the herd. Today:
That’s it, at least out front. Decimated! Looking at the shop, you can see where the idea comes from.
The materials lend themselves to sculpture, don’t they?
Hulse is retired, enjoying life in Danville.
His daughter Abby Mays – pictured here and with Elvis – runs the shop today.
Mays is animated when describing her father’s love of midget and sprint car and NASCAR racing, the Danville Dukes (a group of hot rod enthusiasts), the Raiders, and Jimmy Reed, a Mississippi-born bluesman who died in Oakland in 1976 at the age of 50.
In the rear of the shop there is one more muffler figure:
Plus – some flatter works, metal, not muffler:
Mays is inspired by the interest in the muffler men.
She has given the crew the green light to “get creative” with muffler sculpture during down time in the shop. There are now two new sculptures out front!
Ending as we started, there is another celebrity story and photo on the wall, besides Elvis.
Hulse’s wife Deanne loved loved loved Billy Ray Cyrus, who was appearing at Konocti Harbor, a music venue and resort in Kelseyville, Lake County, founded in 1959 by Joseph Mazzola, president of plumbers Local 38. Hulse made a metal left-handed guitar player (Cyrus is left-handed) sitting in a chair, bronzed it, and etched in a replica of Cyrus’ autograph. Cyrus loved it, and asked for 60 more, unaware that it had taken hours and hours. Hulse had to say no.
I showed the photos to my friend. He sighed when he got to the Billy Ray Cyrus part. My friend had a “friend” in Lakeport and was up there quite a bit in the 1990s. He really “got into” the Pomo and Wapo people and the caves on the mountain. And concerts at Konocti. “Saw the Everly Brothers. Saw George Jones. Did not see Billy Ray play.”
Whatever – what about the muffler men?