"One day, as a young boy, I was with my older brother inside Colonel Bob's, the premier model shop in all of Los Angeles at the time, when a small group of men got into a rather heated argument about who built and flew the first airplanes. One of the men had a rolled up a comic book in his hand waving it around arguing with another man about the Wright Brothers and Leonardo Da Vinci. The man with the comic book threw it down on the counter and walked out. As it became slightly unrolled I picked it up to look at it. On the cover was a picture of a young man that apparently jumped off of a tower holding on to some kind of winged flying apparatus. The caption on the cover above the picture read '500 Years Too Soon' with a smaller caption lower down that read 'First World Flight.' After that, like Leonardo, nobody was able to stop me from building my own flying machine."
LEONARDO DA VINCI: 500 Years Too Soon
DA VINCI: TRUE COMICS, NO. 58, MARCH 1947
The opening graphics at the top of the page are the cover and the first of the pages for the 500 Too Soon story from the 1948 "Daisy Handbook No. 2" in it's actual 5.25 x 4.5 size. Further down the page is the whole story in black and white directly from the handbook, albeit with the pages expanded closer to a regular comic book size for easier viewing and reading.
The black and white version of the Leonardo Da Vinci story 500 Years Too Soon, below, was published in 1948, the second in a series of two fairly thick, more-or-less pocket sized 4X5 inch publications put out by the Daisy Air Rifle folk titled "The Daisy Handbook No. 2." The exact same Da Vinci story, albeit in full color, had been published a year earlier in True Comics, No. 58, dated March 1947, the same comic book I was talking about in the above quote.
I had copies of both, the comic book and the handbook, but since I was just a young kid in those days, and that was a long time ago, I am not sure what happened to either of them. While it could be argued the Daisy version was not a book in the classical sense such as the hard covered The Mechanical Investigations of Leonardo da Vinci, it was more book-like than comic-like, and because it was sort of pocket size, I hauled it around with me all over the place for several years becoming a major factor in my early designs and attempts at flight.
Just after the last page below of the black and white version of the "500 Years Too Soon" as published in the Daisy Handbook and reproduced here is a cover graphic of the True Comics that the original Da Vinci story appeared in. Clicking the image of that cover graphic will take you to a site where the original full color, full size version of the story, start to finish, as published in True Comics, No. 58, can be found.
SEEING THE MONA LISA IN REAL LIFE
(please click image)
Daisy Handbook No. 2 was published by the Daisy Manufacturing Company with a copyright date of 1948. It was published in a booklet format of 128 pages plus an eight page catalog in the center with the covers measuring 5.25" x 4.5". The "handbook," except for the smaller size, was basically a comic book except in black and white instead of color and the page format, rather than having the typical comic book height higher than the width rectangle shape, was for the most part, nearly square.
Notice in a side-by-side comparison how the Daisy Handbook had to cut-down or modify the comic book cartoon panels of the traditional rectangle shaped page to fit the more-or-less square format of the handbook:
Included inside the handbook was a promotional four page full color Daisy Air Rifles Catalog bound between the center pages as well as featuring advertising for Daisy BB guns and accessories on the inside front cover and the back cover. Besides having several text-like articles with helpful hints on camping and such the comic book portion featured illustrated stories that included the following cartoon and historical luminaries:
TO SEE A COMPLETE COPY OF THE 1948 DAISY HANDBOOK NO.2 PLEASE CLICK IMAGE
WAR HEROES, DELL PUBLISHING CO., NO. 4, APRIL-JUNE, 1943
Interestingly enough, the graphic above, with the account of the Bat Wing flyer Mickey Morgan, that I use so often in a number of my works regarding the flying machine I built and flew originally based on a Leonardo Da Vinci design, is honored in the 1948 Daisy Handbook #2, given a whole page. To see that page click the above graphic.
THE PICTURE ON THE LEFT IS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI FROM THE FIRST PAGE
OF THE ILLUSTRATED STORY "500 YEARS TO SOON." PICTURE ON THE RIGHT
IS OF SAMUEL MORSE'S FIRST ATTEMPT FOR SENDING AND RECEIVING CODE
(please click either image)
DA VINCI: TRUE COMICS, NO. 58, MARCH 1947
(please click image)
EARLY FLYERS: FROM ICARUS TO LILIENTHAL
LEONARDO DA VINCI: 500 YEARS TO SOON
THE FLYING MACHINE: AMERICA 1948 AD
THE DA VINCI GLIDER CIRCA 1500 AD
LILIENTHAL GLIDER TYPE IX
THE BLACK CONDOR: THE MAN WHO COULD FLY LIKE A BIRD
FLYING MACHINE OF DIEGO MARIN AGUILERA, FLOWN IN 1793
THE FLYING MACHINE: CHINA 400 A.D
SO, DID THE WANDERLING FLY?
ON THE RAZOR'S
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
SEEING THE MONA LISA IN REAL LIFE:
During the early part of the year 1963, after having been drafted in the latter part of 1962, I had moved from Basic Training at Fort Ord, California to being fully ensconced in training and the goings on of the Southeast Signal Corps School in Fort Gordon, Georgia. However, even though I had only just earned my Private First Class stripes from the slick sleeve I was, because of my ability with Morse code, a near savant as my civilian instructors continued to tell my chain of command officers, before completion of Signal School I was sent on my second TDY military experience, the first being the Cuban Missile Crisis while I was still in basic.
My TDY destination from Fort Gordon was the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I was sent to be part of a several week observed study control group working with initially ten, dropped to five, specially selected cadets supposedly versed in the intricacies of Morse code. The idea was to find out what I had that they didn't and once found could it be learned or replicated.
The father of one of the cadets in the group owned a yacht that one weekend he sailed up the Hudson River from some affluent suburb of New York City, hoping to spend some time with his son. The son invited several cadet friends and me to hang out with him on the boat, which, being a few notches better than nothing, I did. As what would eventually become usual for me nothing identified me as to my rank or status, so nobody really knew if I was an officer, an enlisted man, or maybe even a civilian. Often, for people who own yachts sometimes things like that matter. For example, the cadet's sister. If she had known I was a lowly private and not one of the group at large she probably wouldn't have even talked to me. Same with the dad. It came out between the father and I that we both knew David J. Halliburton Sr. and both had been on his yacht the Twin Dolphin, both several times. I told the father I knew Halliburton because as a young man he had a serious crush on my stepmother's niece, which is true. Halliburton's family lived right across the street from my stepmother and during the summer her niece would babysit me. In reality though I knew Halliburton later in life because I was a crew member on his yacht, a mere sander of wood. Of course I didn't tell the dad that and he automatically put me higher up on the scale of things. Years later Halliburton did so as well after the connection with my stepmother's niece became clear.
In any case, as it turned out, from February 4, 1963 to March 4, 1963, after having been on exhibit in Washington D.C., but before returning to the Louvre in Paris, and for the only time ever, Leonado Da Vinci's painting the Mona Lisa was in the U.S. and on exhibit at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, a period of time that overlapped the exact same time I was at West Point. More than that, it just so happened the father of the cadet had long time philanthropic ties in support the museum and had at his beckon call special VIP passes to see the exhibit. When we got to talking and he thought I was right up there with Halliburton in the scheme of things and I expressed an overwhelming desire to see the Mona Lisa, as soon as he could arrange it and his soon and his son and I could get time off he sent a car up to West Point to pick us. We were whisked into the museum ahead of the hours long crowds and as others were being ushered through after viewing the painting, our neck lanyard identification allowed to stay as long as we wanted.
MORSE CODE, HAND KEYS, AND DA VINCI