More from Harry Oliver's
Desert Rat Scrap Book (DRSB)
By Dick "Colorado" Oakes
THIS IS HISTORICAL INFORMATION ONLY
CLICK AN IMAGE TO ENLARGE
This photo post card of Harry Oliver with a burro is on a linen surface.
The reverse reads 'POST CARD. The Desert Rat Prospector hunting for the Lost Peg-Leg gold Mine near Palm Springs. Gayle's Studio, Palm Springs, Calif. A "Colourpicture" Publication, Boston 15, Mass., L. A. Office 2143 So. Alsace Ave., L.A. K3260.'
Harry printed his Desert Rat Joke Book as Packet 4 of Pouch 4. The graphic at the far right is the advertisement for the booklet.
Compiled by Betty J. Stohler, Distributed by Betty Stohler, "Old Sunshine" Press, 25964 Edgemont Dr.; San Bernadino, California 92404; Desert Printing Co., Inc., Indio, California; © Betty J. Stohler 1978 (San Bernardino: "Old Sunshine" Press, 1978)
The description below was
stolen borrowed from Ric Carter's Harry Oliver Fandom Center, a memorial archive. Ric wrote:
"A KISS FOR THE DESERT from Harry Oliver (no ISBN) is the only 'bio-graph' of the Old Dream Merchant. Written enthusiastically, if not always expertly, this book is a treasure trove of details about whatever bits of Harry's life he chose to disclose. It is also lavishly illustrated, both with reprintings of Harry's work, and with Ms. Stohler's own illustrations that seem to be renderings of old photos. For those interested in Harry's life and work, this book is highly recommended."
A Whimsical Desert Digest of Refreshing Nonsense; Heralding the life of the Southwest's foremost story telling Desert Rat, Harry Oliver; Editor, Humorist, Historian, Publicist, Pioneer, Philosopher, Prospector, Showman, Builder, Hermit, and Secessionist (Palm Springs: The Printery, 1952).
Harry Oliver THE OLD MIRAGE SALESMAN (no ISBN) is actually a book published in 1952 by Amy Fern Roessel and Mary Alice Ballenger, Harry Oliver's daughters, and dedicated "To the World's Greatest Optimist, The Desert Prospector." (In the daytime--at night--dedicated to the friendly ghosts of the old timers that hover in the background of the campfire.) It is "A Whimsical Desert Digest of Refreshing Nonsence"--a compilation of Harry's works, lavishly sprinkled with his drawings and woodcuts. This book is sure great reading when a person needs a little lift out of the doldrums.
Amy and Mary wrote, "It has been a work of great pleasure to both of us. We lived with the creation of these characters during those happy years in the old home place in Palms, California (the last slice of La Ballona Rancho) and also on the porch of the rambling old HO Ranch, Dad's sprawling adobe in Borrego, and later at old adobe Fort Oliver, 1000 Palms, California. Many of the stories have been published as long ago as 1926 and '28. Six of them published in Life Magazine in 1932. Others in "The Gold Miner," "Todo"--Mexico City, "the Grizzly Bear," Rob Wagner's "Script," "New Mexico Magazine," and "Calico Print." Now Dad was anything but a literary man, but we believe that for originality and choice of colorful props, no one could beat him. Each story has humor as well as a great deal of true Desert atmosphere. And he sure did know his Desert! We believe that this book belongs in every Desert library. Dad was born in Hastings, Minnesota, April 4, 1888. Dad's father was an ardent Mark Twain fan, and Dan grew up in a tom Sawyer atmosphere. As a boy he knew and mingled with the trappers, the steamboat men, and the woodsmen; the shack and shanty life beame a vivid part of him. This cropped out in his career in motion pictures as a character art director and is the very soul of his desert tall tales--even though Dad didn't come to California till 1909."
As you peruse this site, please remember Harry's words,
"Printers don't drink more than other people--
iT Just $hoWs up moRe in pRiNt."
Below is a scan of a portion of the Arizona Highways magazine cover of March 1953 (picture at right) to help if you want to pick up a copy of your own and are looking through old magazines in a used book store or on eBay. There is an article by the editor, Raymond Carlso, beginning on page 4 titled "Harry Oliver." The composites of the four, brown from age, article pages aren't meant to be read (obviously), but to whet your appetite for your search!.