• Red Nichols, Holstorian

Lady luck in Paris

Updated: Jan 23

It's not well known that Paris Theodore started, not with this logo:

But rather, with this one:

And in a curious chain of events, we've found another holster besides the one in the 1968 article introducing Paris' lineup (above image), with that logo. Without looking closely enough (!) to see the marking on its backside, I advised the seller on eBay -- as I often do -- that he had a Seventrees Vampire car holster; judging by its design and its construction.

When the buyer received it (the above images are not 'it') he knew that it was I who had told the seller what he had. But what of the curious mark on its backside? Who really made it, then?

See below: two different authors, both of them directors in Paris' company (!) each wrote articles about Paris' new Seventrees gunleather line and these appeared in 1968. Below is an image from one of them. I originally 'boxed' the Donihoo as being a surprise inclusion in his range originally; the one we're concerned with today is at upper right of the image:

What I know now (yes, it's one of the earliest Seventrees, called the VAM) is that the article was actually showing prototypes not production holsters. This is clear from a series of exchanges between writer Mason Williams and Paris' business partner Steve King in 1967.

And those letters I located from a large cache of Seventrees images that my friend Rob Garrett sent to me within the last year. There it is clear that Williams doesn't LIKE these prototypes and he's mighty grrrrrrUFF! about it with Paris. No idea why Paris put up with the very disrespectful verbiage for as long as he did; but Paris finally told him to piss off in '68.

I expect that this poor imprint was of the first, palm tree logo of Paris', and the reason it disappeared to be replaced by the one we know so well. That first logo was quite broad and flat and Chic Gaylord had the very same problem: the damp horsehide was too hard to accept the stamp by simply striking it; and Gaylords are often found with either no mark or with the faintest of imprints.

One would have to be a genuine industry insider to recognize Mason (here with his wife)(no, this is NOT Janelle Cooper with G. Gordon Liddy) in '77:

This knowledge including the letters and the article, says that my new friend's Seventrees holster is very early and is one of the pictured prototypes, because I've not ever seen one with this mark other than the grainy image in the article. Well done to him!

Below, Paris is at a fitting; use your eagle eyes to notice the pistols and holsters at lower left:

Poor old Mason; for example he thought that a thumbsnap one one of the prototypes was meant to be released with the elbow and complained mightily! The reply letter to him from Steve explains that it's for the thumb. In all fairness though, the thumbsnap was very new in '67; JB had been using it only since '64/65 or so.

The above is the holster that one of our members here, bought from the eBay seller. And no thanks to me, he paid more than he would have otherwise! Some friend I am, eh? Turns out he didn't pay much for it, though -- it is the ACTUAL holster shown below: not only does it have the rare, early mark of Seventrees, but has the turned-back tabs at the snaps that don't appear on better-known VAMs:

So now we have a veritable 'four leaf clover' and the rest of you can comb through your dealer's box'o'holsters for another :-).

(My friend Rob Garrett just now sends this along: an impression made for him with Paris' original stamp, and by Ken Null. It's a palm tree he says, but I count 8 fronds so the palm's relevance is not '7' as suggested):

A bit more research, and it appears that it's this palm that is a native of Phillipines but commonplace in FL; and ALL New Yorkers have been to FL. It grows from five to . . . seven fronds :-).

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