• Red Nichols, Holstorian

Post 75: Picture perfect

An idealist like Nelson and our President, I devoted a couple of decades to ensuring the success and prosperity of the Bianchi Holsters Co. while not looking out for myself particularly well! Nelson and I had a lot in common in that regard but the President did VERY well for himself. Looking for images to illustrate another blog post I was reminded of this particular cache:

Above, at right, I'm turned sideways because the photo shoot was meant to be in early light but has taken so long that the sun is too much for my eyes. All of us there were JB's employees. 1976ish? JB is facing the rear of his factory because this spot is just the other side of the employee parking lot! So I think we are looking East and Al Lang's Mustang Grips factory is off somewhere behind me and to the right.

The first of the company's employee newsletters, 1973:

Some of the math doesn't add up there, notably the birth of my daughter Lana (who isn't speaking to me right now because I'm a conservative and, well, she's with 'them') whi was b. 1970 so two years after her mother and I married; and yes, I took the job with JB one month after her birth. And missed her birthdays 1979 to 1985 because I was President of the Bianchi Cup tournament organization. Which she's not ever forgiven me for :-).

1974 above, when the Model 2800 "Judge" was created. I named the holster after Sammy Davis Jr.'s "Laugh In" line, "here comes the judge, here comes the judge".

Above, a mighty fancy set we made up as an homage to the old sets by Bohlin. I learned to carve, albeit humbly, to build this set when master figure carver Christine Stanley couldn't complete it on time.

Above, an article by Skeeter Skelton titled 'Inside Bianchi'. Below, about a set we created for a Paul Newman film "Buffalo Bill":

Below, in JB's book "Blue Steel". Notice the Askins Avenger in the foreground:

In JB's self-titled book is an image from our visit to the nearby Marine Corp base to gather information for the future M-12 holster; from that visit came the Tanker holster harness for it:

As the chap in charge of marketing and promotions, I was able to interest a Riverside newspaper in covering the adoption of the M-12 in the late 1980s:

A set I designed and built for Skeeter towards the end of his run. It survives in a private collection. Likely you'll be more interested in his revolvers but to me they're just accessories for the holsters:

I lose track of lots of these projects but of course remember one for John Wayne. His note on the image is his 'thank you'. The Duke died very shortly thereafter:

And one I'd forgotten that I did for Elmer Keith, marked No. 5 in the image below and is a vertical shoulder holster that pivots on a brass swivel. Notice his initials. I suppose I should be chuffed that he kept it all those years because this image is from one of the two auctions of his estate:

Heaps more. I'll run across more records, I suppose. Dunno why JB gave me so much publicity, nor so much responsibility, nor listened to my feedback. I was just a kid.


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