HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Thursday, March 19, 2009


MY 67TH BIRTHDAY PRESENTS, THANKS TO KIM, came a month early. For several years now I have been in contact with Helmet Hut over in Warsaw, Indiana. Helmet Hut is an outstanding company that produces, under licensing with Riddell, Inc., throwback helmets from the 1960's -70's. They, in fact, graciously took on a project of restoring a Riddell TK5 that not only was in desperate need of a paint job, but needed a crack in the left ear patched, sanded, and restored.

I had Helmet Hut restore it in the mustard yellow of the Green Bay Packers with the spinach green stripes as I had acquired black market decals on my own. (Helmet Hut made it very clear that they are not allowed to put NFL licensed decals on any of their helmets by agreement with the NFL.) I also had them put the number fifteen on the rear of the helmet so that it would be a reproduction of Bart Starr's MVP helmet.

Helmet Hut also took a $10 purchase I made off eBay and gave it a $100 paint job as the beginning stages of a Washington Redskins throwback helmet.

Yesterday I received my first actual Helmet Hut helmet that I ordered less than a week ago, this time in the silver and blue of the Detroit Lions. I cannot describe the excitement of opening the box at the smell of "new" that emanated.
Before placing the order, I talked at great length with Curtis Worrell, one of the founders of Helmet Hut. Curtis is a fascinating man! We talked football of the 60's for quite a long time as he is old enough (not nearly as old as I, but old enough) to remember what I call the glory years of the NFL, the 1960's, when both my team, Green Bay, and Curtis' Washington Redskins - he grew up going to games at RFK - were outstanding teams of history. Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer, and later tough guy Joe Theismann, Bart, Ray Nitschke, Hawg Hanner, Paul Hornung - it took us a while to get around to talking business. When I told him that I wanted to build the beginnings of what would become a 1960's Detroit Lions helmet (with the great Dick LeBeau in mind), I told Curtis of my one stipulation: "You will probably think I'm crazy," I said, "but the helmet must be large enough that I can put it on my head. All the helmets I have collected through eBay are."

Curtis assured me that I was not the only crazy collector and told me that they only manufacture one size helmet but that they had supplied all the helmets for the recent film "The Express" and were able to outfit the entire cast,save one that they had to produce a one time special order.

My new helmet passed the "can it get it on my head" test. Oh, as Curtis warned, it would be a bit snug, and would cause some discomfort to the ears upon removal. But if you have a hat size of 7 and 1/8 or smaller, you are in!

The Helmet Hut helmet compares very favorably to the Riddell TK5 in appearance and is true to the design in every way. I am not sure, (and I don't want to take the "Bart Starr" out of it's case), but I am almost certain that the heft of the Helmet Hut creation is not as substantial as the Riddell. But then, it wasn't designed for on-field competition, was it? It is for DISPLAY!

So to all collectors out there: HELMET HUT FILLS YOUR NEEDS! And in addition, they are extremely helpful and easy to work with.
I ALSO PURCHASED JIM FINKS, JR.'S NEW BOOK "COLORS", and it is a beautiful book, filled with great anecdotes about each team's uniform history and page upon page of stunning photographs. It is a well spring of knowledge for collectors such as myself and well worth the purchase price if you are serious about your hobby.
I, of course, turned immediately to the Green Bay Packer section and found out that I had a misconception of a story I had heard years ago - during the Holmgren years.

All my close friends know how much I dislike Mr. Holmgren as I have always felt he took his eye off the ball during the run for the second Superbowl. I have always felt that the California Poobah was too busy looking to get a general manager/head coach position somewhere on the west coast that year.

Anyway, I digress. The rumor circulated that upon arrival in Green Bay, Holmgren wanted to make changes to the Packer uniform. Supposedly he wanted to go from the sacred cheddar cheese yellow to a splashy UCLA or (dare I say it?) San Francisco 49'er old gold.


There is not a fan from Eagle River to Milwaukee to Green Bay to Hudson that would not vomit at the prospect! Well, in the book "Colors" it turns out it wasn't Holmgren who wanted to make those changes, it was GM Ron Wolf!

Bob Harlan: "Ron wanted to change the mustard gold of our uniforms in the early 1990's and switch to a Notre Dame or UCLA-style gold. But the outcry from our fans everywhere was such that we decided against it."

Contributor Mark Zelenovich, Jr. finishes the section on Green Bay Packer uniform history with this:

"And if history teaches us but one lesson about messing with the rich tradition of Green Bay Packer uniforms, it is this: Never anger fans at Lambeau Field wearing simulated dairy products on their heads ... and little else in the middle of January."

I still am not a Holmgren fan.


Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want
them to, doesn't
mean they don't love you with all they have. Ralph and
Edna were both
patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were
walking past
the hospital swimming pool. Ralph suddenly jumped into the
deep end.

He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.

Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom
and pulled
him out. When the Head Nurse Director became aware of
Edna's heroic
act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the
hospital, as
she now considered her to be mentally stable.

When she went to tell Edna the news she said, 'Edna, I
have good news
and bad news. The good news is you're being discharged,
since you were
able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and
saving the
life of the person you love. I have concluded that your act
sound mindedness.

The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the bathroom with
his bathrobe
belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he's

Edna replied, 'He didn't hang himself, I put him
there to dry. How
soon can I go home?'


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