Friday, February 17, 2017

Henry gets his shoes fixed

[Henry, February 17, 2017.]

Henry last stopped in for shoe repairs in August 2012 and October 2015. He must be harder on his shoes now. These two panels appear to be more or less recycled from August 2012. I don’t mind: there are shoe booths involved.

Does anyone else remember sitting in such a booth waiting for new heels or soles? My memory of the experience probably has something to do with the powerfully strange smell of the shoe-repair shop: chemicals, leather, and perhaps a dash of feet.

Related reading
All OCA Henry posts (Pinboard)

comments: 8

The Crow said...

But...but, Henry's wearing sneakers, and he still has them on when he enters the booth.

I never sat in a booth to wait for shoes to be repaired, but I remember going with my mother to the cobbler's shop to pick up a pair of Daddy's re-heeled wingtips. The cobbler repaired the soles and a deep scratch on one of them, then re-dyed the repair,and refinished the pair to a high gloss. At no additional cost. Boy, those were the days!

However, I do remember going to a Buster Brown store for new school shoes one year and having to put my feet into a fluoroscope machine to see if the shoes fit with wiggle room for future growth. I had to wiggle my toes, which I could watch through a viewer at the top. Pretty cool! (I got a pair of BB slip-ons -my first-in oxblood color; had a tassel across the toes.)

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for the shoe memories. (In Search of Lost Shoes?)

In today’s strip Henry has a hole in the sole in the first panel, and he has his legs up over the booth’s door in the last panel, with the cobbler standing and wondering. So maybe you hand over your shoes once you’re sitting in the booth? Otherwise you’d be walking around in socks. How did they do these things?

I too went to Buster Brown (that creepy logo), but I’m pretty sure they used nothing more than the Brannock Device on me. I hope I would not forget a fluoroscope. :)

The Crow said...

Oops! Didn't notice the hole.

Brannock Device? You could see your toes wiggle?

My mother called it a fluoroscope, I guess because she used one at Oakridge (part of the Manhattan Project), scanning for cracks or other problems with metals being tested for metal stress limits and bomb casings. The shoe machine images were similar to what she saw from the fluoroscope. (It was 1942 and we didn't know all that much about radiation dangers then. She didn't have to wear any protective gear, which might be why she had so many miscarriages [4] before I came along, and some birth anomalies in her babies she carried to term. She did have to wear a dosimeter, though.)

The Crow said...

Another PS: Of course, the visual pun (while you wait) wouldn't have been as funny if Henry just handed his shows over.

Henry was one of my favorite characters from childhood. I liked it and other "silents" because anyone could get the long as they paid closer attention than I did today.

Michael Leddy said...

Elaine was just listening to an episode of the BBC series about the elements and learning about people painting radium onto watch faces and hands. Dangerous work. What people didn’t know did hurt them.

The Brannock Device is the metal device (black and silver) to measure the foot. There’s a website.

Did you like Ferd’nand? We had a book of those comics when I was a kid. (He was a little guy with a hat, also silent, nothing to do with the story of the bull.)

The Crow said...

The device I encountered was a wooden cabinet with two viewers, somewhat like the stereoscopic viewers, which were attached back to back, each angled upwards slightly. At the bottom of the cabinet was an arched opening. That's where you put your feet. The machine was turned on, emitting an oscillating low hum and a dim light, which I want to say was blue.

The child could look through one viewer while the salesman looked through the other, to make certain your feet were in far enough. Then the parent(s) looked through while the salesman explained what they were seeing. I remember thinking that his description of the fit was like Goldilocks and the three bears: first pair were too big, second were too small; the third, of course, fit just right.

Yes! Ferd'nand, with his cone-shaped hat, though to be honest, I had to google him because I didn't remember his name. Another one I liked, another silent one, was The Little King. I think what I liked best was the freedom to tell my own story about what was happening when my younger sisters asked me to read the comics to them.

Found an article (Wikipedia) on the shoe-viewing machine: found here - I don't know how to imbed a link in comments.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Martha. I am realizing now that the whole experience of a shoe store, fluoroscope or no, is probably gone for many kids. Self-service! And no free comic books with your shoes.

Slywy said...

Look up "radium girls Ottawa" for the horror story that occurred so close to Starved Rock State Park. There's a statue, which I should make a point of seeing next visit.

Also, Roger Ebert was treated with radiation for some childhood ailment (I can't remember — something like strep?) and believed that was the source of his jaw cancer.