Our objective in making this film was something of a psychology experiment: We sought to capture people facing a difficult situation, to make a portrait of humans in doubt. We’ve all seen actors playing doubt in fiction films, but we have few true images of the feeling in documentaries. To make them, we decided to put people in a situation powerful enough not to need any classic narrative framework. A high dive seemed like the perfect scenario.
Through an online advertisement, we found 67 people who had never been on a 10-meter (about 33 feet) diving tower before, and had never jumped from that high. We paid each of them the equivalent of about $30 to participate — which meant climbing up to the diving board and walking to its edge. We were as interested in the people who decided to climb back down as the ones jumping.
I’ve never jumped from a ten meter tower, but I have have from a 5 meter tower and that was pretty exhilarating at the time. I was in high school and thus in much better shape, but I still made sure not to belly flop from that height.
Could I do a ten meter tower today? I’d like to think I could with only some minor hesitation, but you never really know until you’re standing on the edge of that platform and looking down at the water.
Retired electrician Mike Martin was a dedicated hobbyist and collector. What he collected were old department store mannequins which he restored and, um, enhanced. Specifically, he gave them boob jobs and then dressed them in various fashions and gave them names. Mike recently passed away and his amazingly tolerant wife is selling off his collection of 60 big breasted mannequins to anyone willing to take them:
“Some people are making fun of it online. But everybody collects something,” said Rich Ranft of Beloit Auction & Realty and a longtime neighbor of the Martins.
“Whenever he heard there was a mannequin for sale, he’d go get it. They had a small Ford or whatever it was, and he would strap them to the top or put them in the backseat, wherever he could put them,” Rich said.
Then Mike would rely on his skill in automotive body work to repair and paint the figures. He used Bondo, the fix for rusted-out fenders, to augment the mannequins’ breasts until they were the size of cantaloupes.
“If you’ve seen them, obviously you can tell he was very into big-busted women, to say the least,” Mike’s daughter, Lisa Erspamer of Wauwatosa, said with a laugh.
Here’s a sample of his work:
If nothing else you have to admire his skill at making those breasts look like they were there from the beginning.
The news article linked above has quite a few more pictures if you’re curious. Mike was devoted to his unusual hobby:
Mike and Maxine granted an interview to the Beloit Daily News in 2007. They said the collection began about 10 years earlier. Mike said he preferred the hobby to watching television. He became an expert on the history of mannequins and could tell you where and when each one was made.
Each restoration took four or five days, Mike told reporter Julie Becker. Some were made to look like celebrities such as Sophia Loren, Rita Hayworth and Elvira. Maxine said she was glad to see her husband busy, though he rarely asked for her fashion advice.
Now the natural inclination would be to make fun of this fellow for buying old mannequins and enlarging their breasts before dressing them up, but I find him to be a bit of a kindred spirit. Over the years I’ve collected clocks and hats and various anime related crap and otter figurines and video games and other total wastes of time and money. Hell, in some circles I’m sure Mike Martin would be considered an artist of sorts which is more than can be said for any of the stuff I’ve collected over the years. His family appears to have been tolerant of his quirky obsession and he clearly wasn’t harming anyone. If it brought a little bit of happiness into his life then all the better.
If you think owning one of these might bring a little happiness into your life then you’ll be happy to know the online auction runs for a couple more days yet, though you’ll have to drive to Beloit, WI to pick it up as they won’t ship them. Outfits and accessories will be shipped if you wish. Just imagine how one of these tastefully posed in your living room or den would act as a conversation starter at your next party!