Flying Disc Museum: Blog https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog en-us Photo copyrights belong to their respective contributors, disc design copyrights belong to their designers (Flying Disc Museum) Wed, 17 Nov 2021 01:44:00 GMT Wed, 17 Nov 2021 01:44:00 GMT https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/img/s/v-12/u799800098-o305303915-50.jpg Flying Disc Museum: Blog https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog 69 120 Learning to Throw https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/11/learning-to-throw Learning to ThrowLearning to Throw

—By Steve Mooney—

None of us started with disc in hand. No, we started with everything but. We started when someone first handed us an object, like a ball, but not necessarily, and we threw it. A Matchbox toy, a piece of Lego, a Lincoln log hurled through the air only to be told not to. Told over and over again. No! Then redirected. Childhood lessons learned in the living room, and then the backyard or the streets in the neighborhoods of our youth. But none of us first learned to throw with flat plastic. Instead, we learned everything but, in a pre-internet era when our moms said, “Get out of house and I don’t want to see you again until dinner.”

Let’s not kid ourselves—we don’t remember that first throw. We were two. But we remember many ensuing ones. The throws, the shots, the passes completed to win a game of touch. The shots made at the imaginary buzzer. The perfect pitch to strike out the side. If you’re like me, you grew up in a huddle, or inventing a game, or at recess trying desperately to be the best. If you’re like me, you spent your childhood playing every game imaginable, none of which involved a disc. You and I learned about flight and aerodynamics the hard way, with toys and equipment that didn’t fly all that well. Still, we learned and later applied it to the flight of plastic.

baseballBaseball My first love baseball. Hours of throwing and catching. Mastering the pitch. Channeling Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. Reading each fly ball as it fell from the sky. Hitting fastballs. Fielding grounders bouncing erratically, occasionally bonking us in the head. We learned to read the bounce—the elusive short-hop. And then, like a first kiss, we learned the curve ball and nothing would ever be the same. Learned that the laces mattered. Learned how to hold each different pitch. We learned that a baseball and a tennis ball have little in common when being pitched, and that the latter can end a fledgling career. Still, we picked our stickball teams and threw as hard as we could, memory of throbbing pain scarred into our minds. Those early lessons with the grip of a baseball, a harbinger of learning different grips on a disc. A palm ball, splitter and two-finger fastball, a bit like the push pass, inside out and flick, each sending its projectile in a different direction and speed off the hand. Ball and then lid, finger position mattering more than people know.

On suburban streets we played stickball, 500, hit the bat. Boys and girls playing together before puberty divided us. Piling out onto the street in front of the house, hard ball and bat in hand, we kept a collective eye out.

“Car,” we’d yell, tempting fate. A younger brother lost to high-velocity sheet metal might be hard to excuse, but still.

“I don’t like you playing out there when cars are coming by,” my mom would say. But by then, we’d outgrown the tiny patch of lawn she called our front yard.

“We’ll be careful,” we’d say to the sound of cars whizzing by. I always found it a bit of a thrill, to field that last hit in the face of oncoming traffic. To hit one last fly ball that resulted in a near miss.

“Steve!?!” John would shout. “What are you doing?” I can still feel the sound of a ball hitting a roof or hood—the thud of our delinquency worn like a badge.

footballfootball These hits and throws the beginning of learning about the flight patterns. Like Fran Tarkington and Joe Namath’s spirals to their streaking receivers, we began our careers not as handlers, but as quarterbacks, pitchers, and outside shooters in an everlasting game of boyhood, starring our brothers and friends, all vying for something intangible. The bliss of the completed pass. The feel of that perfect pitch. The backward rotation and magical sound of a made outside shot passing through a few remaining strands of a net hanging from the rim. When shooting, throwing, pitching we didn’t aim the ball, we let it fly, like throwing to a cutting receiver. Find the zone. Let it rip.

“Why do you get to call all the plays?” John would ask. My start as a handler tied to those dynamics. I like to see the play develop in front of me, read the field, throw to space.

“You two crisscross, and Jim you go long,” I whisper. “GO LONG!” words we all lived for.

Go deep! The bomb!!! Every kid’s dream to complete them. To hurl the perfect pass up and over the defenders and into the outstretched hands of that best friend. Maybe an older brother first taught us how to hold a football, fingers on the laces, the rotation and spiral predating our experiences with the spin of the disc. Years later, we’d learn the power grip on a football, hand and fingers back one position on the laces, the ball seemingly explodes downfield. It would be twenty years before that same power grip nuance would forever change my backhand, extending a pull another ten yards, disc able to hang up on a loft while the team sprinted into defensive position. There are dozens of ways to grip and throw these toys, that special rotation and spin that makes each flying object a wonder in the hands of the right person.

“Did you see that?” a cry when Patrick Mahomes unleashes a perfect dart while being layed- out. “On a string!” He and others innovating the position.

Tennis taught us what topspin does for trajectory and arc, the game revolutionized when rackets became whisper light, and the ball took on a gravitational mind of its own. McEnroe, Sampras, Williams, Federer, playing a game we hardly recognized. Pace. Spin. Arc. This new forehand a close match to ultimate’s own. Wrong foot forward. A counter intuitive flick for power.

basketballbasketball Baseball, football, basketball and much later soccer, my 10,000 hours learned and relearned across myriad sports, my superpower not deft skill at any one, but passion for all. Attention deficit keeping me from overdoing any one of them, from burning out. A time before year-round training. Before weights rooms and personal trainers. Before singular focus. You could play two sports in a season if you were good enough, three in a year was de-rigueur. By high school, it would be soccer, basketball and baseball, later even lacrosse. To our surprise, a soccer ball’s flight as malleable as a disc’s when chipped off the foot of a practiced player. Messi, Rapinoe, Pele. Bend It Like Beckham, Hollywood’s testament to these legendary aerodynamics.

We learned the hard way, my final stop trying the master the knuckleball senior year of high school, about the time you could have found a Master Frisbee in my closet, but before I discovered any love of throwing it. No, the knuckle ball would be my first stop at defying physics, fingernails dug neatly into the laces, a push as the arm completes its rotation, my eyes fixed on the possibility of perfect release and signature lack of spin. Laces and ball arrested mid-flight. Poetry in stop motion and Tim Wakefield’s hall-pass into The Show.

The one time I threw it in a game met with indignation and disgust.

“Throw that again and…,” my coach screamed from the dugout, not needing to finish the sentence.

Still, the allure of releasing a perfectly still pitch lives in me, part of me, like perfectly thrown passes arcing out over sideline spectators to streaking receivers. Overhand wrist flip, thumber, wheel, blade all cousins of these aerodynamic wonders. Ultimate the game that looks easy until you’re out there throwing and chasing soaring plastic. A game that involves threading needles while running intervals, making blocks after six games at pace, and catching floating discs in the back of the end zone when the lactic acid in your legs has taken over. Looks easy to throw and catch that thing. But isn’t. Try hitting a foul shot when your heart’s beating at V̇O2 max.

frisbeefrisbee I love watching great athletes first try at reading a disc as it fails spectacularly to mimic a ball in flight. Hangs. Hovers. Pops. Slices. Bounces. Stalls. The disc does more in a single throw than a ball will do in a lifetime, and therein lies the magic, our sport’s raison d'être.

My friends Nick and Chris lured me in, taught me how to throw.

“You suck,” Chris would say. “But you can run and catch.” That from a man born to throw, long. Nick had more patience, taught me the two-finger, our rite of passage into the game of ultimate.

“A flick, not a throw,” he directed me as early attempts drifted off like dying quails. Weeks pass until a day when it all clicks and I find myself lost in the attempted mastery. The perfect flick equal to releasing a knuckler, thrower and receiver both marveling at the gravity-defying characteristics. I would spend the next twenty-five years perfecting throws and ignoring pleas to get down field.

“Moons, go long!” they’d yell, to little avail. My training and place on the field predetermined by years of quarterbacking, of calling plays, of throwing lefty curves to anyone who would catch them. No, I would fail to heed this advice, fail to go long and instead revel in the joy of throwing plastic to better athletes, the memory of them running and catching my hucks thrilling the boy that never quite grew up.

* Frisbee Family "four grips" artwork in the title graphic created by Junah (Tom) Bodá.
 


About the Author:
Steve MooneySteve Mooney Steve MooneySteve Mooney

Steve Mooney: Lefthanded and two meters tall, many argue that Steve enjoyed unfair advantage at ultimate and darts. Others wonder why Steve didn’t use that advantage to cut deep more often. Steve chose Boston after college in 1980, not for work, but for the promise of glory in ultimate. Larry Bird arrived in Boston at the same time but chose his sport more wisely. Steve is no longer two meters tall, and still clogging around the disc.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Ultimate https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/11/learning-to-throw Wed, 17 Nov 2021 15:30:00 GMT
The Complete Spin... A YEAR IN REVIEW https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/10/the-complete-spin-a-year-in-review @import url('https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Festive&family=Great+Vibes&family=Sacramento&display=swap'); @import url('https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Festive&family=Great+Vibes&display=swap'); @import url('https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Birthstone+Bounce:wght@500&family=Festive&family=Great+Vibes&display=swap');.sig { font-family: 'Birthstone Bounce', cursive; font-size: 22pt; } .fancy { font-family: "Great Vibes", cursive; font-size: 15pt; }

The Complete Spin... A YEAR IN REVIEWThe Complete Spin... A YEAR IN REVIEW

—by Lightnin' Lyle Jensen—

A little over a year ago the founders of the Flying Disc Museum concluded their discussions of what a museum blog might look, feel and sound like to our readers which resulted in the September 18, 2021, launch of the FDM's The Complete Spin… blog. Now that our blog has celebrated its first anniversary, it seems more than apposite to take a reflective look at all that filled the digital (paper is traditional, but…) pages in its inaugural year. So, here's our first-ever, God help us…not the last, The Complete Spin… A YEAR IN REVIEW.

After spending much of my professional life encouraging corporate creative types to favorably fill the vacuous void of radio, TV, and print advertising, I'd be the first to admit the net results of ideation collectives rarely exceed the conceiver’s initial vision—meet, yes; exceed, not so much. So, how does one evaluate the efficacy, or better yet, assess the success, of a blog bewitchingly birthed from a poly-preservationist, not-for-profit, public platform—designed for and made available to an all-too-often untapped legion of passionate plastic provocateurs? Acronymic interweb jargon notwithstanding, suffice it to say—or if your linguistic leanings prefer, suffice to say—either way, IDK. So after all that superfluous polysyllabic, mumbo jumbo, you're thinking I'm throwing my hands up or the towel in. Right?

Don "Sauce" Cain—16.72 MTA World Record—Wham-O Mini16.72 Seconds Thalia—Muse with her Space SaucerThaliaMuse with her Space Saucer Not really, but try typing the words "goals of a blog" into your search engine of choice, and if you're using the same "BIG G, little o" one I am, you'll receive over three-quarters of a billion results in three-quarters of a second…or less. Of course, YMMV, but for the love of polypropylene, let’s table the table of S.M.A.R.T. goal metrics for just 16.72 seconds and take a coupla deep, cleansing breaths. Feel better? I know I do and I also know that going eyes-wide-open into the creation of The Complete Spin… gave the FDM founding fathers the freedom (in our part of the flying disc universe, anyway) to bring about an open-to-all-comers blog—a place to deftly dive as deeply as any of the nine muses magically move and motivate. Suffice to say, there were some folks from the faithful Frisbee family who have had something significant to say at length (1000+ words)—in a Facebook post or ten [guilty as charged, officer Thalia]—who were in need and deserving of a well-anchored, albeit unfettered, all-things-Frisbee forum… pretty much. So why not give it a shot; how hard could it be anyway? After all, if some 600 million blogmeisters worldwide can make a go of it, why not us—a handful of disciples dedicated to the history and preservation of all things flying disc.

Dashboards by Google and StudebakerDashboards by Google and Studebaker Okay. Back to S.M.A.R.T. goal metrics for just a sec. Some marketing mavens love to preach the pitfalls vs. the profundity of leaning too heavily on analytics and not paying attention to the setting of Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound goals. Be relieved to know that a mind numbing in-depth analysis of all things Google Analytics ain't goin' to happen here, today. First and foremost, the formulation of that analysis is way beyond my liberal arts pay grade. However, if you're interested in hearing about the dashboard I restored for a '55 Studebaker President Speedster in Sonora Beige, color code 7888, call me. So, for now, let's take a look at the semi-S.M.A.R.T. goals we set for the first year of The Complete Spin… and see how we fared:

GOAL 1: Release a new blog posting a minimum of once every 4 weeks or 13x/year.

Mr. RichMr. Rich Going in we thought once a month would be acceptable, once every four weeks admirable, once every three weeks would be amazing, and twice a month—highly improbable. Drum roll, 4 RB WPP2s4 RB WPP2s
Mr. Rich…we averaged one new blog posting every three weeks! That's 17 postings, so by
our estimation going into the year, I give our inaugural rollout performance four root beer, style 2, Wham-O Pluto Platters!

 

GOAL 2: Provide a sustainable mix of practical, noteworthy and appealing content areas, ideas and treatments.

The key words here are sustainable and content. One of our biggest concerns pre-launch centered on quality and our ability to sustainably deliver valued content month after month in an authentically compelling and viable manner. I will admit that editorial proximity clouds my objectivity to some degree, but I think the variety found in our first year was nothing short of Phenomenal—emboldened and underlined with a full-tilt fancy capital "P." Quite honestly, where else in the greater flying disc universe can one find a blog with such organically-driven and -delivered diversity of expression? Everything you ever wanted to know and more about: reflections and insights on collecting and its origins; Midnight Flyers; Pie Tins and the Frisbie Pie Co; CHING® and the Full Color process; the far out history of throwing far; Wham-O® Trademark Bands; INNOVA XDs; the Minnesota Frisbee Association; Strange Tales of Plastic Teleportation; Playing in the Wham-O $50,000 Tournament; the making of Rude Boys Ultimate; the future of disc golf catching devices; and an In Memoriam conversation with the late, great Stancil E. D. Johnson.

As for the look and feel or the "treatment" of the blog postings, remember some 700+ words back when I said, "net results of ideation collectives rarely exceed the conceiver’s initial vision"? Well, my friends, the collaborative efforts of the individual bloggers DesPat aloneDesPat alone and the FDM team shattered that paradigmatic thinking. Outstanding! A 4 ATPPs4 ATPPs matchless four American Trends Pluto Platter performance rating with a
bonus Des. Pat. 
Pro in the package for style points.

GOAL 3: Feature a diverse base of writer-bloggers with an array of interests and insights.

T. T. LoganT. T. Logan We've pretty much covered the "array of interests and insights" in the Goal 2 review which fits fist in glove with the diversity of the FDM bloggers—a bona fide powerhouse of plastic penners personified—authors, historians, and multiple world champions; dreamers, schemers and ultimate players; movers, shakers, and world record breakers; insiders, legends, and collectors galore; disc golfers aplenty, and so, so much more! 'Nuff said! Or as Mr. T. T. Logan exclaims, "Excellent." With heartfelt appreciation, I thank our collaborative cadre of first year FDM bloggers: Dan "Stork" Roddick; Steve Lee; Billie Ashton; Kevin Fuller; Davis Johnson; Steve Mooney; Scott Zimmerman; Phil Kennedy; Marvin P. Paul; Mike Holgate; Joe Feidt; and Jim 4 Masters4 Masters
Palmeri. You have set the bar remarkably high, my friends. Bravo! This masterful group deserves nothing less than a four Master Tournament Model rating. Serial Number 00001, no less!

In addition to the three aforementioned goals, there were two overriding standards that have been fundamental to the success of The Complete Spin… blog:

  1. Preserve the character, expression and distinctive voice of each blogger.
  2. Uphold and support the foundational principles of the Flying Disc Museum.

First-year By the Numbers

  • Postings: 17
  • Longest Post: 3322 words
  • Total Length: 32,633 words
  • Average Length: 1920 words
  • Total Views All Posts: 12,566
  • Average Views per Post: 739
  • Most Viewed Post: 1233
  • Total Pictures: 333
  • Average Pics per Post: 20
  • Most Pictures in a Post: 48
1256612566

alphaalpha Omega, Supersoft, 1.30—Yellow—BlackOmega It and variety—these two words are the alpha and omega of the FDM's first-year blogs. It holds a distinctive place as one of the top ten words most used in the English language, so what better way to so all inclusively kick off our FDM blog's first post than with it as its first word. And variety—the oft-cited proverb proclaims variety is the spice of life, but in a blog variety is practically elevated to lifeblood status. As we set out to build a blog, we knew it had to be inviting, entertaining and compelling in its content and variety. Never in my wildest dreams (now take a moment to let that sink in, 1… 2…) could I have imagined a more beautiful bevy of bloggers who'd line up shoulder-to-shoulder with such alarming alacrity to share their insights into the plastic paradise we all so enjoy and so deeply wish to preserve. All of us at the museum can't thank each of you enough for your selfless contributions to The Complete Spin… blog. I, personally, am deeply touched by your willingness to step up and share your voice and your stories with the greater flying disc community. Thank you one and all, and here's to an even better year two!

I hope you enjoyed the read and gained some new insights into the wonderful world of all things flying disc, and maybe, just maybe, you got inspired to share your unique voice with the greater Frisbee community, too. Kevin and I can't wait to hear from ya, so hit us up or simply go to the FDM site and scroll down to FDM BLOG and send us your ideas for a blog posting. Two things you can count on as an FDM blogger: you'll be in good hands and even better company!

Frisbee ad libitum,
Lightnin' LyleLightnin' Lyle
FDM Blog Guy

 

YEAR IN REVIEW

Gotta collect 'em all!Read Article

Gotta Collect 'em All! by Dan "Stork" Roddick

It wasn't always so. — It's been such great fun!

XD is my Favorite Disc by Steve Lee

Hi, my name is Steve Lee. — Grab an XD “Bullet” and try it for
your short game, 30 meters and in!

XD is My Favorite DiscRead Article
Minnesota Frisbee Association Celebrating 45 Years as a Promotional Force in Disc SportsRead Article

Minnesota Frisbee Association: Celebrating 45 Years as a Promotional Force in Disc Sports by Billie Ashton

It was the summer of 1975 and I remember Elton John was tearing up the American Top 40 in the peak of his career, as the "Rocketman." — As a long time MFA member, I owe a lot of my passion for the sport to the original founding fathers of the MFA and for that I'm truly grateful!

Midnight Flyers in All Their Glowry by Kevin Fuller

Throwing discs at targets is as old as throwing flying discs. — Of course, that’s just one of many stories about Midnight Flyers being used to compete in and win disc golf tournaments over the years until bevel-edged discs eventually took over.

Midnight Flyers in All Their GlowryRead Article
Midnight Flyers: Collect Ones, Collect AllRead Article

Midnight Flyers: Collect Ones, Collect All by Kevin Fuller

So, the subject of collecting Midnight Flyers interests you, at least enough to have clicked on this article. — Together, we should be able to compile a truly complete list.

A Far-Out History of Throwing Far by Davis Johnson

Throwing is in my DNA—my first distance discs of choice according
to my mother were Gerber baby food lids. — End, one chapter;
beginning of the next…

A Far-Out History of Throwing FarRead Article
Rude at HeartRead Article

Rude at Heart by Steve Mooney

Our run started at five in the morning as the noise of our rented Ford Econoline’s arrival knocks an opposing player off the back of the parked car he’d been sleeping on. — We remain rude at heart because of all three.

Playing in the Wham-O $50,000 Disc Golf Tournament
by Scott Zimmerman

Even though the DC metro area was hit with 18” of snow during the winter of early 1979, I was practicing several hours a day to prepare
for the coming North American Series (NAS) and the World Frisbee Championships (WFC) in the Rose Bowl. — “Not bad,” he said.

Playing in the Wham-O $50,000 Disc Golf TournamentRead Article
Reflections on CollectionsRead Article

Reflections on Collections by Phil Kennedy

The FDM's primary founding objective is to cover all topics relating to flying discs. — And if you want to talk Antiques, I'm all ears!

Setting the Hook by Marvin Paul

I remember as a kid having a key chain collection. — Be sure to register to join our community of Friends and Family so you can stop on by and we can talk plastic.

Setting the HookRead Article
Have Disc Will Travel: Strange Tales of Plastic TeleportationRead Article

Have Disc Will Travel: Strange Tales of Plastic Teleportation
by Davis Johnson

How do you feel about plastic? — I will continue to monitor, and report back on anything else that seems a little beyond the pale at the Watershed or for that matter, other courses I play that carry their own mystery and intrigue.

Inception of the CHING® Full Color Process: A Short Story about Graphic Applications & Discovery in the '90s by Holgate

"Was it really that easy?…did I just PRINT on a GOLF DISC with a transfer sheet used for mouse pads? — Meanwhile, for me, the creative journey continues…that YouTube thingy looks pretty cool…besides,
I got an idea…

Inception of the CHING Full Color ProcessRead Article
A Conversation: In Memoriam, Dr. Stancil E.D. JohnsonListen to the Conversation

In Memoriam: A Conversation with Stancil Johnson
recorded by Joe Feidt & Lyle Jensen

I am sure you all know that we recently lost flying disc legend and pioneer Dr. Stancil Johnson. — We soon realized that what the footage lacked in production value was more than made up for in its gentrified glimpse into the life and times of a puissant pillar of play upon which the greater flying disc community flourished.

Have Pie, Will Fly: The Frisbie Pie Company—Launchpad
for a Pastime
by Davis Johnson

It all started with an epic thunderstorm, the kind that seems to occur with dramatic sea changes in my life. — But there’s at least another half of plump pie to relish in Part 2, with the solemn promise it will be a lot more fun and worthy of your consumption than the endlessly boring quest to calculate 3.14 to the whatever power!

Have Pie, Will Fly: The Frisbie Pie Company—Launchpad for a PastimeRead Article
Have Pie, Will Fly: Discussion & Illustration of Frisbie Pie Company CollectiblesRead Article

Have Pie, Will Fly: Discussion and Illustration of Frisbie Pie Company Collectibles by Davis Johnson

Welcome back for a second helping of pie! — This makes documenting the history of flying disc play and its origins in the likes of the Frisbie Pie Company, more essential now than ever.

The Perfect Putt! by Jim Palmeri

Currently, there are a relatively large variety of chain pole hole targets approved for use by the PDGA. — This dissertation will be available relatively soon—hopefully, by August 2021 at the latest.

The Perfect Putt!Read Article
The Wham-O Trademark BandRead Article

The Wham-O Trademark Band by Kevin Fuller

With the Tokyo Olympics recently completed, let us turn our attention to another set of rings. — Whether you consider the TMB a strategic and impressive branding exercise that strengthened Wham-O's position as a provider of quality discs, or you consider them rings of fiery feces that burned, burned, burned thousands of great designs, hopefully you enjoyed this look into the TMB's evolution and variety.


About the Author:
Lightnin' Lyle JensenLightnin' Lyle Jensen

Lightnin' Lyle is a creative's creative with a love of language, the arts and two-thirds of a pun, as evidenced in his gonzo style collecting posts—gleefully filled with affectation, allusion, hyperbole and collecting factoids. For over forty years, Lyle has been inking the triumphs and travails of Django Spinhardt and Dr. J as they wend their way through life as anthropomorphic flying discs in the comic strip FLIGHT LINES. Against all odds, Lightnin' surreptitiously became a founder of the MN Frisbee Association, Minnesota's first IFA-certified WCFM, an inaugural inductee of the MN Disc Sports HoF, and a Disc Golf World News "PDGA Master-of-the-20th-Century." By the grace of God and the luck of Lachesis, Lyle amassed a formidable collection of Pluto Platters after his father gave him a root beer, first style in '57. [In real life, Lyle is married to Pamela (former I.F.A. NAS tournament director), has two daughters and two grandchildren, and is the guitarist, songwriter and front man for the band GREYBEARD.]

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Recap https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/10/the-complete-spin-a-year-in-review Wed, 27 Oct 2021 14:00:00 GMT
The Wham-O Trademark Band https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/8/the-wham-o-trademark-band The Wham-O Trademark BandThe Wham-O Trademark Band —By Kevin Fuller—

With the Tokyo Olympics recently completed, let us turn our attention to another set of rings. No, not an in-depth look at early Pro and mini labels, but Wham-O's adornment of nearly all discs from the end of the 1970s, through the Kransco years, until the company's sale to Mattel. Let's start at the beginning (a very good place to start).

On July 28, 1958, Wham-O Mfg. Co. filed an application to register Frisbee as a trademark. That registration was granted on May 26, 1959. Soon after, the ® started to appear after every use of Frisbee®. It was three years later that the Wham-O name itself was trademarked, with registration granted April 24, 1962. The Wham-O splash logo wasn't registered until June 29, 1976.

WPP4—Circle R AddedWPP4—Circle R Added Official Pro Model—3rd Style—®Official Pro Model—3rd Style® tooling appears after Frisbee You can follow this progression through the styles of Pluto Platters, where the first three styles (WPP1, WPP2, WPP3) have no ® anywhere. The WPP4, from 1960, includes Frisbee®, but no registration mark on any of the Wham-O toolings. The same is true of the other 1960s Pluto Platters. The first Official Pro Model, introduced in 1964, did not have the ® tooled into the plastic; the label included Frisbee®, but a "naked" Wham-O. It wasn't until the third period that Pros had the ® added to Frisbee in the raised letters, and not until the fourth (1968) when the Wham-O text on the label was replaced by the Wham-O splash accompanied by the ®.

Frisbee® disc MemoFrisbee® disc MemoMay 1979 With that background out of the way, let's fast forward a decade or so. About a year before the trademark band was the addition of "disc." This progression can be seen in some discs from the NAS series and the World Frisbee Championship (WFC). The 1978 NAS disc (Marini) references Frisbee, no disc. But by the time the Rose Bowl came around that year, Wham-O Legal added "disc." From then on, "Frisbee disc" was the norm, although there are a few rare cases where "disc" is missing. Hot stamps, packaging, even the International Frisbee disc Association (IFdA?) were updated. The policy is stated in the memo to the right, titled TRADEMARK USAGE - FRISBEE® disc - PACKAGING/ARTWORK. Undoubtedly not the first Wham-O memo on the subject since it is dated May 1979 and the "disc" practice was in place at least nine months earlier.

1977 WFC Disc—Frisbee®1977 WFC Disc—Frisbee®(standard 40 mold shown) 1978 NAS Disc—Frisbee®1978 NAS Disc—Frisbee®(rare disc / hot stamp colors shown) 1978 WFC Disc—Frisbee® disc1978 WFC Disc—Frisbee® disc(rare Fastback with silver coating shown) 1979 NAS Disc—Frisbee® disc1979 NAS Disc—Frisbee® disc(white 80 mold trophy disc shown)

Trademark Band Artwork AnnouncementTrademark Band Artwork AnnouncementAugust 1979 Original Trademark Band ArtOriginal Trademark Band ArtBlock band 4 TMB In August 1979, Wham-O distributed a memo, Change in Artwork Size for Special Imprinted Frisbee® discs - Addition of Trademark Identification. The announcement starts with the restriction in art size caused by the trademark band (TMB), limiting artwork to 4.5 inches in diameter. It then turns to explain the reasoning behind the TMB—that the Frisbee was a superior product and the identification would keep consumers from confusing "the cheap, low-performance knock-offs with our Frisbee disc." One might speculate that strengthening Premium Disc TMB Brochure—1979Premium Disc TMB One-Page Brochure1979
the visual branding was also in response to an increase in high-quality discs that had started appearing. The change wasn't popular with players, or disc designers, but more on that in a bit.

Stapled to the memo was a copy of the original band, the Block band 4 TMB. Wham-O followed this with a marketing piece, focused on their profitable premium business (Fastbacks) to let customers know that the "trademark circle...readily identifies the disc as a genuine Frisbee® disc of real quality and value."

As far as we know, Wham-O never named the various styles of trademark band, so the Flying Disc Museum established a standard set of names, used throughout this article. The Block band 4, fairly obviously, gets its name from the thick band with reversed block letters, repeated four times. Here are a few examples of early discs with the Block band 4 TMB. Notice that the Midnight Flyer, despite being an 80 mold and having more printable space, adhered to the 4.5 inch artwork specification. Soon afterwards, different sized molds had their own specifications to take full advantage of their available surface.

Midnight Flyer #1—80 Mold—Block band 4 TMBBlock Band 4 TMBMidnight Flyer 80 mold with small, 4.5 inch artwork inside the TMB Disc Wares Rainbow—81 Mold—Block band 4 TMBBlock Band 4 TMBDisc Wares Rainbow 81 mold with full-sized artwork; disc designer could choose TMB color from any used in design 1979 K-9 Catch & Fetch Fastback—Block Band 4 TMBBlock Band 4 TMB1979 K-9 Catch & Fetch Fastback artwork Glassboro Ultimate—80 Mold—Block Band 4 TMBBlock Band 4 TMBGlassboro Ultimate 80 mold with full-sized single-color art

The Block band 4 had a short but active life. Before being phased out, Wham-O produced discs with at least three variations. If repeating the trademark four times is good, five must be better, right? How about seven? The 1979 WFC Fastback is the only known disc with the Block band 5 variation. Similarly, the U.S. Olympic GPA 1980 Pro—Block Band Pro TMBBlock Band Pro TMBGPA 1980 Pro introduced "Brand Flying Disc" to the Block band TMBs U.S. Olympic Committee 100D mold—Block Band 7 TMBBlock Band 7 TMBU.S. Olympic Committee 100D mold has dropped the Wham-O splash to make room for Frisbee® seven times 1979 WFC Fastback—Block Band 5 TMBBlock Band 5 TMB1979 WFC Fastback, the only known use of the Block band 5; other '79 WFC discs sport the standard Block band 4 Committee disc repeats "Frisbee® disc" seven times, but drops the Wham-O splash to fit it in.

Going the other way, Wham-O also developed a simpler version, the Block band Pro TMB, so named because it is almost exclusively used on Pro Model Frisbees. Slightly newer than the other Block band TMBs, it features the "Frisbee® Brand Flying Disc" text (no doubt another wording change from the legal department) that we'll see in other TMB styles a little later. It doesn't repeat the identity but has Frisbee just once at the top and the Wham-O splash just once at the bottom.

Penfold/Faulkner Fastback—Penfold Block Band 4 TMBPenfold Block Band 4 TMBPenfold/Faulkner Fastback with their own adaptation of the Block band 4 1981 Canadian Open—Irwin Toy 80C-like—Block Band Square TMBBlock Band Square TMB1981 Canadian Open on Irwin Toy's version of the 80C mold fitting a square peg into a round hole Discraft Sky-Styler—Naskas—Shit RingTMB Parody—Shit RingDiscraft Sky-Styler—Naskas (Paris) Supports the DAMFUCKUPS (London)—DAMFUcKUPS allegedly stands for David And Maureen Faulkner United Kingdom Untossable Plastic Society The Block band TMB wasn't limited to Wham-O U.S. production. Licensees got in on the action as well. In England, Penfold, a division of Faulkner, adapted the TMB, replacing the Wham-O splash with their own name to create the Penfold Block band 4 TMB.

Irwin Toy, the Canadian licensee, came up with an interesting variation on the Block band Pro for some of its (not Pro Model) discs. Irwin did something infrequently done in disc design—they ignored the round shape of the disc. Thus, we have the Block band Square TMB. This design approach and TMB shows up on a few Canadian tournament discs.

As mentioned earlier, saying the ever-present TMB wasn't popular with disc designers or players is an understatement. So much so, that many players from that time don't know what a trademark band was but were more than familiar with the "shit ring." The dislike was global and immortalized in the parody Naskas disc from Europe (Naskas was a skateboarding and disc group in Paris).

Thin Band TMB—Valley of the Sun—DOTYThin Band TMB81E mold—Valley of the Sun, Disc of the Year—disc and TMB designed by Craig Cheply But one designer decided to do something more productive. If Wham-O was going to include branding on all custom discs, perhaps they'd be open to branding that didn't suck. So, disc designer extraordinaire Craig Cheply decided to come up with some alternative designs that would give the designer back more of the print area and would compete less with the design visually. When Craig headed to a tournament in Southern California, he arranged to meet with Dan "Stork" Roddick and members of the Wham-O art department. The group was very open to Craig's ideas and adopted the one they liked best. This Thin band TMB was used on Craig's Valley of the Sun disc, which won 1980 Disc of the Year.

Premium Disc TMB Brochure—BackPremium Disc TMB Two-Page BrochureBack side Premium Disc TMB Brochure—1980Premium Disc TMB Two-Page Brochure1980 In addition to Craig's design, the folks at Wham-O produced some other alternatives, and the Block band 4 was history (any discs with it that can be accurately dated are all from 1979). In 1980, Wham-O launched four new trademark band designs, including Craig's. These were highlighted in a new marketing piece, again targeted at the Fastback premium model market.

The new brochure shows the Thin band TMB (white, and the large featured design on the back), Thin band Laurel TMB (blue), Split band TMB (yellow), and Split band Stacked TMB (red). The names are fairly obvious: Thin band has "Frisbee brand" with "flying disc" below it at the top, the Wham-O splash at the bottom, all inside the thin circle; Thin band Laurel adds laurel leaves extending from the splash logo; Split band has "Frisbee brand flying disc" on one line at the top, inside a thick band and Wham-O at the bottom, with the band split down both sides making them less overpowering but still much more present than the Thin line; Split band Stacked is the same except with the text stacked like the Thin band and "flying disc" inside the band.

These four TMBs can be found on thousands of discs made over the next decade. Based on the discs currently in the Flying Disc Museum, the Split band is by far the most frequently used, accounting for over 70% of the discs with one of these four options. The Thin band is next at about 20%, leaving the Split band Stacked and Thin band Laurel as minor players. Here are some examples, on Fastbacks and other models.

Split Band TMB—Fastback—1982 AFDOSplit Band TMBFastback—1982 AFDO, Fastback Distance Throw Split Band Stacked TMB—Fastback—OlySplit Band Stacked TMBFastback—Oly Thin Band TMB—Fastback—GladThin Band TMBFastback—Glad Thin Band Laurel TMB—Fastback—1981 All Japan ChampionshipThin Band Laurel TMBFastback—1981 All Japan Championship
Split Band TMB—100AD moldSplit Band TMB100AD mold—1981 Toronto Islands Disc Golf Tournament Split Band Stacked TMB—Wham-O 23A  MoldSplit Band Stacked TMB23A mold—International Frisbee disc Association DDC Thin Band TMB—82E moldThin Band TMB82E mold—1984 Mid-Atlantic UPA Regionals Thin Band Laurel TMB—15 moldThin Band Laurel TMB15 mold—10th Anniversary Guts Worlds

Over time, more variations on the Thin band came along. The Thin band Bottom TMB has "Frisbee brand flying disc" all on one line at the bottom of the design rather than the top. The Wham-O splash appears either to the right or left. In a few discs, the splash stands alone—the Thin line Wham-O Bottom TMB has no Frisbee branding, just the corporate splash.

Thin Band Bottom TMB—Splash Right—90 moldThin Band Bottom TMB—Splash Right90 mold—National Frisbee Festival—Note the rare lack of the word "disc" after Frisbee Thin Band Bottom TMB—Splash Left—Fastback—Ashley Whippet InvitationalThin Band Bottom TMB—Splash LeftFastback—Ashley Whippet Invitational Thin Band Wham-O Bottom TMB—42BF MoldThin Band Wham-O Bottom TMB42BF mold—1980 Smithsonian (based on the proper orientation of the Air and Space Museum logo, the splash is skewed left)

Another thin line variation is the Thin band Inline TMB, which also has "Frisbee brand flying disc" on one line, and at the top like the Thin line TMB. But, instead of being inside the circle it's along the same line, so the line breaks around the identifications. While it's not certain when Thin Band Inline TMB—82E moldThin Band Inline TMB82E mold—Boston Ultimate
Thin Band Inline Bottom TMB—Fastback—Ashley Whippet InvitationalThin Band Inline Bottom TMBFastback—Ashley Whippet Invitational this version appeared, the earliest definitive example currently in the FDM is from '87. And, similar to above, there is a Thin band Inline Bottom TMB.

Inline bands were also heavily used on minis. Earlier minis had the Thick band TMB, which was also an inline design. Later in the '80s minis commonly had the Thin band Inline TMB. A third mini trademark band exists that is a mini version of the Split band. The Mini Split band TMB has just "Frisbee" at the top (no "brand") and "flying disc" flanks the Wham-O splash at the bottom. This version was only used on Towa minis (Japan's licensee). Towa also used a standard Split band TMB on some minis.

Thick Band TMB—Mini—Midnight Flyer Marker DiscThick Band TMBMini—Midnight Flyer Marker Disc Mini Split Band TMB—Night LighterMini Split Band TMBTowa Mini—Night Lighter Thin Band Inline TMB—Mini—Grateful DiscThin Band Inline TMBMini—Grateful Disc Split Band TMB—Towa Mini—Kohtaro OhshitaSplit Band TMBTowa Mini—Kohtaro Ohshita

At this point we're down to a few odds and ends of TMB styles. The Full Laurel TMB is derived from the Thin band Laurel. Instead of laurel leaves across the bottom, they extend all the way up the sides, nearly to the Frisbee branding. These also always have a second thin circle so the branding and laurel leaves are contained. This TMB was mostly used on Wham-O stock discs, some World Class years and the American Outdoor Series, but it was also used on a few custom discs.

Full Laurel TMB—71C* mold—Canadian Disc Golf Association (Irwin)Full Laurel TMB71C* mold—Canadian Disc Golf Association (Irwin) Split Block band TMB—81C mold—1980 NAS AustinSplit Block band TMB81C mold—1980 NAS Austin Block Band Stacked TMB—15 mold—International Frisbee disc AssociationBlock Band Stacked TMB15 mold—International Frisbee disc Association Before dying completely, a couple other styles of Block bands found their way onto plastic, although on a very limited number of disc designs. The first is a transition between the original Block band 4 and the Split band—the Split Block band TMB has the same text treatment as the Block band, but only twice, top and bottom, with the sides split. The Block band Stacked TMB has the same thick ring with inset type, but it is arranged more like other stacked TMBs with "flying disc" inside the band. A band this thick likely led to a higher level of hot stamp dropouts or other flaws.

No Band TMB—Mini—Team BanzaiNo Band TMBMini—Team Banzai No Band TMB—82E mold—Skyhawks WithurNo Band TMB81C mold—Skyhawks Withur No Band TMB—42AG mold—1987 Shelly Sharpe Memorial OpenNo Band TMB42AG mold—1987 Shelly Sharpe Memorial Open The commonality of all the TMBs is some sort of band. But in the years A.C. (after Cheply), there are some discs with the Frisbee/Wham-O branding without a band component to their trademark info. These No band TMBs tend to have text similar to the Split band or Thin band Inline, but not always. It's usually anchored to the design in some way.

The No band TMBs are really a transition to (or even a type of) the Custom TMB, often one-of-a-kind creations. In the early TMB days, disc designers sent artwork sized to fit inside the TMB area. Wham-O, or Discovering the World, had TMB artwork and would paste up the designs inside the band to make the plates. Early Custom TMBs came about because designers could integrate with the band as part of their artwork. While the branding itself wasn't altered, the TMB became part of the design, not an extra added later, and sometimes designers modified the band portion of the TMB.

By 1984, the rules were sufficiently relaxed so that designers could place the branding elements anywhere in the design. This flexibility on Wham-O's part was the result of the sale to Kransco in September 1982—after a couple years the strict levels of control had softened. This progression can be seen in some of the examples below. The 1984 Seven Years of Foolishness disc moves the branding from the outside edge to near the center of Don Balk's artwork, while three years later Karl Cook moved further away from a band concept by placing the branding inside two of the four ovals in the design. The 1989 Nationals disc places the branding on the disc that's part of the image. 

Custom TMB—80E mold—Plastic SurgeonsCustom TMB—Integrated Design80E mold—Plastic Surgeons disc text integrated with the branding and band Custom TMB—80E mold—1984 April Fools FestCustom TMB—Placement80E mold—1984 April Fools Fest with TMB elements integrated near center of design Custom TMB—82E mold—1989 UPA Nationals with TMB elements as part of design Custom TMB—Placement82E mold—1989 UPA Nationals with TMB elements as part of design Custom TMB—Zinger Pocket ProCustom TMB—Zinger31A mold—Wham-O establishing a sub-brand for this line of paper labeled Pocket Pros
Custom TMB—80E mold—New Year FestCustom TMB—Integrated Design80E mold—New Year Fest with a standard Thin band TMB tightly integrated with the disc design Custom TMB—80E mold—1987 April Fools FestCustom TMB—Placement80E mold—1987 April Fools Fest with design elements in each of the four corners Custom TMB—82E mold—1989 US OpenCustom TMB—Stylized82E mold—1989 US Open, designed by Michael Heralda from the Wham-O art department with branding text stylized to match disc text Custom TMB—Hacky SackCustom TMB—Hacky Sack80E mold—a version of the No band TMB that integrated Hacky Sack footbag branding

Wham-O themselves created some Custom TMBs. The art department's design for the 1989 U.S. Open disc abandoned standard branding typography altogether and used text that matched the rest of the design. (It also omitted the ® after Wham-O.) Wham-O also created Custom TMBs to establish a sub-brand (e.g. Zinger) or to integrate another product (e.g. Hacky Sack).

Within the realm of custom designs there are a variety of options, whether it's stacked or inline branding elements, relative position, top or bottom or interior location, etc. When the FDM discovers multiple discs (even just two separate designs) with the exact same TMB design, it gets classified and named, and the Wham-O Trademark Band reference guide gets updated. It provides a more concise and visual reference.

Trademark bands came to an end with Mattel's acquisition of Wham-O from Kransco in 1994. While the Frisbee name, and its registered trademark status remained, Mattel didn't continue Wham-O branding, nor any concept of TMBs. The progression from Wham-O to Kransco to Mattel can be seen in this set of discs from the World Jr. Frisbee disc Championships.

Split Band TMB—1981—Wham-OSplit Band TMB1981—Wham-O—Wham-O's most common trademark band Custom TMB—1984—KranscoCustom TMB1984—Kransco—"Frisbee brand flying disc" branding is gone, but Wham-O splash remains No TMB—1993—KranscoNo TMB1993—Kransco—Frisbee branding only exists within text, but Wham-O splash remains No TMB—1995—MattelNo TMB1995—Mattel—Frisbee® disc remains, Wham-O splash replaced by Mattel Sports logo

Whether you consider the TMB a strategic and impressive branding exercise that strengthened Wham-O's position as a provider of quality discs, or you consider them rings of fiery feces that burned, burned, burned thousands of great designs, hopefully you enjoyed this look into the TMB's evolution and variety.


About the Author:
Kevin FullerKevin Fuller

Kevin Fuller is one of the founders of the Flying Disc Museum and a mediocre disc player. Once upon a time he was decent, played ultimate at UNH in the '70s and then with Boston Aerodisc in the '80s. He competed in and helped organize local overall tournaments and was TD for the 1978 and 1979 NH States and the 1978 MA States.
KF by the numbers: IFA #75351, UPA #3781, PDGA #628, FPA #184, FDCA #58

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Wham-O https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/8/the-wham-o-trademark-band Wed, 11 Aug 2021 15:00:00 GMT
The Perfect Putt! https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/7/the-perfect-putt The Perfect Putt! titleThe Perfect Putt! titleHow Mike Sullivan lost the 1987 PDGA World Disc Golf Championships!

—By Jim Palmeri—

Currently, there are a relatively large variety of chain pole hole targets approved for use by the PDGA. Let’s start this putting story with a quick review of the origin and genesis of the chain pole hole type of disc golf target.

Wham-O Frisbee Pluto PlatterWham-O Frisbee Pluto Platter The general Frisbee culture of flinging flying discs for fun, recreation and competitive sports as we know it today began to evolve in 1958 when the Wham-O Mfg. Co. trademarked their Pluto Platter flying disc with the term “Frisbee” as the name for the line of flying discs.

Jake HealyJake HealyInventor of guts and founder of the International Frisbee Tournament along with his brothers—mimicking a pose from the early days While a guy named Jake Healy was finishing up his law school studies at the University of Michigan, he became intrigued with the Pluto Platter Frisbee disc that showed up on the UM campus during the spring of 1958. He joined in on some of the disc flinging activities going on, which induced him to buy a Pluto Platter for himself. He brought that Pluto Platter along with him when he joined his family in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where Jake continued his disc flinging fun with his three brothers. They put together a game they called guts, and began playing it on a regular basis with their friends and neighbors.

This “guts” game proved to be so much fun that it became a special and traditional event of their long-running annual Healy family Fourth of July celebration picnic. By 1963 this annual picnic had evolved into a fun-filled beer fest and Frisbee event that they called the “International Frisbee Tournament” or IFT as it became to be known. In the spring of 1964, Bob Healy contacted Wham-O about the newspaper attention that their annual IFT event was getting in hopes that Wham-O might sponsor and support the event. In response, the new guy at the Wham-O Mfg. company that year, Ed Headrick, investigated the Frisbee sales levels in the geographical area close to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He found that the sales of their Frisbee item in that geographical area were a bit above the national average.

Original Official Pro Model FrisbeeOriginal Official Pro Model Frisbee Based upon the IFT-generated newspaper publicity, Headrick convinced the Wham-O owners to hold off on dropping the Frisbee item from their line of products. Wham-O gave him the go-ahead to try some new ideas. Headrick created the Pro Model Frisbee and began marketing it as a sporting goods item at the top of their Frisbee line. With generous Wham-O support, the Healy Brothers’ annual IFT event began to grow in size, generating even more newspaper publicity as subsequent years went by.

There was enough of an upswing in sales to make Wham-O decide to permanently put aside the thoughts of dropping the Frisbee item from their line of products.

IFA NewsletterIFA NewsletterClick to read them all In 1968, Ed Headrick came up with the idea of using the Healy Brothers’ International Frisbee Tournament to help promote the Wham-O Frisbee product, which turned out to be a huge marketing success for Wham-O. That significant happenstance resulted in the IFT-driven Frisbee culture to start growing rapidly and expanding far beyond its original geographical area in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Along with the growth in Frisbee sales generated by the IFA Newsletter, new activities like freestyle, ultimate and disc golf began to get popular all over the nation, further enhancing Frisbee sales.

Ed Headrick's 1975 Octad Super ProEd Headrick's 1975 Octad Super ProThis is the disc Ed used to compete at Octad, signed with his name and IFA number. Note the quotes are around "Ed" rather than the normal "Steady" 1975 Octad Super Pro1975 Octad Super ProEd Headrick's Octad Super Pro; these 50 molds were the second transition to the World Class 50 mold When disc golf began to spread and gain popularity as organized tournament play in 1974, Ed Headrick got curious about the growing interest in disc golf. He began to wonder if the game could be marketed successfully and wanted to see what it was all about, so he attended the 1975 Octad event to observe organized disc golf competition firsthand.

Jim Challas putting to an early ground basket  targetGround BasketJim Challas putting to an early ground basket target at the 1976 NAS tournament in Amherst, Massachusetts But there was one thing that rankled Ed Headrick, he strongly disliked the ground basket concept of putting that had become the de-facto standard putting target for disc golf—a two and one-half foot diameter wire basket sitting on the ground.

This is what happened:

Ed Headrick was keenly interested in the nature of the 1975 Octad disc golf competition. At one point while watching the finals of the disc golf event, Ed observed a player preparing to execute a putt of about 25 feet. The player held the disc vertically to the ground and launched it with a high up-and-down trajectory. This was known as the “vertical putt” among the disc golfers that had previously used a box or basket-type targets. Upon seeing that putt, Ed gruffly exclaimed, “That’s disgusting! A Frisbee isn’t meant to fly like that!” He held strong opinions as to just what the flight of the Frisbee was supposed to be like. “Flat Flip Flies Straight, Tilted Flip Curves” was the mantra inscribed upon every Frisbee made. But a vertical putt? No way! Not for Ed Headrick. He strongly believed that the graceful and intriguing flight with which the Frisbee sailed through the air was an important factor in its marketability. That belief was sacrosanct, and Ed was its guardian.

Original pole holeOriginal Pole HoleIrv Kalb putting at the 1975 WFC, at Oak Grove Park, with Dan "Stork" Roddick, Jimmy Scala, and Jim Palmeri looking on But he still held onto to his recent new thinking that playing golf with Frisbee discs might be a really good marketing idea, proving that he wasn’t as stubborn as some people thought. Ed ultimately decided that disc golf should be a part of the 1975 WFC, the famous World Frisbee Championship tournament promoted by Wham-O from 1974 to 1982. After making the decision to include disc golf in the 1975 WFC, Ed selected nearby Oak Grove Park to be the location for that event, and he personally designed the disc golf course to be used for the tournament. But he ignored the then current convention of using ground baskets as disc golf putting targets. Instead, he installed four-foot high, two-inch-diameter poles in the ground. He declared that hitting the pole with your disc constituted a successful putt. Ed hated the vertical putt he had seen at the Octad earlier that year, and he wanted nothing to do with the ground baskets that encouraged the vertical up and down putting flight. Hitting a pole successfully eliminated any chance that vertical putts would be used during the WFC Disc Golf rounds.

After the disc golf event, the overall feedback about the hitting-the-pole concept of putting was a bit negative. The main complaint was that it just wasn’t definitive enough as to whether a close putt actually hit the pole or not. A player would react to a long putt that came extremely close to the pole with an exclamation of, “It hit!” His or her competitors might exclaim back, “No it didn’t; I didn’t hear any ping!” The same sort of thing applied to a long upshot around a blind corner. As the players came into view of the pole and saw a disc laying several inches from it, they didn’t know whether the disc had actually hit the pole and bounced off or stopped inches short of sliding into the pole.

Ed listened to the comments, went back to the drawing board, and worked on ways to address the problems with his plain pole target. He was open to any solution that discouraged the use of the vertical putt. He felt strongly that the game of golf as played with flying discs was best served by hitting a pole-like target utilizing the primary flight characteristics of the Frisbee disc…not by plopping it into a basket with a non-aerodynamic vertical putt.

The Original Headrick Chain Pole Hole—Introduced in the summer of 1976The Original Headrick Chain Pole HoleIntroduced in the summer of 1976, this 10-chain version was the third one produced [photo: Dan Roddick] Ed's patentEd's patent It took Ed the better part of a year of research and development to come up with his successful chain pole hole putting device as a solution:

The chain pole hole target was basically the same simple plain pole that Headrick originally used as a putting target on the 1975 WFC Oak Grove disc golf course. However, it had a cone of chains hanging from a circular framework attached to the top the top of the pole, and a circular basket attached halfway down the pole. It was designed specifically such that if a putt reaches the chains at any point between the top rim of the basket and below the circular framework from which the chains are hung, it would hit the center pole regardless of whether or not any chains were installed on the apparatus.

Ed Later Patent DrawingEd Later Patent Drawing The primary intent of the chain pole hole was to hit a specified target. The disc landing into the basket was a secondary effect that validated the success of the primary intent. Claims made to the contrary saying that the primary intent was to land the disc into the basket must adequately answer the question as to why then, were there chains and a pole sitting there and getting in the way of the disc’s path to the basket? The pole was there because it was the original intended target, and the chains were there to help validate that a disc was putted accurately enough to have indeed hit the intended target, the pole. But the cone of chains apparatus and the top plate from which it was suspended were also specifically designed to discourage the use of the vertical putt! If landing in the basket was the primary intent of the device, the cone of chains and its top plate would not be necessary. The chain pole hole was a complex device with which Ed Headrick intended to preserve a pre-conceived notion and culture about how a Frisbee should be flown, and what its flight pattern should look like.

Ed’s original chain pole hole was relatively successful, and as permanent chain pole hole courses started to proliferate around the country, the chain pole hole became the somewhat standardized disc golf target, eventually eliminating the need to set up temporary courses with wire ground baskets.

But while this new putting device solved the problems of the original plain pole hole, it introduced some new problems. In an attempt to fix these new problems, ongoing design modifications commenced almost immediately upon the 1976 introduction of the Chain Pole Hole. The resulting changes and modifications over the ensuing years helped alleviate these problems to a somewhat acceptable level. As the years passed there had been a relatively large number of alternate design changes for the basic chain pole hole type of target, especially when its patent protection ended and new manufactures wanted to get in on the market. However, none of resulting chain pole hole designs have yet to solve the problems inherent in chain pole hole targets in general.

On the variety of currently approved chain pole hole targets in use today, virtually every person who plays disc golf can describe what a perfect putt looks and feels like.

We all know that there is a certain sweet spot on the cone of chains that if hit by a disc thrown within a specific range of speeds, angles and trajectories, the disc will be deflected down into the verification basket, come to a rest, and remain there until it is manually removed.

By definition then, if a player succeeds in achieving the parameters as per the above description of a perfect putt, a putted disc will end up in the verification basket and would be declared a successful putt.

1987 PDGA World Championships1987 PDGA WorldsPoster 1987 PDGA Worlds Program1987 PDGA WorldsProgram However, we all know that does not always happen! Sometimes so called “perfect putts” do not end up in the basket, much to the chagrin of a player whose stellar performance does not get rewarded. The granddaddy example of them all was the putt on the fourth playoff hole of the 1987 PDGA World Championships that was used to break the tie between Gregg Hosfeld and Mike Sullivan. That putt was a “Perfect Putt” by anyone’s parameters. In 1987, Mike Sullivan was at the top of his game, and he made a point of throwing perfect putts. Mike was that era’s Ken Climo/Paul McBeth type of player, winning many tournaments, and he was the odds-on favorite to win the 1987 PDGA World Championships being held on Toronto Island, right next door to where Mike lived at the time! He had finished in a tie with Hosfeld, ahead of all the rest of the top players of that time period.

1987 PDGA World Championships—SportFlyers Unlimited Mini1987 PDGA World ChampionshipsSportFlyers Unlimited Mini 1987 PDGA World Championships—Wham-O Pocket Pro1987 PDGA World ChampionshipsWham-O Pocket Pro The ensuing playoff for the title was all about stellar putting, starting off with Gregg Hosfeld canning a 50+ footer on the first playoff hole to stay in the running with Mike for the championship title.

On the fourth playoff hole, they both drove to approximately 10 feet of the chain pole hole awaiting them. Many in the crowd of spectators rushed off to get a good view of the ensuing drives to be thrown at the fifth playoff hole. Other spectators remained to watch the guys ceremoniously putt out before proceeding to the next hole. Mike was slightly farther from the hole, so he putted first.

1987 PDGA World Championships—Wham-O 71C* mold1987 PDGA World ChampionshipsWham-O 71C* mold This is what the spectators saw: Mike’s disc hit the sweet spot at just the right angle, correct trajectory, and with the proper speed. A truly perfect putt! The crowd gave out a roaring cheer as it hit the sweet spot and began its fall to the bottom of the basket. But as the edge of Mike’s disc reached the bottom, the disc wobbled toward the rim of the basket and then inexplicably got nudged back up and over the edge by a rebounding chain! The roaring cheer quickly morphed into a loud groan! People who didn’t see it with their own eyes shouldn’t try to tell the many people who did see it that it must not have been “perfect” or it would have stayed in. Mike Sullivan was at the top of his game in 1987, and he made a point of throwing perfect putts.

It was a devastating happenstance for Mike, and I bet the vast majority of disc golfers who read this article have had a similar putting fiasco happen to them at one time or another.

If you are interested in the physics of the matter, read on.

The Physics of Chain Pole Hole Putting Targets

The mathematics of chaos theory can help understand why so called “perfect putts” don’t always stay in the basket as expected.

The difficulty level of tossing a disc to any given target from any given distance such that it will be a successful putt is dependent upon a variety of parameters that can be described for any specific target type.

DGA Mach XDGA Mach X Discraft Chainstar ProDiscraft Chainstar Pro For the current set of approved chain pole hole targets, these parameters are:

  1. The distance from ground level to the top rim of the validation basket.
  2. The distance between the top rim of the validation basket and the top of the framework from which the chains are attached.
  3. The length, width, and configuration of the cone of chains.
  4. Whether there are multiple nested cones of chain, or just one cone of chains.
  5. The length of the chains that make up each cone of chains on the basket.
  6. The mechanism by which the chains are attached and hung.
  7. The diameter and depth of the validation basket.

These parameters taken together determine a specific degree of difficulty for any given distance from the target at which a putt is attempted.

VikingViking It’s obvious that if a putting target is too easy or too difficult, the game would not be fun. The degree of difficulty must be very carefully configured to make the game work well. A disc golf target that is too easy, requiring little skill to sink a putt, would minimize the competitive and recreational challenge of the game. Visualize a wire basket that is 30 feet in diameter with one-foot high sides, and a ten-foot-high and 3-foot diameter at the top cone of chains in its center. The approach, upshot, and putting would be meaningless exercises that would differentiate little between good throws and poor throws. A throw that landed three feet away from the target would offer virtually no advantage over a throw that landed 20 feet from the basket, or even farther. Likewise, a device that required too much skill would also be far from ideal. Visualize a box type device with a one-inch high horizontal slot cut into one side that was barely wider than the diameter of a golf disc. The skill necessary to throw a disc through that slot would be beyond human capacity, and putting success would be basically reduced to ritually hand-feeding the disc through the slot after an upshot or layup throw finally gets close enough to the target to do so.

Innova DiscatcherInnova Discatcher Either of these extreme examples would completely ruin the recreational and competitive challenge of the game and would greatly reduce the fun that could be derived from playing the game.

It is within the province of the PDGA, in accordance with the wishes of a majority of its members, to determine the parameters of the putting target that would create the ideal putting game that would maximize the enjoyment and competitiveness of Disc Golf. Too easy, no good, too difficult, no good, just right, perfect!

Prodigy t2Prodigy t2 However, that determination is extremely difficult to make with the chain pole hole type of target. Along with the obvious parameters for a chain pole hole as listed above, the current chain pole hole targets also impose a number of hidden parameters that make it impossible for any player to determine exactly how to throw a putt that is guaranteed to avoid the Mike Sullivan result. This happenstance involves parameters such as the weight of the chain links; the friction that the chain encounters when moving against immovable parts of the pole hole; and the chaotic motion that the disc and chains develop as the disc makes contact with the target. These are all factors that interact with one another such that any two discs contacting the target with the exact same disc angle, velocity, trajectory, and sweet spot position will—at unpredictable times—result in huge differences in the motions imparted upon the chains and the disc upon its contact with the target.

In such a case, one of the two discs might land in and come to rest at the bottom of the basket, but the other might be rejected by fluke chance due to the mathematics of chaos theory, as in the “Mike Sullivan putt." Human skills just cannot possibly calculate the exact sweet spot and other parameters of a putt that would ensure that the fluke-out syndrome won’t happen. This is an inherent flaw in the chain pole hole targets. For disc golf to achieve maximum enjoyment and fairness, this flaw should be corrected by developing a better disc golf target design.

The Truputt™ disc golf hole may be a viable alternative. To read a more complete dissertation about the need for a better disc golf target, send a request to: jimpalmeri@outlook.com. This dissertation will be available relatively soon—hopefully, by August 2021 at the latest.

TruPutt™ Disc Golf Hole PrototypesTruPutt™ Disc Golf Hole Prototypes


About the Author:
Jim PalmeriJim Palmeri

On May 10, 1970, Jim Palmeri started playing Frisbee. On that first day, he created a game he called “Court Frisbee.” Three months later he discovered that that he could play golf with his Frisbee discs. He started up the Rochester Frisbee Club in order to find like-minded people to compete in Frisbee competitions, and he hasn’t stopped Frisbee flinging since.

Upon seeking out Frisbee competition far and wide, he met many of the big names of flying disc play from whom he learned all about Frisbee collecting and the many subtle nuances of Frisbee activity. His “Court Frisbee” game got adopted by the Frisbee Community for competitive play, and “Court Frisbee” was renamed “Double Disc Court”—“DDC” as it usually is referred to.

Disc golf became his all-time favorite disc sport (Jim is PDGA #023), and from the very beginning Jim has felt that the device used for the putting aspect of the game could be improved upon. To that end, he has spent much time trying to develop a better putting target for the game, and he thinks he is now closing in on coming up with something good.

A Chain of Events byJim Palmeri & Phil KennedyA Chain of EventsBy Jim Palmeri and Phil Kennedy

To purchase a signed copy of Jim's book, A Chain of Events, contact him at jimpalmer@outlook.com

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(Flying Disc Museum) Disc Golf https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/7/the-perfect-putt Wed, 14 Jul 2021 21:20:49 GMT
Have Pie, Will Fly: Discussion and Illustration of Frisbie Pie Company Collectibles https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/6/have-pie-will-fly-part2 Have Pie, Will Fly: Discussion and Illustration of Frisbie Pie Company CollectiblesHave Pie, Will Fly: Discussion and Illustration of Frisbie Pie Company Collectibles

—By Davis Johnson—

====== Part II ======

Flash and the PanFlash and the PanMy candidate for best frisbee themed LP ever, by Flash and the Pan, which included former members of The Easybeats, famous way back when for “Friday on My Mind.” The music more than matches the cover; quirky, catchy, and full of hooks! Welcome back for a second helping of pie! Though, surely you can’t wait to tuck into Part 2 of “All Things Frisbie,” due to readers’ overwhelming and inexplicable interest in the ongoing efforts to mathematically compute Pi, we begin with a group of social influencers pictured attempting to do just that—note the very familiar thought bombs they're spinning up!

Those of you continuing to plow through this account are likely collectors, well-aware that a formidable collection of anything needs cataloging. For the numerous varieties/styles of Frisbie pie plates, Victor Malafronte in The Complete Book of Frisbee pioneered a logical, easy to understand Frisbie cataloging system: The original Frisbie tins were the so-called Perforated F variety. But if you have one it is not necessarily “old.” Perforated F tins were produced throughout the company’s existence.

Smaller diameter, custard pie Perforated F tinPerforated F TinA rare, smaller diameter, oblique shouldered tin that likely contained custard type pies [P3] Later model Perforated F TinPerforated F TinThe shiny patina on this tin means this was likely manufactured late in the company’s existence [P2] Early "heavy metal" Perforated F tinPerforated F TinA “heavy metal” Frisbie tin, likely of greater vintage than those of lighter weight retaining their shiny patina [P1] The best way to estimate the venerability of an F tin along with other varieties, is by its metal composition. Earlier F tins are noticeably heavy and solid with an “iron” feel to them, and with noticeable patina [P1]; later ones, lighter with a tin-like feel. “Newer” pie plates are also more likely to retain their silvery veneer [P2]. Harder to find F tins are the shallow shouldered ones of slightly less diameter than the “common” ones [P3].

Perforated F Restaurant tinPerforated F Restaurant Tin“Holy Grail” large diameter restaurant Frisbie tin featuring a rounded shoulder [P4]

Then, there is the “Holy Grail” Perforated F restaurant tin [P4]. This might provoke a religious experience if you are fortunate enough to snag one. At best, a handful are known to exist. These larger diameter tins held more pie and are presumed to have been employed in the higher volume restaurant trade. The one I found came completely by surprise, having followed a lead to a woman’s home in Vernon, Connecticut—there it was in her kitchen, the first Restaurant Frisbie pie plate I had ever laid my eyes on.

Now on to lettered Frisbie tins; these can be divided into two main categories—large letter (LL) and small letter (SL). The most familiar of the LL tins is the iconic six hole version with the central venting hole surrounded by five others [P5]. This is the one Hollywood replicated rather poorly in the third movie of the Back to the Future series [P6]. “Common” LL tins are largely differentiated by their vent holes, or lack of them. Along with the iconic six-holed tins, are "common" LL tins with the larger six vent holes that surround the tin's center [P7]. "Common" SL tins also have this pattern of venting holes, though the holes are smaller than their LL brethren [P8]. Then, there are those with no vent holes in both LL and SL styles [P9, P10]. Less common are the LL, 12 vent hole Frisbie tins [P11].

Large Letter, 6 HoleLarge Letter 6 Holes StarThe iconic Frisbie's Pies tin: square shouldered with 5 venting holes surrounding the 6th at the center [P5] Back to the Future Frisbie's Pies TinBack to the FutureReplica of the movie prop version of the Frisbie's Pies tin [P6] Large Letters 6 HolesLarge Letters 6 Holes HexThis tin has six larger holes in a circular (or hexagon) pattern, with no center hole [P7] Small Letter, 6 HoleSmall Letter 6 HolesClassic Small Letter, square shouldered Frisbie tin with 6 venting holes [P8]
Large Letter, No HoleLarge Letter No HolesThe standard LL pie tin, minus the venting holes [P9] Small Letter, No HolesSmall Letter No HolesSquare shouldered, Small Letter Frisbie tin with no venting holes [P10] Large Letter, 12 HoleLarge Letter 12 HolesFrisbie pie tin with 12 venting holes [P11] Small Letter Oblique ShoulderSmall Letter Oblique ShoulderOblique shouldered Frisbie tin with venting holes [P12]

The other main differentiating factor of tins is the slope and depth of their shoulders. So-called Square Shoulder tins are of the deep-dish variety tailored for apple/cherry/rhubarb, etc. pies. Shallower oblique and round-shouldered tins held custard style pies [P12].

Large Letter 5¢ DEPLarge Letter 5¢ DEPLarge Letter Frisbie tin with machine stamped 5¢ DEP. [P14] Small Letter DEPSmall Letter DEPA Small Letter Frisbie tin with machine stamped DEP. that has maintained a lot of its shiny patina [P13] Any Frisbie pie tin is a rare and welcome find, but there are varieties that range from scarce to almost impossible to procure. In the “harder to find” category are both LL and SL tins machine stamped with “DEP.” [P13] or “5¢ DEP.” [P14]. These were manufactured during the Depression/World War 2 era when metal became increasingly scarce, and as necessary to the war effort, even precious. Most would not bother bend the back to pick up a stray nickel today, but five cents was then incentive enough for people to return the metal Frisbie pans to redeem their deposit.

Rarer still are the reverse letter (RL) “DEP.” and “5¢ DEP” tins, again to be found in both LL and SL versions [P15–P18]. Frisbee legend, Jim Palmeri has said he’s particularly fond of the RL tins, because when flipped in throwing mode, “Frisbie” appears correctly.

Reversed Large Letter DEPReversed Large Letter DEPOne of a very few Large Letter Reverse DEP. Frisbie tins; the off center DEP. makes one wonder if for some reason, the 5¢ was omitted [P15] Reversed Large Letter 5¢ DEPReversed Large Letter 5¢ DEPReversed Large Letter, 5c DEP. Frisbie tin. Flip the reversed letter Frisbie tins over to flying mode, and Frisbie reads correctly {P16] Reversed Small Letter DEPReversed Small Letter DEPSmall Letter reversed, square shouldered DEP. Frisbie tin [P17] Reversed Small Letter 5¢ DEPReversed Small Letter 5¢ DEPSmall Letter reversed, square shouldered, 5¢ DEP. Frisbie tin [P18]

Very hard to find are hand-stamped Frisbie tins. These come in two varieties—a 5¢ DEP. hand stamp [P19], and those with a large, faintly inscribed “5.” [P20]. Due to the casually aimed hand placement of such imprimaturs, each of these Frisbie tins is unique which adds much to their value. “5¢ DEP.” hand stamps were applied to either side of Frisbie tins, so “backward” hand stamps exist on tins otherwise normally stamped [P21]. Any hand-stamped Frisbie tin is a rare find, but approaching “Holy Grail” veneration are hand stamped perforated F tins [P22].

Large Letter Hand Stamped 5¢ DEPLarge Letter Hand Stamped 5¢ DEPRare Large Letter, round shouldered Frisbie tin with a hand stamped 5¢ DEP [P19] Small Letter Hand Stamped 5Small Letter Hand Stamped 5A rare, crude hand stamped 5, representing 5¢ deposit that appears on an oblique shouldered, small letter Frisbie tin [P20] Large Letter 5¢ DEP ReversedLarge Letter 5¢ DEP ReversedLarge Letter, round shouldered Frisbie tin with a reverse 5¢ DEP. hand stamp; hand stamped tins have unique stamp placement, dependent on the casual whim of the stamper [P21] P1060268 F tin hand stamp 5 DEPPerforated F Tin Hand Stamped 5¢ DEPExtremely rare Perforated F tin with a hand stamped 5¢ DEP. also distinctive for its deep shoulder, rarely found in this style [P22]

What’s enticing about the chase for Frisbie Pie Company collectibles is you never know what you might find, though one must endure pawing through stack after stack of not so desirable Table Talk tins and the like, as you sneeze your way through dusty corners of flea markets and hole-in-the-wall thrift stores. But it is that occasional Holy Grail find that elevates the search to that rare mystical experience.

Is it a Frisbie?Is it a Frisbie?Small diameter, shallow shouldered tin found in Eastern Connecticut with a raised letter F, which remains a mystery as to its origin [P23] Then there is that occasional unearthed “What the heck—is this a Frisbie tin, or, what?” I came across this small diameter specimen in a trinkets shop not far from the Mohegan Sun casino complex in Connecticut [P23]. To this day, it remains filed in, ”the truth is out there,” unsolved mysteries section.

Perforated H Tin 5¢ DEPPerforated H Tin 5¢ DEPA version of the perforated H tin with a machine stamped 5¢ DEP [P25] Perforated H TinPerforated H TinOften found with batches of Frisbie tins—do these perforated H tins refer to Henry H. Olds who sold his bakery to W.R. Frisbie in 1871? [P24] Also beset by mystery are Perforated H tins [P24] that have been found mixed in with batches of Frisbie pie plates. Victor has speculated that the “H” stands for Henry H. Olds from whom W.R. Frisbie purchased his pie operation in 1871, founding the Frisbie Pie Company. Some “H” tins also come stamped with 5¢ DEP stamps [P25]. More sleuthing needed!

But nowadays, the chase is not quite what it used to be. It happened that my pursuit of everything Frisbie began just as everybody was first saddling up for the Internet, with a fledgling eBay just beginning to establish itself as an iconic presence. Much that one could once find randomly now gets funneled through eBay’s online marketplace, which has taken some of the thrill out of the chase. These days, a collector’s main challenge is to have nimble enough online skills to knab the quarry ahead of fast-fingered rivals.

Frisbie Pie CompanyPhoto of the Kossuth Street “Palace of Pie” published in Bridgeport Life in the summer of 1945 However, there is still that occasional find that one stumbles across, free of the clutches of the Internet. One such occurred in my hometown of Monson, Massachusetts, a few years ago during an annual town-wide tag sale. Looking through some old paper material, I came across copies of Bridgeport Life from the WW2 period and found an anniversary issue from 1945 where advertisers had placed congratulatory ads, including the Frisbie Pie Company. The pictured Kossuth Street Pie Palace is from a slightly different perspective than the iconic postcard of same.

Some of my most precious “Holy Grail” finds have come from the estate of Joseph J. Vaughn who was longtime plant manager for the Frisbie Pie Company. Some of this memorabilia ended up in the collection of Dan O’Conner of Bridgeport who now owns the Frisbie name, and who has done a wonderful job of reviving not only the iconic Frisbie pies which he distributes and sells, but most prominently has taken a period truck and authentically replicated it Frisbie style, to the former glory of pie dispensing days.

Rarest of the Rare: W R Frisbie BakeryRarest of the RareW. R. Frisbie, founder of the Frisbie Pie Company, is featured on this tin, the only one know to exist. This is before his son, Joseph P. Frisbie, expanded the company into the formidable force of pie that inadvertently launched a pastime. [P26] As a capstone to my collection, a few years ago, I contacted a possessor of Frisbie memorabilia including some from Vaughn’s estate and purchased the Holy Grail of all Frisbie tins—the only one known to exist. This shallow-shouldered pie plate dates to before Joseph P. Frisbie turned the pie maker into a factory operation with regional distribution.

His Frisbie founder father, who ran the company as more or less a Mom and Pop operation, is embossed on the tin: “W.R. Frisbie,” along with the bakery’s Kossuth Street address [P26]. The stamp is neither centered on the tin, nor is it evenly applied, with “Bridgeport CT” not legibly represented. Thus, this tin was very likely hand stamped—or was it perhaps an early, crude machine stamp? It’s been speculated, as only one of these is known to exist, that it along with any others, may have been specially made to be presented at early annual company award dinners, and the like.

Metal and glass Frisbie's Pies caseFrisbie's Pies CaseMetal and glass pie case Along with this Holy Grail item, the collector sold me a treasure’s trove of other Frisbie memorabilia, most notably a tall, metal/glass Frisbie pie case with lots of goodies inside. These included a number of photos, some original, relating to Frisbie operations including those of delivery trucks and women employees pumping out the pies, etc. within the Kossuth Street factory building.

Frisbie driver and truck, adrift in a white, frozen wasteland, February, 1934Frisbie driver and truck, adrift in a white, frozen wasteland, February, 1934 My favorite is a photo of a pie delivery truck dwarfed by great mounds of snow. The date on the back pinpoints this to February of 1934 when a merciless record cold snap on the east coast piled untold misery on top of the hopelessness of the depths of the Great Depression from which many felt they’d never dig out. On the heels of the record cold came a great blizzard impacting much of the east coast that everyone had to dig out of—as demonstrated by the intimidating drifts hemming in the Frisbie truck in this photo.

Of course, peak season for pie sales is the holidays, and the Frisbie Pie Company came up with fancy greeting cards depicting warm scenes of baking goings-on, to send out to vendors and customers. Appropriately corny verse described these homey scenes, no doubt further building appetites for Frisbie’s baked goods.

1939 Holiday Card1939 Holiday CardMerry Holiday greetings from the Frisbie Pie Company for 1939! Though ever renowned for pie, this verse demonstrates they were also no slouch when it came korn! 40th Year Holiday Card40th Year Holiday CardThe holidays are prime pie time, and the Frisbie Pie Company sent out cheerful reminders such as in this seasonal card from 1938—notice the reference to Roosevelt’s New Deal The assortment of Frisbie Pie Company memorabilia in various collectors’ hands includes Frisbie caps and jackets worn by drivers, coin holders, and cascading pie stands. I purchased one of these stands from a Bridgeport dealer on one of the Brimfield fields.

Wire Frisbie's Pies RackWire Frisbie's Pies RackCascading Frisbie pie rack, dutifully showcasing its tins One of my favorite Frisbie items is a very hard to find Frisbie pie cutter. There are also postcards, both of Bridgeport, Kossuth Street, Center of Piedom and another of the Hartford Frisbie bakery. (Frisbie also had factories and or distribution points in Providence, Rhode Island; Poughkeepsie, New York; and Springfield, Massachusetts.)

A variety of Frisbie Pie Company collectiblesA variety of Frisbie Pie Company collectibles Frisbie Pie Company's, Hartford, Connecticut OperationFrisbie Pie Company's, Hartford, Connecticut OperationAn early black and white postcard—its early vintage is easily determined as the young sapling in the foreground has grown into a mature tree in the better known color postcard depicting this same scene

Pie BagPie BagTo bag a Frisbie’s pie, you needed this! Frisbie's Pies AdFrisbie's Pies AdFrisbie Pie Company ad placed in Bridgeport Life in 1941 Pie MenuPie MenuFrisbie Pies list of available flavors

Also, hard to find and highly collectible are postcards of Frisbie delivery trucks. A delivery truck postcard I much regret passing on is one I came across at a Hadley, Massachusetts, flea market. It is the only one I’ve ever seen with the Frisbie Pie Company, Springfield, Massachusetts, distribution address printed on it.

My best find was of an iconic Frisbie photo that may well have been intended to be used as a postcard. I came across this in the same Brimfield antique shop where Victor and I stumbled upon the Frisbie pie case. It is of a Frisbie driver, circa mid 1920s, standing beside his truck, balancing two Frisbie’s pies in his hands. In the background is the small convenience store he is delivering to. It nicely illustrates the key elements of the pie process; the driver, his truck, the store, and the delicious product he delivers. The photo, taken in Manchester, Connecticut, is, as far as I know, the only one in existence. Phil Kennedy, with his graphic arts expertise, reproduced this in larger form for a limited print edition, a few of which I still have.

Pies, pieman, and Frisbie’s Pies truck; Manchester, Connecticut; circa mid-1920sMaking a DeliveryPies, pieman, and Frisbie’s Pies truck; Manchester, Connecticut; circa mid-1920s Frisbie’s Pies distribution system from the late 19th centuryBy Horse and WagonFrisbie’s Pies distribution system from the late 19th century It’s Joseph P. Frisbie who now endorses trucks as his beasts of pie burden!Truck EndorserIt’s Joseph P. Frisbie who now endorses trucks as his beasts of pie burden!

In addition to the crucial connection to our flying disc pastimes, Frisbie memorabilia is also worth collecting for its representation of American entrepreneurial drive and innovation. As a deep-rooted New Englander with Frisbee flowing through my veins, the Frisbie Pie Company marks a logical and sentimental intersection of both. It was Yankee ingenuity that spawned the Industrial Revolution. Even small streams were utilized for hydropower for innovative industrial uses. I now live on one that once had several mills along its course. One was on my property that powered a shingle making operation in the original structure that now constitutes the basement of our home.

Bridgeport, ConnecticutBridgeport, ConnecticutFrom another ad in Bridgeport Life—an early 20th century panorama of Bridgeport in its industrial glory, busy smokestacks as far as the eye can see. Much of the former might of industry is gone now, the smoke rising from the stacks replaced in some peoples minds, by the much cleaner flight of the Frisbee. In a rising America, industrial cities like Bridgeport, Connecticut, were the glory of manifest destiny where the billowing smokestacks of thriving industries signposted innovative pride of manufacture and gainful employment. This was long before, when for a variety of reasons, many industrial centers across the east and Midwest deteriorated to rust belts—as simultaneously, to an increasingly environmentally aware America, the belching smokestacks came to represent a clear and present danger.

The Frisbie Pie Company thrived in Bridgeport’s industrial days of glory; it too a story of Yankee Ingenuity. And for us who fling plastic, the Frisbie Pie Company is generic to the developing roots of our pastime: first were the Frisbie drivers scaling the tins. This closely contained epidemic then went regionally viral as “Spheroid Metallicus” spread to college students all over New England. They’d scale anything pie tin/lid-like they could get their hands on, which developed into a spreading contagion they called “Frisbieing.”

Simultaneously, the west coast experienced a separate but related flare up of flinging, first with metal but soon finding its eternal host in plastic. This developing strain known as "Spheroid Plasticus" marked the birth of a pastime, but a pastime sorely in need of a catchy name to match the soar of its namesakes. Hard to imagine tossers exclaiming, “Let’s go out and play some Pluto Platter!”

Well, that issue was resolved into a permanent affliction of fun, as the viral strains, east coast and west, became forever joined in Wham-O’s trademarked “Frisbee.” Frisbee strains continue to replicate and mutate to this day in the ever-ongoing viral ingenuity of, “Play catch, invent games!” This is why collectors ever persist in hot pursuit of pie—Frisbie’s pie.

Flying disc play, seemingly forever, has been a fringe sport dear to the hearts of a relatively few “Frisbee Freaks.” But now, at least in part, in reaction to people looking for alternatives to our long covid isolation, disc sports, in particular disc golf, are no longer the obscure refuge of a select few. Our delightful pastimes are now with trembling hands passed on to the masses. This makes documenting the history of flying disc play and its origins in the likes of the Frisbie Pie Company, more essential now than ever.


About the Author:
Davis "Dave" JohnsonDavis "Dave" Johnson

Davis Johnson, born in Boston, came into the world wanting to throw and has spent his entire life scratching that itch. When Frisbees flew into his life, he simply wanted to throw them—far. That translated to farthest in the 1970s when he held multiple world distance titles, including becoming the first to throw over 400 feet. Dave is a published poet and songwriter and is “retired” after 30 years teaching writing, speech and journalism at a community college. He’s also worked as a radio weathercaster, and motivational speaker. Dave’s also an author, having written and published a children’s book, and he edited Victor Malafronte’s The Complete Book of Frisbee. When comes time to be sorted into the Cosmic Compost Bin, Dave prides himself on being 100% recyclable; his titanium hip replacements to the metal bin, teeth implants to the plastics. The rest he gives back to the stars.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Collecting Frisbie's Pies https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/6/have-pie-will-fly-part2 Wed, 23 Jun 2021 14:00:00 GMT
Have Pie, Will Fly: The Frisbie Pie Company—Launchpad for a Pastime https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/5/have-pie-will-fly Have Pie, Will Fly: The Frisbie Pie Company—Launchpad for a PastimeHave Pie, Will Fly: The Frisbie Pie Company—Launchpad for a Pastime

—By Davis Johnson—

====== Part I ======

It all started with an epic thunderstorm, the kind that seems to occur with dramatic sea changes in my life. It was a sultry mid-August Friday in the late 1990s, and Rick Williams had come to join me at my parents’ vacation home in northern New Hampshire for a disc golf tournament the following day in neighboring Vermont. We watched the storm come out of the north, then slam bang over our heads with torrential downpours before assaulting the slopes of Mt. Moosilauke in a light show with the drama and energy worthy of a Wagnerian operatic saga.

The Iconic Frisbie's Pies TinSquare shouldered with five venting holes surrounding the sixth at the center It was in taking the backroads homewards after that disc golf tournament that I got bit by the bug. I came across an antique store in a rural area of south-central New Hampshire, and there it was on a shelf—an iconic large letter Frisbie tin, the one with the center cooling hole surrounded by five others. It might have contained a stove warmed, plump apple pie for how excited I was. This Frisbie tin became an object of veneration on the mantle, the true sign of a developing obsession. The Bible does not counsel against worshipping false idols for nothing.

The author way back when, in his disc collector dissing-daysThe AuthorWay back when, in his disc collector dissing-days Hyzer & Gyro an aerie taleHyzer & Gyroan aerie tale My newfound “idol worship” was ironic because back before I knew better, I used to make fun of collectors. Seemed to me the only good Frisbee was a thrown Frisbee; why would anyone want to decommission one to a wall hanger? For Jim Palmeri’s short-lived but beautifully produced Flying Disc Magazine, I wrote a fanciful tale based on Hansel and Gretel—“Hyzer and Gyro, an Aerie Tale"—the protagonists being two young sibling Frisbees who having misbehaved, run away from home, spinning off into the deep, trackless woods and stumble upon the lair of a witchy Mistress (as opposed to a Master Frisbee or “Lid”) who’s out to melt them down. The other somewhat villains of the story are a roving band of collectors looking to bag any plastic they can find. Hyzer and Gyro, being very collectible, must improvise evasive flight tactics to avoid these predators.

So now I have become what I used to make fun of, with perhaps the most diverse and complete collection of Frisbie Pie Company memorabilia in existence. What follows is the account of how I gathered this collection along with some fun history of the pie company and how it intercepts with our beloved pastime.

From a Publicity Handout—A short primer on pie, Frisbie style…still looking for one of those wooden Frisbie pie carriers, he holdsFrom a Publicity HandoutA short primer on pie, Frisbie style…still looking for one of those wooden Frisbie pie carriers, he holds As most disc enthusiasts know, the Frisbie Pie Company, in business in Bridgeport, Connecticut, from 1871 until 1957, is the origin of “Frisbee,” the moniker universally associated with any kind of disc play. As Phil Kennedy has emphasized, this does not mean Frisbie pie tins were alone thrown or "scaled." What occurred was the Frisbie Pie Company distributed its plump crust products all over southern New England. So called influencers spreading the Frisbie name were Ivy League college students who found good use tossing the emptied tins as a way to work off the pie. Spreading through the well-connected Ivy League grape vines, pretty soon flipping anythingcookie can covers, paint can lids, pie tins, whatever—became known as “Frisbieing,” and the assortment of flung objects as “Frisbies.”

Sports Illustrated—May 13, 1957—Flying FrisbeesFlying FrisbeesSports Illustrated—May 13, 1957 Wham-O, no slouch at coming up with catchy names for its products (Hula Hoop!), acted quickly in the spring of 1957. Likely alerted, as Phil notes, by a Sports Illustrated article that its Pluto Platters were being called Frisbees by east coast devotees, Wham-O using the "ee" spelling registered the trademark.

With the Frisbee having long since attained legendary status, so too has the pie company that gave it its name. Today, when we want to copy something, we Xerox. When we blow our nose, it’s Kleenex, and when we’re truly desperate, we Dumpster dive. Like “Frisbee” these are all trademarked names that have become iconic. The Frisbie Pie Company is the origin of the iconic Frisbee name, and is thus immortalized.

This is why for flying disc aficionados, Frisbie Pie Company memorabilia is so sought after and valued to this day. Though I’d long known of and been interested in this history, it wasn’t until that fateful late summer’s day on my homeward trek that I truly got bit.

Of course, as one’s pathology blooms, having but a single object of one’s desire is never enough…. Sizing up the situation, I saw myself in the advantageous position of being located just north of the Connecticut border, and but a 15-minute drive from the famous Brimfield antique/flea markets that take place three times a year in fields along both sides of mile long stretch of Route 20. Anything and everything can be found on these fields. If you’re there at the right place and the right time—serendipity rules! I decided it was time to be about the business of seeking out whatever other Frisbie Pie Company memorabilia might be out there because they weren’t making any more, and the disc sports scene was becoming more and more popular.

So began my haunting of any and all dealers I could find on any of the Brimfield fields who displayed any kind of kitchen/cooking collectibles. Pretty soon I’d just walk into a tent and be greeted with, “Hey, Frisbie guy—what you been finding?” (Or they’d take one look at me and shake their heads—“No Frisbies today!”).

A “Holy Grail” complete wood/glass pie case from the Frisbie Pie CompanyA “Holy Grail”Complete wood/glass pie case from the Frisbie Pie Company But persistence pays. My first big score was the Holy Grail of all Frisbie memorabilia, a pie case. I got in a conversation with a dealer from the New York City suburbs, and making the usual inquiries, found out he had a wood/glass Frisbie Pie case he was willing to sell. It just so happened that he was going to be taking Interstate 91 north in a few days, so on a beautiful late-May morning I rendezvoused with him at a pull-off in Holyoke, Massachusetts, with a great view east of the Pioneer Valley, paid him—and this precious artifact was mine, carefully secured on the back seat floor of my car.

The case came with three of five metal pie racks, but the copper cooling screen on the back side was mostly missing. These missing parts were to manifest with non-other than the timely interjection of Frisbee legend and pioneer...002, Mr. Victor Malafronte! Victor, an early and avid collector of all things frisbee, has an abiding interest in the Frisbie Pie Company for its foundational role in the history of our pastime. He had gotten wind of my pie case and contacted me as to precise details of the find. He also mentioned that he was in the process of writing an all-encompassing history of disc play, with a pictorial collectors’ guide which was to include the most comprehensive ever collection of Frisbie pie tin varieties and styles.

The Complete Book of Frisbee—The History of the Sport & the First Official Price Guide, by Victor Malafronte, edited by F. Davis JohnsonThe Complete Book of FrisbeeThe History of the Sport & the First Official Price Guide, by Victor A. Malafronte, edited by F. Davis Johnson Now, Victor is an intrepid and dogged researcher—I was amazed of what he knew from 3,000 miles away that I, in the middle of pie country, had no clue of. However, as a writer, Victor would be the first to admit he needs help. So, it was a no-brainer—me the English major and a teacher of writing at a community college—I offered my assistance and became the editor of Victor’s, The Complete Book of Frisbee.

This was the beginning of a fun and revealing collaboration—the best of it, Victor traveling east to stay with me and my family for the better part of a week as we took off like hounds to sniff out Frisbie treasures. We immediately struck a mother lode. I think it was the same day Victor arrived; no sooner settled in, I took him to an antique shop along that fabled Route 20 Brimfield fair stretch.

It was November and the fair was not to be active again until spring, but a couple of antique stores along it were open year-round. No sooner did we walk in the door of one then I spied a very familiar looking wood/glass case. “That’s a Frisbie pie case!” I exclaimed. Victor at first was skeptical as the case contained no label, but sure enough when we examined the bottom, there was etched the familiar inscription—“Property of the Frisbie Pie Company.” Of course, I bought it on the spot which proved to be very providential because it came with the missing ingredients I needed—two metal racks and an intact copper screen, all of which I cannibalized and added to my other, to make a rare to find, complete Frisbie’s pie safe.

The other notable event of Victor’s visit was going through the process of dividing up 150 Frisbie Pie tins. From California, Victor had sniffed out a prolific collector of kitchen collectibles who lived near Hartford, Connecticut. This fellow must have had overwhelmingly fond memories of grandma’s cooking or something, because his home was jam-packed with every form of yum-yum enticement one could imagine, including hundreds of pie tins. Of course, the ones we were interested in were the 150 Frisbie tins he was willing to sell us. Victor and I had agreed to split the cost and split the tins, so we sat eye to eye with stacks of the finest of Frisbiedom between us—and went to work. I’m glad to say we both found the process to be fair and fun.

The First Incomplete Pie Tin Spotter's GuideThe First Incomplete Pie Tin Spotter's GuideBy Richard Pancoast This would be a good time to discuss the major varieties of Frisbie’s pie plates and as best we know, a chronology of their manufacture. The easy-to-understand system that follows was created by Victor for his book and is the standard for Frisbie tin categorization.

But first, not many people know that years earlier, in the late 1970s or early 1980s, the first stab at cataloging Frisbie pie tins was compiled by a Richard Pancoast of Connecticut in a pictorial print-out along with descriptions. Richard also had the presence and foresight, when the long-closed Frisbie factory located on Kossuth Street was being demolished in 1979, to purchase about 200 bricks of the venerable old pie palace.

The bricks were easily distinguishable with the manufacturer, “Stiles” embossed on each. Plus, to guarantee authenticity, Richard procured a signed affidavit/receipt from the demolisher stating the price paid, and number of Frisbie bricks he had sold to Richard. In the course of my seeking of all things Frisbie, I contacted Richard, and sure enough, he still had quite a few of the bricks left and was willing to sell them to me. He had other Frisbie treasures too—a green painted, label intact, wood/glass Frisbie pie case, and taking up just about the whole back wall of his garage, a well-weathered Frisbie sign that had adorned the Kossuth Street headquarters.

Well, I loaded the bricks into the back of my Subaru wagon, plus a couple of Frisbie tins also purchased from Richard, and with the help of eBay, found myself in the brick selling business. I can remember having dinner with my parents and my Dad giving me a somewhat amused/skeptical look, saying something to the effect, “so you’ve convinced people to put down 75 bucks for a brick, have you?” Parents are often proud of their offsprings' entrepreneurial endeavors, but I think he was a bit worried that I’d stumbled a step too far into hucksterism. But value is what people put into it—I would never buy nor sell a Beanie Baby and would probably stay clear of pet rocks too!

Pie Palace Relics—A “regular” brick from the Frisbie bakery Kossuth Street headquarters, flanked by two (Holy Grail?) rounded cornice bricksPie Palace RelicsA “regular” brick from the Frisbie bakery Kossuth Street headquarters, flanked by two (Holy Grail?) rounded cornice bricks

Of course, with Frisbie bricks in demand to this day, I must briefly discuss their cataloging. The most desired are those with as few chips or missing pieces as possible. And yes, there are “Holy Grail” Frisbie bricks! Those are the very few extant with rounded ends, meaning they constituted cornice edges on the Kossuth Street Frisbie factory. I have two on my shelf, the only two I know of. (Can only imagine that if the Holy Grail of legend had been a clunky brick, Arthur and his fellow knights of the round table would have quickly given up the quest.)

And so, the story of my quest to unearth and explore as many slices of Frisbie history and lore as possible comes to a pause for now. But there’s at least another half of plump pie to relish in Part 2, with the solemn promise it will be a lot more fun and worthy of your consumption than the endlessly boring quest to calculate 3.14 to the whatever power!

a plethora of pie in flavors rarely tastedStay Tuned for Part 2And be treated to a plethora of pie in flavors rarely tasted


About the Author:
Davis "Dave" JohnsonDavis "Dave" Johnson

Davis Johnson, born in Boston, came into the world wanting to throw and has spent his entire life scratching that itch. When Frisbees flew into his life, he simply wanted to throw them—far. That translated to farthest in the 1970s when he held multiple world distance titles, including becoming the first to throw over 400 feet. Dave is a published poet and songwriter and is “retired” after 30 years teaching writing, speech and journalism at a community college. He’s also worked as a radio weathercaster, and motivational speaker. Dave’s also an author, having written and published a children’s book, and he edited Victor Malafronte’s The Complete Book of Frisbee. When comes time to be sorted into the Cosmic Compost Bin, Dave prides himself on being 100% recyclable; his titanium hip replacements to the metal bin, teeth implants to the plastics. The rest he gives back to the stars.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Collecting Frisbie's Pies https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/5/have-pie-will-fly Wed, 19 May 2021 13:30:00 GMT
In Memoriam: A Conversation with Stancil Johnson https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/4/a-conversation-with-stancil In Memoriam: A Conversation with Stancil JohnsonClick to Play

I am sure you all know that we recently lost flying disc legend and pioneer Dr. Stancil Johnson. Stan, as his friends knew him, has been described as the poet laureate of Frisbee who may have very well altered the course of flying disc history with his delightfully penned FRISBEE: A practitioner's manual and definitive treatise. In fact, a number of our FDM Blog contributors attribute Stan's book as cardinal in their lives in Frisbee—add my name to that list!

Well, after a great deal of reflection, soul searching and capable counsel, we (my long-time DG buddy and Editor of DiscGolfer magazine Joe Feidt and yours truly) decided to share a conversation we had with Stancil late one evening in early August 2015 at the PDGA World Championships in Pittsburgh. Before today, only Joe, Stork and I had viewed this "archived" reference footage that was shot when Joe was researching his forthcoming DG book. We soon realized that what the footage lacked in production value was more than made up for in its gentrified glimpse into the life and times of a puissant pillar of play upon which the greater flying disc community flourished.

Thanks Stan! Roll on buddy... R.I.P.

'BEE safe and fly well,

Lightnin' Lyle

FDM Blogologist

 

Frisbee—Stancil Johnson— Front CoverFrisbee—Stancil Johnson— Front Cover Frisbee—Stancil Johnson—Back CoverFrisbee—Stancil Johnson—Back Cover

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(Flying Disc Museum) Interview https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/4/a-conversation-with-stancil Sat, 24 Apr 2021 15:31:53 GMT
Inception of the CHING® Full Color Process https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/3/inception-of-the-ching-full-color-process Inception of the CHING® Full Color ProcessCHING® is the sense of your achievement…the resonance of your success. It is the moment of echo when triumph is realized & amplified in a fleeting bid to satisfy your passion.

—By Holgate—

"Was it really that easy?…did I just PRINT on a GOLF DISC with a transfer sheet used for mouse pads? NO. No-No-No; you did not. Because dyes bleed,” and I should’ve known that from my own food & cloth dye testing. I would have one last option to try again with pigments. But first let me backup in time to setup how it came to be…

1992…finally; 10 years in the trades handcrafting 7-digit dollar land & homes in the field while aggravating teachers just trying to do their job in school. I got the college degree, dumped the tassel & gown, and shot straight outta Columbus, Ohio, as fast as possible. I mean, as a recreational Disc Golfer I really enjoyed Blendon Woods and it was sometimes fun staying in the fairways at Hoover but for life in general I didn’t have much love for that Buckeye college town. However, I must credit the curriculum at Ohio State’s Landscape Architecture program back then. They were progressive with CAD computer graphics…a focus on graphics in general for sure, with marker renderings, pen details, charcoal or 5mm pencil drafting, perspectives, shadowing, architectural handwriting, etc. …and the broad based technical material covered in LARCH was really awardaward foundational in my consumption of transferable method(s), scale, and knowledge base. I was awarded for my “uncanny ability to thus far skate through with least effort” by professors (pretty sure it was a jab, but I’ll spin it as a compliment).

And with that support I later won the Senior Design Competition for a 10 acre beech-forested site presented to Muirfield Village HOA featuring an animal themed, Educational Disc Golf course. That was an enjoyable, real world, exercise. But I struggled…errr, I should say I just didn’t give attention to…technical details on freeway superelevations or identifying mica vs. schist fragments in geology samples. That stuff exceeded my self-aware allocated RAM levels. Knowing that it existed was enough for me and I’d specialize in the future if necessary, so I experienced a colorful spectrum of alpha-numeric grading…good, bad, ugly…and I got what I needed out of the deal: paper please?…thanks, later.

So I moved south and picked up a Temp-Talent job working as an Inspector at the FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) Maintenance Dept. in Central Florida. The Orlando area had a fair selection of Disc Golf courses and I filled some free time picking plastic out of scrub thorn and sand spurs at Barnett, Turkey Lake, etc. All the while I was advancing quickly within the Department.

Michael S. HolgateAsst. Maintenance Engineer Fast forward a few years; I commanded maintenance operations for all State roadways for Orange County's Orlando jurisdiction, including I-4 and contract supervision within the City of Orlando. My crew(s) were relatively small and loyal because I kept my boots on and gloves ready. Occasionally I also directed a bus load of 'in-mates' for work program labor depending on the project; there was no failure to communicate.

Cool Greys Inc.Cool Greys Inc. I suppose the point is, with the success and financial stability of a 'real' job, I was able to act on my awareness of the creativity platformed by personal computers; I setup a scanner, printer, monitor, and hard drive with some recordable CD slots for like $5000 back then. Yeah…ouch. The first graphic specific program I picked up was from a friend in the sign business, so I learned the vector program CorelDraw while many others were on a more traditional (although in the long run basically parallel) graphics software path with Adobe’s Illustrator. I would also learn the raster counterpart to CorelDraw called Photo-Paint, compared to Illustrator’s legendary pixel partner Photoshop. I enjoyed the new media opportunities for progressive art now at my disposal, and I incorporated a business JIC my (overly ambitious) talents might (not likely dude) blossom into a full-time demanding graphic career.

I called it Cool Greys Inc, named after the cool grey colored markers I frequently used for shading to add life and character to hand illustrations. I wasn’t trained/employed in a traditional graphics house and I understood my own naivete while still feeling like it was possible to beat the odds…stuff like logo design, wedding invites…all that graphic work that’s automated through Walmart nowadays! …anyway, with a little disposable income I also thought it would be cool to own a heat press and start printing my own t-shirts and hats.

FDOT Hat Hot Stamp versus CHING Full ColorExample of a traditional single color reflective foil hot stamp (left) vs. CHING Full Color Design (right) Of course I had no clients or marketing plan but when I made hats for my crew, and later in volume for the whole maintenance field branch, I started to realize there was value in the art but also in the consumable substrate. At this point, sometime later in ‘96 I reckon when I was exploring other substrates like coasters or mousepads, it occurred to me that when I shopped for golf discs I only recalled seeing foil stamped artwork…more often than not, only one stamp/color (single stamp).

I thought about my own consumer experience…why I bought the Piranha instead of the Birdie— just because of how the graphics looked—and wondered if I could print on a plastic golf disc like I could on t-shirts or other proven substrates with my own designs? I got an idea…

1997: A modest apartment production setup1997: A modest apartment production setup Setup with a manual heat press raised to nearly maximum thickness and printed transfer sheets cut to size from the Seiko 4104 Thermal Ribbon Printer…set at t-shirt heat parameters with a centered 5” custom injection-nipple-absorbing foam layered circular ⅝” thick wooden backing for a flat support surface underneath and within the shoulder slope of discs. Attempt the pigment ribbon and wax paper transfers designed for cottons at high temp…Whope…nope. 380° melts the plastic as soon as it hits the press, the disc is ruined, and the paper is fused…the image smeared all over…that pigment is a mess…machine needs to be cooled & cleaned now…that didn’t work…but I learned this at least…temperature is the dominant variable.

Plastic melts, disc is ruined, image smeared and machine is down…tap out…NOTPlastic melts, disc is ruined, image smeared and machine is down…tap out…NOT …so what if I cool it down? …ok, what’s the highest I can go before melting…try 175° with pigment ribbon and wax paper transfer: no reaction—disc is getting pretty hot, but the ink pigment won’t come off the paper…that pigment ribbon is not demonstrating an obvious propensity for compatibility. How about using the dye sublimation ribbon designed for printing on polyester-based materials (mousepads, coasters, etc.)…jack the heat up to make the ink compliant, just before making Innova's DX golf disc plastic morphable around 180°ish +/- …

Ha! Realizing it works IT WORKS! No way…Wayyy? …mmmm…kinda…the dye sublimation ink doesn’t completely come off the transfer so the print appears a little ‘soft’ with inaccurate colors and less intensity…but I’m on to something. Who needs to see this? …

I have an uncomfortable feeling; that was too easy. These inks are designed to activate and chemically recompose at very high temperatures, which can’t be achieved pressing plastic golf discs under 200 degrees.

By this time vocationally I’d been recruited further up to District Headquarters at DOT’s Deland, Florida, Office in Permits & Drainage Division…Highway Beautification Grants, special projects 'n' stuff. The commute from our apartment in Orlando was not fun at 50 minutes so I knew it would be a short while to decide if my fiancée and I would continue planning a Florida life or consider alternatives…maybe relocate to DOT HQ in Tallahassee someday? …or get closer to family up north and…hey, wait…isn’t Innova branched in the Carolinas? …always wanted to live there!

Charlotte was on our list of possible cities to live in, but I think I may have made a specific drive up to visit Harold Duvall's Carolina Flying Discs shop (aka Innova East) just south of there in Rock Hill, South Carolina; they were reluctant to receive unknown visitors, and blank discs were very sensitive back then. When I visited (unannounced), Harold wasn't there but I was able to convince one of the senior staffers to allow me 5 or 6 blank white golf discs to take home and test after showing them what I was working on.

But then…man I hate that feeling…when there's debilitating obstruction to progress with little room to navigate.

Dolh! Realizing it doesn’t workDoh! Realizing it doesn’t work Whaaat? …uh ohhhh…ohhhh nooooooo…weeks later, sometimes sooner, the dye fades to a blurry mush…the dye ink isn’t compatible because it migrates…there is no workaround solution for this specific materials combination. All right…don’t panic…yet…

c’mon…reboot…*Initiate Critical Thinking* ctrl alt holg8 *Initiate Creative Process*…

Don’t quit…dye bleeds…of course it does…what have I learned? …what do I know? …what do I need? …I just need a non-migratory substrate surface application…is that possible with my palette?

Look harder.. look closer.. look from a different perspective…find opportunity where others see failureLook harder…look closer…look from a different perspective…find opportunity where others see failure Revisit the pigment ink…maybe a little more heat with the wax based carrier…it definitely smears, the plastic melts, the paper sticks, but wait…some of the ink comes off intact…I see pixels…I SEE PIXELS…there’s something there…it kinda worked but…

What if? …yeahhhh…science it: fundamentals…*Temperature, *Pressure, *Time…high pressure, long slow time, and modest but effective temperature increase. So what if I immediately

That’s not abrasion or friction rash…I see pixels; it can workThat’s not abrasion or friction rash…I see pixels; it can work apply a cooling effect to the paper after ink has become tacky and primed so it will shock release and stick to substrate before deformation temperature…could that work? …what about water? …recirculating cold water, splashed on top right before peeling the transfer. Kitchen sink? …bathroom is closer…ok fine, it’s just a test…heat it up, hit it with the water…

Production setup: a frozen jug in a cooler with recirculated cold water on demand next to the heat press…cool & peel BOOM. Really? Yes, BOOM…luckyluckylucky. It worked. Whoa!! (I’ve kept it G-rated but there were other exclamations!) Wait wait wait wait wait…fine—that’s outrageously amazing, the image is clean and complete…but here we go again…keep testing…put it in the car windshield area—it gets hot in the sun and smears…heat, of course…hmmm…ok: it’s transferred, image is semi-stable but ink layer is exposed and vulnerable… lock it in. Whatabout?…post press spray treatment to set the ink, a college-boy fixative trick for pencil smudge at the drafting table (Krylon 1311).

It works. Doesn’t flake? …nope…It works. It is unique, it has value, it can be scaled to demand. Wow…cool. Now what? Make some art…how about the sound of the chains… anyone else using that name? … uspto.gov…nope…all righty then: CHING®!!! …a trademark and Division of Cool Greys Inc.

I wasn’t necessarily on a do-or-die mission to print on golf discs. Like most creative endeavors, I was originally driven by curiosity and if it failed I wasn’t about to go looking for another different kind of overpriced specialty printer. I just got lucky with what I had to work with; but then again, you certainly can make your luck.

Some earlier samples like CHING Kong were designed to show off the new Full Color image manipulation capabilitiesSome earlier samples like CHING Kong were designed to show off the new Full Color image manipulation capabilities It’s not a stretch to say that from then on graphics and marketing in the Golf Disc industry were changed forever. Applications have continued to evolve with direct print technology and full surface coverage but my process was the 1st to offer stock or custom Full Color digitally produced printing on a golf disc for one-offs or hundreds qty.

I occasionally freelanced for Innova on a handful of graphic projects, including master catalogsI occasionally freelanced for Innova on a handful of graphic projects, including master catalogs So it was decided; I left a very promising cushy state government employment ladder to see if there was fortune in frisbees. My fiancée and I selected a southside apt in Charlotte to be closer to the SC border in case the Innova relationship developed, and it did for awhile. I think working directly for Innova may have been an option, but I didn't want to forfeit independence so they allowed me to purchase blanks and I would print and sell them like other wholesalers…drifting farther and farther awkwardly into ‘business’ and away from ‘creativity.’

There may have been confusion among retailers at the time too because I part-timed with Harold packing orders for a little while in his Innova warehouse, and I would answer the phone there… but I'm also the CHING guy.

It was getting diluted and that was bothersome to my willfully inflated ego. I would continue selling directly, but eventually I found it easiest to subcontract filling orders taken by Innova on a per/piece service plan for tournaments/events after the concept was well proven…(pretty much the '97 World's there in Charlotte).

A small handful of special edition ‘Golden Sky’ Winthrop discs were given out to VIPs at the NC/SC ‘97 Worlds eventGolden Sky Winthrop DiscA small handful of special edition ‘Golden Sky’ Winthrop discs were given out to VIPs at the NC/SC ‘97 Worlds event

Of course I still heat-pressed t-shirts too, so low quantity custom order packages were an easy sell to someone holding a tournament. By 2001 it was a modest little income but our family was growing and I wanted to pass it on. Ultimately I sold the equipment and knowledge to Innova East. They were able to benefit for a few years more until direct printing transitioned to the dominant and overwhelmingly superior method.

Eventually we also achieved in-house direct print technology with TPUs on our contoured surface D.R.A.F.T. disc designsDynamic Rotational Air Flow TransitionEventually we also achieved in-house direct print technology with TPUs on our contoured surface D.R.A.F.T. disc designs It was during that late '90s/early 2000s period when I changed my corporation name to Holgate Inc instead of Cool Greys. I invented and patented the revolutionary Skill-Shot (portable umbrella design) and licensed it exclusively to Innova. Duvall and I also agreed to work on the first Innova molded CHING golf disc line (The Bomb, Sniper, Stinger, and Tank) in a marketing model not unlike John Houck’s Millennium. It was a good deal for me, but I didn't like the lack of control over the molding/design process and the idea of being unauthentic as the Innova owned mold parts were also rebranded elsewhere. And I also wanted to explore new technology, like our Patented surface contour D.R.A.F.T. concept (Dynamic Rotational Air Flow Transition), that was not associated with another brand because it was my idea to develop. I wanted to make it with my own network, and for awhile we were positioned well in the market.

Jump to the present: by now my recent decade’s efforts (lack thereof) are reflected in the drop from the industry stage. In any case, it’s noteworthy that the CHING brand and tools have been sold and may arise in the near future with some of my support behind the scenes…? Meanwhile, for me, the creative journey continues…that YouTube thingy looks pretty cool…besides, I got an idea…

MediaScaper—I got an ideaI got an idea


About the Author:
Michael HolgateMichael Holgate

Holgate  ( Michael S. )

Born 1963…hoping for 75 to 100 years on this space rock. Decades of overlapping experience in lower education, higher education, private education, blue collar, white collar, corporate, government, entrepreneurial development, and now self proclaimed media artist & producer. Current catchphrase: "I got an idea." Favorite Quote: from Thoreau, “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) CHING Disc Golf Origins https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/3/inception-of-the-ching-full-color-process Wed, 24 Mar 2021 13:00:00 GMT
Have Disc Will Travel: Strange Tales of Plastic Teleportation https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/3/have-disc-will-travel Have Disc Will Travel: Strange Tales of Plastic TeleportationHave Disc Will Travel: Strange Tales of Plastic Teleportation

—By Davis Johnson—

How do you feel about plastic?

As a disc golfer, no doubt intimately connected. In its various manifestations under the catch-all term, “flying disc,” plastic has soared to arguably its highest art form. “When a ball dreams, it dreams it’s a Frisbee” was a popular bumper stickered slogan for disc pioneers back in the '70s. Both literally and metaphorically, flying discs carry us along in spin-off adventures we initiate—though too often don’t control.

The Lines of Headrick Memorial Freestyle Disc—Discraft Ultra-StarThe Lines of Headrick Memorial Freestyle DiscDiscraft Ultra-Star By their very nature, flying discs are throwaways, but who, lucky enough to own a Frisbee containing some of "Steady" Ed Headrick’s ashes, would ever do so—unless of course in an M.T.A. toss, sure to return? Though our discs don’t literally contain parts of us, many if not most disc golfers own, or have owned, discs of special connection. So special that for every time thrown, it’s as if we’re aboard for the flight. And as many have experienced, sometimes our relationships with discs, as with people, can be quite complicated, even adversarial.

For instance, I’ve had discs apparently grow tired of me; seems they get an urge to ramble on, maybe even go find themselves a less erratic thrower. These disgruntled discs seem to get lost more often than others. They may finally take flight—fugitive flight—sometimes never to return. Perhaps it’s that last tree-taco that did it. But what’s really interesting are those not so rare instances when a lost disc improbably does reappear, sometimes years later and from faraway. Many a player I’ve known has such stories—“if only discs could talk!” you hear said over and over.

Gathered from a long life of throwing, I have a number of such stories, a couple to be shared here. And to add spice to these tales, some strange tales of my home disc golf course in central Massachusetts where flying discs disappear and occasionally reappear in rather bizarre, dare I say magical, ways?

WC 119G—4 Sig—40 Mold—Turquoise—Gold, BlackWorld Class 119G4-signature, 40 mold, turquoise My earliest and perhaps most amazing instance of a lost-and-found disc was in the early 1980s when I was spending a few days with friends at a cottage on Chappaquiddick on Martha’s Vineyard, just the other side of Ted Kennedy’s bridge of infamy. It was a beautiful August day and I’d gone to the nearby beach with one of the aquamarine colored, 40 mold, original 4-signature Frisbees®, to throw some M.T.A. shots into the mild sea breeze. Though the water was not rough, there was enough wave action that when one of my throws landed near the water’s edge, the Frisbee disappeared into a slight froth of wave and sand. “Easy to find” I thought, but nope—despite 10 minutes looking, nada. So, I gave up and went back up to the cottage for lunch. An hour or so later I walked back to the beach and not very expectantly, waded into the water keeping half an eye out. Nothing. My thoughts went off more or less elsewhere taking in the blue, tranquil seascape. Then a nudge against my leg interrupted my contemplation. I looked down and there it was—my aquamarine 4-signature disc nuzzling up—it obviously hadn’t really meant to part ways.

Innova-Champion Wraith—Crane Hill, hole 10, aceInnova-Champion WraithCrane Hill, hole 10, ace disc As if on cue, my other stand-out story of a disc that made its way back—this one after a very long absence—culminated this past July of 2020, just as I was starting on this article. Dial back precisely 10 years to July 7, 2010, on Hole 10 of the Crane Hill disc golf course in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, a course I co-created and designed. I took out an orange Champion Wraith, snapped off a long, low hyzer shot down the narrow fairway; it disappeared around the bend, and there came the unmistakable “ching” sound of a skip shot into the basket. I dutifully scrawled the relevant details of the ace on the bottom of the disc, and signed it for posterity, but not two days later lost it on the same hole somewhere off into the ferny greenery. When it didn’t show up in the Crane Hill lost and found, I presumed it gone for good.

Fast forward 10 years almost to the day, July 8, 2020. I get tagged on Facebook with my long-lost ace disc. It had made its reappearance in the lost and found of the Disc Golf 978 store at Fort Devens in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, more than an hour’s drive northeast of Crane Hill. Again, the lament—if only discs could talk…

Rick Williams nicely threads his upshot along the old mill wall structure Of further intrigue in the flying disc unsolved mysteries department are some strange goings on at the Watershed, my home disc golf course in central Massachusetts. The home and stream were once the site of a water-powered mill, dating back to the beginning of the 19th Century, if not earlier—one of the holes tees-off from atop the remaining old, mill wall structure. So, a lot of history has preceded us to this home and property.

Though the Watershed “fairways” are contained on just a little over seven acres of land, the course is a challenging and legitimate par 56. Wooded, winding and hilly, there are all manner of O.B. hazards, not least of these being the very active, disc possessive stream that bisects the course down the middle.

As you shall see, this stream has a give-and-take policy when it comes to flying discs. This is exemplified in one epic round I experienced in April of 2020, beginning at Hole One’s tee by the side of the house. Just before teeing off, on a whim, I peered behind a pair of particle boards leaning against the house, and there lay a disc I’d lost 10 months before. I thought it had gone into some nearby brush which I’d searched repeatedly, but somehow, the disc had (rolled?) its way a number of feet forward and improbably gone into hiding behind those particle boards! I shrugged and thought to myself, “well OK, I suppose…” unlikely as it seemed.

Looking downstream from the tee of Hole 18 with the basket in the grassy area; the porous dike on the leftWatershed Hole 18 Looking downstream from the tee, the basket is in the grassy area, the porous dike on the left But far more unlikely is what happened at the end of that same round—enough to really rattle my sensibilities. Hole 18 on the Watershed is an easy, but at the same time unnerving deuce run, a couple hundred feet or so flight straight down the stream and across a small, ponded section to the basket. I took out a bright yellow 150 gram Mamba and launched a forehand downstream. But I put a little too much on it, and instead of hyzering right towards the basket it stayed straight and disappeared onto the brushy, porous dike that partially dams the stream, allowing for the small pond. The disc seemed easily findable—but first, a needed backstory:

About a year prior to this eventful round, on an early spring day, I was practicing sidearm shots with a blue Innova Vulcan in the general direction of this same porous dike. An errant shot landed on or near it, but when I searched—no disc to be seen. So, I peered down the several holes on this rocky, short peninsula, and sure enough securely lodged down one of them, just out of arm reach, lay the blue Vulcan. No problem, I thought—I’ll come back later with my disc catcher. Of course, as with many such vows…later…turned to…much later…until it was a year or so later…and to top it off, I had in the meantime misplaced the disc catcher. (Still haven’t found it!) Finally, curious as to how the bunkered down Vulcan had fared over its long incarceration, I gave another check down the porous dike hole. The Vulcan had vanished. Oh well…

…So now I’m looking for my yellow Mamba, errantly thrown to that same porous peninsula. With its stand-out color, I thought it would be an easy find. Nope. I ranged over the brushy outcropping and stared down any cavities that might possibly hold a disc. Nothing. Then I looked to the water flowing through on the downstream side of the dike. No sign of it there either.

But something did catch my eye in the water directly below that seemed very out of place—it looked like a wheel from one of those Radio Flyer toy wagons that were so common among kids when I was growing up. “What would that be doing there?” I asked myself. I climbed down to give a closer look, and there it was, my long-lost blue Vulcan! But blue no more. It was now tarnished black from long immersion in the stream but for narrow rings of blue which had deceived my eyes into thinking it might be a wheel. As for the bright yellow Mamba? Still haven’t found it. Seems the stream taketh, and the stream giveth back.

The long lost Vulcan reappears—Hiding in the streamWhere's Waldo?Can you spot the long lost Vulcan in the stream? The long lost Vulcan reappears—Retrieved back to dry landThe Long Lost Vulcan ReappearsRetrieved back to dry land Disc retrieval on Hole 18Disc retrieval on hole 18

This has happened on other occasions, too. A brand new, bright yellow Latitude 64 Fuse ended up in the small pond just above the spillway. Seemingly securely anchored, I put off retrieving it until a day or so later, and when I reached into the water to grab it, to my surprise I pulled out a Prodigy D-4 instead that had taken a dive into another shallow section of the pond. The bright yellow Latitude? Though I searched long and hard downstream, it’s never turned up.

Spillway with the end of the dike to the leftSpillway with the end of the dike to the left

Something similar happened last summer when searching for a friend’s disc that had found the stream. Near the spot where his disc disappeared, my sharp-eyed son spotted instead a stream-blackened Vibram Lace I had lost sometime previously. The other disc remains unaccounted for. Again, the stream giveth, and the stream taketh away.

Atop Druids Mound—From left to right, Caiden the dog, Steve Hartwell, Kevin Fuller, Rick Williams and Phil KennedyAtop Druids MoundFrom left to right, Caiden the dog, Steve Hartwell, Kevin Fuller, Rick Williams and Phil Kennedy [photo: Joy Hartwell] I could add other strange doings on this course, for instance certain incidents of intrigue related to what I have dubbed Druids Mound, on top of which sits the basket for Holes 7 and 10. Discs seemingly securely putted from below, and come to rest atop this steep little promontory, have on a few occasions, disconcertingly found a way, somehow, to roll back down. Once, I made what looked to be a nice, secure putt up to the basket with a beat up, Discraft Stratus. After what seemed a suspiciously long interval, I then heard the faintest of rustles—looked down, and there was my Stratus—come groveling back to my feet.

Of course we who play this game all have stories of odd, improbable doings of discs we fling. One of the reasons I am very stubborn to give up searching for a lost disc is not just the desire to get it back, but a strong need to satisfy my curiosity as to how it managed to make itself so scarce in the first place. Upon finding it, the searcher can usually say “OK, I get it now—I see how and why it stumped me.”

But everyone loves a mystery and disc golfers are as superstitious as any other athletes who experience the serendipitous, improbable happenings of play. And maybe, just maybe, something a little strange and magical, beyond our ken, is at work out there. I will continue to monitor, and report back on anything else that seems a little beyond the pale at the Watershed or for that matter, other courses I play that carry their own mystery and intrigue.


About the Author:
Davis "Dave" JohnsonDavis "Dave" Johnson

Davis Johnson, born in Boston, came into the world wanting to throw and has spent his entire life scratching that itch. When Frisbees flew into his life, he simply wanted to throw them—far. That translated to farthest in the 1970s when he held multiple world distance titles, including becoming the first to throw over 400 feet. Dave is a published poet and songwriter and is “retired” after 30 years teaching writing, speech and journalism at a community college. He’s also worked as a radio weathercaster, and motivational speaker. Dave’s also an author, having written and published a children’s book, and he edited Victor Malafronte’s The Complete Book of Frisbee. When comes time to be sorted into the Cosmic Compost Bin, Dave prides himself on being 100% recyclable; his titanium hip replacements to the metal bin, teeth implants to the plastics. The rest he gives back to the stars.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Disc Golf https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/3/have-disc-will-travel Wed, 03 Mar 2021 05:00:00 GMT
Setting the Hook https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/2/setting-the-hook Setting the HookSetting the Hook

—By Marvin P. Paul—

GuitarsGuitarsRockin' it out at Carneros Studios with a B.C. Rich Warlock NJ Deluxe (Firebird in background) I remember as a kid having a key chain collection. The one that sticks in my mind was a rabbit’s foot. Not very lucky for the hare! I was a fiend for Wacky Packages and still think it would be cool to have some of that original art. My father and I had a cheap pocket knife collection that never did seem to have a sharp blade in the bunch. To this day, I never make the claim to have a sharp knife, but I always have a serrated blade. I was very proud of my record collection but that is a bygone era that seems to be making a comeback? The only valuable vinyl was the obscure Heavy Metal. Most of that went to eastern Europe when I sold it off. I do have 15 guitars! That counts as a collection, right? Pinnacle piece is a 1964 Gibson Firebird III. But none of these compare to my frisbee collection of over 5000 pieces.

SnowboardingSnowboardingOn the slopes with a Winterstick Split Board Midnight FlyersMidnight FlyersSurrounded by nine sets of Midnight Flyers FishingFishing7 lb. Rainbow Trout at Eagle Canyon Trophy Trout Lakes

I started playing disc golf in ‘81. It was the summer after I graduated from high school and I loved it! At that first round at Veterans Park in Sylmar, California, I was introduced to Wham-O / DGA Midnight Flyers! These would become a main focus in my collecting. I have played all these years because like most activities I start, I just keep doing them—like skateboarding, snowboarding, wakeboarding and fishing! Had to throw in fishing because I did not want to “board” you to death.

Complete Book of Frisbee, The—Victor Malafronte— Front CoverThe Complete Book of FrisbeeVictor Malafronte World Class Frisbee 141G—Scribble signature—50 MoldWorld Class Frisbee 141GScribble signature I played my first Disc Golf tournament in ‘91. It was in Sonoma and it was hosted by the UFOS. I had lost a disc during that event and had no backup so after that I had lots of backup discs. Then I started with custom stamped discs—next thing I know, I have a few hundred discs and counting! In 1998, Father Victor Malafronte came out with The Complete Book of Frisbee, not only did it have a price guide but it gave me a focus on what to look for. Until then, I would stop in at places like Discovering the World and ask them to sell me something cool. Brother Dan Mangone and Brother Mark Molnar thought I was crazy. I did not know much about plastic outside of golf discs. I walked away with a Wham-O 50 mold with a scribble signature. Later looking to get my first pie tin I was talking with Dan on the phone, I bought it sight unseen (before you could send a pic via phone) and once again I was making crazy impressions about my obsession with discs.

Complete Book of Frisbee, The—Victor Malafronte—Back CoverThe Complete Book of FrisbeeRalph Williamson's collection Saint Ralph Williamson, PDGA # 10, was in Victor’s book, and there were photos of Ralph’s museum on the back cover. Later, when I was in the Seattle area, I had to stop by—super cool, tons of stuff and it was all for sale! I believe it was 2006 when I pulled the trigger on Ralph’s collection and went from a collector with 500 discs to 5000. My wife Lisa thought I was a nut but supported me. I was about to get an instant education on the old stuff. It was so cool to go through his plastic and find treasures: Pros, Super Pros, Sailing Satellites, Flying Saucers, Midnight Flyers. He had lots of Wham-O stuff and was really into Pluto Platters. I was on eBay selling off things that I was not sure about (so I could buy other discs). I sold several things to Father Phil Kennedy.

Pluto Platter—WPP5Pluto Platter—WPP5 Double Esker Pluto PlatterDouble Esker Pluto Platter One day I found myself in Manchester, Connecticut, playing Wickham Park when I noticed one of the holes was sponsored by Phil. I was playing with a local that had his number, and I was invited to come over for a chat. I remember Phil’s office; it had a timeline of discs and most were in yellow, very interesting. Turned out Phil was a collector of Pluto Platters. We talked about the different re-toolings. I had several from Ralph’s collection but was missing the “hard-to-find” Plutos. We talked about the Palmeri/Jensen timeline. I remembered that there was not a picture of the double esker in Victor’s book, and when Phil produced one, I had a new collecting purpose. I had been interested in all things flying plastic but this was the moment when the hook was set! Then to drive the point home, Phil comes out with a book he co-wrote with Saint Fred Morrison; Fred made the first plastic flying disc in 1948.

Phil worked several trades that helped me get some of the other hard-to-find Wham-O Pluto Platters. I bought and traded with others like Brother Charlie Burke, Father Lyle Jensen and Father John Kirkland. I even found three American Trends Plutos, two on eBay and one from 8X Master Freestyle Champion, Brother Joe Messner. I went deep down the rabbit hole finding several “hard-to-find discs,” many in the package. Later Lyle pointed out all the different bags and header cards. Lyle has a real eye for nuances in flying discs. His Pistol Putt made a real impression on me and my boys in Toronto a few years ago!

ATPP—American Trends Pluto Platter—YellowAmerican Trends Pluto Platter WPP2—Red on White 59 cents HeaderPluto Platter—WPP2Red on White 59 cents Header WPP3 - Games Are Fun—Red on Yellow HeaderPluto Platter—WPP3Pluto Platter bag with Games Are Fun, red on yellow header card WPP7—88 cents Header with "Yellow Bar"  no Pluto Platter BagPluto Platter—WPP788 cents Header with "Yellow Bar" no Pluto Platter Bag

I had Father Donn Blake come to my house with many “hard-to-find” collectables but even better were the stories he shared having run the Jr. Frisbee® Championships for many years, as well as many other promotional events. Early disc golf courses had Around Nine putting stations—thanks to Donn for that idea, Ed would install Around Nine stations as he spread courses around the country.

Set of 70C mold Midnight Flyers—Certificate of Authenticity from Farina HeadrickSet of 70C mold Midnight FlyersCertificate of Authenticity from Farina Headrick I had an opportunity to help Farina (Saint Ed Headrick’s wife) sell some classic collectables, from Midnight Flyers to early DGA discs and other things like embroidered outfits, posters and early International Frisbee Association items.

I started the Vintage Cup Disc Golf tournament in ‘95. The last several years I would do a disc display of 150 discs or so, and it was fun to have them out for viewing—it got me to start a website of my collection. You can find it at  www.marvinsflyingdisccollection.com. Many folks contact me and it just keeps the collecting juices flowing!

Carneros Studios BarnCarneros Studios Barn The collection has had many homes, from my garage, to a secret man cave basement, to storage and now at Carneros Studios. I've had visitors travel from near and far, always a good time chatting plastic. Even with all the cool plastic I have, there is always room for upgrades so I keep my eyes open to see what turns up. I will be collecting discs for the rest of my days. I am glad that I have four kids, and now grandchildren that like disc sports—like they had a choice! Love getting out to the course and playing. The other day I was in Berkeley playing with my oldest grandson, just like I did with his dad and his brother and sisters.

For the last three years, my wife Lisa and I have been building a barn that will have a music and art studio, and notably house Marvin’s Flying Disc Collection. Take a moment to check out our website at www.carneros-studios.com. Be sure to register to join our community of Friends and Family so you can stop on by and we can talk plastic.


About the Author:
Marvin PaulMarvin Paul

Marvin (#7044) loves music and while he picked up the guitar and bass in his 40s, he quickly developed a band, grew with old and new friends in his love of music, and now is developing a state-of-the-art recording studio to share that experience with music artists of all genres. Marvin has traveled to learn, experience, and see what combination of equipment and vibe makes the most creative and successful environment for artists to create the work they dream of. There is only one thing that Marvin has more than guitars and that is flying discs. Marvin has been a collector of flying discs for 30 years & the collection is over 5000. The flying discs have come home to Carneros Studios to share with Friends & Family.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Collecting https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/2/setting-the-hook Mon, 08 Feb 2021 14:15:00 GMT
Reflections on Collections https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/1/reflections-on-collections Reflections on Collections - Phil KennedyReflections on Collections —By Phil Kennedy—

The FDM's primary founding objective is to cover all topics relating to flying discs. As new information continues to flow in, and the Museum's scope and database continue to grow, it's interesting to see who's visiting the Museum and how the information is being used.

Perhaps the most visible signs of usage so far are the posts by those who have discs and are looking for information on them, especially sellers and collectors. Sellers want to know what they've got, hoping to improve their profits by providing accurate descriptions to potential buyers. Collectors want to learn what they've got and what they're missing, hoping to improve their collections.

It wasn't always so; disc collecting has evolved over the decades. Let me begin at the beginning…my beginning, anyway.

Yellow WPP1Yellow WPP1Wham-O's first style Pluto Platter, and Phil's first flying disc When I brought home my very first disc in the spring of 1957—a yellow, 1st Style Pluto Platter (WPP1) that Wham-O had just released to the public—there were no flying disc collectors. We didn't squirrel them away to be kept in mint condition for future financial gain (maybe we should have!)…we tossed them…as earlier flying disc tossers had done. (Visit the Antiques Gallery for examples of pre-Wham-O flying discs.) Most got beat up, scraped up, cracked up, tossed out. Those that survived were either boxed up with other household junk relegated to the attic, or continued to be tossed occasionally. My WPP fell into the latter category. It survived many rounds of (pre-"Frisbee") Pluto Platter Golf; getting run over by street traffic; fun fraternity flightfests on the Syracuse University quad, and shouldered about in my Navy seabag, until finally, in 1976, on a crowded Elizabeth Park field in Hartford, CT, I was informed by a talented player visiting from Florida that I "really should put that disc away. People are paying BIG bucks for those…like $40.00!"

A quantum shift in perception instantaneously occurred. What a moment before had been a leftover childhood relic, still capable of providing immense enjoyment, now had a price on its head…and, in 1976, $40 were significant simoleons!

Many other discs had arrived on the market by then, and as I soon found out, most of them outperformed my outdated PP. Having gained new respect, I gave it a well-deserved retirement. Thus began my collection.

Along with discovering that discs had improved came the realization that informal disc play had evolved into competition. According to my new buddy at the park (who was the first one I met who knew how to throw a long-distance sidearm with precision), Florida and California were hot spots. Where else? I soon met a local player with a friend in NYC named Peter Bloeme who was making a name for himself. There was an upcoming tournament in Central Park called "DiscOver NY" that sounded intriguing so we hopped in my VW Bug and headed for The Big Apple.

I don't recall many details about the actual competition. But I do remember the fun of playing disc golf on a different object course, and watching in awe the innovative, dazzling freestyle routine of the Velasquez brothers!

The DakotaThe DakotaHome of 1976 World Frisbee Champion Peter Bloeme (and John Lennon) Peter Bloeme—1976 Frisbee World Champion—Wham-O MiniPeter Bloeme1976 Frisbee World Champion And I especially remember that, after the event, my friend and I were invited up to Peter's apartment nearby in The Dakota (the filming location for Rosemary's Baby, and John and Yoko's abode). Peter had recently been crowned the 1976 World Champion (along with Monika Lou) and wanted to show us his modest disc collection. Prominently displayed on one wall was the '76 National Championship Series discs in red, blue, green, yellow, and black. Black?! I had seen all of the other colors before, but black? No way! Peter explained that they were a special, very limited run and really hard to get…especially the 50-Mold version. (It's been reported that possibly only 23 were made.) At that moment, I said to myself, "I have to find those."

Black Jimmy Set—1976 National Championship Series, Wham-O 40 & 50 moldsBlack Jimmy Set1976 National Championship Series, Wham-O 40 & 50 molds Jimmy Scala PhotoJimmy Scala Photo

Well, it took about 30 years, but I finally acquired a set of black "Jimmies" (named for Jimmy Scala, the player whose image is immortalized on the discs). In the meantime, as I discovered what more was out there, I branched out into other categories and brands of discs. What an assortment there was to be found: antiques, general retail, competition discs, tournament hot stamps, foreign brands, minis, fastbacks, novelty, promotional, etc., etc. And the assortment was growing. Exponentially!

PIPCO FS1 Mint-In-PackagePIPCO FS1 Mint-In-Package PIPCO—FS1—PackagingPIPCO FS1 Packaging Too many items, too little space, and too meager funds to collect everything, so choices had to be made. In other words: downsize, prioritize, specialize. Having begun with Wham-O's very first foray into flying discs in 1957, Antiques naturally commanded first priority (and remain so to this day…more on that in a minute). Beyond that, I decided that I would focus on "quality" over "quantity." Only the most interesting and choicest representations of any category would be considered for inclusion. For the most part, that philosophy remains and has served me well. I've limited my collection to a reasonable number of choice discs.

From the 1970s through the 1990s, disc collecting was generally a lot of work requiring much time, patience, and a lot of luck. (Unless, of course, you had insider connections at the manufacturers…which I didn't.) Frisbee World offered some choice items from their Factory Connection mail-order store, and several early entrepreneurs such as Roger Barrett, Michael Hadenfeldt's Shade's Trades, Jim Palmeri's Frisbee Pro Shop, Ron Kaufman's Disc Covering The World, and others issued their own catalogs of collectable items. It behooved you to scan the lists as soon as they arrived in the mail, and order quickly. Still, sometimes your order arrived with a refund check for items you missed out on. There were no instantaneous "Buy It Now" buttons.

There were a few trades going on among pals, but another major way to acquire discs was to attend events. Many tournament discs were produced in small numbers primarily for the attendees, and occasionally in variations not available to the public. Some larger events featured flea markets where sales and trades might offer rare or unique items. Thrift shops and old toy stores proved to be good hunting grounds. One owner invited me to his store's basement where he stashed outdated merchandise; it proved to be a goldmine!

I collected complete sets from all the major national events, plus regional tournaments I attended. By the mid-1980s, new golf disc designs were exploding on the scene. I saved a few, but my attention and priorities had turned elsewhere. I took a hiatus from collecting.

Complete Book of Frisbee, The—Victor Malafronte—Front CoverThe Complete Book of FrisbeeBy Victor Malafronte Three major events in the 1990s changed the disc collecting scene forever. The advent of the Internet, the founding of eBay, and the appearance of The Complete Book of Frisbee published in 1998 by Victor Malafronte. During his research Victor had contacted the top players and collectors and asked them to contribute what they knew about their discs which he then photographed and presented in color in a well-thought-out format. His book was also the first to include estimated values. While the prices listed for many of the discs have radically changed (both up and down) over the years, the catalog of discs remains a valuable tool.

Soon after Victor told us what was out there, eBay began to make it available. I signed up for an account in early 1998 just as the floodgates were opening. The sudden appearance and availability of rare and undocumented antique discs also caused a reawakening of my interest in the history of flying discs. Both Goldy Norton's 1972 book, The Official Frisbee Handbook, and Dr. Stancil Johnson's book, Frisbee, published in 1975, painted their pictures of how flying discs had come to be, and other authors over the years simply copied their accounts without further independent research and verification. (And if something is repeated often enough, it's got to be true, right?) However, Victor's book presented new documentation that seemed to bolster many of the earlier claims.

But a number of the new items I obtained from eBay countered some of the pivotal claims of who did what and when. Questions accumulated and I wanted to know the answers.

By 2002 my piqued curiosity had peaked! Fred Morrison was named as an early inventor of plastic flying discs, and I figured he might be able to provide some real answers…if he were still alive. He was, and warmly responded to a letter I sent. He invited me to stop by for a visit on a cross-county driving trip I was planning. Thus began our four-year collaboration, culminating with Flat Flip Flies Straight, True Origins of the Frisbee.

Meanwhile, previously undocumented models, styles, and variations of older discs from the late 1940s through the 1970s continued to show up frequently, inspiring the second half of our book, The Essential Guide to Collecting. From the book:

Fred MorrisonFred Morrison

Because the early history of flying discs has often been misrepresented in the past, published descriptions of the discs from that era have been sketchy at best or, more commonly, just plain wrong. Limited available resources, gap-filling guesses, incomplete research, and erroneous conclusions by recognized experts have painted a blurred composite of what was produced, when, and by whom. Accepting these accounts at face value, collectors are searching in vain for discs that never existed, while not recognizing the significance of rare items passing under their very noses. As with many pursuits, maintaining a roving mind and a skeptical attitude can reap tremendous benefits.

Flat Flip Flies Straight—Fred Morrison & Phil Kennedy—Front CoverFlat Flip Flies StraightBy Fred Morrison & Phil Kennedy

As a result my collection took on an important new purpose and goal. Instead of randomly collecting interesting discs from a wide spectrum of categories, I focused on building a complete historical timeline of the early evolution of plastic flying discs. For the most part, that's now been accomplished and represents the backbone of the FDM's Antique Gallery. While totally new surprises are now down to an occasional drip, it's still a thrill when a previously unknown disc or variation suddenly pops up!

I've told you about my interests and motivations, but there are many, many other reasons for collecting flying discs and associated items—none of them either right or wrong; they're all very personal. I'm neither a psychologist nor a sociologist so I will leave the "why some humans need to collect things" to those more knowledgeable. I just know that for some reason that urge has always been with me. I enjoy the comfort and satisfaction that comes with holding onto objects that have had significance to me; things that bring back memories of good times, and maybe help define who I am.

If you're interested in collecting—either just thinking about starting or already have a growing collection—the FDM is the perfect place to visit. Wander through the galleries to see what sparks your interest, or zero in on your established pursuits to see what you have and what awaits.

And if you want to talk Antiques, I'm all ears!


About the Author:
Phil KennedyPhil Kennedy

Phil Kennedy is one of a scant handful of current players who can say they are pre-"Frisbee," having bought his first disc months before Wham-O heard of and adopted the name. He thought up playing "Pluto Platter Golf" one spring day in 1957 when no friends could come out to play. When "Disc Golf" finally arrived in the mid-1970s he was assigned PDGA #190. Later he coached his son Shawn, the 1988 World Junior Frisbee Champion. Alongside the world of flying discs, Phil is a graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, and writer who was VP/Creative Director of an ad agency for almost 30 years. In 1990 he established his own creative services business which he continues to run to this day. Phil is also the co-author, editor & publisher of two books: Flat Flip Flies Straight, with Fred Morrison, the inventor of plastic flying discs, and A Chain of Events, with disc legend Jim Palmeri. Phil is a leading flying disc historian, has one of the finest antique disc collections in the world, and is one of the founders of the Flying Disc Museum. He also loves driving his 1932 Dodge Brothers Sedan, solving Sunday NY Times crosswords, and spouting puns.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Collecting https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2021/1/reflections-on-collections Wed, 13 Jan 2021 15:14:12 GMT
Playing in the Wham-O $50,000 Disc Golf Tournament https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/12/playing-in-the-wham-o-50000-disc-golf-tournament Playing in the Wham-O $50,000 Disc Golf TournamentPlaying in the Wham-O $50,000 Disc Golf Tournament

—By Scott Zimmerman—

Wham-O $50,000 Frisbee Disc Golf TournamentWham-O $50,000 Frisbee Disc Golf TournamentHuntington Beach, May 15–20, 1979 Even though the DC metro area was hit with 18” of snow during the winter of early 1979, I was practicing several hours a day to prepare for the coming North American Series (NAS) and the World Frisbee Championships (WFC) in the Rose Bowl. At age 16, I had placed 22nd overall at the 1978 WFC and now I had set an audacious goal for myself to try to win the overall title in 1979. As if my determination wasn’t already high enough, it kicked up another level when PDGA and Wham-O announced they would have a $50,000 disc golf tournament in May in Huntington Beach. This was huge!

FDM Editor's Note: Scott's story about the famous Wham-O $50,000 PDGA tournament in May 1979 has been exclusively adapted Chasing Disc Golf and the Overall TitleEnter code "FDM" for discount from his new book, “Chasing Disc Golf and the Overall Title” for the FDM blog. In addition, for a limited time, readers of FDM's The Complete Spin... get a special discount when purchasing a signed copy of Scott’s book at chasingdiscgolf.weebly.com. Simply type the promo code “FDM” into the form at the bottom of the page to save 20%!

I knew I had to go, but missing nearly a week of high school was going to be difficult to swing. And I would have to come up with money for plane ticket and hotels. I checked the NAS schedule in Frisbee World and couldn’t resist traveling to the San Francisco tournament the weekend before Huntington Beach. After all, if I have to fly cross-country for the $50,000 and miss four days of school, I might as well miss six days and get two tournaments, right?

In San Francisco, I met another player who was heading back to LA and agreed to let me ride in the camper on the back of his pickup truck. This was during a national gas crisis with rationing but he said he knew how to make it work.

Ross Snyder—PDGA # 65Ross SnyderPDGA # 65 At Huntington Beach, I met my mentor from Atlanta, Ross Snyder (PDGA #65), whom I stayed with that week. Playing a practice round to begin studying the course I quickly noticed two things to worry about. First, the course got very windy in the afternoon. Second, many of the holes that look short enough to birdie were “blind” holes hidden behind bushy trees, which made birdies quite elusive. In those days, we scored all holes as par three, so I needed to find holes where I could get my drive close enough to hit the putt.

Night Flyer #5 40 MoldNight Flyer40 Mold Wham-O 50 Mold—Green, Gold—Unpigmented—John BirdJohn Bird50 Mold "Steady" Ed Headrick (PDGA #001) was selling stacks of Night Flyers in the snack shop, and some of them were much heavier than any we had seen before. I got two 40 molds, one weighing 138 grams and the other an incredible 150 grams. My dilemma was that while I wasn’t used to them yet I was afraid to practice with them the night before the competition began because they seemed too magnificent to scratch. I continued to use my lighter Night Flyers and an excellent “John Bird” NAS 50 mold for most shots. In retrospect, I would have played better if I had used that heavy 40 mold Night Flyer for every throw—tee shots and putts. Most players, including me, learned only over time about the density advantage of the heavy Night Flyers.

$50,000 Tournament Scorecard$50,000 Tournament Scorecard Despite not being as comfortable as I would like on the blind holes, my scores were not bad. Just as I realized only later that I should have emphasized the heavy disc, I only later figured out how I could have gotten more comfortable with the blind holes. Here’s my secret, which is actually plain and simple: Practice the hole with a buddy who goes down the fairway as your spotter. Throw about four drives from the tee pad, with him calling out how each one plays near the hole. Each time take mental notes of your flight path and how your spotter assesses the lie, and then adjust. I always like to look for a landmark tree that I can use mentally for flight control. For example, suppose the hole is hidden behind bushy trees and the flight path curves left, but it’s hard to gauge from the tee pad how far to throw beyond the bushy trees. I will look for an obvious tree I can use as a guidepost where I will want the flight path to begin curving.

Women's $50,000 T-ShirtWomen's $50,000 T-Shirt Trade places with your buddy and then he can learn the flight path he’ll need to get near the basket, and watching his discs approach the hole will help you too.

Now, for a minor controversy, let’s move to hole #17 in the third round of four. Hole #17 was downhill, visible, and straight, so I considered this an essential birdie hole even though it wasn’t very short and there was a strong left to right wind from the ocean. When I teed off, my flight was looking nice and I thought it would hit the ground just short of the basket and then skip up to get very close. But just before it hit the ground, G Kirkland (PDGA #1000), (John Kirkland’s, PDGA #100, lovely, smart and talented wife), darted out from under a tree and was unintentionally hit in the back by my disc. She was fine, but the disc careened off to the right. From the top of the hill, we could see my disc was now 35 feet away from the pin. Even worse, my putt would be directly into the wind. Damn! Remember, these were tiny 10-chain baskets and our discs were larger diameter than today’s. Under those conditions, hitting a 35-footer was rather unlikely, so I figured I had probably missed another birdie opportunity.

$50,000 Tournament Disc Golf Bags$50,000 Tournament Disc Golf Bags By the time we walked down the hill and I got to my lie, a small group of officials had assembled nearby, including Steady Ed, Stork (PDGA #3), and Tom Boda (PDGA #101). I didn’t know why they were there (the foreword by Stork gives some insight to what they might have been discussing). G came over and apologized, but I told her it was okay, just an accident. Then Tom came over to tell me in his calm voice, “You know, in these situations, you just have to play it where it lies.” I replied, “Yeah, I know.” Now, I realize this is obvious to modern players but bear in mind that our rulebook back then consisted of a single page posted on a sign by hole #1.

When it was my turn to throw, I knew that waiting for the strong gusty wind to die down would be useless. (Remember, when you feel a gust of wind, good or bad, the opposite condition could exist at the end of the flight path. For example, when an experienced distance thrower feels a good wind at his back, he will then count to five before throwing so the disc will enjoy that wind downfield.) Really needing a birdie, I reached in my bag and started to pull out the new 150-gram 40 mold Night Flyer, but the thought flashed: Wouldn’t it be foolish to use a disc I’d never thrown before? I briefly considered using an even heavier 50 mold, but I thought it too risky; with its larger diameter it would barely fit inside the small basket. The voices in my head were indecisive. The basket was on a small hill, slightly elevated from where I stood. With the wind coming at me so strong, I was afraid if I hit the putt perfectly, the disc would just be blown right back out at the moment the chains halted the flight (since the underside of the disc would be exposed to the wind). Finally, the wind told me to use the heavy 40 mold: The density of the disc was more important than its weight.

Scott Zimmerman PuttingSome famous disc golfers looking on, including Harold Duval, Alan Bonopane, Conrad Damon, Wayne Shurts, Tami Pellicane, Stork, Jim Schmal, Wil West [Photo by Billie Sage Ashton]

As I lined up the putt, I decided to make a bold adjustment. Instead of a normal flat putt, I would use a slight hyzer putt so that when the disc hit the chains, the weight on the low side of the disc would help pull it down into the basket, hopefully before the wind could blow it back out. I threw it dead center and that’s exactly what happened. Sweet relief: the disc stayed in the basket.

$50,000 Tournament—Wham-O 41 Mold—WhiteWham-O $50,000 Tournament41 Mold $50,000 Tournament—Wham-O 50 Mold—WhiteWham-O $50,000 Tournament50 Mold $50,000 Tournament—Wham-O 80 Mold—WhiteWham-O $50,000 Tournament80 Mold $50,000 Tournament—Wham-O FB3 Mold—WhiteWham-O $50,000 TournamentFB3 Mold $50,000 Tournament—Wham-O Mini—PDGA Member Marker Disc—WhiteWham-O $50,000 TournamentMarker Disc Mini

After the tournament, I took the red-eye flight home and Mom took me to school. I walked into my U.S. History class, already in progress. The teacher was the same coach who had cut me from baseball and had been tough about giving me permission to miss school for the week to go to California. Before I could sneak into my seat, he loudly asked: “Well, how’d you do?” I said I tied for tenth place and won $1,050. He looked impressed. “Not bad,” he said.


About the Author:
Scott ZimmermanScott Zimmerman

Scott Zimmerman—3-Peat WFC Overall Champion, 1979-1981Scott ZimmermanWFC Overall Three-peat, 1979–1981 Scott Zimmerman won the Virginia Disc Golf title at his very first tournament when he was only 15 years old. He went on to win the 1982 World Frisbee Golf Championships and reigned as the World Overall Frisbee Champion many times over. His new book, “Chasing Disc Golf and the Overall Title: Confessions of the Overall World Frisbee Champion,” includes an exciting foreword by Dan "Stork" Roddick and is packed with flying disc history and competitive tips Scott applied in the early days of PDGA tournaments. He describes his mental approach and his pretty insane training regimen that helped him win those titles and stage an epic mid-life comeback leading to another major championship title in 2011. In addition to dozens of interesting photos, it also offers insights on how he might have
improved on his finishes in tournaments he didn’t win. For information about the book, see
chasingdiscgolf.weebly.com.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Disc Golf https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/12/playing-in-the-wham-o-50000-disc-golf-tournament Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:00:00 GMT
Rude at Heart https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/12/rude-at-heart Rude AwakeningRude Awakening

—By Steve Mooney—

Our run started at five in the morning as the noise of our rented Ford Econoline’s arrival knocks an opposing player off the back of the parked car he’d been sleeping on. Memories of my first trip to Mars, the town not the planet, now blending into my rude awakening.

Rude Boy Model T-ShirtRude Boy Model T(original shirt and Polaroid: 1982) What defined our team on that weekend wasn’t our play, but our dedication to ultimate’s lifestyle. Every team had a theme, a name, a cheer, playful antics—that when mixed together created the color of our new sport. Our team reveled in a brand called Rude. We danced Ska with The Specials and English Beat, screened shirts, and cheered ‘Rudy Can’t Fail’ until our voices cracked. Yes, we trained harder than just about any other team. Yes, we played stifling man-to-man with singular intent on winning a national championship. But our dedication to being ‘Ruder than You’ gave the whole thing a kind of grunge gestalt. For those of us who piled into that van for the long trip to the middle of Pennsylvania, and for essentially all teams of the era, the journey began with our shirt, the colors of our tribe.

The Rude Boys came to life over a July 4th holiday weekend in 1981, eleven of us loading into a rental van we’d pulled the odometer from for the twelve-hour free ride to Mars. All this effort in a mad hunt for games against mostly new teams in a new town not all that familiar with our new sport. All of us in our early twenties, we could and did burn the candle at both ends; the weekend’s primal screams all but guaranteeing a rocky return to work, our voices badges to the weekend’s exploit.

Rude Boys, July 1981 at Mars, Pennsylvania Rude Boys, July 1981 at Mars, Pennsylvania Phil Adams, Francis Bolger, Rob Rauch Kent Greenwald, Steve Mooney, Bruce Johnson, Joel Parry, Nick Donohue, Paul Brenner, Joe Johnson (seated) We drove from Boston, where summer temperatures rose into the nineties, but where the ocean kept stifling heat at bay. No such luck for the middle of Pennsylvania, where summer weekends often reached the low hundreds under blazing sun and oppressive humidity, imperfect climate for the black shirts we’d proudly screened with our motto ‘Don’t Be Square. Be There.’ These jet-black shirts featured a small black and white checkered logo emblazoned slightly off-center on our chests, a tag designed in deference to a whole genre of music and fashion we aspired to live up to.

But it wasn’t just wearing the shirt that made the team. What knit us together on that first weekend soon morphed into a lasting right of initiation—the ripping off of sleeves, partially due to the heat, partially to create a ritual bond.

“Wait!” new players would shout as we descended on them in a wave of passion for torn material. Ripped sleeves and bare shoulders the new black, and our attempt at punk.

The Hostages, a team whose name was born of Jimmy Carter’s misguided US foreign relations, and our biggest rivals, soon matched us with shirts spray painted through chain-link fencing—two teams locked-in an un-fashion contest, style points won by being gross versus clean-cut and well behaved. While they would not be in Mars that particular weekend, they would soon occupy much of our ultimate consciousness.

“Ruder Than You!” our cheer. Directed at opponents, but mostly at our archrival the Hostages as they matched us point for point on and off the field for the next couple of years. Waggling tongues de rigueur for each.

“You had us all fooled,” some would claim years later. “We saw those black shirts and heard that music and thought you guys to be punk, or at least counter culture. But the truth is that you all wore suits and had good corporate jobs.”

Rude Boys at 1983 World Ultimate Championship1983 Rude Boy Fashion—Post World Championship, Göteborg, SwedenStanding: Joe Ritacco, Steve Mooney, Kent Greenwald, Nick Donohue, Edwin Dissosway, Peter Farricker, Phil Adams, Allan Cave, Francis Laughlin; Seated: Finally Waugh, Chris Heye, Leif Larsen, Toby Lou; Missing: Joel Parry, Mark Ide, Jim Herrick, John Mooney

The Tom Tom ClubThe Tom Tom Club Still, ultimate offers that counter culture, then and now, a chance to be a part of something lasting, that dances to a different drum. Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads, Prince, The Clash all lifted our spirits as we flung 80 molds up and down playing fields we marked-off with mismatched yellow and orange cones. We travelled around the country and the world in pursuit of plastic and our team’s identity. We loved one particular disc, World Class 165G 80 Mold ... and LucilleWorld Class 165G 80 Mold ... and Lucille
the 80 mold whose flight unmatched by the 80E and disastrous 81 that followed. One could argue that a broken injection mold at the manufacturing plant shepherded in Discraft’s opportunity to dethrone Wham-O’s 165 gram disc as ultimate’s disc of choice. To this day, I can still feel the flight of the lighter 80 come off my back hand, knowing instantly that its flight rings would allow it to rest and hover nicely on the shelf of air that sits just above the receiving team as we sprint down to smother first throws off the pull. The soft 80 didn’t fly as far or as fast as future Discrafts would, which might have been better for the sport. The 80 allowed defenders the chance to close, to layout, and otherwise upset what has become military offensive efficiency. We loved that disc like B.B. King loved ‘Lucille,’ one of his vast collection of Gibson ES guitars.

The Rude Boy bond proved lasting. Maybe because of championships won, but also because of time, music and brand we spent reveling in. Like so many teams, we came together to celebrate our youth and independence—the early '80s a time of relative calm, a chance to get our tender feet cleated up for adulthood. Tournaments featured all night dance parties and impromptu gatherings when long days gave way to evening light. We milled for hours, in no particular hurry and with no particular responsibility yet to be fulfilled. The flight of the disc our passion, teams and teams of players lined up to chase a way of life that’s still with us in spirit.

1982 UPA National Championships game disc1982 80 Mold Disc used in every game of the 1982 UPA National Championships, Austin, Texas Rude Boys—1982 UPA National ChampionsRude Boys1982 UPA National Champions Rude Boys—European Tour—1983 World Ultimate ChampionsEuropean Tour1983 World Champions

I miss that feeling, tireless running in black shirts and too-short shorts. Our then ultra-fit arms and legs propelling us in unconventional athletic pursuit. Like longboard surfing’s love for the perfect wave, our lust for perfect flight brought us together—teams lined-up for the glory of play versus the promise of money and recognition. We came to the game because it offered friends, fitness and fun. We remain rude at heart because of all three.


About the Author:
Steve MooneySteve Mooney

Steve Mooney: Lefthanded and two meters tall, many argue that Steve enjoyed unfair advantage at ultimate and darts. Others wonder why Steve didn’t use that advantage to cut deep more often. Steve chose Boston after college in 1980, not for work, but for the promise of glory in ultimate. Larry Bird arrived in Boston at the same time but chose his sport more wisely. Steve is no longer two meters tall, and still clogging around the disc.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Ultimate https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/12/rude-at-heart Wed, 09 Dec 2020 14:00:00 GMT
A Far-Out History of Throwing Far https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/11/a-far-out-history-of-throwing-far A Far-Out History of Throwing FarA Far-Out History of Throwing Far

—by Davis Johnson—

Throwing is in my DNA—my first distance discs of choice according to my mother were Gerber baby food lids. It proceeded on to rocks, apples, crab shells, shingles, baseballs, any projectile my wrist could snap… So, when a Wham-O Pro appeared in the neighborhood in the spring of 1965 I was well primed to begin a life of plastic-projectivity. Still, in 1972 when I sent away for one of those mail Davis Johnson—American Astrological Assoc.—plastic arts"Plastic arts" was in the stars
order astrology assessments I was miffed to see the stars predicted that “at some point of your life you will become attracted to plastic arts.” As a product of the 1960s' counterculture, like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, I wanted nothing to do with plastic and all it represented. But now, after a lifetime of plastic projectile pursuits, I get it!

From the mid '60s through the early '70s, the Wham-O Pro was the disc of the day for distance and for anything else the famous “Play catch – invent games,” come on invitation, might incite the mind to create. I took to it quickly and it became a pattern when playing with a group of people that I would be on one end of the field; there’d be a group of receivers at the other end, and someone mid-field to relay the Frisbee back to me.
Classmates vying to snag an All American Pro thrown by the author in the spring of 1969Classmates vying to snag an All American Pro thrown by the author in the spring of 1969 It’s hard to imagine now with so many disc companies and model choices available, that aside from assorted cheap knock-offs, the Frisbee was the be all and the end all in those days. Ed Headrick had improved on the Pluto Platter model with the express goal of spinning the flying disc from a casual beach/picnic must bring, into something regarded as a more serious sporting device. The Pro and its variations, the All American and the Moonlighter, became the instruments of my apprenticeship into the plastic arts. 

They say to obtain mastery at something one must put in the obligatory 10,000 hours of practice. No doubt I spent at least 5,000 of these hours in the grassy quadrangle across the street from my dorm at Saint Louis University. (Studies—not so much.) From the start, my goal was simple—To…Throw…Far. Today, flying disc play attracts legions of elite athletes, but then, to put it mildly I was a very fringe devotee to a very fringe pastime. There was of course no internet, no tweeting, bleating, Instagramming and the instant messaging we take for granted today. As for Frisbee distance records, through whatever pre-internet grape vines existed back in the day, there came the vague buzz of a legendary Bob May of California, a member of the disc sport pioneering Berkeley Frisbee Group who had thrown a Wham-o Pro over 300 feet! I had the audacity to try to shuck my feet of clay and ascend to the heights of this Golden State icon.

Sea & Ski—Wham-O FB2 Mold Square TopSea & SkiFastback Official Pro Model—Fire Orange—16 Mold—3rd Style—2 Black BandsOfficial Pro ModelFire Orange Master Frisbee—No. 1127815Master FrisbeeBlack My first ever Frisbee “tournament” was in the summer of 1973 at the Boston Common, a Sea and Ski promotion that featured a simple distance and accuracy competition. Out of the hordes of casual tossers emerged an intense, super toned hippy-freak brandishing a black Wham-o Master. This is how I met John Kirkland, he with the “bigger is better” black Master, or “lid” as they were nicknamed; me with a sleek, wrist snap friendly, red (fire orange) Pro. Such was the beginning of a friendly distance rivalry that goes on to this day. I would say I dominated for the many years we competed with the old plastic—but with the new, he’s had me “Innova my head” for decades now! Anyway, up until our Sea and Ski showdown, we each had never met anyone who could throw farther. (Spoiler alert: by the end of the distance competition that day, John had given up the Master for good as a distance disc, and taken up the Pro.)

Thus began years of practice together, first at the astroturfed Boston College football stadium, and then at M.I.T. where John was a sometime student. We spent endless hours in the quadrangle dominated by the famous dome, and in the spacious indoor gym perfecting our distance craft, working out torque and snap; hyzer/anhyzer release angles and all that goes into being human launch pads for the flying disc. At the end of the summer we both traveled to Marquette, Michigan, for the legendary I.F.T. tournament that had long been run on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This is arguably the event that initiated the modern era of flying disc play. It was a first meeting of the continent scattered tribes of Frisbeedom; representatives of the legendary Berkeley Frisbee Group mingling with east coasters for the first time; an entourage from Canada, and of course getting to know numerous mid-westerners of Guts teams who in epic Spartan battles comprised the main menu of I.F.T. competition.

IFA News v1n17IFA News v1n15Johnson's 335 foot throw But there was also a distance competition down a rather overgrown, unruly cow pasture. I gained my first mention ever, in the International Frisbee Association (I.F.A.) newsletter, for a post-competition long drive down that pasture. There followed what was for me, a magical introduction to Maximum Time Aloft where a mix of players from all over responding to the countdown of 3-2-1, rocketed our discs on high for stall and float back; the last one calling “catch” the winner of each round. Pure bliss on a late summer early eve on the U.P. of Michigan.  Another vivid memory is of hitchhiking with Doug McCrae another local player who often practiced with John and me, all the way back to Boston, and being marooned for the entire Labor Day weekend on a highway interchange at the N.Y./MA border, thumbs stuck out in futility. In desperation we finally risked walking down to the MA Pike to catch a ride. Instead we caught the attention of a state trooper who warned us that if we were still down there on his next pass, he would bring us in. Prayers answered; no sooner had the Statie accelerated away when a car pulled over; the hospitable driver brought us to his home in Western Massachusetts and offered us very welcomed showers and food.

4th Annual U of M Frisbee Festival, 19774th Annual U of M Frisbee Festival, 1977Davis "Dave" Johnson, defending distance champion In the early spring of 1974, John through M.I.T. Student Activities managed to get us partially sponsored for an indoor Frisbee Festival and distance Wall Banging competition at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. This was my first real tournament, an introduction to what seemed an improbably large group of frisbee freaks. By winning that wall banging competition I felt as comrade in arms among that stellar crew of frisbee pioneers who had gathered from far and near including Ed Headrick, Ken Westerfield, Jo Cahow, John Sappington, along with the very modest horde of Humbly Magnificent Champions of the Universe, the hosting Frisbee organization.

CPI Saucer Tosser, All Star—Test  Run—Purple—GoldC.P.I. Saucer Tosser, All StarWorld record 378 feet (not actual world record disc) Late that spring occurred another significant event in the development of flying disc competition, the first Octad on the campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, organized by Dan “Stork” Roddick, Gary Seubert and Flash Kingsley. Here for the first time when it came to distance bragging rights, the Wham-O Pro was usurped by a formidable adversary, the C.P.I. All Star Saucer Tosser. The C.P.I. was in many players’ minds an improvement over the Pro in that it was a bit heavier, had a deeper profile, and was smooth on top unlike the many grooved Pro, the grooves being Wham-O’s claim for patent exclusivity. It did not take wind tunnel expertise to surmise that a smooth top surface would cut down on flight friction. In simple terms, the C.P.I. felt good in the hand, and it flew far! In a strong, chill northwest wind, one distance throw after another was launched using this non-Wham-O disc. Having just been introduced to it and not having one of my own, to Victor Malafronte’s eternal chagrin (though he has since forgiven me!) he let me borrow a purple one of his with which I set my first world’s distance record with a throw of 378 feet, just a few feet beyond the record he had set but a few minutes prior! It is reflective of Wham-O’s dominance of flying disc play that because mine had been set with a non-Frisbee, it was not officially recognized until some years later.

As would be expected of the company behind the legendary Frisbee, Wham-O did not take the usurper challenge lying down. An early response was the Super Pro that became popular, a wider diameter Frisbee to the Pro. But the best way to counter the competition is to absorb it. Wham-O bought C.P.I. and rights to the mold that made the All Star Saucer Tosser disc so many players were using. Ed Headrick and the Wham-O engineers went to work, and just prior to the second ever World Frisbee Championships (W.F.C.) introduced the World Class 119G Frisbee. I can still recall the excitement as an invitee to the 1975 W.F.C. receiving a box in the mail a few weeks prior, with colorful, Pepsi logoed 119 and 141G discs contained within. One field test and the C.P.I. was put aside, relegated with a brief nod and “thank you” to history. We couldn’t wait to bring these new weapons of play to the field of competition.

1975 WFC—World Class 119G 40 Mold1975 WFCWorld Class 119G 40 Mold 1975 WFC—World Class 141G 50 Mold1975 WFCWorld Class 141G 50 Mold

Wham-O’s W.F.C.s were Frisbee players’ dreams come true though in the rebellious spirit of the day not all the invitees showed that kind of appreciation. But imagine being an athlete in a fringe sport who has found a few others of like mind. Then imagine being invited to California for a week, airfare and all expenses paid, to meet and compete with the elite of other Frisbee afficionados from all over the U.S. and Canada with the added spice of players from Scandinavia…Japan… Pretty heady stuff!  Imagine then being on a 747 heading west, full of Frisbee players tossing minis to each other in the generous spaces of the big airliner. I have vivid memories of ascending the stairs to the lounge area of the 747 in the bulbous nose (yes, the airlines didn’t stack you like sardines in those days). The lounge featured a small bar and what a feeling to be sipping a Mai Tai and looking out the window as we passed high over Grand Canyon country…

1975 Rose Bowl Winning Distance Disc1975 Rose Bowl Winning Distance Disc The 1975 W.F.C. for the first time featured an indoor distance competition held at the cavernous Los Angeles Convention center. But though huge in space, the ceiling was rather low so some of the competitors’ best efforts went for naught with unfortunate ceiling interceptions. But I managed to get a throw off with the new World Class Pepsi logoed 119G of 290 feet according to the PDGA website, to establish the indoor distance record. Later that week I also won the outdoor distance event held in the storied Rose Bowl, pretty heady stuff for the striver from Boston. Then there was the legendary ending party for all competitors at a Middle Eastern restaurant featuring falafels with lots of delicious fillings for a sumptuous meal. Now what do falafels remind you of? Yes, Frisbees. An open bar…falafels…a restaurant full of exuberant Frisbee players… With players fueled with lots of brew, the falafels flew, propelling this party into the realm of legend!

In 1976, further development in flying disc competition, spearheaded by player demand and the efforts of Dan Roddick, now an employee of Wham-O, was initiated. This was the North American Series of tourneys occurring all over the country and in Canada. In Boston we wanted to be part of this so John Kirkland and I and other local players organized and scheduled a North American Series event to take place at M.I.T. in late July of 1976. 

Wham-O—119G 40 Mold—Dave Johnson's World Record Disc412 ft. World Record Disc Of course, one of the events was distance competition and I found myself on the warm windy afternoon of July 26, 1976, officiating this and growing ever more restless as one competitor after another launched their best efforts down field. Back then it was somewhat of a custom that if running a tournament, one would not compete, so I was not planning to step to the line for my five throws. But my fellow competitors egged me on and with all the pent-up energy of an afternoon watching all the rest unleash, I let loose; no warm-ups just a cathartic release of pure energy. Three of the five throws, low line drives down the wind, carried better than 400 feet, the farthest setting the new record of 412 feet. The long sought after 400 foot mark, the rough Frisbee equivalent of the 4-minute mile had been broken. (The romance of such quests is a little dampened these days with widespread use of the metric system!)

Towards the end of that summer’s W.F.C. competitions, Wham-O came up with a neat publicity stunt to celebrate the breaking of the 400-foot barrier. With the competitors all gathered in the Rose Bowl stands, a wheelbarrow containing 412 silver dollars was rolled out. I was encouraged by the photographers to give a good grovel through the glittery loot but my holier than thou, anti-commercial sensitivities kicked in and I balked, no doubt to their disappointment. I didn’t want to come across like some contestant on Dialing for Dollars or something. Today I’d have more fun and get more down and dirty with the whole thing. Of course, I always get asked the question, how did you get all those silver dollars back to Boston? Well, if they’d been real silver, I would have been happy to risk swayback and hoisted that sack of loot all the way home. But for a bunch of pretty coins made of zinc? Nope. I took the check.

20-11 Johnson Great Cambridge Frisbee Throw posterAcross the Charles Toss Back home, John and I, and others such as Daryl Elliott and Dan Habeeb of Reading, Massachusetts, were having fun working to grow the sport. Daryl and Dan gave disc exhibitions across the area. I was in the fortuitous position as the hippy-dippy weatherman for WCAS, an AM alternative radio station beaming out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The station came up with a catchy Frisbee promotion that took place in September of 1976—The Great Cambridge Frisbee Throw. The highlight of this Frisbee Festival attended by thousands and receiving lots of press coverage was John Kirkland and me competing to see if we could throw across the Charles River. The riverbank was crowded with spectators as John and I tried to span it on this beautiful September afternoon from precarious footing on the opposite shore. One of my World Class 119s was caught by a spectator reaching out over the water, so I suppose we met the challenge! I still have an FB3 Fastback with the station logo on it, given out to attendees. It is my go to flyer for M.T.A. competitions.

In sum, I held the World Record for distance in various manifestations from the spring of 1974 to the fall of 1978 when John tossed one 444 feet at a tournament in Texas. According to the PDGA, my record of 412 feet thrown with the 119G 40 mold stands unbeaten to this day in the Super Class category, no doubt because no one has tried too hard to best it. Would love to see today’s boomers give it a go using the old plastic, to see what they could do.

As for another distance record of mine (sort of), it was mostly due to the legwork of Martha Faye, John Pickerill’s sleek, swift Black Lab. In the summer of 1978 in Wilmette, Illinois, Martha sprinted 336 feet to catch my long toss—thanks, Martha! (Interesting post-script; John Pickerill arranged a halftime demo at a New England Patriots Monday night football game at old Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, with me to throw to Martha during halftime. It was a raw, rainy miserable night made that much more miserable due to the Patriots getting beat up bad by the visiting Denver Broncos. So, stiff and chilled without warm-up, I go out onto the field, worm-burn a throw that poor Martha hasn’t a ghost of a chance to catch up to, and the deafening boos of 40,000 or so beer besotted fans cascade around me. I half expected someone in a soggy toga to give me the dreaded thumbs down signal.)

So ends this account of my relentless quest to throw far, what I did and what I threw to go about getting into the record books. Some years later in the early 1980s at a beloved natural object disc golf course in picturesque Lars Anderson park in Brookline, Massachusetts, a friend pulls out a couple of new-fangled, hard-edged discs made by this company called Innova. “Those aren’t Frisbees!” I say in horror. But then I give them a few tosses. End, one chapter; beginning of the next…


About the Author:
Davis "Dave" JohnsonDavis "Dave" Johnson

Davis Johnson, born in Boston, came into the world wanting to throw and has spent his entire life scratching that itch. When Frisbees flew into his life, he simply wanted to throw them—far. That translated to farthest in the 1970s when he held multiple world distance titles, including becoming the first to throw over 400 feet. Dave is a published poet and songwriter and is “retired” after 30 years teaching writing, speech and journalism at a community college. He’s also worked as a radio weathercaster, and motivational speaker. Dave’s also an author, having written and published a children’s book, and he edited Victor Malafronte’s The Complete Book of Frisbee. When comes time to be sorted into the Cosmic Compost Bin, Dave prides himself on being 100% recyclable; his titanium hip replacements to the metal bin, teeth implants to the plastics. The rest he gives back to the stars.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Distance World Record https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/11/a-far-out-history-of-throwing-far Wed, 18 Nov 2020 13:45:00 GMT
Midnight Flyers: Collect Ones, Collect All https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/10/midnight-flyer-collecting Midnight Flyers Collect Ones, Collect AllMidnight Flyers Collect Ones, Collect All

—By Kevin Fuller—

So, the subject of collecting Midnight Flyers interests you, at least enough to have clicked on this article. What does it mean to be a Midnight Flyer collector? It can mean a lot of different things to different people. Before you jump into the deep end of the glowing phosphorescent pool, with no idea where the bottom might be, let's take a look at the landscape. It's ripe with opportunities to define nice finite collection sets—finite that is until someone finds one more that meets your set's criteria that you didn't know existed (never say you have them all). To start us off, and to prove that the title of this article does not contain a typo, here's an incomplete collection of ones.

Night Flyer #1Night Flyer Midnight Flyer #1—22B Mold22B Midnight Flyer #1—40G* Mold40G* Midnight Flyer #1—50 Mold—Clear (does not glow)50 Clear Midnight Flyer #1—50 Mold—No TMB50 Midnight Flyer #1—50G Mold—Red50G Midnight Flyer #1—70C Mold—Violet70C Midnight Flyer #1—Pink 70C Mold—Violet70C Midnight Flyer #1—71C* Mold—Orange71C* Midnight Flyer #1—80 Mold80 Midnight Flyer #1—80E Mold80E Midnight Flyer #1—100E Mold—Blue100E Midnight Flyer #1—Marker Disc MiniMini

The ones represent the first approach to collecting Midnight Flyers—get one from each mold/color combination. Making them all the same number makes it a little harder to collect, is less numerically diverse, but gives the collection a unique personality.

Midnight Flyer 70C Mold SetMidnight Flyer 70C Mold Set The opposite approach is to collect a set. It is perhaps the easiest way to complete a defined group of Midnight Flyers. Get one matching 1–8 set of the mold and color of your choice. Perhaps you played a lot of ultimate and want an 80 mold set, or were a distance thrower with a big arm and remember fondly the days of sailing 70Cs out around the 400 foot mark before your arm got old and slow (of course, you didn't get old and slow, just your arm). If you're lucky, you find a seller that's parting with a complete set. One transaction and bang, you're done. That does happen, but Midnight Flyers sell individually much more often. When you have three, four, or five of your desired set it's just a work in process. Somewhere around six the collecting anxiety increases as you're almost there, just one or two more. Where are you going to find that #2 and #4 that you need? The hunt is the fun part.

Midnight Flyer 80 Mold Family SetsMidnight Flyer 80 Mold Family SetsTop to bottom: 80 molds, 80E molds, 80C molds Once you get your first full set displayed proudly on your wall (probably not in your bedroom unless you're single), the allure begins for another set. That urge is a thing about collecting Midnight Flyers. You can define a nice contained goal, but once you reach it, the ghost of Ed keeps whispering in your ear, "Expand. A set of 50 molds would look great next to those." And off you go. But perhaps your sets can be contained. For example, get all the sets with the original Block band 4 TMB (see the previous article for the discussion on the evolution of the trademark band). Maybe try to find all the sets of a particular mold (or mold family). Or, collect all the sets in pink glow plastic. Of course it would be helpful to know what makes up any of these groups, but more on that later.

Midnight Flyer #4—Pink 41G mold— Light Blue41G MoldLight Blue Midnight Flyer #4 40G Mold Pink with Green40G MoldGreen Midnight Flyer #4—Pink 70C Mold—Violet70C MoldPurple

If you want to raise the bar on collecting sets, you can search out sets in the original DGA tube packaging. A little history here that didn't make the part 1 article; Ed Headrick came up with an innovative way to package and ship complete sets of eight Midnight Flyers. The discs are
Midnight Flyer sets in DGA tube packagingMidnight Flyer sets in DGA tube packaging neatly stacked and tightly packaged in cylindrical package to keep the disc from shifting, getting marked up, or getting warped. It's been suggested that Ed patented this packaging approach, but a search of the U.S. Patent database turned up nothing. (Perhaps someone more skilled at USPTO searches will give it a try and leave a comment at the bottom of this article.) A lot of these tubes were discarded over the years as the discs contained were used or sold individually, so collecting them is a challenge.

Prefer something a little smaller? Collecting Midnight Flyer minis may be for you. In 1981 the DGA released marker minis in 1–8 sets. The standard Wham-O C and D mold minis made up one set, and the slightly larger Pocket Pro (which at 4.625 inches isn't technically a mini by MDGF, WFDF, or Dudley standards) make up the second. A third, from Towa in Japan, is frequently included in this group. They share the 1–8 numbering and glow, but it's clearly not the same plastic as they don't glow nearly as bright, and they're called Night Lighters. They did come in a cool display case though. The marker minis mostly have a metallic green hot stamp, but there do exist some with a metallic blue stamp. Reportedly, full blue sets do exist.

Midnight Flyer Set—Marker Disc MinisMarker Disc Minis Midnight Flyer #5—Marker Disc Mini—Metallic GreenMetallic GreenMarker Disc Mini Midnight Flyer #5—Marker Disc Mini—Metallic BlueMetallic BlueMarker Disc Mini Midnight Flyer Set—Marker Disc Pocket ProsMarker Disc Pocket Pros Towa—Night Lighter™ Set in PackageTowa Night Lighters

Minis also form the biggest set that collectors can aim their sights on—a set of 55 minis, mostly calling cards (56 if you include a blank in the set). Regional directors were all given 100 of the minis, although some made more, including custom designs and multiple hot stamp colors. Of the 55 discs, only 44 actually include "Midnight Flyer" as part of the stamp. Three of those 44 are runs of discs with various forms of misprints. The other 11 include a Wham-O executive, other special designs for disc people, celebrities, and a tournament. It's not entirely clear why those 11 are considered part of the set. The only things that are universally common are the plastic they're on and the time frame, but every collector surveyed considers all 55 as part of the set.

John Connelly—Wham-O Mini Calling Card—Metallic GreenJohn ConnellyStandard Calling Card Dan Mangone—"Disigner"—Wham-O Mini—Metallic GreenDan Mangone"Disigner" misprint Ron Kaufman—Wham-O Mini—WhiteRon KaufmanCustom design and white stamp Barry Shapiro—Wham-O Ex. VP—Wham-O Mini—Copper, Metallic GreenBarry ShapiroTwo-color hot stamp Kim Seelbrede, Miss USA—Wham-O Mini—Metallic GreenKim Seelbrede, Miss USACelebrity disc University of OB—Wham-O Mini—Metallic RedUniversity of O.B.Tournament stamp

Not all Midnight Flyers came in full sets. An approach to defining a small collecting specialty would be Midnight Flyers that do not come in complete eight-disc sets. The 22 molds have a Block band 4 TMB. But, a few exist with no TMB, the same as the other early 1979 discs. Midnight Flyer #4—22A Mold—No TMBNo TMB #4 22A Mold
Only #4 versions of this have been found at this point. If you have a 22 mold with no TMB that's not a #4, please leave a comment below.

Midnight Flyer FastbacksMidnight Flyer Fastbacks Midnight Flyers come in Fastback molds, but only numbers 6, 7 and 8. They weren't made as a set. Based on their hot stamps, it seems the #8 was made first in the days of the Block band 4 TMB, in FB19 and F20 molds. The #6 and 7 came after the change to the Split band TMB. The #7 is also available in FB19 and FB20. For the #6 Fastback the mold was changed to the FB6. The answer to why only these three numbers were made is still to be uncovered.

When is a Midnight Flyer not a Midnight Flyer? When it doesn't glow. There's one one with no phosphorus, just clear plastic. Why? Most people speculate that the wrong stock was run by mistake, but who knows. A box of 48 discs existed. They sat in an office of the IFA for a while, and eventually 22 of them were sold via a Factory Connection ad in  Midnight Flyer #1—50 Mold—Clear (does not glow)50 Mold—Clear(does not glow) Frisbee World Factory Connection AdFactory Connection Ad
Frisbee World. One was also used in an incentive drawing when the Flying Disc Collectors Association (FDCA) was building an International Flying Disc Inventory and asked collectors to send in listings of their discs (also an ad in Frisbee World). They only exist with the #1 hot stamp. Now, if a stray #2, 3, and 5 could be identified, there would be a full set of discs that don't come in full sets.

Midnight Flyer #7 100 Mold shadow stampShadow #7 100 Mold Midnight Flyer #8 70C mold stock green 97G (non-glow)Stock 97G Misprint(non-glow) Midnight Flyer #3 70C mold GreenGreen 70C Mold There are some rarities as well. There's a very small number of 100 molds with a #7 shadow stamp. And there's another non-glow, a misprint #8 on a stock green 97G disc—the only one known to exist. Speaking of green, there was some experimentation with green glow plastic as seen on this very rare 70C mold #3.

For the last area where you can focus a collection that this article will discuss, we have to pose the question, what makes a Midnight Flyer a Midnight Flyer? Is it the hot stamp or the plastic?

For the purpose of this article, it's either. As we've just seen, there are a couple Midnight Flyer stamps on other plastic. But the popular heavy glow plastic was used for a variety of custom discs. We're not talking about all glow/moonlighter plastic here—a smorgasbord of glow discs exist—just the beefy Midnight Flyer glow. Tournament, organization, and other special discs on Midnight Flyer plastic make up another whole collection specialty. They're as diverse as you'd expect from a grouping like this in every way … except the plastic. Many great discs fall into this category, including La Mirada Opens, American Flying Disc Opens (AFDO), Discovering the World disc golf holes, discs from the PDGA and JFDA, and many others. Canadian tournaments, in particular, used the plastic for a variety of discs, and are the only discs known with Midnight Flyer plastic in 51 or 100AD molds.

AFDO, 1983—Wham-O 50 Mold1983 AFDO50 Mold 119G—DTW—La Mirada Old 16th Hole—Pink 42AG Mold—Metallic GreenDTW—La Mirada Old 16th Hole42AG Mold Japan Frisbee Disc Association—Heavy Glow Flyer—70C MoldJFDA Heavy Glow Flyer70C Mold Shelly Sharpe Memorial, 1987—Wham-O 42AG Mold—Glow Pink—Metallic Blue1987 Shelly Sharpe Memorial42AG Mold PDGA Member Disc—Wham-O 100D MoldPDGA Member Disc100D Mold
1978 Vancouver National Series Meet—Wham-O 51 Mold1978 Vancouver National Series Meet51 Mold 1978 Canadian Open—Wham-O 51 Mold1978 Canadian Open51 Mold Canadian Open Disc Golf—Wham-O 100AD Mold—Glow—GoldCanadian Open DGC100AD Mold Toronto Islands DG Tournament, 1981—Wham-O 100AD Mold1981 Toronto Islands DG Tournament100AD Mold 1982 Western Canadian FDC—Irwin Toy 100AD Mold—Blue1982 Western Canadian FDC100AD Mold

Now that the preamble is finally finished, let's move on to the main point of this article … What Midnight Flyers exist? In part 1 it says that if you want to collect all Midnight Flyers you'd need space on your walls for 560 discs (it's actually a little higher). But whether your goal is to collect everything, one of the specialties discussed above, or some subset of your own definition, it helps to know what's out there.

Several years back, Steve Hartwell built the website disc-collector.com. The site compiled a list of the Midnight Flyers that had been identified at the time (it also listed HDXs, Kitty Hawks, and a few other categories). That site is gone, but building on that great work, the Flying Disc Museum has added quite a few entries and compiled a list of Midnight Flyers known to exist. Did you know that there are 55 different 1–8 sets? On top of that there are 120+ additional discs with either the Midnight Flyer stamp but believed to not exist in full sets, or custom stamps. That list continues to grow—research for this article uncovered five new entries.

Below are a couple samples showing the different variations from the 80 mold family and mini calling cards. The list shows the mold, plastic color, hot stamp and color, copyright year, the style of TMB, whether there’s a player line, and the known or assumed numbers that version of Midnight Flyer came in, plus a small sample photo. Tables like this exist for all molds except calling cards, which list the person and their title.

Midnight Flyer 80 MoldsMidnight Flyer 80 Molds Midnight Flyer Mini Calling Cards ListingMidnight Flyer Mini Calling Cards Listing

This list is certainly not complete. There are perhaps standard sets with different colors or styles, and certainly more custom designs exist, especially from Europe and Japan. For example, there are European Disc Golf discs that are glow, but need to be verified if they are Midnight Flyer plastic. Also, there are several sets assumed to be available in the full 1–8, but that haven't been verified in all eight numbers, so some adjustments may be necessary.

If Midnight Flyers interest you and you want to see the full list, visit the Flying Disc Museum’s Facebook page (if you’re not a member, just join) and click on the Files link. Once there, look for the Midnight Flyer Reference document. If you have something that isn’t listed or can confirm a change needed, please post a reply to this article so that the information can be updated. Together, we should be able to compile a truly complete list.


About the Author:
Kevin FullerKevin Fuller

Kevin Fuller is one of the founders of the Flying Disc Museum and a mediocre disc player. Once upon a time he was decent, played ultimate at UNH in the '70s and then with Boston Aerodisc in the '80s. He competed in and helped organize local overall tournaments and was TD for the 1978 and 1979 NH States and the 1978 MA States.
KF by the numbers: IFA #75351, UPA #3781, PDGA #628, FPA #184, FDCA #58

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Collecting DGA Disc Golf Midnight Flyer https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/10/midnight-flyer-collecting Wed, 28 Oct 2020 14:59:51 GMT
Midnight Flyers in All Their Glowry https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/10/midnight-flyers-in-all-their-glowry Midnight Flyers in All Their GlowryMidnight Flyers in All Their Glowry

—By Kevin Fuller—

Throwing discs at targets is as old as throwing flying discs. As golf became a competitive part of Frisbee, players used whatever discs, mostly Frisbees of various models and molds, flew best for them. As the sport advanced, the need for more advanced discs pushed manufacturers to improve their offerings, which is still true today.

Night Flyer SetNight Flyer Set Back in the early days, years before the Aero, the Eagle, the Wally, or any other bevel-edged disc—back in July 1978—came the first disc produced explicitly for disc golf. A Frisbee known to all as the Night Flyer. It was a Wham-O 40 mold, but beefed up a bit with glow material to make it a heavier, better golf disc.

In the Disc Golf Association’s July 1978 News-Letter, Ed and Ken Headrick made the announcement, “We have also pulled a new disc out of the basket. A ‘Night Flyer’ - made for night play on our new night courses.” While heavier, the announcement puts weights in the 126g–136g range, so far from the hefty Midnight Flyers and golf discs that would follow. It's clear that Ed's original plan was for sets of four discs, as the article goes on to say the discs are hot stamped with numbers 1–4. However, multiple players can attest to getting full 1–8 sets right off the bat, suggesting that between the time the newsletter article was typed up and the discs were first shipped, the decision was made to expand them to an eight-disc set. Oh, and the price of a Night Flyer in 1978? $5 or $6 shipped, depending on how many you wanted and how they were mailed. Doesn’t everyone now wish they’d bought a couple sets back then and tucked them away?

IFDCA Newsletter, vol 1, no 1IFDCA Newsletter, v1n1(article on page 15) The search for more details on the Night Flyer's introduction leads to the inaugural issue of the International Flying Disc Collector’s Association (IFDCA) Newsletter. IFDCA director Rick Neil interviewed Ed Headrick for the piece. In there, Ed suggests that Night Flyers came out in late 1975 or early ’76, but that doesn’t align with the DGA’s own announcement, nor the 1978 copyright date printed as part of the hot stamp (which does correspond to the DGA announcement). But 1976 was the year that Emmylou Harris released her Night Flyer. She apparently shared Ed’s belief that discs should be released from their bags and boxes and allowed to soar.

The window is open, so why don't you fly?
Could it be you have lost all the yearning to try?
Your cage is a prison, they've kept you so long
But wings are for flying and the throat for a song

So fly like an eagle and land like a dove
Go find all the places you must have dreamed of …

“Fly like an eagle and land like a dove” should become someone’s disc golf motto.

Night Flyer #3—40 Mold40 Mold That article provides the only known record of the quantity of Night Flyers produced (disc makers are notoriously bad at keeping production records). 001 states that only 1,000, give or take a few, were produced. Since they were such good golf discs for the day, most were immediately thrown. Mint condition Night Flyers are sought after collector items today, and complete mint sets are rare indeed. But the rest of the collection talk will be left to the second half of this two-part miniseries.

The Night Flyer then met its untimely death. As is well known, there was a trademark issue with the Night Flyer name, which is why after those first 1,000 discs, the Night Flyer was no more, and all future production would take place at 12:00 a.m. (or 0:00 if you're into 24-hour clocks).

Enter the Midnight Flyer. The earliest looked just like the Night Flyers, except for the added “MID.” The copyright update from 1978 to 1979 tells us this newer form of DGA discs came to light (or glow) in the new year. Not so obvious from just looking, but the Midnight Flyers added some brawn. According to Ed in that IDFCA article, Midnight Flyers used 40–45% phosphorescent glow material compared to the Night Flyers’ 18%. This made for some real heavyweight discs, some of which are well above PDGA legal weights. Through the first half of 1979 Wham-O and the DGA pumped Midnight Flyer plastic into 40, 41, 50, and 100 molds, and adorned them with identical hot stamps. It also appears that a few 22 molds were made in this time frame, but again, that's a part deux story.

Midnight Flyer #4—22A Mold—No TMB22A Mold Midnight Flyer #5—41 Mold—No TMB41 Mold Midnight Flyer #6—50 Mold—No TMB50 Mold Midnight Flyer #7—100 Mold—No TMB100 Mold

In August 1979, Wham-O introduced the “beloved” trademark band (TMB). It encircled the hot stamp on all its discs, including the Midnight Flyers. (There's probably a whole future blog post on the Wham-O trademark band.) The original TMB was the Block band 4. There were runs of several molds with this version, including the 22, a few 40 variations, 50, 80, 100, and Fastbacks (FB19 and FB20) with a #8 stamp. Why just the #8? You guessed it … Part 2.

Midnight Flyer #6—22B Mold—Block band 4 TMB22B MoldBlock band 4 TMB Midnight Flyer #7—80 Mold—Block band 4 TMB80 MoldBlock band 4 TMB Midnight Flyer #8—FB20 Mold—Block band 4 TMBFB20 MoldBlock band 4 TMB

As popular as these discs were with players, it was a year and a half after the Night Flyer introduction before references appeared in the major flying disc publications. The Jan-Feb 1980 issue of Frisbee World included a Disc Covering the World ad featuring Midnight Flyers in a variety of molds. The first issue of Flying Disc Magazine in Feb 1980 has a reference to the 100 mold in the Briefly section, and more discussion in an interview with Scott Zimmerman (spoiler alert: for Midnight Flyers, he liked 41 molds for drives and 100 molds for forehands and hammers). The next issue has a review of the Midnight Flyer 22 mold in Flash Kingsley’s Metaphysical Disc Play article. However, the 22 mold's life was short as its production was discontinued (as opposed to disc continued) just months later, according to the September issue of The South's Sailing Circular.

Frisbee World v5n1 Jan-Feb 1980Frisbee World Jan-Feb 1980(ad on page 7) Midnight Flyer AdMidnight Flyer AdDisc Covering the World

Wham-O came up with other designs for their TMB that were less, well, butt-ugly. The Midnight Flyer adopted the Split band TMB as its standard for the remainder of their runs (except for minis). Along with the split band design change came disc variety in other forms. More molds and hot stamp colors! Until then they were like the original Fords—you could get them in any color hot stamp you wanted, as long as it was black. Midnight Flyers were embellished with blue, light blue, green, metallic green, red, orange, violet, white … and black. Colors were a welcome change unless you didn't want the hassle of now having to color-coordinate with your tux or black evening dress for those disc golf formals.

Midnight Flyer #8—70C Mold—VioletViolet70C Mold Midnight Flyer #7—41F Mold—Light BlueLight Blue41F Mold Midnight Flyer #6—41F Mold—GreenGreen41F Mold Midnight Flyer #5—80E Mold—OrangeOrange80E Mold Midnight Flyer #4—70C Mold—WhiteWhite70C Mold

1981 ushered in the last changes to the Midnight Flyer line of discs. A player line was added just below the number. The copyright notice was updated and date changed. Some models were also adorned with a "DGA Approved" graphic to the right of the number. A more notable change was the introduction of colored glow plastic. Pink glow Midnight Flyers are much less common than their standard glow counterparts. They glow yellow in a way that seems more like an illumination than a glow. Much rarer than pink are green glow Midnight Flyers, and there are unsubstantiated rumors of blue glow. 1981 was also the year that introduced the Midnight Flyer mini and Pocket Pro marker discs, and Midnight Flyer calling cards. The Pocket Pros were originally offered for $1.50 each or a set of all eight for $10; a set sells for hundreds of dollars today.

Midnight Flyer #8—Player Line—DGA Approved—40G* mold—GreenPlayer Line—DGA Approved40G* Mold Midnight Flyer #5—Pink 70C Mold—PurplePink70C Mold Midnight Flyer #5—Pink 70C Mold—GlowingPink Glowing70C Mold Midnight Flyer #8—Marker Disc Pocket ProPocket Pro Marker Disc Midnight Flyer AdMidnight Flyer Ad

The last group of Midnight Flyers to note is the modern DGA series. For the 35th anniversary, the DGA produced a limited run of 1,000 Squalls with #1. Over the next few years, 1,000 each of numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5 were released using Breaker, Hurricane, Steady, and Tsunami molds, respectively. These don’t have the same bright glow of the originals, but then again they do have to respect PDGA max weights, so the amount of glow material had to be managed. The DGA continued the Split band TMB as part of their design, but making it a DGA TMB. There are no announced plans by the DGA to release additional molds to fill out the set with 6, 7, and 8 discs, but who knows what will happen over time. In the meantime, you can match the 1–5 modern DGA molds with the 6–8 Fastbacks and create yourself a full 1–8 set.

Midnight Flyer #1—35th Anniversary—Squall—Green35th Anniversary Squall Midnight Flyer #2—BreakerBreaker Midnight Flyer #3—HurricaneHurricane Midnight Flyer #4—SteadySteady Midnight Flyer #5—TsunamiTsunami

Everything up to now in this article has been about the discs themselves. What about the players who used them? What great feats of disc mastery were accomplished with the aid of numbered plastic. The first story is a long one. Distance. OK, that wasn't that long, but the distances thrown, well that's a hot stamp of a different color.

Morten Sandorff world record 70C mold in Danish National MuseumMorten Sandorff World Record DiscPink 70C mold on display at the Danish National Museum Danish National Museum plaqueDanish National Museum plaque The Midnight Flyer has the distinction of being used for three world distance records over the years, according to frisbeerecords.com. In 1980 Dave Dunipace threw a 141g 41 mold a record 139.63m (458 ft). Dunipace’s record didn’t stand long as it was broken twice later in 1980. It was the heavy 70C molds, and later the 71C* molds, that became the new darlings of distance. In his Frisbee World article on the 1981 WFC, Jim Palmeri wrote, “The introduction of the new DGA 70 mold Midnight Flyer™ added a new dimension to the distance event. No disc in the history of the sport has ever responded to a thrower's snap as much as this one does. It turned out to be a bit tricky to throw, but those who mastered it became one with Joe Youngman overnight. Those who didn't, became spectators after the first round.” In August 1982, Pål Broström threw a Midnight Flyer 70C mold 152.45m (500 ft), only to be bested the following May by Morten Sandorff, sending a pink 70C mold a new world record distance of 166.42m (546 ft). That disc now sits in the Danish National Museum.

$50,000 Tournament, Tom Kennedy 1st Place—Wham-O 80 Mold—Glow$50,000 TournamentTom Kennedy 1st Place Midnight Flyer #2—50 Mold—No TMBMidnight Flyer #2—50 Mold(not Tom's actual disc) Before the run of distance records, Midnight Flyers made their mark in disc golf. The Midnight Flyers played a prominent role in Wham-O’s famous $50,000 disc golf tournament in the spring of 1979. Tom “TK” Kennedy, the tournament winner, used a 50 mold Midnight Flyer extensively, including for the winning putt. It’s the only Frisbee TK ever retired. (See story in Disc Golfer.) After the event, there was a commemorative disc created—an 80 mold made with Midnight Flyer plastic. TK's winning disc, practice basket, and sets of $50K discs were auctioned off years ago with proceeds going to Ultimate Peace. Of course, that’s just one of many stories about Midnight Flyers being used to compete in and win disc golf tournaments over the years until bevel-edged discs eventually took over.

Now that you have a bit of Midnight Flyer history, if you are a collector and want an assemblage of Midnight Flyers how do you tackle them? After all, Stork just told us all again (see Fall 2020 issue of DiscGolfer) how important it is to specialize. Focus on a specific mold, a color, a style of TMB, all #1s (or whatever your favorite number might be, as long as it's 1–8)? How about collecting them all? Just how much wall space does it take to display 560 discs? 560?! What are they? Well, that's the final tease for part two of this Midnight Flyer introspective where the focus will be on collecting this glowingly wonderful family of disc history.


About the Author:
Kevin FullerKevin Fuller

Kevin Fuller is one of the founders of the Flying Disc Museum and a mediocre disc player. Once upon a time he was decent, played ultimate at UNH in the '70s and then with Boston Aerodisc in the '80s. He competed in and helped organize local overall tournaments and was TD for the 1978 and 1979 NH States and the 1978 MA States.
KF by the numbers: IFA #75351, UPA #3781, PDGA #628, FPA #184, FDCA #58

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) DGA Disc Golf Midnight Flyer https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/10/midnight-flyers-in-all-their-glowry Wed, 14 Oct 2020 14:44:00 GMT
Minnesota Frisbee Association: Celebrating 45 Years as a Promotional Force in Disc Sports https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/9/mfa-celebrates-45-years Minnesota Frisbee Association Celebrates 45 Years as a Promotional Force in Disc Sports (1975 to present)Minnesota Frisbee Association Celebrates 45 Years as a Promotional Force in Disc Sports (1975 to present) —By Billie Ashton—

Minnesota Frisbee Association—1st MFA Club Shirt1st MFA Club Shirt It was the summer of 1975 and I remember Elton John was tearing up the American Top 40 in the peak of his career, as the "Rocketman." It was also during this time, that bigger visions of greater things to come grew from a very small group of loyal Frisbee aficionados by the names of Gus Otto, John Greig, Paul Thompson, Lyle Jensen and a few others, including Jim Challas. I can really envision these guys' enthusiasm back then, while music was blasting in the background as they played.

I know these guys spent hours upon hours tossing disc and jamming, first near Lake Calhoun and then Lake Nokomis, an area that eventually became the site of the Minnesota Frisbee Association's notorious Annual Sky of 10,000 Frisbees Tournament and also the Wham-O Hacky Sack & Frisbee Festivals. During the '80s, The Sky of 10,000 Frisbees event was a Freestyle Players Association tour stop on their North American Tour Schedule, so it drew many of the old school freestylers the likes of Joey Hudoklin, Kevin "Skippy Jammer" Givens, Bill Wright, Larry Imperiale, Crazy John Brooks, Chipper Bro Bell, Dave Schiller, Ted Oberhaus, Rick Castiglia, and many more.

Minnesota Sky of 10,000 FrisbeesMinnesota Sky of 10,000 Frisbees Hacky Sack and Frisbee FestivalHacky Sack and Frisbee Festival Bill Wright (handstand) and Joey HudoklinBill Wright and Joey Hudoklin

I joined the MFA at the 1980 Sky of 10,000 Frisbees Tournament, which was also the MFA's five year celebration at the time. The Sky of 10,000 Frisbees event was also promoted and associated with the Minneapolis Aquatennial, which helped to draw thousands of spectators. I believe, it was these two early MFA events that really helped impact the MFA's growth quickly throughout the Gopher State.

MFA—1st Style—Wham-O 40 Mold—Yellow—RedMFA—1st Style—Wham-O 40 Mold—Yellow—Red Throughout the years, I can't even begin to imagine how many different custom hot stamped discs the MFA created overall. I do know, however, the first disc the MFA custom hot stamped was a Wham-O 40 mold and the year it was printed was 1975. It is thought to be the first statewide club logoed disc ever! The Frisbee was yellow in color with a red hot stamped logo, resembling a disc flight in motion. Looking back, the hot stamp was ingeniously timeless and from this first generation, along came five other color combinations which followed in 1976, '77 & '78, to create a MFA six disc club set.

Green—80E Mold—Minnesota Frisbee Association—Metallic Green, GoldGreen—80E Mold—Minnesota Frisbee Association—Metallic Green, Gold When I originally joined the club, my fascination with collecting also began.  I remember, one of the hottest discs on the market at the time was the Wham-O HDX. So here, what's thought to be another club first, the MFA took that timeless logo I spoke of that worked so well on the 40 molds and added a smaller version of it to the center of the HDX. It's become another impressive disc of the MFA collection, and one I'm still searching for to add to my own collection. 

Little Flyer Spyral Mini—Minnesota Majestic—Metallic BlueMinnesota Majestic Kevin Jones, 2019 & 2020 Minnesota Majestic ChampionKevin Jones2019 & 2020 Minnesota Majestic Champion In 1981, Joe Feidt started the first known State Disc Golf Tour by creating The Minnesota Summer Tour (MST) which was a series of disc golf tournaments at 10 different courses around the metro, with players competing for points to become the MFA Minnesota Summer Tour Champion. In 1987, the MFA began hosting the Minnesota Majestic PDGA event, which over its 33-year history has become Minnesota's largest known disc golf event.

Throughout the years, the MFA has always had a strong active volunteer base of members, contributing to the needs and efforts of organizing and promoting events. I also believe the MFA has had a huge hand in inspiring local players to become businessmen within the sport. As local MFA members passions grew for the sport, we've also been blessed with an abundance of people that have earned their respect promoting their own dreams, goals and aspirations of making it as true disc entrepreneurs, such as: Charlie Hutchinson of Gotta Go Gotta Throw, Cale Leiviska of Airborn Disc Golf, Ray Jordan of Blue Ribbon Pines Disc Golf Course, Philip Loprinzi of Kaposia Pro Shop and Kraig Stenzel of Par Save Productions. These are all prime examples of people making positive contributions to the sport here in Minnesota.

Chuck KennedyChuck Kennedy There is also a strong interest in Course Development from several course designers here in the area:  Chuck Kennedy (Disc Golf Hall of Fame Inductee), Tim Mackey, Timmy Gill, Cale Leiviska and Steve West. I'll also mention myself here as well, since I've designed 12 courses here in the state, and I'm a member of the Disc Golf Course Designers Group.  Since 1987, Minnesota has averaged about 4-5 new disc golf course installations a year and has now surpassed the 350 course mark.

Matt Koerner Chilly DogMatt Koerner at Chilly Dog Not only does Minnesota have quite a few mover and shaker type individuals, it also has the best winter disc golf league known as "Chilly Dog." What originated as a brainchild of MFA member Matt Koerner has now grown into one of the largest active winter disc golf leagues in the country. Chilly Dog is a league series that generates an active base of well over 75-100 players on a weekly basis throughout the winter, which always begins the Saturday after Thanksgiving and runs until the end of March. There are also several other league formats throughout the entire state all summer long as well.

The MFA's rich history is now being preserved by compiling a list of past issues of the MFA Floater Newsletters at the Minnesota Historical Society Library. Many issues have been donated and logged within the library to showcase the club's history. As issues are collected, each volume will be documented in hopes to catalog the entire Floater Collection. As the club organized its history, the Minnesota Disc Sports Hall of Fame was established in 2006 and is currently building its permanent home at the Blue Ribbon Pines Disc Golf facility.

The Floater NewsletterThe Floater Newsletter Early Minnesota Disc Sports Hall of Famers, Dave Bogenhagen, Tim Mackey, Bill Ashton, Joe Feidt, Paul Thompson, Lyle JensenEarly Minnesota Disc Sports Hall of FamersDave Bogenhagen, Tim Mackey, Bill Ashton, Joe Feidt, Paul Thompson, Lyle Jensen

MFAMFA Over the past 40 years, I know for myself, I've come to know some of the greatest people on earth through the MFA, and I know the club has truly left its mark here on a lot of Minnesotans. As a long time MFA member, I owe a lot of my passion for the sport to the original founding fathers of the MFA and for that I'm truly grateful!

Billie Ashton signatureBillie Ashton signature

 


About the Author:
Billie AshtonBillie Ashton


Billie Sage Ashton is a Transgender Rights Advocate who's been actively playing Frisbee since 1975. In 2006, Billie was one of the six inaugural inductees of the Minnesota Disc Sports Hall of Fame. Her devotion and passion for flying disc sports the past 45 years has been tireless, as evidenced in her collection, photography, and design and implementation of 12 courses in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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(Flying Disc Museum) Clubs MFA https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/9/mfa-celebrates-45-years Wed, 30 Sep 2020 21:15:25 GMT
XD is my Favorite Disc https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/9/xd-is-my-favorite-disc XD is my Favorite Disc—Steve LeeXD is my Favorite Discby Steve Lee —By Steve Lee—

Hi, my name is Steve Lee. I live in the Pacific Northwest and have been playing Disc Sports since the 1970s. Back then, Frisbees were the thing to fly, and after discovering the world of disc golf, I was hooked! My Frisbee of choice was the 70-mold Midnight Flyer. I loved its grip, and immediately began looking for heavier 70 molds to throw. Another Disc wowed me, “The Puppy” by Destiny Disc, a Jan Sobel creation. With my collection of Frisbees and discs, my Disc Golf game was now on solid ground.

20-09 Lee XD group shot20-09 Lee XD group shot
In 1980 Rockwood Disc Golf Park opened in the outer realms of Portland, Oregon. It was the state’s first Pole Disc Golf Course, created by the legendary “Steady” Ed Headrick with collaboration from Lowell Shields. It’s an 9.4-acre, 9-hole course that celebrates its 40th Anniversary this month (Sept. 2020)! From the time it was built, Rockwood has been a challenging and fun course to test your Disc Golf skills—and was instrumental in the development of my disc golf skills.

By 1983 our flying discs were dramatically changing. No longer were discs deep, large, and bull-nosed, but rather smaller in diameter, heavier, and with beveled edges. Innova-Champion began manufacturing discs, changing the game as we knew it. Their first bevel-edge discs and—most important to me—was the wonderful DX plastic. It felt like butter, gripped like a sponge, and was indestructible.

At this time DX was the only plastic in existence, and is still produced and used today. DX plastic is durable and grips easily. For me, DX plastic is usually my top choice for wet and cold conditions—perfect for the grey, drizzly Pacific Northwest weather that surrounds me. I found that certain colors of DX plastic were more durable than others. Orange color is the most durable for some reason, followed by the pink and red.

Innova-Champion's first creation was the Eagle, followed by the Aero, the Aviar, and in 1984, the XD—my favorite being the Aviar XD. The name “XD” stands for “eXtra Distance.” This disc was heavier, smaller in diameter and had a lower profile, like “The Puppy” I mentioned earlier. This quickly became my go-to. After losing a few of these beloved discs to trees and bushes, I began collecting them for backups. I simply could not stand to be without an XD in my bag!

Aviar XDs were originally produced in San Marino, California, and came in just a few colors: pink, red, yellow and creamy white. Then the mold was re-tooled and the XD lost its big brother Aviar association. The new XD had a much lower profile compared to the Aviar, and flew faster.

The first hot stamps on the XD were known as the “Bullet” stamps. If you look closely you can see the nose of a bullet piercing through the stamp from left to right. The first “Bullet” stamp XDs has “Aviar – XD” visible on the “Bullet”. In the mid-to-late 80s, the word “Aviar” was dropped from the stamp. Since then, all other “Bullet” stamped XDs have had this simplified style of stamp.

The first “Bullet” stamped XDs were produced with San Marino, CA and Ontario, CA tooling. By the 1990s, the San Marino mold gave way to the re-tooled Ontario mold. The difference to me is that the San Marino tooled disc is more a domed shaped, while the Ontario molded disc is flatter. I, along with many other throwers of the XD, now consider the Ontario mold our favorite. To this day, nearly 30+ years later, players such as myself search the world over to obtain these awesome discs. The XDs are solid, dependable discs that make a huge difference in my game—and are addicting to collect.

XD, DX—Bullet—Yellow—Metallic GreenXD, DX—Bullet—Yellow XD, DX—Bullet—Orange—BlueXD, DX—Bullet—Orange Swirl XD, DX—Bullet—Blue—WhiteXD, DX—Bullet—Blue

Grab an XD “Bullet” and try it for your short game, 30 meters and in!


About the Author:
Steve LeeSteve Lee


Steve Lee is 69-years old, born in Eugene, Oregon, and has spent most of this life in Portland. He’s been married for 33 years and has three children, four grandchildren. Steve is a member of the International Frisbee Association, the PDGA (#2184), Oregon Disc Golf Hall of Fame, and the Flying Disc Museum (World Class Contributor). His mission is to help grow the world of disc sports. In addition to playing disc golf and collecting discs, Steve’s a musician (drummer) and loves to travel; his most recent sojourn was to India in 2019.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Disc Golf Innova XD https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/9/xd-is-my-favorite-disc Thu, 24 Sep 2020 13:35:08 GMT
Gotta Collect 'em All! https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/9/gotta-collect-em-all

Gotta Collect 'em All!

—by Dan "Stork" Roddick—

Dan "Stork" RoddickPlaying with his Flyin' Saucer It wasn’t always so. When flying discs first hit the markets and blew our minds in the ’50s, they were “just” an extraordinary toy. And, they were truly mind blowing. There are lots of stories of how folks reacted upon first seeing one fly. Maybe you’re lucky enough to remember your own experience. I can’t specifically remember. I know I got that Pipco Flyin’ Saucer as a gift on my fifth Christmas, and I know that Dad and I started playing immediately, but I don’t specifically recall my amazement when I first saw the flight. Probably everyone who first saw a plastic disc fly was similarly amazed. That’s how Fred and Lu sold the “invisible string” at the Los Angeles County fair. The saucer fooled the eye. It was something magical.  Fortunately, I had a few chances much later in life to see that reaction in others. When Jo and I toured Australia in 1977, we had several opportunities to show people their first flight. And, just like Fred and Lu, we could have sold some invisible string. It was a pretty reasonable explanation.

So, when we first had these amazing toys in our hands, the joy of playing with them was complete. At that moment, it takes a pretty unusual person to say, “You know, I think I’m going to buy a few sets of these in all the different colors and keep them in those poly bags as collector’s items. And wow, look at that interesting esker. I’ll get a few of those as well.” Nope … we ripped those platters out of the bag and gave them a fling! We didn’t need any stinkin’ instructions. All we needed to know was engraved in the plastic.

Wham-O 50 Mold—Black, Gold—ClearJimmy Scala I played almost every day of my life from 1953 through 1973 and I’m amazed (and embarrassed) to say that I never even noticed that the discs had any mold markings. I was absolutely clueless until I met Roger Barrett at the IFT and he patiently explained to me that those little numbers were pretty important. Meeting the folks from the Berkeley Frisbee Group was mind-expanding for me in many, many ways, but Roger (and Victor) opened the door for me about so many hitherto unnoticed aspects of the discs in our hands. There I was with twenty years of play under my belt and I felt like I had just been introduced to the sport. It’s also the weekend that I (and my little buddy, Jimmy Scala … yes, that Jimmy) saw our first the sidearm from Victor and tipping from Alan Blake. We had a lot to digest on the drive home ….

Flying Saucerwith racing stripes Flying Saucer"D R" initials But, back to the oddity of actually collecting these toys. It really had never crossed my mind. I had a few, but they were all throwing stock; every single one. For most of those 20 years, we only had one disc. How many could you need? And, that one disc was an almost constant companion. Amazingly, I still have what I think was my second disc, after the Pipco. You can see that I gave it a cool, custom racing stripe. On the underside, I added my initials with my Boy Scout wood burning tool.

However, that IFT weekend changed everything for me. Back in Jersey, we were just firing up the mimeograph machine for the first issue of Flying Disc World magazine.

Flying Disc WorldFlying Disc WorldVol. 1, No . 1

Pretty fancy production, huh? We would sneak into the secretary’s office at the Rutgers Mental Health offices (don’t ask …) late at night and run our copies on the mimeo machine. That kept production costs pretty low. We started with about 24 subscribers and promised them 5 issues per year for $3. The first issue, which you can check out here covered a pretty wide array of disc-worthy news, but for the purposes of this article, the most important was a feature piece by R.W. Barrett titled, An Introduction to Flying Disc Collecting. In that short column, Roger laid out the basic roadmap for all of the collecting madness to follow. In an editorial comment at the end of Roger’s cartography, I added some notes that are now a useful measure of the very earliest collecting activity. See if you can make out our fancy printing:

20-09 Stork FDW excerpt20-09 Stork FDW excerpt

So apparently in 1974, Roger was the disc collecting king of the world with 485 different discs. But a few others had also caught the fever and were not far behind. In the second issue of FDW, Roger starts to fill in some details as he lays out some of the collecting highlights from The early years: 1948-1962. And, the race was on! Still at the time, I don’t think I had any non-throwing discs. I had just met Gary Seubert, who was to become my collecting/organizing and publishing partner, but we had nothing.

It’s worth remembering that when Goldy Norton published The Official Frisbee Handbook in 1972, he included some pictures of a variety of discs, but no direct mention of collecting. Also in ’72, Roger had printed up a few copies of his Vestpocket Guide to Frisbee Selection, which was particularly focused on the Pro model. By 1975, when Stancil Johnson followed up with his much more “definitive treatise,” collecting was a major part of the conversation, including very detailed nomenclature and categorization of all the then-known discs. So, in a relatively short time, knowledge about collecting took a huge jump. In ensuing years, collecting moved forward on several fronts. Frisbee World magazine had many features on collecting and offered limited edition items for mail order sale in The Factory Connection. Looking back on those pages now, the prices seem pretty fair. A replica (white) run out of the Mystery Y mold was advertised for $5 plus 25 cents handling. A collector’s run of 25 141G Black Jimmies went for $20 each (no more than two to a customer). At various times, sweet items like one-of-a-kind Super Pros would pop up for sale. Think metal flake and pearlescent, for tasty examples…

Blue Flake Super ProBlue Flake Pink Frost Super ProPink Frost Green Flake Super ProGreen Flake

Many, many more of us got seriously into collecting during this period. Of course, it was big fun, because any garage sale might net you a Pluto, Sailing Satellite or Space Saucer. Lots of tasty fruit hung low on the tree. I trust that future articles in the blog will cover some of the epic collections that were developed. For the sake of our shared history, it would be great to see those early efforts carefully documented.

But, least for me, that’s how I belatedly became aware that these discs that had already fascinated me for 20 years, held much more intrigue to be explored. Thinking back now over what has been almost 50 years of collecting fun I realize that flying discs have so many features that combine to make them one of the most compelling collectible items. I know that lots of people have fun with stamps and coins and shot glasses, but discs are just … better.

  • Evel Knievel Fling-A-Ma-BobEvel Knievel Fling-A-Ma-Bob For one, they have such extraordinary functionality. I know … shot glasses … But every flying disc has its own distinctive aerodynamic features and capabilities. Some are exceptional fliers and some are, well, Evel Knievel Fling-A-Ma-Bobs.
  • The discs lay out an informative timeline in the history of manufacturing, including both materials and the processes that shaped them. It’s an amazing journey of technological progress from early antiques like the paper Buck Rogers Flying Saucer to a modern golf disc.
    Buck Rogers Flying SaucerBuck Rogers Flying SaucerTwo paper plates Innova-Champion, FirebirdInnova-Champion, FirebirdClear Champion plastic When I look at what’s being produced today, I’m simply amazed. When we began to produce the North American Series (NAS) discs in 1976 I wanted them to be appealing as both an extremely functional disc with good performance and durability and have ongoing appeal as a prized collector’s item with a consistent theme. Thus, each year featured a different player in a similar art style with strictly limited variations. My dream was to have the material be absolutely clear. Turns out that I was dreaming. That unpigmented, milky look was the best we could do at the time. Not bad … but clearly, not clear. And look at what they do now. Dreams come true.
  • They are a unique art form. The palette that they provide has endless range. They can be highly formalized, brazenly commercial, or shockingly irreverent. That range exists because the medium is so versatile. The commercial examples are vast because the disc is perhaps the greatest premium item ever. Who doesn’t want their product message flying from hand to hand when people are having a wonderful time, enjoying themselves and each other? Such a happy person is very open to suggestion. “You know … we should go buy some bubble bath!”

U.S. Olympic CommitteeHighly FormalizedU.S. Olympic Committee Mr. BubbleBrazenly CommercialMr. Bubble Fuckembucky—Lightning UpshotShockingly IrreverentFuckembucky

  • And, of course, it’s not just a palette that flies, it also spins. Various clever artists have taken advantage of that kinetic opportunity.

Disc Wares RainbowRainbowDisc Wares Into an Optical IllusionFlyDiscs Tombodá—Stereokinetic Disc 1Stereokinetic Disc 1Tombodá

So … although I’m trying hard to be objective here, there really isn’t any other collectible that has so many appealing aspects. “Hey, check out my beer coaster collection! There’s this side, with the printing and then there’s this other side … OK then ….”

I’m really just surprised that I didn’t figure this out much earlier. I mean, in the summer of 1969, Ed sent me a big box, stacked full of colored Pros to run the New York State Championships at Chautauqua. I actually gave them out! What was I (not) thinking?

So, my profound thanks to Roger and all of the dedicated and helpful collectors who have followed him. It’s been such great fun.

Dan "Stork" Roddick


About the Author:
20-09 Stork author photo20-09 Stork author photo


Stork has been playing with and hoarding plastic for over 60 years. And, like a red Mars Platter left out in the sun, his memory may have faded a bit. If you asked him now, he might claim that at one time or another, he has possessed (or at least fondled) every single flying disc and piece of memorabilia in the museum. This, of course, is an exaggeration. Upon careful questioning, he didn’t even know that there was an “Official Tournament” version of the Tosserino.

 

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(Flying Disc Museum) Collecting https://www.flyingdiscmuseum.com/blog/2020/9/gotta-collect-em-all Fri, 18 Sep 2020 13:38:40 GMT