Stoney Knows How transcript, Stoney Knows How
(Shot fades in to show little statues, cans, and clutter on a shelf)
INTERVIEWER V/O: What's that your grandfather used to do? That story about the mail man?
(Shot moves to a different, similar shelf)
STONEY V/O: Oh, good gosh, I don't tell that!
(Shot changes to yet another shelf with a terrarium)
STONEY V/O: He came to me with the paper, and-
(Shot moves to another shelf with a picture of a woman and a man in a wheel chair, panning slowly to show artwork)
STONEY V/O: -he named somebody that we all knew, the postmaster in the little town, you know, Coldcamp. Everybody knew Oscar Connor because that's the postmaster, and he says, "Well, I see some news from home this morning." Oh, yeah, I don't know, I must have been nine years old. "Oscar Connor was indicted, and they think -"
(Shot changes to Stoney, sitting and talking)
STONEY: "- he's gonna get five years in prison." "Well what did he do, grandpa?" "He was white, whitewashing rat manure and selling it for rice." (Laughs) Yeah, all that and stuff! Well sure, me, his little crippled up grandson there, he made us all laugh.
(Shot fades to a tattoo display with words on it)
Title: STONEY KNOWS HOW
INTERVIEWER V/O: Stoney, what did your dad do?
STONEY V/O: What did my daddy do? His father was a miner and he got accidently shot through the neck. It was in the line of fire, around a country store.
(Shot changes to a different tattoo, with new words on it)
Text: A FILM BY ALAN GOVENAR AND BRUCE LANE
STONEY V/O: Laid him out of work. My dad had to quit school at fourteen and went trapping in the coal mines.
(Shot changes to another tattoo, with text on it as well)
Text: CAMERA BY LES BLANK
STONEY V/O: 65 cents a day, and he had to keep the family on that.
(Shot changes to another tattoo, with txt on it as well)
TATTOOING!... AS ANCIENT AS TIME. AS MODERN AS TOMORROW. ***STONEY***
STONEY V/O: When grandpa got back to work, my daddy went back to school. And he became a motorman inside the mines, that's running a train, like a train under there.
(Shot changes to show different statues on a display)
STONEY V/O: About 19 and 16 or 17, he put me in Johns Hopkins for arthritis in there. For 3 dollars a day! Today you can't get in there for a hundred dollars a day! His wages were two and a half dollars a day. He had little money in the bank, he went broke, I stayed in there for twenty four months,and-
WOMAN V/O: Tell them about the little circus wagon.
STONEY V/O: And, I used my station area up then drawing a circus wagon on each sheet of a different thing, animals,-
(Shot changes to show the street with the tattoo parlor on it)
STONEY V/O: - the band and everything, and then I would paste them together, and I had a string as long as there across that street over there, and on the road, look at them little old circus wagons and stuff. That'd just come up in my blood, cause I had an uncle that was in that business and I, I had to follow him into it.
(Shot changes to show two men talking on the street outside a store next to the parlor)
INTERVIEWER: How long have you been on this block Mr. Hartmon?
HARTMON: Right here? Thirty years.
INTERVIEWER: Do you, you own this store here?
INTERVIEWER: What's it like having a tattoo artist next door?
HARTMON: We had two of them like Stoney.
(Camera pans over to show Stoney's tattoo parlor)
HARTMON O/C: Good neighbor, good business man, and a heck of a good fella. One of the best.
(Shot changes to show a person riding a motorcycle on the street)
HARTMON V/O: If I had one next I'd get maybe more business because a lot of his customers, believe it or not, that get tattoos, come over in here and buy vacuum cleaners. And sewing machines.
(Shot changes again to show the two men talking)
HARTMON: You'd be surprised who comes in there and gets tattoos.
(Shot zooms in on Hartmon's face)
HARTMON: There're a lot of nurses, doctors, lawyers, churchmen, clergymen.
INTERVIEWER O/C: Oh, really?
HARTMON: You'd be surprised, some of the people that come in there. Most people are in the opinion the person coming in gets a tattoo rides a motorcycle, and is a drunken sailor, this isn't true. As a matter of fact I used to think that myself years ago.
(Shot changes to show a tattoo depicting animals being driven forward between rows of circus trains, as the camera slowly pans down)
STONEY V/O: Ah, this Gretchen, German sword swallower, I wanted to follow this Cole show and I couldn't, there was nothing I could do. Couldn't do anything. And this woman, she got fired in Bluefield, West Virignia, thirty miles from my home, and she heard my story. That I wanted to go with the circus, and I was crippled, and she took me under her wing, and in three days she had a stove poker down my throat, I could swallow a stove poker. And I started out -
(Shot changes to show a sign with text on it above a Confederate flag)
YOU MUST BE 18
THE RIGHT TO
STONEY V/O: - seventy five dollars a week, three meals a day, and a state -
(Shot changes to show a picture of Stoney in his wheelchair, with Gretchen behind him)
STONEY V/O: - room on a circus train. My uncle liked to blow his stack, oh my God.
(Shot zooms out further, revealing that the picture is on top of a T.V.)
STONEY V/O: Alright, we played northern Virginia and was in there four days. Passed this -
(Shot changes to show Stoney move across his shop in a wheelchair, going to his desk to draw)
STONEY V/O: - tattoo shop on east Main, Capt. Coleman. I'd known about tattooing, we'd had a drunken tattooer on our place, so I says, "I want to go in there and look at his pictures." "You're not going to get tattooed?" I said, "Never in this world. No, I'm a sword swallower." Fifteen years old, crippled. They took me in there, and I saw one putting an eagle on a sailor's back. I knew I could draw better then he could at that.
(Shot changes to show Stoney's hand as it draws a bird on a sheet of paper)
STONEY V/O: And I got an old piece of paper off a desk over in the corner I says, "Can I borrow a sheet of this paper?" "Yes, go right ahead." A cigarette hanging in his mouth, and those -
(Shot changes to show a black and white picture of a tattooed man with text underneath of it)
Text: AUGUST COLEMAN
STONEY V/O: - old big black heavy tattoos on him. I drew an eagle -
(Shot changes to show a tattoo design of an eagle attacking a snake)
STONEY V/O: - and he says, "How'd you learn to do that?" And I told him I says, "I just picked it up."
(Shot changes again to show Stoney's hand drawing the bird)
STONEY V/O: "You ever think about doing this?" I says, "No!" Next day I went down there, and stayed three hours with him.
(Shot changes to show Stoney's whole torso, the camera slowly zooming in on his hands as he draws his bird)
STONEY V/O: I was there four days, the fourth day he said, "When are you leaving?" I told him tomorrow, he says, "You come by and see me I've got something for you." He gave me two whole machines, and two or three sheets of designs Professor E. J. Miller, across the street, had drawn, and a stencil and showed me how to cut stencils with a phonograph needle or scratch, and some black and red. And he says, "If you get stuck, you write to me" I got out on the road, started working on them grape fruits, and I started tattooing them guys from nine to eleven from a barn. Finally the tattooer had decided you both had gotten a racket, and -
(Shot changes to show a black and white picture of the whole circus standing in front of a billboard advertisement)
STONEY V/O: - he run him off. And he says, "Hey, kid", he says, "I know you've been sneaking a little of this stuff around here," and he says, -
(Shot changes to a zoomed in picture of an advertisement on a billboard)
Text: AMERICA'S DOLL LADY
STONEY V/O: - " You get up on that platform, and, " he says, "just put on whatever you think you can do, a name or a heart, don't try anything complicated because we don't want know beefs,"-
(Shot changes back to Stoney's hand finishing the bird drawing)
STONEY V/O: - and he says, "I'll run an ad in a billboard, and I'll have another jagger back in here next week." Jagger, see?
MAN 1 V/O: Right.
STONEY: So I get up on the platform, and he ain't run no God damn add, I been there ever since. That's the way it worked.
(The men laugh and the video of Stoney shows him holding up his finished work)
STONEY V/O: Haha, it was by accident, yeah, accident.
(Shot changes to show Stoney lubricating a man's leg as he prepares to tattoo him)
JAMES O/C: Is this your first time?
FOOTBALL PLAYER O/C: Yeah.
(Shot changes angle to show Football player's face)
STONEY O/C: He was with his buddy the other day.
(Shot changes angles and zooms out so you can see all three men)
FOOTBALL PLAYER: I think I'm going to get more, though, later on.
STONEY: Oh, you are, I'm putting comeback in it.
STONEY: I'll drop a little two drops of it in there, you don't come back. Yeah.
FOOTBALL PLAYER: (Gesturing towards James) James is going to get another one.
STONEY: Oh, Stoney's not crazy.
(Shot changes to show an elaborate clock run by weighed, silver balls, falling in order)
STONEY V/O: Must be something to him, all of them all, all coon dogs, and all of them-
(Shot changes back to show Stoney and the Football Player as Stoney prepares to tattoo him)
STONEY: - keep coming back and sending their people, and everything. Of course you know, all of them.
JAMES O/C: Do you tattoo a lot of football players, Stoney?
STONEY: Yes, yes, these I can take, they say a lot, don't ya?
FOOTBALL PLAYER: Yeah, we're all crazy.
STONEY: Haha, no you're not crazy! Weight lifters, football players and wrestlers. That's what I get.
(Camera zooms in and focuses only on Stoney and the leg he's working on)
FOOTBALL PLAYER O/C: That's good, that's good.
STONEY: Don't get ready for anything, don't prepare for anything, that's what's going to happen, nothing. There's nothing going to happen.
(Stoney grabs his tools, getting ready to start as the camera focuses now only on the leg)
STONEY O/C: You just watch me, look at him curl his toes. (Laughter)
(The shot changes to an overhead shot again, showing all three of them before zooming in closely on the leg)
STONEY: Yeah. Him, he wants to play tootsie. (Speaks inaudibly as the sound of his tools drowns his voice out)
JAMES O/C: Is that the first tattoo you ever put on, Stoney?
STONEY: Oh yes it is, that one, that star on my hand.
(Shot changes to show the football player's face, panning slowly to show James also)
JAMES O/C: 51 years ago.
STONEY: O/C: 51 years ago, yeah. I was determined to have this one.
(Shot moves back to Stoney, lowering his lip)
BROWN O/C: Can I see? Hang on-
STONEY: (putting his lip back in place) Inside the lip. If you can do it to a race horse I can do it.
BROWN O/C: Can you do that again? We missed it.
STONEY: My lip?
BROWN O/C: Yeah.
(Stoney exposes his lip again, revealing his tattoo)
BROWN O/C: Okay... Okay, I got it.
(Shot changes angle again down to the leg, showing the unfinished tattoo)
BROWN O/C: You've got stars inside your eyelids, too.
STONEY: Yeah, I've got stars inside the eyelids, but I can't show them, I'm afraid to turn the lid up. Haha! Leave it to us hillbilly's to think up something. Haha, you like that, don't you.
BROWN O/C: Yeah, I like that.
STONEY: S-U-M-P-I-N. Well I gotta say, buddy this hillbilly accent has been with me a long time and I'll be damned if I changed it, cause it's paying off! Yeah, it's paying off, like a slot machine.
JAMES O/C: It's not put on.
STONEY: No, it's not put on, it comes from the heart, yeah.
(Shot changes to show the football player paying Stoney)
(Shot changes again to show Stoney, wiping down the tattoo)
STONEY: I can't guarantee that any longer then ten days after you bury it. Keep it out from under freight trains, and stuff like that, it'll be right there.
(Shot changes to show statues and nicknacks on a counter)
STONEY V/O: Glad you came.
FOOTBALL PLAYER V/O: Thank you.
STONEY V/O: Hahaha, I am too.
(Shot changes back to show Stoney wiping the tattoo)
STONEY: Don't want you looking like a great speckled bird or something.
FOOTBALL PLAYER: Some of that might be paint, I was painting yesterday.
STONEY: No, that's not paint. That's my fall-out.
(Shot changes to a closer view of the leg)
STONEY V/O: Yeah, you want to put a patch on that, Brown?
BROWN V/O: Yeah, I want to put a patch on that, yeah.
STONEY V/O: Alrighty.
(The camera zooms out a little as a patch is laid on the new tattoo by Brown)
BROWN: Now can you raise your leg up a little?
STONEY: Here, I'll help him. Right there.
(Stoney lifts the football player's leg)
BROWN: Now I'll put this where it'll be sure to catch some hair and hold.
STONEY: Aren't we mean?
(Scene changes to show a wall filled with tattoo's and designs by Stoney)
STONEY V/O: What was the price on that bear?
FOOTBALL PLAYER V/O: Twenty two, I think.
STONEY V/O: Twenty two?
(Scene changes to show Stoney and the football player again)
STONEY: You know, most tattooers make you pay in advance, you never see do that, have you? Nobody's ever, ever done it to me. No, uh, I think, see, I was raised that you trust, you trust people, you know, and I could just slip and I say, "What was your price over there?" And he'll tell me.
(Shot changes to show a sign hanging on the wall)
Text: A FRIEND IN NEED IS A PEST. TO LOSE HIS FRIENDSHIP, LEND HIM MONEY... WHEN YOU LEND HIM, YOU DAMAGE HIS MEMORY.
STONEY V/O: Hell, he's going to tell you the truth, is what he is, and you can trust people that way. If you, if you learn what trust is, that's a great damn thing, you know that?
(Shot switches back to show James and the football player, sitting and listening)
FOOTBALL PLAYER: Oh, it's all there?
STONEY: It's there, I don't need to have to try, don't, don't count it. Not just them, I feel everybody else is the same.
FOOTBALL PLAYER Thanks a lot!
STONEY: Yeah, thank you boys,-
(Camera pans to the right to show them leaving)
STONEY O/C: -and uh, y'all behave, you know where I live.
JAMES: You got it.
STONEY O/C: Alrighty.
JAMES AND FOOTBALL PLAYER: See you later.
STONEY O/C: Alright. -
(Camera pans back to the left to show him, sitting)
STONEY: Alright fellas, you all take care.
(Shot changes to show a man with long, shaggy black hair looking at Stoney's artwork on his wall.
(Shot changes to a note near one of Stoney's drawings)
Text: THEESE DESIGNS. FOR COVERING OLD, OR UNDESIRED TATTOOING
SHAGGY MAN V/O: Is there any one you can put on there for less then, uh,-
(Shot changes to show designs of panthers)
SHAGGY MAN V/O: -you see, the one I want it covered-
STONEY V/O: I can put you a rose on there for, uh,-
(Shot changes to show the shaggy man's tattoo on his upper arm, the initials J.R.)
STONEY O/C: - just about eighteen dollars, that's about as low as I an come now.
(Camera zooms out to show the man reaching in his wallet)
(Shot changes to show a design of a rose with text on three different rolls of paper around it)
SHAGGY MAN V/O: Yeah, okay, I'll have it done cause I want it covered.
(Shot changes to show Brown, the shaggy man, and Stoney all sitting together getting ready for the tattoo)
STONEY: I know the initials give you, turn your chair around, and sit, sit sideways to me here, buddy. Uh, uh, names or initials, if you're a married man, give you a fit.
SHAGGY MAN: Well, it's been almost fifteen years -
STONEY: I know it, but it's some girl's name, ain't it?
SHAGGY MAN: Yeah.
STONEY: And your wife don't like it, is that what it is?(Laughing)
SHAGGY MAN: Well not really, I just want to cover it here.
STONEY: Well put your hands straight through here, buddy.
(Motions towards a a sort of arm rest)
SHAGGY MAN: Ok.
STONEY: There you go, now you lean, you lean right, a little, little further now. Alright, did somebody send you to me?
SHAGGY MAN: No, I'm just cruising up the avenue, here.
STONEY: You ever heard of me?
SHAGGY MAN: No sir.
STONEY: Oh, raise your arm up. Well, I'm known all over the world, so have faith in me.
(Shot changes to a close up on the man's tattoo again)
BROWN: Who did that tattoo?
STONEY: This is only-
SHAGGY MAN: Uh, a friend of mine.
(Shot changes to show a sign in Stoney's)
Text: NO REMOVING
DO NOT GET TATTOOED "JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT,
OR BECAUSE A FRIEND CALLED YOU CHICKEN," FOR ONCE
IT'S THERE, YOU HAVE IT TO SHOW ST. PETER...
SHAGGY MAN V/O: When we was drinking a lot of beer, you know, we was young and putting tattoos on each other.
STONEY V/O: I'll tell you why-
(Shot changes to show a close up on the arm again, as Stoney puts his new tattoo over the shaggy man's old one)
STONEY O/C: - I never like to ask a guy who did his home made job. Because sometimes that's done in some unfamiliar places, yeah, so you don't want to call the name or tell where you was at when you had it put on.
So therefore I don't embarrass him by asking him, ya see? Because a lot of that is what we call chain gang tattooing, that you get in jail, a lot of it. But you can do the same thing at home or sitting at Sunday school.
(Scene changes to show four people entering)
SHAGGY MAN V/O: Yeah, we were hooking school that day, and -
(Scene changes to show one of the people looking closely at some tattoos on the wall)
STONEY V/O: Yeah.
(Shot changes to show another person looking curiously around)
BROWN V/O: Was it you that was telling me, one time, a woman-
(Shot changes to show butterfly designs on the wall, as the camera pans to show other drawings)
BROWN V/O: - kept having a series of names put on her back, and she'd come back in a little while-
STONEY V/O: It was on her hip, on her cheek of her hip, haha.
BROWN V/O: And you'd cover it with a little ribbon?
STONEY V/O: No, I covered them with "property of" and a name.
(Shot goes back to show the tattoo again, as it's being finished)
STONEY O/C: You know what that is, property of?That means you belong to so and so, Big Bad John.
(Shot changes to show the new people pointing and picking tattoos)
BROWN V/O: Right.
STONEYV/O: Forces women to come in and get tattoos.
BROWN V/O: Uh huh.
STONEY V/O: Later on she came in, when he kicks her out.
(Shot changes again back to the tattoo being finished)
STONEY O/C: "We fight like cats and dogs," I says, "Well, you better, uh, straighten up the flower right because every time he gets mad at you, he's going to bring it up that he married a cemetery, because that's what it looks like. Six reefs, and then another name.
BROWN O/C: Oh my!
(Shot changes to show an arm, as the camera pans down it so that the viewer can read all the text in the tattoo)
I EVER KISSED
STONEY V/O: The only safe name to put on you is "Mom".
BROWN V/O: That's it.
STONEY V/O: Yeah.
(Shot changes to show the interviewer holding a piece of paper for Stoney while he draws, as the camera zooms in close and closer on the picture)
INTERVIEWER V/O: What makes a good tattoo?
STONEY V/O: A good tattoo? It's something the man studied, and, uh, thought it up long before he got it. Then he got it.
INTERVIEWER V/O: Or, as an artist.
STONEY V/O: As an art? It's the shading, not the color. You can put just a minimum amount of color to real good shading, and it'll go over and it'll stand out.
(Shot changes to show a black and white picture of a man's arm, covered in tattoos, as the camera slowly slowly pans up to reveal his face)
STONEY V/O: You take the old timey tattooing that was did this way with heavy shading, that's the way I was taught. And I've seen the people grow older, their tattoos still look better-
(Shot changes to show a black and white picture of a naked woman, covered in tattoos as the camera pans slowly upward)
STONEY V/O: - and they were put on over fifty years ago.
INTERVIEWER V/O: Is that the old school?
STONEY V/O: That's the old part of the old school, yeah.
(Shot changes to show Stoney at his desk with a stencil in front of him, ready to work as the camera zooms in slowly on his drawing)
STONEY: Oh, see, we have our stencil cleaned up, laying down here, and I've got, uh, powdered charcoal, and dust a little on that.
(Stoney pours some of the charcoal on his stencil)
STONEY: And, uh, then we rub it into this groove, the charcoal.
(He begins to rub it on the stencil)
STONEY: Then we dust it off...
(Stoney picks up the plastic part and dusts off the charcoal remnants, wiping of the excess)
STONEY: And wipe the excess off... Now the stencil is prepared.
(Shot changes to show Stoney pressing the stencil on a man's back, already decorated with a tattooed scene from Moby Dick)
STONEY V/O: Then a small lapidation of bacitracin, do a little breezy service, and turn this right over and stamp it right down. That pulls this charcoal right off on the, on the skin, and this charcoal will leave an imprint there. That's your guiding line.
(Shot changes to show Stoney dipping his tool in black ink)
STONEY V/O: Okay then, try to relax.
(Shot goes back to Stoney, tattooing the man's back by using the charcoal outline)
INTERVIEWER O/C: Why did you pick that scene from Moby Dick?
TATTOOED MAN: Well, it was the end of the book, I, I can't think of anything that would depict the whole of the book like, like, like that scene. There was the white whale, pretty much winning out over the ship, if it ever was a battle.
(Shot changes to a black and white drawing of a naked islander with a spear in one hand and a skull in the other)
TATTOOED MAN V/O: Queequeg was, uh, maybe the most important character in the book. Ishmael survived on his coffin.
(Shot switches back to the tattoo being made)
TATTOOED MAN: O/C: And on the coffin was inscribed a bunch of hieroglyphics, they called them, that matched the tattoos that Queequeg had. Ishmael didn't quite know what to make of them, I think he was, he was speaking for Melville at the time too.
(Shot switches back to Stoney, finished with his work)
INTERVIEWER O/C: You ever done a, a Moby Dick before?
STONEY: No, uhuh, no, never had no call, how come, you say?
(Shot changes to show the man's back)
STONEY O/C: I never had a call for it in 51 years. Everybody don't read Moby Dick. But did Barney Google, haha. Happy hooligan, cash and driver kid.
(Shot changes to a sign)
YOU CAN'T DAZZLE 'EM
BAFFLE 'EM WITH BULLSHIT
STONEY V/O: I was tattooing this cowboy, Brian, and a well dressed guy walked in -
(Shot pans over to another sign next to the first with a hog chasing a chicken)
*I'M A HOG - ?
STONEY V/O: - last summer, -
(Shot changes to Stoney, who is sitting and talking)
STONEY : -and I said, "Howdy!" and so he spoke and he looked, and I knew, I knew what he was looking for, he didn't want any tattoo.
STONEY: He says... He waited a few minutes... "Does that hurt?" and Brian says, "Is it supposed to?" He shook his head and went out of here, never said another word, and you know he was, he was disappointed... by being fooled right there in ten seconds. He was fooled! He thought he was going to step over a bunch of drunks, and uh, blood running everywhere, and all that crap.
ED O/C: Yeah, yeah, well that's what a lot of them are after, -
(Camera pans over to show Ed Hardy talking)
ED: - they come down, and they want to see the lurid part, you know, -
(Text appears near him)
Text: Ed Hardy,
ED: - they want it to be, you know, something that they can get a, some kind of a cheap, vicarious thrill out of.
(Shot changes to show the Stoney and the back/side of Ed's head as they talk)
ED: It's just to bad that that's the way it's gone so much. You know, you've got a fantastic shop here, it looks great.
(Camera zooms in on Stoney)
STONEY: Ah, this ancient stuff, I never was much of a hand to change anything.
(Shot changes to show a tattoo design hanging on the wall, slowly panning around to reveal more somewhat violent or undesirable designs before zooming out)
STONEY V/O: I had a lot of stuff that disappeared in New Orleans before I came up here, yeah, that's about it.
INTERVIEWER V/O: Do feel like when you're tattooing, that you're, ah, helping people somehow.
STONEY V/O: Let me study that over. Yes and no. I must be helping him because he's, uh, he's craving it, and he uh, he's in his right mind, he's not under the influence or anything, that's for damn sure. And he's paying me to do it. But, I don't think I'm helping him a bit if certain designs he picks. He might smoke pot, which is none of our business, he might have a lot of fun with it, I had a lot of fun with liquor. But I, uh, wha-. why go out and wear a badge saying, "I am a drunkard", "I am high as a kite". We all know that a baby craps in his diaper. Well, why pull that diaper off in front of everybody and say, "Look what my baby done to this!", you see? Do you understand what I'm talking about? That's it, see.
(Shot changes to show another tattoo of a skull with a swastika, zooming out to reveal more)
STONEY V/O: I never put a swastika on all my life, till I got here. And I didn't do it then for the first year. But I got big bucks coming here, buddy, with money, "I'll just take my business to Chicago". That's the way it happened.
STONEY V/O: Now I got swastikas, you think I like that swastika? Any man who thinks I like it is a damn fool.
(Shot changes to show a tattoo design of a naked lady with a snake, zooming out to show similar tattoos)
STONEY V/O: Yeah I've had snake shows, I've had several snake shows. I started out with a big one, and he got too expensive, you know they'll kick off on you, then you'll lose a lot of money. Then I wound up with the van of the, uh, all small ones, different types. Worked it as an educational exhibit, no damn geek or wild man crap. Uh, a guy told me I'd work 'em -
(Shot changes to show Stoney, sitting and talking, and slowly zooms out to reveal Sue sitting next to him)
STONEY: I had an old man working them, 60 something years old, World War 1 veteran, and he knew snakes. And he could lecture on them, and work with him two hours, and never tell you a lie, it was awful interesting, a lot he knew about them. And uh, and old guy in Alabama told me-
(Text appears near Sue)
STONEY: - one time, he says "Boy," says, "you, you're crazy." Says, "Get you a young brawd to work these snakes." I says, "They're too dumb, they don't know anything about snakes, he said, "That don't mean a god damn, just put her in shorts! They'll all come in with a hat on!" I said, "They ain't gonna look at snakes anyways." And I got a damn brawd and put her in there, and they'd say, "What kind of snake is that?" "It's a snake." "What kind of snake?" "It's a god damn snake!" she'd say! That's all she'd do! And they would just buy them tickets and come in there to see them legs, so.
(Shot changes to show three four tattoo designs of daggers)
STONEY V/O: Now these daggers, I got them from sailor Gatsby way before he died.
INTERVIEWER V/O: How did sailor Gatsby die?
STONEY V/O: Snake killed him. His own python squeezed him to death.
(Shot changes back to show a close up of Stoney as he talks)
STONEY: In Tampa, Florida.
INTERVIEWER O/C: What was the story on that?
STONEY: The story, man, it was all over the world! Russia even published it! Not every day you get to see a python squeeze a man to death in civilization, you know? I mean out here, out of the jungle. Uh, he was doing some painting, he was painting the show front outside. His wife was down at the other end of the zoo, they had a little zoo down in Tampa, and uh, so she was cleaning the lion's cage, and he was up at the other end painting, and uh, he happened to look through the glass and saw this python trying to shed, he was having a struggle. So, he walked around and walked inside of the building, where he could get in to the cage, and uh, cause the cage door was open, this is the only way they know. When they found him, the snake had just finished squeezing him out here under a palm tree and was climbing up the palm tree, or getting ready to climb it, and what he had done, he'd went in there to help him shed, they'd had that paint thinner all over him and that, that new hide, that snake just gunavooed at him and wouldn't turn loose. And uh, aw man, they got right up, she took that thing on the road for four years after that clean up.
(Shot changes to show a tattoo of a dragon, panning around to show other similar animal designs)
STONEY O/C: And I saw one of the letters, some ignorant church woman typed it, it says, "You is working for the devil-"
(Shot pans up to show Stoney and Sue sitting as he talks)
STONEY: "-and I hope you be next" That's what it said!
(All of them laugh)
STONEY: "You is working for the devil" Told her! Yes. "I hope you be next."
(Shot changes to show a design of a mermaid)
STONEY O/C: There's all these buddy, yeah, that comes from Grimshaw.
ED O/C: (Pointing) Yeah, especially I've seen, sailor Durry had that mermaid painted up, he painted that, about, in the early forties, I've seen his version.
STONEY O/C: Yeah, that red cross nurse, that was called "Rose of No-Man's Land".
ED O/C: Yeah, right right. Yeah, that was from the, that was from the first world war.
STONEY O/C: Yeah!
(Shot changes to show an old black and white picture of Charlie Wagner in a suit, tattooing a young woman's leg)
STONEY V/O: Charlie Wagner, I guess, put on more of them than anybody in the world! Hell, I was in his shop he let me work in there two months to get enough money to go to Florida.
(Shot changes back to some mermaid and sailor tattoos before panning over to Stoney and zooming out)
STONEY: And a sailor comes in and he wanted a, a eagle on him. And Charlie says, "No, no. Today's hearts day. (Laughter) Yeah, yeah, don't put nothing but hearts on you. "No, I want an eagle, Charlie! I've been coming here a long time!" 'Well, okay, maybe I'll get to you after a while." So after a while the man puts his arm down there, he drew a God damn heart right on him, he didn't give him no God damn eagle
(Scene fades out)
(Scene changes to show Stoney in the passenger seat of a car)
STONEY V/O: Ah, Sue's husband went to work for me here, cleaning up. He worked a little while but finally his butt got to itching and he went out on a carny. He says "My wife's going to be glad to have the job."
(Shows the car as it drives away, switching from various shots of the car on the way to the raceway)
STONEY V/O: Well, she came up her, started helping me clean up, so he took off. I said, "Now you must drive me to style car races." "Oh, no, i don't like that!" And I says, "Well i'll have to get somebody to drive me to style car races!" And finally I scared her into it, now she's the one that won't miss one! Oh my goodness, got a photographic mind! She can remember the time trials on all three tracks! My oh my, she's gotten fast.
(Switches to show a race car with Stoney's name on it on a ramp as a man walks around it)
STONEY V/O: With the car? I just jotted my name on it, I'm one of the sponsors, all across the tail end of it-
(The car slowly gets off the ramp)
STONEY V/O: - so that the drivers all can see it when they're following it. I said follow it. Around the track, haha. Ah, I only use it to -
(Shot changes to show a man inspecting the car)
STONEY V/O: - just to break away from the steady line.
(The rest of his speech is garbled and drowned out by the loud music and man on the mega phone)
STONEY V/O: - watching something like this,-
(Shot changes to show Sue, slowly zooming in on her necklace which holds a picture of three men)
STONEY V/O: I guess, yeah, it keeps me from kicking the bucket. (laughs)
INTERVIEWER V/O: Yeah, could we see your tattoo?
DICK V/O: Sure.
(Shot changes to show Dick's arm, where the name Dick over an arrow is tattooed)
(Shot pans up to Dick's face)
(Shot changes to show Stoney's marked car moving)
INTERVIEWER V/O: Your dad's a driver too, isn't he?
DICK V/O: Yeah, he's been driving for about thirty years.
INTERVIEWER V/O: How is it racing against your dad?
DICK V/O: Oh, I'm gonna race after there's no friends, or family or nothing, it's just every, you know, it's just every person for themselves.
(Shot changes to show Sue and a young boy walking a stroller as an announcer speaks)
ANNOUNCER V/O: A good combination! A good car and a good driver!
(Shot changes to show spectators in line waiting to enter the racing field)
ANNOUNCER V/O: Three flags! It's going to be up and running in car #39!
(Shot changes to the crowd as they wait for the race, and zooms in on Stoney)
ANNOUNCER: They're doing a new feature in the bleachers, there, on Stoney and I understand Stoney you used to be with the circus quite some years ago, quite a performer.
(Shot changes to show a girl sitting on top of a car)
ANNOUNCER: So that's what it's all about, they have the cameras down there on him, I understand that we've found a pit, -
(Shot changes to show Stoney sitting next to Sue, who's keeping score and talking, slowly panning from his left to his right)
ANNOUNCER: -and a lot of good places to move around in. Turns out he's quite an avid race fan, I understand, I've never had the pleasure of meeting him, but, he gets around to all these races, he likes races, also runs a tattoo parlor up in Columbus, Ohio, up on High street, so look him up.
(Shot changes to show the car with the girl sitting on top moving past)
STONEY V/O: Piece of cake, piece of cake. I got the race.(Shot moves to the man holding the green starting flag)
STONEY V/O: Not the best,-
(Shot changes to the cars taking off)
STONEY V/O: - the very best.
(The cars go around the track once)
(Shot changes to show Stoney and Sue, yelling and screaming for their car)
(Shot changes back to show the cars going around again)
(Shot goes back to Stoney and Sue, still cheering)
(Shot changes again to show the referee waving the striped finish flag)
(Shot goes back to Stoney and Sue, clapping for their car)
(Stoney whispers something to Ed, who's sitting next to him,a nd they both laugh)
(Shot changes back to car #39 as it goes lazily along the track now, the driver holding the flag)
ED V/O: Oh this is great, I've never seen anything like this. I used to see a little bit of it on T.V., but it's nothing like the live activity, you know?
(Shot changes to back in the shop, showing designs hanging on the wall)
(Shot pans slowly down to show a sign hanging on the wall)
Text: I LEONARD "STONEY" ST. CLAIR, AM IN THE BUSINESS OF RENDERING A SERVICE TO THIS COMMUNITY FOR THE SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE TO HAVE THEIR BODIES DECORATED IN SOME WAY OR ANOTHER...
I CHOOSE TO PURSUE MY PROFESSION WITH INTELLEGENCE AND SKILL, WISHING NOT TO OFFEN ANYONE, BUT INSTEAD WITH MY LOVE OF MANKIND, DO WHAT GOOD I CAN DO BEFORE I DIE.
(signed) LEONARD L. "STONEY" ST. CLAIR
TATTOOIST OF THE OLD SCHOOL *** SINCE 1928.
STONEY O/C: I'll try to read that little sign, I kind of like it myself. Says, "I, Leonard Stoney St. Clair, am in the business of rendering s service to this community, for the small group of people who choose to have their bodies decorated in some way or another. I choose to pursue my profession with intelligence and skill, wishing not to offend anyone, but instead with my love of mankind, do what good I can before a I die. Leonard L. St. Clair, tattooist of the old school since 1928."
(Shot changes back to show Stoney)
STONEY: Ha, a lot of people look at that and wonder, "What does that mean, the old school?" "What do you, are you proud to be what you are?" Ah, I'm just proud that I, ah, i was able to, in the past, carry on the oldest art in the world. And try to keep it decent, because I'm not going to be here the whole time, and I hope that somebody, I got it from a good man, so maybe some day, somebody will look at them little daisies growing over me and say, "Well, he, ah, he didn't, he didn't butcher it up anyway. He carried it on, it's handed down anyway, you know. you don't find this on every street corner. No.
INTERVIEWER O/C: That's it?
(shot changes to a black and white picture of Stoney next to his dog, being held up by one boy with another standing next to him)
STONEY V/O: Yeah. I just been at it a long time, god damn it.
INTERVIEWER V/O: What keeps you going Stoney?
(Shot changes back to show Stoney sitting again)
STONEY: What keeps me going? Well, like I told you, cornbread and black eyed peas! (Laughs) No, determination, but that's all. I, I'm not fighting a battle, i have a, it's natural for me to just be jolly, get up singing in the morning. Saying howdy to somebody comes in the door, so.
INTERVIEWER O/C: Yeah, and there are so many people, crippled like you, and they, they don't, they, they get sad -
STONEY: Hell, I never feel like crippled, I've walked since I was four years old, it seems it's not, it never was, what you never have you never miss. Yeah. A little prison sample I'll sit here and get lazy, and you'll see me rocking a little like this, just exercising. Don't even know I'm doing it, that's called prison sample. (laughs) Yeah. I'm happy. I've had a good time in my life, yeah.
(Shot changes to show Ed being tattooed)
STONEY O/C: God damn it, I'm shaming myself. Making a God damn machine working.
ED: Well, it feels alright to me, -
STONEY O/C: Oh it feels alright.
ED: I think, yeah. it looks good and feels alright, so what more can you ask for, huh?
(Shot pans down to focus on the tattoo as Stoney draws it)
ED: You've got a light touch, Stoney.
STONEY O/C: Yeah.
INTERVIEWER O/C: Why'd you pick that one?
(Shot changes to a wider view, showing both Ed and Stoney as the tattoo is drawn)
ED: I don't know, I've always liked cartoon rats, you know? It used to be a nickname of mine when I was a kid at the beach, and all that. I just, I really liked the looks of that on the wall. It's like any of them, you know, you just... It seems like something that's necessary to have. This is great. Yeah, you know, this is the, is the high point of my weekend here, i never thought I'd get to go home with something to show for the trip, you know?
(Shot goes back down to Stoney as he works)
ED O/C: I like Stoney's sense of humor about his work, his ability to get, you know, -
(Shot moves up to focus on Ed as he speaks)
ED: - his drawing has got a really, really good feeling to me, and I wanted to get something that had a real, a happy feeling to it, you know?
(Shot goes back down to focus on the tattoo being made)
INTERVIEWER O/C: That's it there on the wall, huh?
(Shot changes to show the rat design on the wall)
(Shot pans back down to the tattoo being made)
(Shot changes to a wider view again to show Stoney, Ed, and a man sitting behind Stoney looking as he works)
MAN WATCHING: That's a Columbus rat!
(Shot changes to a close up of the man watching)
MAN WATCHING: They don't have them kind of rats in San Francisco!
STONEY O/C: No!
ED O/C: Yeah, back home that's a little unusual.