Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bibendum Lost

About five years ago, at a flea market in Paris I saw (but did not buy, stupid stupid stupid!) an old Michelin poster.

It’s from, I’m guessing, probably the late teens, and it’s an ad for some kind of rubber resistance-strap workout device. Apparently Michelin was at one time involved in the manufacture of various rubber products beyond tires.

It shows Bibendum, very jaunty and unconcerned—I think he’s even wearing a monocle—with his walking-stick hooked over his arm. And he’s simultaneously, effortlessly, punching and kicking a pair of very Gallic-looking muggers—kind of one fist going out sideways this way to hit one of them in the nose, the opposite leg striking out the other way to nail the other. Paf! Paf! A Belle Epoque Charles Atlas ad.

I have since scoured the Internet and better poster shops everywhere, looking for a copy of this. No one else is aware of its existence. I’m starting to think I imagined the whole thing.

If anyone can direct me towards a print of this poster or (failing that) proof of its existence, I will be very grateful and reassured of my own sanity.

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