BACK HOME THIS IS HISTORICAL INFORMATION ONLY
WHO WAS HARRY OLIVER?
and some Harry Oliver Quotes
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A HARRY OLIVER MINI BIO
Harry Oliver  worked as a bill-poster for the Ringling Brothers circus and then moved with his family to Puget Sound, Washington in 1909. He worked as a scenic painter for the first Seattle World's Fair (Panama-Alaska-Yukon Exposition) where he met famous hat-maker John B. Stetson, who gave Oliver his trademark black Stetson hat.
Harry was a near-legendary Hollywood art director; twice Oscar-nominated, one of the first people ever nominated for an Academy Award; a designer, showman, newspaper columnist, self-publisher, and desert character (i.e., liar, joker, mirage salesman, press-agent to a ghost, etc.).
He lived part-time around Borrego Springs, California in the 1920s and 1930s, then moved full-time to Thousand Palms, California around 1940. There he built Old Fort Oliver and, for decades, sporadically published the Desert Rat Scrap Book, "The only 5-page newspaper in America, and the only one you can open in the wind."
Harry collected and promulgated some of the best lore and lies ever written about the West. His paper had a small but global following, and was cited in Benjamin A. Botkins' classic Treasury of Western Folklore.
As an art director and set designer, Harry strongly influenced the Expressionism of Friedrich Wilhelm (F.W.) Murnau (Nosferatu, Sunrise, Tabu). Harry's film credits include such classics as 7th Heaven, Mark of the Vampire, Scarface, Sparrows, Street Angel, The Good Earth, The River, and Viva Villa!. As a designer of commercial symbols such as the Van De Camp Bakery windmill and the Willat Studios Witch House, his work is world-famous in Los Angeles.
He was a designer of western scenes such as Gold Gulch at the 1936 World's Fair. He also designed hoaxes, such as scattering weathered peglegs around the Salton Sea area.
As a public figure, he at least has a street named after him, even though Old Fort Oliver, an adobe which he built himself, was replaced by a combination gas station/mini-mart.
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HARRY OLIVER QUOTES
Here are some Harry Oliver quotations.
- Camp Note: Put popcorn in your flapjack batter—watch them flop over by themselves.
- "We cigarette and pipe smoking folks should give a thought to how we must smell to a SKUNK."
- The auto hasn't completely replaced the horse. You haven't yet seen a bronze statue of a man sitting under a steering wheel.
- Kickin' never gets you nowhere, 'less'n you're a mule.
- Nobody ever drowned himself in sweat.
- The only fine thing I know that we have done for the Indian — is to call a few fine days in early fall INDIAN SUMMER.
- A woman's tears are the greatest waterpower known to man.
- Remember you can't fall out of bed if you sleep on the floor.
- If you fold this paper again, long ways, it makes it just right for killing cockroaches or vinegaroons.
- The only thing I know for sure about the future is that there will be a lot of it, so let's have all the laughs we can today.
- You don't know happiness till you find yourself doing things well—just for your own approval.
- One of the great compensations of old age, is that you can do as you please.
- Said one angry skunk to another: "So do you!"
- People are funny; they spend money they don't have to buy things they don't need to impress folks they don't like.
- She was a woman of few words, but often.
- People forget how fast you did a job, but they remember how well you did it.
- Why do people say it's a man's world, when statistics prove women live longer than men—especially widows.
- I believe that today is the best day since yesterday and that tomorrow will be a better one.
- Only a fool argues with a skunk, a mule, or a cook.
- If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then stop, after all there's no use being silly about it.
- If you are too busy to laugh—you're too busy.
- If you place a jar lid in the bottom of your double boiler, it will rattle when the water is about boiled away, better than stinking up the shanty.
- I find truth is hard to sell, while lies sell like hot cakes.
- It's no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.
- A man's character can't be judged by the way he acts on Sunday.
- Ever notice how dogs win friends and influence people without reading books about it?
- As long as you laugh at your troubles you may be sure that you will never run out of something to laugh at.
- If you want to die in bed . . . try smoking.
- Forget your troubles; there are more coming.
- Trust everybody—but cut the cards.
- The trouble with being a turtle is you can't run away from home.
- Ever notice that you never yawn when you are asleep?
- He is an exceedingly rare person who has keen enough vision to see himself as others see him.
- Saving is a way of spending money without getting any fun out of it.
- OMEN—A sign that something will happen if nothing happens.
- Smile and the rest of your face—you only paid one lousy thin dime for this paper.
- The worst trouble with the future is that it seems to get here quicker than it used to.
- Is life worth living? That depends on the liver.
- Fishing was invented by a fellow whose wife wouldn't let him drink at home
- Mountain climbers rope themselves together because there is safety in numbers — also it keeps the sensible ones from going home.
- There is nothing so fatal to character as half-finished tasks.
- If a little knowledge is dangerous where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?
- My memory is the thing I forget with.
- What a feller makes up is sometimes better than what really is.
- International strategy: How can the Russians figure what we are going to do when we obviously don't know ourselves?
- It takes about twenty years of hard work to succeed and you have to work hard for about fifty years if you fail.
- Never tell the truth when you can garnish it a little bit and make it much more interesting.
- Any animal is a substitution for friends you don't have.
- Some day we hope to be wise enough to get the vitamins that wild animals get by eating what they like.
- Did you ever notice the longer the bar the fewer the free drinks
- I find when I tell lies, folks don't care just so's I'm sincere.
- "Gee" I wish I could remember what it was I wanted to forget.
- The wildflowers at Ft. Oliver were so thick this spring you could hardly see the discarded beer cans.
- A miner here tied a stick of dynamite around his neck and lit the fuse. Relatives and friends say they can't imagine why he did this. Of course this is only a theory, but he may have been tired of living.
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