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Gary! A Celebration

Gary Baretta, Cult Figure of the Year, 1998

Introducing Gary Baretta, the cult figure for 1998. Not only is Gary the dynamic owner of two car lots, he's also a legend in his own time. You may know him from his award-winning cooking show and his chain of optometry shops, but there is more, so much more. . .

Gary had to overcome problems at an early age: constant nosebleeds made Gary drop out of Cub Scouts at age 9.

Since he was unable to fulfill his dream to become an Eagle scout, Gary turned to his other passion, the banjo. It was his tireless dedication to his art that led Gary to his first shot at fame: a solo at The Grand Ol' Oprey when he was only 16.

A rare photo of Gary and his twin brother, Garry with some college chums.

After college, Gary earned money on the rodeo circuit. His brave exploits led to a comic book series, "Bucky Baretta and the Lost Mine Riders"

Gary's buff bod was also the model for this character in "All New Love and Romance" comics, aptly named "Hairy Gary"

Art historians believe that Gary was also the model for this first draft by Edvard Munch, entitled "Ow! My Ears Hurt!"

Who among us does not still have nightmares at Gary's chilling yet sensitive portrayal of The Monster in RKO's 1962 classic "Bride of Baretta"?

Gary was the originator of the "Funk Banjo" sound. He poses here at the 1973 Grammy awards with his groundbreaking band, "Gary Vegas and The Funk-O-Lettes."

Never one to forget his roots, Gary still performs magic shows for local children under the name "The Great Baretto"

Fulfilling his oath to "God and country", Gary leaps at the chance to test experimental aircraft for the U.S. Air Force.

It was during this audience with the Pope that Gary received what he calls his "great epiphany". A giant, inflatable Santa Claus would attract more people to his car dealerships. What better way to sell cars AND celebrate the birth of Christ?

Gary is shown here with his devoted wife Hannah. It was Hannah that got Gary's visage into many comic books early in his career. Hannah herself knitted the stylish belted sweater which Gary sports.

This year's cult figure runner up is none other than Farina Boy. Better luck next year, Farina Boy!

© 1998, Ken B. Miller & Contributors as Listed. | Reproduced from Shouting at the Postman #27, February, 1998 | 5715
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