Guy Cobb

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Guy Cobb

Cobb in Memphis in 2006
Born Guy Franke Cobb
27 October 1963 (1963-10-27) (age 46)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Residence Memphis, Tennessee
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Mississippi (dropped out in 1983)
Occupation Entrepreneur
Independent Film Producer
Co-Founder, The Bud Light Daredevils
Children 2
Guy Cobb

Guy Franke Cobb (born October 27, 1963) is an American artist, inventor, entertainer, and entrepreneur born in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.

Cobb competing in the triple jump for Jackson Prep in 1982

Cobb is the third child of Charles and Donna Cobb. Cobb's father, Charles Clifton Cobb, served with the US Navy aboard the USS Marion County (LST-975) during the Korean War. In May 1955 Cobb's father's LST participated in Operation Wigwam, a 30 kilo-ton atomic bomb depth charge explosion designed to test the affects of shockwaves and radiation on submarines.[1] Following his service in the Navy, Cobb's father started a career with Colonial Baking Company in St. Louis as a "bread man" or "route salesman". He eventually became President of the St. Louis bakery in 1983.[2]

All three Cobb children competed in trampoline, gymnastics and diving in Junior High, High School, and at the Carondelet YMCA in St. Louis.[2][3] In the Summer of 1978 Cobb's father became President of Colonial Baking Company in Jackson, Mississippi and the family relocated from St. Louis to Brandon, Mississippi.[2] The following Spring in April 1979 the city of Jackson, Mississippi was devastated by the "Easter Flood" of the Pearl River. More than 75% of downtown Jackson was under water. The flood waters reached the front steps of Cobb's father's bakery located on South Congress Street but was not damaged. Jackson Preparatory School, Guy Cobb's college prep school, sustained major flood damage.[4] Cobb attended Jackson Prep from 1979 to 1982. He competed on the track team in the long and triple jump and was a member of the Jackson Prep cheerleading squad his Junior and Senior year.[4]



[edit] Ole Miss and the Inception of Acrobatic Basketball (1979-83)

At the same time Guy Cobb was attending Jackson Prep his older brother Ty Cobb was a Marketing Major and cheerleader at The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss).[2][5] In 1980 Ty Cobb, along with fellow cheerleaders Sam Martin, John White, and Ole Miss "Johnny Reb" Mascot Jeff Hubbard began performing ball handling skits and acrobatics which incorporated a mini-trampoline during the time-outs and half-time of Ole Miss basketball games.[6][7][8] Using his previous trampoline and diving skills and the cheerleader's mini-trampoline, Ty Cobb, on a dare performed the first successful acrobatic "flip dunk" or "acrodunk" at the Ole Miss vs. Alabama basketball game in 1980 and received a standing ovation by Alabama fans.[8][9] Ole Miss Head Basketball Coach Bob Weltlich, recognizing the group's potential to soften up an opposing team's crowd, began flying the foursome with the Ole Miss Basketball team to away games.[8][10]

Ty Cobb, Jeff Hubbard, and John White performing as the Ole Miss Cheerleaders at a Houston Rockets NBA game in 1980

In 1980 Ty Cobb's fraternity brother and fellow Ole Miss Cheerleader Walt Shinault began practicing with Ty and the other cheerleaders using a mini-trampoline. Shinault was practicing stunts off of the mini-trampoline in the yard of his apartment complex in Oxford when he fell and broke his neck. The fall left him a quadriplegic. After the accident the South East Conference (SEC) banned the use of mini-trampolines by all cheerleaders at SEC games.[8][9][10][11]

With the banning of the use of mini-trampolines by cheerleaders throughout the Southeast Conference, Ty Cobb began looking for other ways for the group to continue performing their developing halftime show. Working on a marketing class project which had asked that students create their own company, Ty Cobb created a company called "The Ole Miss Cheerleaders Half Time Show". He designed marketing brochures and advertising materials that he then sent to National Basketball Association (NBA) promotional directors as part of a direct marketing campaign. The concept worked as the promotional directors at many of the NBA teams were looking for new ways to increase attendance and contacted Ty to schedule the "Ole Miss Cheerleaders" to perform during the time outs and halftime of their home games. The first professional NBA performance by The Ole Miss Cheerleaders was for the Dallas Mavericks in 1980, [12]followed by shows for the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.[10]

Still in high school in 1981, Guy Cobb joined the show for performances at NBA games. With the addition of Guy, the team began experimenting with different ways to acrobatically pass the basketball. These passes were mixed and matched with each other to not only allow for more complex acrobatic dunks to be performed but also to provide a way for the team to incorporate more passes into the dunk sequences without having to stop the show. One example was the "flip-pass" off the basketball backboard. This pass could be followed by another flip-pass and another and then a dunk ("Congo Dunk" 1987).

[edit] The Dixie Daredevils (1983-84)

Brothers Guy and Ty Cobb performing with Steve Cliffe as "The Dixie Daredevils" in a grocery store parking lot (Summer 1983).

Following his graduation from Ole Miss in the Fall of 1983, Ty Cobb began planning to create a professional half-time show that would travel and perform during the college and NBA basketball season.[10] Guy Cobb, having just completed his freshman year at Ole Miss, dropped out of school to join his brother (Guy Cobb returned to Ole Miss in the Fall of 1989 to study creative writing under Southern novelist Barry Hannah).[13]

In 1983 Cobb's father became President of Colonial Baking Company in St. Louis.[2] The two Cobb brothers relocated with their parents to the small community of Columbia, Illinois located southeast of St. Louis. They set up an office in their parent's basement and began organizing a performance schedule for the 1983-84 basketball season. Charles Cobb came up with the team's new professional name of "Dixie Daredevils". Steve Cliffe, a former Mehlville High School school mate of Ty Cobb's also joined the Dixie Daredevils at this time.[2][14]

In the Summer of 1983, Cobb's father scheduled the Dixie Daredevils as a Colonial Bread promotion. He sponsored the Dixie Daredevils for performances in grocery store parking lots and at high school assemblies throughout the metro St. Louis and central Illinois areas.[2][14]

During the 1983-84 basketball season, Ty and Guy Cobb performed 45 shows throughout the United States. At the end of the season they received a call from Anheuser-Busch to discuss a sponsorship of the Dixie Daredevils to be associated with a new beer called "Budweiser Light".[2]

[edit] The Bud Light Daredevils (1984-1998)

Guy Cobb performing with the Bud Light Daredevils in 1987.

Both of the Cobb brothers worked for Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) during the Summer of 1982 as cheerleading instructors. Ty Cobb had met Mack Hirshberg at UCA's college cheerleading camp the previous Summer. Hirshberg was a cheerleader at the University of South Carolina and had just graduated. In the Summer of 1983 Anheuser-Busch changed the name of their new beer "Budweiser Light" to "Bud Light". Mack Hirshberg joined the group for the 1984-85 premiere season and the team's name was changed from The Dixie Daredevils to The Bud Light Daredevils.[10][15]

From 1984 to 1998 the Bud Light Daredevils performed at universities and NBA games throughout all 50 United States.[16] When they were not performing during the American basketball season, they found sponsors for tours of the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Spain, Japan, China, Norway, South America, Australia, Israel, and Puerto Rico. Corporate sponsors included Boeing, Converse, Wang Laboratories, SportLife Chewing Gum, and Gordon's Gin. The group was also featured on national television shows such as ABC's That's Incredible!, Incredible Sunday, Showtime's Super Dave (TV series), Disney's The Mickey Mouse Club, and most recently, former Bud Light Daredevil Mark Odgers was featured performing a flip dunk over a New York City Cab live on Late Night with David Letterman.[10]

Anheuser-Busch ended their fourteen year sponsorship of the Bud Light Daredevils in 1998 in response to both governmental and social pressure to eliminate all alcohol marketing to college students.[17][18]

[edit] Down in The Valley of Rural Violence and the Thorn Paintings

One of Cobb's "Thorn Paintings" covered with thorns and razor tipped hunting arrows


In the Summer of 1985 Cobb, on break from the Daredevils, relocated with his parents to a farm in Fair Grove, Missouri located approximately ten miles north of Springfield, Missouri in the hills of the Missouri Ozarks.[19] The home on the property had been built by a retired NASA Engineer from California on 20 acres. One evening in 1988 he watched a biography on the Bravo Satellite Network about the American abstract artist Jackson Pollock.[19] The next day he drove into Springfield, Missouri and bought a 36 inch by 60 inch piece of sheet metal. Cobb said he had an idea that he wanted to try to capture the rural violence that was taking place in the Ozarks at that time and previous periods of Ozark history.[13][19] The James Schnick massacre had taken place just one year before in 1987 in the neighboring community of Elkland, Missouri. Schnick murdered seven of his family and relatives in the worst massacre in Missouri history.[20] Cobb also noted a book he had bought during a visit to the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City, Missouri to see the paintings of Thomas Hart Benton called Young Brothers Massacre. This Young brothers massacre took place in 1932 just outside Springfield, Missouri in the village of Brookline, Missouri and is considered "the worst single killing of U.S. police officers in the 20th century" [21]

The following are early reviews of Cobb's "Thorn Paintings" by Art Critic's John Simmons and Camille Howell: "Down in the Valley of Rural Violence is typical of what Cobb calls his 'thorn paintings.' His use of tortured metal, abstract forms and an overlay of projecting thorns all combine in this and the other paintings in the series to produce statements of anger and frustration. An environment that should be peaceful, pastoral, and filled with the beauty of nature is invaded and degraded by human corruption. These paintings seem to cry out in protest . . . This exhibit is of interest, and more importantly, Guy Cobb is an artist worth watching. He could well become a real force on the regional art scene."[22]

"...incorporating barbed wire, locust tree thorns and arrow tips, and painted on metal sheets that have been blasted with shotgun pellets, Cobb's works are unsettling, disquieting, and impossible to ignore." [23]

[edit] Memphis

Cobb with his first Memphis painting titled Garden at Memphis exhibited at the Commercial Appeal in 1994.

In June of 1991 Cobb attended his brother Ty's wedding in Memphis, Tennessee. At the wedding reception he met Laura Elizabeth Wilson of Memphis (Cobb was a groomsman and Laura a bridesmaid). Three weeks later the two eloped and were married at Laverne's Wedding Chapel in Miami, Oklahoma. Following the Bud Light Daredevil's 1993 season Cobb retired from the Daredevils.[19] In the Spring of 1993 Cobb and his wife moved from the Ozarks to Memphis where Cobb started a new career in banking working for minimum wage as a call center operator at a local credit card authorizations center. A year later he accepted a position as an Operations Manager for a large regional bank in Memphis. Over the next four years Cobb would serve as a manager in Check Processing, Remittance Processing, Merchant Credit Card Processing and Online Banking. [24]

In 1994 Cobb began painting again. His first exhibit in Memphis was in the lobby of the Memphis Commercial Appeal's newspaper offices. The Commercial Appeal had a dedicated space for new and unknown artists (see photo).[25][26] To gain more exposure for his paintings Cobb began donating some of his work to annual fund raising auctions for organizations such as WKNO Public Television and the Memphis Orpheum Theater. Eventually he began donating what he called "seed collections" of his works to hospitals and mental institutions. The idea behind these seed collections was for the receiving organization to hold onto the collection while they grew in value. [25][27] By 2002 he had donated more than 60 paintings to not-for-profit organizations and museums throughout the region.[25] In 2003 Cobb and his family were invited to Nashville by Governor Phil Bredesen to see Cobb's paintings on permanent display at the Tennessee State Capitol building.[26]

[edit] Innovation and Design

In the Spring of 2000 Cobb left banking to pursue more information technology (IT) skills and began working as an Oracle, DB2, and SQL Server Database Administrator and Java Programmer for a dotcom in Memphis.[28] In 2003 Cobb went to work for FedEx in Memphis, Tennessee, working first as a VB.Net programmer within the Pricing Administration Group, then as a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Professional within Information Security, and finally as a member of a newly created area called FedEx Innovation. FedEx Innovation is a dual-reporting center residing organizationally within FedEx IT and FedEx Marketing created to evaluate new marketing and technology solutions. Cobb designed and built multiple solution prototypes including a mobile "Solar Greenbench" for testing solar powered solutions both indoors and out and a facility Seismometer called the "MyVibe" constructed of off-the-shelf hardware and a Fender electric guitar pickup. Many of these units were installed in FedEx's primary data centers and facilities throughout Memphis and Collierville, Tennessee. [29]

Solar Greenbench designed and built by Guy Cobb
Neutron generator designed and built by Guy Cobb
Display designed and built by Guy Cobb
Seismometer designed and built by Guy Cobb

[edit] Braille Paintings

Exhibit of Guy Cobb's "Braille paintings" at Christian Brothers University in 2006.

By 2004 Cobb was experimenting again, this time with "visual color blending" in his paintings.[19] Being badly nearsighted he found that when he removed his glasses to look at one of his iris paintings his eyes would blur the individual colors into a dynamic group of blended colors. This lead to the idea of creating an exhibit of paintings specifically for the sight impaired and eventually the blind.[19][30]

He was already incorporating thick textures onto the surface of his paintings by squeezing the paints onto the canvas.[25] He researched and found that many art museums have what they refer to as "raised" paintings that are reproductions of masterpieces created for the blind to be able to touch the surfaces and interpret the works with the help of a recording or a guide. By the end of 2005 he had completed a series of "Braille paintings" that were original works of contemporary art meant specifically to be touched and interpreted by the blind. [31] The paintings incorporated over-sized Braille dots into the paintings. Brother Robert Werle, Curator at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, described Cobb's 2006 exhibit at the University as "the most discussed exhibit we have ever had."[31] Cobb followed up the Christian Brothers University exhibit with a second Braille exhibit at the University of Missouri's Museum of Art & Archeology in 2009.[32][33]

[edit] The Tennessee SuperLab Show (TSL)

Guy Cobb and "Gremmy" performing on The Tennessee SuperLab Show in 2009

In 2009, while working for FedEx Innovations in Memphis, Tennessee, Cobb began a social networking experiment by converting his in-house working laboratory into an online television show for kids called The Tennessee SuperLab Show (TSL). Using Facebook as the primary marketing channel, the show was able to develop a 16,000 member fan base in 23 countries within four weeks.[34] TSL incorporated characters "Gremmy" the dysfunctional gremlin, "Creepy Baby", "Tex", and Cobb as "Uncle Guido" the show's host. Episodes included how to build a mobile wind generator, how to submerge a computer in an aquarium of mineral oil as well as demonstrations of "high speed indoor British kayaking" and "How to Build a 21st Century Skateboard".[35] Below are a few of the online advertisements created by Cobb for TSL on Facebook.

TSL Ad created by Guy Cobb
TSL Ad created by Guy Cobb
TSL Ad created by Guy Cobb

[edit] Contributions to Independent Film

Photo of Guy Cobb's Great Grandfather's movie theater in Rockwall, Texas in 1916.

Guy Cobb's paternal great-grandfather, Charles Clifton Cobb, was the proprietor of a movie house in Rockwall, Texas in 1916 (see photograph at left). His great-grandfather died two years later at age 37 at Arkansas City, Kansas during the world wide 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic.[36]

In the 1980's Cobb purchased a Bolex 16mm camera, editing equipment and a VHS video camera. He began producing short comedic segments for a series he called "Welcome to Fair Grove". He then shipped the videos overseas to his college roommate William Gill who was stationed with the US Army in Korea at the time. Later some of the segments were submitted by Cobb and shown on America's Funniest Home Videos and Rogin's Heroes.

One of Cobb's Braille sunflower paintings in the film Team Picture.

Beginning in the 1990s Cobb began offering assistance financially and as an actor and extra to independent film makers in Memphis. One of his first roles was as a television journalist in Louis Magnifico's "Call of the Dark". Other films included Kentucker Audley's award winning Team Picture.[37] Audley incorporated one of Cobb's Braille sunflower paintings into the film's story.[37] In 2009 Cobb donated one of his Braille paintings to help with the financing of Audley's film "Open Five". In 2010 he worked as an extra in the film "Losers Take All" which was also filmed in Memphis.[38]

[edit] Museum Collections and Public Spaces

[edit] References

  1. ^ De-classified Operation Wigwam Film produced by the U.S. Department of Energy
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Archibald, John J., "Boing Boing Boing", (July 29, 1983), St. Louis Post Dispatch
  3. ^ Fleming, Mike "No Genius, But Cobb Goes Over Their Heads" Associated Press
  4. ^ a b Precis, Jackson Preparatory School Yearbook (1979-1982)
  5. ^ 1979 Ole Miss Yearbook
  6. ^ "Up and away" (January 15, 1980) The Daily Mississippian
  7. ^ "...and here come the Buschmen" (December 4, 1981), The Daily Mississippian
  8. ^ a b c d Smith, Verenda, "When Flying Ty does his slam dunk" (1980), Clarion-Ledger
  9. ^ a b United Press International (UPI), "Ole Miss Cheerleader Flips Over a New Dunk"
  10. ^ a b c d e f Walton, Andy, "Dunkin' To Please" (Volume 40, No.2, pages 21-24) Ole Miss Alumni Review Magazine
  11. ^ Associated Press, "Ole Miss Cheerleader tries for record tonight", Clarion-Ledger
  12. ^ Kaufman, Harold (December 22, 1987) "Who Are Those Guys?", Dallas Mavericks Press, page 17.
  13. ^ a b Futterman, Ellen "Dead Serious" (June 28, 1992) St. Louis Post-Dispatch Magazine
  14. ^ a b Goellner, Mary Jo, "Dixie Daredevils Flip Toward Fame" (July 20, 1983), St. Louis South County Journal, page 1.
  15. ^ "Dixie Daredevils Derring-Do Slated For That's Incredible" Ole Miss Alumni Review Magazine (pages 34 & 35)
  16. ^ "Looking back at historic Bud Light sports sponsorships" [1] (published June 11, 2007 by Anheuser-Busch) page 28
  17. ^ Erenberg, Debra & Hacker, George A. "Last Call for High Risk Bar Promotions That Target College Students"
  18. ^ Department of Justice, "Environmental Strategies to Prevent Alcohol Problems on College Campuses" (Originally published in April 2000, revised October 2006)
  19. ^ a b c d e f Gill, William "Imitating Art: Guy Cobb, Shelby Farms, and the Distillation of Life and Place" storySouth, Summer 2004, Retrieved 2 September 2010
  20. ^ "Death Penalty Recommended in Missouri Murders"New York Times, Associated Press, Published April 16, 1988, Retrieved September 2, 2010
  21. ^ [2] Reference from Wikipedia Article "Young Brothers Massacre"
  22. ^ Simmons, John, "Artist depicts violence with sheet metal, shotguns" (May 8, 1992), Springfield News Leader
  23. ^ Howell, Camille, "Nature drawings look dug from the ground" (February 21, 1992), Springfield News Leader
  24. ^ Zieger, Anne, "Java means Business" & "Feisty First Tennessee" (December 1, 1997), InternetWeek, page 65.
  25. ^ a b c d Morton, Victoria Y., "The Art of Giving" (August 17, 2003), The Commercial Appeal, Section D, page 1.
  26. ^ a b "A Gift for Art" (July 4, 2004), The Commercial Appeal, Section CR5.
  27. ^ "Memphis Artist Donating Original Paintings To Mississippi State Hospital" (July 23, 2003), The Independent Weekly, page 1.
  28. ^ Watson, Mark, "Communication Eases Developing Online Presence" (March 25, 2001), The Commercial Appeal, Section K, page 4.
  29. ^ Cobb interview by FedEx Innovations
  30. ^ Trescott, Abbey University of Missouri Museum of Art & Archeology
  31. ^ a b The
  32. ^ University of Missouri Museum of Art & Archeology
  33. ^ [trescott, abbey]
  34. ^ [3] Facebook Page and Statistics
  35. ^ [4] Mind Over Memphis interview (Dec. 13, 2009)
  36. ^ Guy Cobb's online family archive, Charles Clifton Cobb's Death Certificate (1918)
  37. ^ a b Kentucker Audley's Website Reference to Guy Cobb
  38. ^ (September 4, 2010) Memphis Commercial Appeal

[edit] Notes

[edit] External links

[edit] See also

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