Then I took a closer look at the fineness of the detail in the blanket and the spots: it’s a level of detail we haven’t even seen in hobbyist customs, until fairly recently. I would have been thrilled if my old Traditional Stud Spiders from the late 1970s had had marking that clean and sharp.
(Though we will be finding what that would have looked like sometime in 2016, when the Vintage Club Man o’ War is released. No imitation overspray on that one Reeves, please!)
The name amused me a little bit; allegedly he’s named after a high-end residential complex in Chicago, though being a Detroiter the name Belvedere conjures up a completely different architectural landmark – Mr. Belvedere of Belvedere Construction!
His catchphrase – for those of you who didn’t grow up watching television in the metro Detroit area in the 1970s – was “We do good work!” Which seems fitting in the case of my little Belvedere, whom I’ve named Maurice. He’s a sturdy little fellah, expertly painted.
The Mr. Belvedere commercials always made me cringe a little, though, since many of the examples of the “good work” involved stripping the gingerbread off of old Victorian houses and covering them with generic white aluminum siding and fake plastic shutters. Good work? Maybe. Good taste? Heavens, no….
I actually met “Mr. Belvedere” once – on the hunt for horses at a flea market, of course! My father told me to turn around, and there he was, sitting in a booth in all his leisure-suited glory.
In terms of local celebrity-dom, it wasn’t as exciting as meeting Bill Kennedy, Sir Graves Ghastly or even Sonny Eliot, but it was better than running into Oopsy the Clown.
I can’t remember if I found any horses that day, though. I stopped going to that flea market a few years later anyway, since it was a bit of a drive and was becoming increasingly less fruitful.
I’m finding just as many – if not more – models now as then, just in different locations. And sometimes meeting different local celebrities, too.