The Story Behind The Image

Discussion in 'Notable Freemasons' started by Blake Bowden, May 19, 2014.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    No doubt you've seen the popular cartoon of the Shriner carrying the crippled girl (above left). What many people don't know is that it is based on an actual photo taken at an event in 1970 (above right). It is Randy Dieter's original photo of Shriner Al Hortman (formerly of Evansville, Indiana, now living in Georgia), carrying a girl named Bobbi Jo Wright. The older girl on the left in the photo is Hortman's daughter, Laura, who was a patient at Shriners Hospital in St. Louis. After Laura began receiving treatment at Shriners Hospitals For Children, Hortman himself joined the Shrine.

    The photo known as the "Editorial Without Words" is probably one of the best recognized symbols of Shriners Hospitals, yet it was taken almost by accident. Randy Dieter, the photographer, recalled that in 1970, he had been on assignment covering Hadi Temple's annual outing for handicapped children at the now-defunct Mesker Amusement Park in Evansville, Indiana.

    "I was taking shots of the midway and was using my telephoto lens," Dieter said. "I saw a local Shriner walking by carrying a little girl in one hand and her crutches in the other. My camera wouldn't fire. Then they were too close for my lens. I ran past them, but the camera jammed. I had to take my last shot as they walked by. It was the end of the roll. If I had to think about it, I wouldn't have come up with something like that. Fate guides you."

    "It still seems unreal," said Bobbi Jo Wright, the little girl in the photo. "I have many wonderful memories of the years I was a patient at the St. Louis Shriners Hospital and remember all the fun activities. I was born with cerebral palsy, which resulted in many orthopedic problems that made walking difficult. I had many surgeries at the St. Louis Hospital. They greatly improved my ability to walk."

    Bobbi Jo received her B.A. in English from Anderson University. She is active in her church and teaches Sunday School. "I use a cane when I go shopping," she said. "If I'm walking on grassy areas, I use crutches."

    Today, the famous photo is an integral part of the Shriners Hospitals logo, and has been reproduced on stained-glass windows, mosaics, tie tacs, pins, and in statues. A larger-than-life replica of the "Editorial Without Words" stands outside the International Shrine Headquarters building in Tampa. Photographer Randy Dieter presently serves as graphics editor for the Kentucky Post.

    Source: Kosair Shriners
    asdf4727, JustinCC93, Bloke and 7 others like this.
  2. Tony Uzzell

    Tony Uzzell Registered User

    I'm just letting you know that I stole the text and pictures and shared them on FB.

    It's a great story and image. It was one of my Dad's favorites and my inspiration for joining the Shrine.

    Blake Bowden likes this.
  3. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    Bobbi Jo Wright likes to travel around to Shrine centers giving talks. When I saw her speak about 3 years ago at my Shrine Medinah near Chicago the hall was packed.
  4. Flatworlder

    Flatworlder Registered User

    Seriously an inspiring piece of History..
  5. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

  6. Levelhead

    Levelhead Premium Member

    Awesome piece of history!

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