Lester Gaba is nuts. But he’s my kind of nuts. Lester was a weird man. A profoundly strange man. But like a lot of strange men, he had very particular tastes and the gumption to turn them into something. But old creepface up there decided that he would craft himself the hottest, best, and most famous woman to have at his side.
That woman was named Cynthia.
Cynthia was a socialite and movie star. She had her own late night talk show. She dressed in the best fashions, was invited to all of the best parties, and had all of the right friends. The only problem with Cynthia is that she can’t move her fucking arms. Because Cynthia is a goddamn mannequin.
Lester created some goofball mannequin that he lugged around to parties and staged in the homes and dinners and all of the newspapers came around and took pictures. Cynthia was super famous for the time. She was engaged to a famous radio star. Hell, they even gave her a fucking credit card.
Guys, I’m not making this shit up. The 1930’s was a weird time and New York is and was a weird city. Can you imagine being a family still suffering from the ravages of the Great Depression and you see a plaster woman getting free jewels and furs from famous stores and being wined and dined like she was a living breathing person?
But for me it raises the question, are you famous because something you made was famous? I don’t think people really liked Lester. But I think people loved the idea of Cynthia. She was a very cutting edge mannequin for the time. She was made of plaster and not wax. She wouldn’t melt in the heat, and she was light enough to move and bring with you.
So was Lester Gaba famous? I guess. But all of the articles about Lester and Cynthia are outward facing. They’re about Cynthia and why she is catching the public’s attention. Essentially, she was a 1930’s meme. Lester was just the guy who started it. He’s like an art deco scumbag Steve.
The problem? Lester couldn’t separate reality from fiction. He didn’t get that it was a joke. He thought it was real. He started to see Cynthia as a real person. He had all these grandiose visions. She had a column in the newspaper. She had a radio show. She had box seats at the opera.
Everything was looking great for Lester and Cynthia until WW2 happened and Lester went off to war. When he came home, he tried to pick up where he left off with Cynthia, but no one cared. He sunk $10,000 into creating a robotic mouth with a speaker for her so she could talk and host a TV talk show. But the speaker was awful and just screeched and sqwuaked and let out a horrible, terrifying sound. The TV networks eventually passed on this idea.
By the 1950’s no one cared at all about Cynthia. And in the 1960’s Lester finally gave up the ghost and resigned his mannequin to an attic somewhere. No one knows where. She might still be in some New York City attic, all dusty and falling apart and weird.
This sounds like something out of Fallout. I wonder if she still has her robot mouth and screeching talk box. Can you imagine the horror of finding this weird 1930’s mannequin, jaw flapping, screaming for it’s life?
But again, I am spending all my time talking about what happened to Cynthia. All of these things really happened to Lester. Some weird Missouri native who basically used a female form as an avatar for social ascendance. And once she was no longer relevant, neither was he.
So today I salute you, Lester Gaba. You were a talented artist who created a prehistoric meme that left you bitter and broken in your old age. Cynthia was successful because she wasn’t a joke to you. Your belief made her real, and your belief destroyed you both. But you are amazing and your story is worth sharing. Welcome to the ranks, you fucking weirdo.