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Happy Thanksgiving (Original Post) Roy Rolling Nov 2018 OP
Now I've had my yearly dose of Alice's Restaurant ... groundloop Nov 2018 #1
Years ago, my cousin, Jim got Officer Obie's autograph. 3Hotdogs Nov 2018 #2
Just found this on wikipedia..... "Obie" and Arlo became lifelong friends groundloop Nov 2018 #5
Thank you! Lifelong Protester Nov 2018 #3
Makes me smile. Every time! Thanks! LuckyLib Nov 2018 #4


(11,464 posts)
1. Now I've had my yearly dose of Alice's Restaurant ...
Thu Nov 22, 2018, 11:05 AM
Nov 2018

That made me feel better, even with having to work today.


(11,464 posts)
5. Just found this on wikipedia..... "Obie" and Arlo became lifelong friends
Fri Nov 23, 2018, 01:24 PM
Nov 2018

William J. Obanhein (October 19, 1924 – September 11, 1994), also known as Officer Obie, was the chief of police for the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He was a member of the police force there for 34 years, 1951 to 1985. He is fairly well known for his appearances in popular culture.

Obanhein was the "Officer Obie" mentioned in Arlo Guthrie's 1967 talking blues song "Alice's Restaurant." Obanhein later stated that some of the events in the song were not completely true; for one, he never "handcuffed" Guthrie during the arrest nor did he remove the toilet seat from Guthrie's cell to prevent suicide as Guthrie implied (it was instead removed to prevent theft).[1] Obanhein later would note that he would not have actually arrested Guthrie had the amount of garbage been smaller (he would have simply picked up the garbage himself)[2] and meant to use the arrest and subsequent media circus as an example to deter any further large-scale littering incidents.

Disagreements with Guthrie aside, Obanhein accepted an offer from another Stockbridge resident, Arthur Penn, to appear as himself in a film adaptation of Alice's Restaurant he was directing and co-writing.[3] He told Newsweek magazine (September 29, 1969, where his photo appears) that making himself look like a fool was preferable to having somebody else make him look like a fool.[4] Working on the film caused Obanhein to develop greater respect for Guthrie, and the two became friends for the rest of Obanhein's life.[5]

Obanhein posed for Norman Rockwell (himself a resident of Stockbridge) for a handful of sketches, including the 1959 black-and-white sketch Policeman With Boys, which was used in nationwide advertisements for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).[6] He is sometimes mistaken (including on Guthrie's own website) for the officer who posed for Rockwell's more widely known painting The Runaway, which appeared on a 1958 cover of The Saturday Evening Post; this was not Obanhein but Massachusetts state trooper Richard Clemens,[7] and the painting was instead set at Joe's Diner in Lee, Massachusetts, not in Stockbridge.[8]

Obanhein died September 11, 1994, apparently from an heart attack.[2]

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