Now brilliantly recaptured as shown on the left, The iconic "Moxie Boy" has been the symbol of Moxie for over 100 years.
Early in the course of Moxie history, many "people" images were used to symbolize the virtues and attributes of Moxie, including presidents (Teddy Roosevelt) and various movie stars of the late 1800's and early 1900's.
In 1906, it was decided to use a unique "Moxie Boy" as an image to identify with Moxie. The first Moxie Boy is captured in the first story below (by Jim Jansson).
The most famous one, however, was Moxie Boy #2 (1911-1940's) with a mystery surrounding his identity...the one sternly pointing his finger at you (looking kinda sorta like Rudolph Valentino, early cinema heartthrob and sex symbol)...and that story (by John Leheney) immediately follows.
We conclude with Jansson's story about the more mellow but nonetheless "sexy" Moxie Boy #3 (1940's on) and then some Moxie Boy miscellany and serious frivolity.
THE FIRST MOXIE BOY – 1906 to 1910
By James JanssonIf there was a model for the very first Moxie Boy, he probably would have been from the Boston area. He would have modeled for these drawings in 1906 or 1907. The earliest items that are dated showing this Moxie Boy are from October 22, 1907. This young man could have been an employee of the Moxie Company in Boston. I doubt that Frank Archer Sr. was this Moxie Boy. Archer was born in 1862 and would have been about 45 years old when this Moxie Boy was created. Archer claimed that he never knew who the Moxie Boy was. This is backed up by a statement made later by Orville Purdy. However, the whole idea of the Moxie Boy was most likely Archer’s idea. In David Bowers’ book "The Moxie Encyclopedia" (1985), on page 188 under the photo of a young man driving a Moxie Company Stanley Steamer (shown above), Bowers states; "Above is shown a happy lad, closely resembling the Moxie Boy of the period." This photo was taken in February of 1906. On page 190 is another photo taken in February, 1906 that shows more Moxie autos in front of a Rambler auto dealership, Thomas B. Jeffery & Co. Columbus Ave. (Boston? - see below). In this photo, I believe the same lad driving the Stanley Steamer on page 188 is standing behind one of the Ramblers. He is wearing the same hat, jacket, and hanky in his jacket pocket. The other drivers are in top coats and wearing drivers caps. Could this indicate that our young lad was the new boy in the Moxie Company at the time? If you were going to create an advertising figure for the company titled "The Moxie Boy" would you use our young lad, who seems to be everywhere, or would you use the stout gentleman with the mustache driving the Rambler on page 190? Look at our young lad’s face on page 188 and then turn to page 323 and look at this Moxie Boy. I would say that there is quite a resemblance here! Perhaps, there is a list somewhere of Moxie Company employees from this era with this Moxie Boy’s name on it?
John Leheney states in his book "To Maine with Moxie" (2008), that the "second" (1911) Moxie Boy was John T. Chamberlin. Chamberlin was an employee of the Forbes Lithograph Mfg. Co. when he modeled for the 1911 Moxie Boy around 1910 or 1911. Forbes was producing much of Moxie’s advertising items well before the 1907 date when Moxie came up with the first Moxie Boy. Could the first Moxie Boy have also come from the Forbes Company in Revere? He was probably around the same age as Chamberlin, maybe slightly older?In 1905 Wood, Putnam & Wood was also one of Moxie’s advertising agents. They had something to do with a newspaper article covering a parade of 14 Moxie autos that covered the Boston area. Could there be a connection here with our first Moxie Boy? Of course, this is all speculation on my part. I’m hoping that someone who might have some information will see my story and help uncover who really was the very first Moxie Boy.
Ad from 1906 (left) using Moxie Boy #1. Note "Moxie" before the 1907 logo change as seen on the next two images.
CHANGES to MOXIE BOY #2...Intro to MOXIE BOY #3
By James Jansson
During the mid 1930s there were some minor variations and changes to Moxie Boy #2 (1911-1940s). He had the same face and hair and the right hand was still pointing. He still wore the white jacket. Missing was the Moxie "M" stick pin in his tie and the Moxie Associates Pin on his left lapel. The stiff cellulose collar was replaced with a more modern pointed collar shirt. The shirt which used to have a yellow colored body was now all white. The tie which was a solid navy blue (?)became blue with a type of star pattern on it. Rare examples that show his entire body revealed the brown high-top shoes had been replaced with more modern black low cut shoes with green (?*) socks. During the 1911 to 1940 period there were occasional changes to the Moxie Boys eyes (they were usually blue). Jacket, shirt, and tie colors also varied during this period.
(*?) On some of the old posters there is some fading that would cause colors to change.
MOXIE BOY #3 (late 1940's to present)
After WWII there was a complete change in the Moxie Boy’s face (above, top). This is the "Frank Sinatra" (above, lower right) look that Orville Purdy had requested. Actually, he looks more like Robert Condon (above, lower left) and/or Walter Ginnetty (above, lower center), two young men who probably modeled for or somehow inspired this version of the Moxie Boy. He still wears the white jacket with the white pointed collar shirt. The tie is a solid blue with no stick pin. Missing is the "Drink Moxie" sign protruding from under his right arm. Basically, this is the same version that has been used up until recently (2008). Yes, what you see on recent cans and bottles is a highly stylized version of this Moxie Boy with an orange jacket, but, it is still basically the 1940s version.
first Moxie Boy had a life span of about 5 years – 1906 to 1911. I’m
still trying to find out who modeled for this version? The “second” or
1911 version of the Moxie Boy lasted from 1911 to the late 1940s. Thanks
to John Leheney, we now know that this version was modeled by John T.
Chamberlin. You can read all about it in John Leheney’s book, “To
Maine with Moxie” (2008). I don’t believe that Frank Archer Sr. ever
posed for either of these Moxie Boys (J.L. agrees). Archer was born in
1862 and he would have been in his mid to late forties when these Moxie
Boys were conceived. Archer died in 1937.
we come to the “1940s” Moxie Boy, the third and possibly last version
of the Moxie Boy. You would have thought that this version of the Moxie
Boy would have been easy to figure out – it has not. Orville Purdy of
the Moxie Company did say that he was responsible for this version of the
Moxie Boy. Mr. Purdy had an artist change the old Moxie Boy to look like
the singer Frank Sinatra. While Sinatra was an influence on this Moxie
Boy, he never directly modeled for this version. If he had, this most
certainly would have been big news! I believe that this version of the
Moxie Boy looked more like Walter Ginnetty and Robert Condon. Walter and
Robert are two young men that I contend had a major influence on this
Moxie Boy’s final look. I will get back to them later.
the years, there have been several young men who may have modeled for the
different Moxie Boys. Unfortunately, none of these men, their artists, or
the people from their advertising agencies are still with us (?). I have
yet to see an artist’s name associated with any of these drawings. If it
wasn’t for some of their surviving relatives and Bowers’ and
Potter’s books, we would still know nothing about the Moxie Boys.
Q. David Bowers’ book, “The Moxie Encyclopedia” (1985), on page 686
there is a photo of Walter Ginnetty. Bowers comments on how Ginnetty is a
“dead ringer” for the new (1940s) Moxie Boy. If this revised Moxie Boy
is an artist’s composite sketch, then I would agree with Bowers that
Ginnetty may have had a strong influence on the final version.
Ginnetty was born in 1919. He worked for the Moxie Company from the
1930’s up until 1948 when he left the Moxie Company to go into the
Boston Fire Department where he worked for the next 35 years (Engine 33 on
Boylston St.). During WWII, Walter Ginnetty was a sergeant with the
“Burma Banshees” of the Tenth Air Forces 80th Fighter
Group. Walter’s father Cornelius, a brother Arthur, and a couple of his
younger sisters also worked for the Moxie Company. Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius
Ginnetty had 9 children. They grew up at Heath Street and Moxieland.
Ginnetty Galvin, Walter Ginnetty’s daughter, tells us that her mother
and her aunts used to tell her that this Moxie Boy was believed to be an
image of her father. “Moxie employees would come up to my father and
tell him that he was that photo!” They would say, “Hey Walter, that
picture is of you!”
may not have mattered whether Walter Ginnetty actually modeled for this
Moxie Boy or not. His familiarity around the Moxie Company at this time,
his good looks, and his likeness to Frank Sinatra probably are what
influenced this version of the Moxie Boy as much as anything else. Walter
Ginnetty passed away in 1989. If there was anyone who deserved the title
“Moxie Man” it was certainly Walter Ginnetty.
the 2006 New England Moxie Congress annual meeting in Kennebunkport, Mrs.
Shirley Davenport of York, Maine, shared with us a photo, taken around
1945, of a young man named Robert Condon. Robert was originally from
Methuen, Massachusetts which is near Lowell. “Robert Condon said that he
had posed for one of the Moxie posters in the 1940s,” said Mrs.
Davenport. Mrs. Davenport was a friend of the Condon family as a young
girl growing up in Methuen. She believes that Robert may have been born
around 1923 and had a brother. Mrs. Davenport is proud to still be a Moxie
Condon was a part time model and later moved to Hollywood where he became
a bit actor. He appeared in several movies including; Wing and a Prayer
(1944), Home in Indiana (1944), and See Here Private Hargrove (1944). I
have seen two photos of “Bobby” Condon dated 1941 and 1945. There is a
resemblance to the “1940s” Moxie Boy. Other than his acting in the
above mentioned movies, little is known about Robert Condon since then.
“He seemed to have just disappeared after that,” said Mrs. Davenport.
If Orville Purdy was looking for the Frank Sinatra look in his 1940s Moxie
Boy, he certainly found it in Walter Ginnetty and Robert Condon!
The last Moxie Boy? Basically, the 1940s version of the Moxie Boy was used up until recently (2008). What you see on recent cans and bottles is a highly stylized version of the 1940s Moxie Boy. In 2008, the Moxie Company eliminated the Moxie Boy’s image from their cans and bottles. Could this be the end of one of Moxie’s greatest advertising icons? If so, he had a great 100 year run!
In the 1950's, Ted Williams occasionally served as the pointing Moxie Boy (below, left).
In the 1970’s, apparently, someone saw fit to give him extended sideburns as a "mod" fashion statement (below, right).In 2008, Cornucopia Beverages, Moxie’s new owners, changed the labeling on Moxie’s cans and bottles and eliminated the Moxie Boy’s image from them. This has upset many of the old Moxie faithful. I guess this is Moxie’s bold, forward move into the 21st Century. I wish them good luck.
I hope Moxie will still find some use for the Moxie Boy image in future advertisement campaigns. The Moxie Boy will always have a place in our hearts!
The new administration has announced that the solution has been found for combating our economic woes!
(and it was right under our noses all the time!)
(pic courtesy of Jim Jansson)
Presents the MOXIE
BOY robot of the future,
cruising his way
around the universe,
saving Moxie for
(Good job, Jimm-e)
Attached to the Moxie Boy?
Do what Colin Devonshire (left) and Bryce Hanson (right) did...get the Moxie Boy attached to you!