What's in a Picture?
Central Park Pilates
Whenever someone mentions the name of Bangor native Charley Miller, it is always coupled with one of two titles: “Famous Maine Guide” or the “World’s Greatest Outdoor Cook.” Although self-proclaimed, the name qualifiers stuck thanks to carefully crafted publicity photos like the one above. Taken in New York City prior to his appearance at the National Sportsmen’s Show in March 1936, Miller had recently completed a 225-mile snowshoe trek from Bangor to Boston, and set up camp in the best available spot — Central Park.
The man with perfect posture on the right, sitting tall with a strong core and honed sense of balance, is none other than Joseph Pilates — the namesake and founder of the popular exercise program. Miller, a well-known publicity hound, jumped at opportunities to demonstrate the pleasure of outdoor cooking to celebrities. He hosted known stars such as Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Bing Crosby, Jack Dempsey, and Bob Hope for weekends of hunting, angling, and cooking at his Moosehead Lake camp. He successfully leveraged this fame into lucrative endorsements, but always made sure to tout his lifelong Maine connection. In a full page ad for S.O.S. Magic Scouring Pads that appeared in the magazines Life, Good Housekeeping, and Better Homes and Gardens, Miller wrote: “Hope to see you some day in the Maine woods. I can promise you some good outdoor meals because all my pots and pans are cleaned with S.O.S.” — Will Bleakley
Photograph © Bettmann/CORBIS