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Sometimes while I’m preparing newspapers for microfilming, I come across interesting images, often I’ll take a photo on my phone and upload it to Facebook to share with my friends.

The Dobbs head was immediately recognizable in this advertisement for a department store in Leesburg, Virginia. This is believed to be the earliest known reference to date.

I did this a couple of weeks ago and received an amazing response to a series of photos I posted from The Blue Ridge Herald from June 1956.  I have been aware of the Church of the SubGenius since the late 1980′s.  During high school, a friend’s older brother had purchased a copy of The Book of the SubGenius : The Sacred Teachings of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, so I checked it out.  Wikipedia identifies the Church of the SubGenius as “a ‘parody religion’ organization that satirizes religion, conspiracy theories, unidentified flying objects, and popular culture.”

Father's Day advertisement for Tobacco Gifts featuring Bob.

Two days after my initial posts I started receiving many comments and “likes” from strangers who are affiliated with the Church.  The three photos were shared a total of 78 times in a period of just a few days.  Reactions ranged from incredulity to claims of “Without a doubt, this is the most significant discovery of the age.” and “A truly earth shattering discovery!”  Naysayers left comments such as “Hmmm…no dimple on the chin. I call FALSE BOB! CAST HM OUT!”, “That is not ‘Bob’ — it’s a False Bob. Do not be fooled by cheap imitations”, “The shadows are ALL WRONG. The shadows from his nose and cheeks point downwards at a 45 degree angle to the left (DOWN AND TO THE LEFT, DOWN AND TO THE LEFT), but the shadow of his PIPE go down at a 45 degree angle to the RIGHT.  It’s LEE HARVEY OSWALD all over again”, and “Note the strange roundness of the pipe.”

Ivan Stang, co-founder of the group and author of the book mentioned above, left a couple of encouraging comments on the photos.  ”Actually I suspect that this is a photo that predates the halftone drawing that became our trademark — taken back when Dobbs was a model, before he became so Slack-imbued that his presenced fogged film. This is a truly a precious artifact…” He also wrote, “This appears to be an even EARLIER version of the Grail — predating the Drummondian Virgin Halftone Dobbshead! COMPLETELY NEW TO ME and I’ve been seeing variations for 33 years –”

The Blue Ridge Herald of Purcellville, Virginia., June 7, 1956.

The real-life origin of the SubGenius logo?

Silver Persinger

Former Project Technician


  • Rev. Clintonics says:

    Praise “Bob”! Many media outlets controlled by the C.O.N.S.P.I.R.A.C.Y. have exploited his holy haltone image.

  • Liz says:

    Well Ivan Stang said he got the picture from some old newspaper clipart.

  • The Dobbshead echoes back and forth through time, reflecting off periods of instability in the Luck Plane. The Dobbshead has no more of a “first appearance” than time travel: by definition it popped into existence simultaneously at all points in time.

    • Wet Payne says:

      And just as the Church announced that some old pagan myths were vague pre-sentiments of the True Faith, which is why Madonna&Childs look like older images of Isis&Horus, we can state without fear of contradiction that the evolution of hominids, tobacco, woodworking, and dentistry were all DIRECTED by the need to converge on this image.

  • Satellite Weavers says:

    The original came from a Yellow Pages clip art book. Verily, this is the living being from which the the clip art derived. This is the only certified photo of “Bob” in the living flesh, proof that this person walked the Earth.

    • Wet Payne says:

      [Holds up page with “Bob” on it.] As David Letterman used to say as he waggled his letters’ cards, ‘If these weren’t real, could I do THIS with them?’

  • cathedral blood says:

    it is apparant that bob has bestowed us with this sign. he went into the past and emblazened his likeness on this paper.

  • Terry says:


  • Ryan says:

    I’m reading all these comments, and seriously, do you all know how crazy you sound?

  • Hank jr says:

    WALKS! Dobbs lives again! X-Day’s a comin’, y’all pinks better start runnin’!
    Won’t do ya much good, but moving targets are more fun!

  • Dennis Wingo says:

    Some people have far too much time on their hands…

  • Slacktastic says:

    “Bob” sold it
    I smoked it
    That settles it!

  • the Mystical Revvederrand Doktor eddieVroom says:

    Time is circular. 1956 is our FUTURE.

  • Clearly a false bob placed there by browsists to tempt believers into the slough of consumerism that taints their existence. To True believers it is an obvious stain. Praise Bob!

  • Choo Choo Bear says:

    Pull the wool over your own eyes

  • Simon Delaplaya says:

    Puzzling, Puzzling Evidence…

  • Nenslo says:

    For the record, the source of the Primal Dobbshead of the Church of the SubGenius was a book of Yellow Pages clip art found by Dr. Philo Drummond at his Conspiracy Slavejob. It was assumed for decades among the Art Doctors (and I assure you it has been discussed for frapped-up hours on end) that the Head was an idealization of the Archetypal Perfect Dobbs of a purity which could never exist in this broken world. To be confronted with irrefutable proof of the existence of a Living Dobbs has caused a great deal of delightful trauma. He walked the earth even as you and I.

  • w beaty says:

    Everyone missed the anomaly:

    20sec in, a bright light moves rapidly from left to right!!!

  • Rev. 3o3 says:

    Another amazing feat of
    ‘ultimate slack” from Bulldada Time Control Laboratories!
    Now, for a modest donation, you too can have all the “time” in the world.

  • Prince Reverbo von Ecko says:

    Beware the False Bob, the Fakir Fist of Insignificance.

  • Patrick says:

    This graphic was also used in a National Lampoon cartoon in the 80s. It was titled “The Appletons” as I recall. I remember seeing J.R. “Bob” Dobbs shortly thereafter and wondering if that was the origin of the graphic.

  • “They may be PINK, but their money is STILL GREEN!”

    – Quote from J. R. “Bob” Dobbs said to L. Ron Hubbard.

  • Pope Jimbo says:

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED that so many true believers, Gimme”Bobs,” Bobbies and the like lack the RESPECT owed to The Living Slackmaster by ALWAYS wrapping his hallowed name in quotation marks! Only the lowest of the ignorant would ignore this absolute dogmatic law. Please, please, ladies and gentlemen, quotation marks and a CAPITAL “B,” please; for the sake of your own eternal soul. Bobs and bobs are mere slobs and cheap knock-offs. J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, thank you very much. Praise good Dr. Grabow and the smoke emanating from THE PIPE.

  • Mr. Dandy says:

    This is an antiquity of unsurpassed beauty and importance. The only thing better would a Dobbs-blood engorged mosquito, trapped in amber and ready for dino-cloning. OR KILL ME!

    • St seemless dotA aka rev really rather rancid error dotNoShit says:

      I wnt and do not want to kill you, but I might.

      Yes I eventully, yes eventully turned rogue and followin that “BoB” turned my brain into n octopus, the puss had long since died, so “BOB” donated his 7-bladed windbreaker to that cause, Praise “Bob”. Since then the conspiracy seems to be doing its best to turn me renegade, oh well octopii seem to be able to survive more readily than cats. This ad and people response did manage to touch me, I had a giggle, it was nice,

  • Lou Manyeti says:

    Stang was a drunkard in those days.. he actually met bob, back in the 70’s but wrote the hole thing off as a hallucination,, then scared by seeing His image in print, he had one of those.. um epiphanies
    The truth of that day was “bob” was showing me how one could indeed sell antying to anyone, I was a sales trainee at the time.
    so we found a young stumble bum at random, and he gat a dollar out of him by promising him “an END to your suffering” then spewed out a horrid mishmash of every religion and cult available at the time. getting said street drunk to nod his head then rise and wail. We left him halleluya- ing the sidewalks..

    Bob started dyeing his then grey hair soon after that.
    Imagine my surprise at find that incedent started stang on his little art project.
    bob and I still keep in touch, he is pretty old now but in good shape considering his incarceration.

    you can ask stang… Bob and i came to visit him in a Portland OR devival some yeras back.. in the limo,,, and yeah we had to stop the car so the Good Reverend could throw up. Go ahead, ask him.

  • sunwukong says:

    Bob must be related to Johsiah Carberry who taught at MIT. Look it up carberry is real so there must be a god named Bob.

  • jenny m says:

    He turned me into a newt

    …true story

    • irReverend Edwin Vade says:

      Clearly, you got better, as your photo shows you to be an international symbol for a person, not a newt. But BURN HIM ANYWAAAAAAY!!!

  • At last, physical, irrefutable PROOF of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs’ corporeal existence on this Earth! This is just like the Shroud of Turin, but without all the semen stains.

  • Rev. Peter Because says:

    I’m posting here to bring back all those uncomfortable memories, and hopefully cause new ones too! Praise “Bob”!!!

  • irReverend Edwin Vade says:


  • Mark says:

    SLACKS $ 4.95

  • Kriss krass says:


  • ‘SLACKS $4.95 to $5.95’

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