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  Barber sells Neil Armstrong's hair clippings (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Barber sells Neil Armstrong's hair clippings
collshubby
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posted 06-01-2005 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for collshubby   Click Here to Email collshubby     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think it is the hair or the money he is worried about. I think it is the betrayal. The barber turned down several offers by this guy, but unfortunately all too often money gets in the way of friendship.

eurospace
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posted 06-01-2005 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think these hair collectors are in good company: the Catholic church has been collecting, selling and buying and exhibiting body parts of their Saints for centuries.

Churches are full of this kind of relics still today. Bones, fingers, skulls, you name it.

Why not exhibit Neil Armstrong's foot with which he stepped on the surface of the Moon in Space Chapel one day?

Food for thought...

James Brown
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posted 06-01-2005 02:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for James Brown   Click Here to Email James Brown     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
By the way, the person who has the hair collection not only has a hair collection, he has a DNA collection.
Actually, DNA is only found in the hair's roots, so unless his barber pulled his hair out, there won't be any DNA.

nasamad
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posted 06-01-2005 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't really want to get into the if's but's and wherefore's, but I really feel for the guy if he can't even get his hair cut without someone trying to make money from him!

It is hardly surprising he limits himself to posing for photo's and not signing.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 06-01-2005 03:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wehaveliftoff:
The article stated that the barber DID contact the buyer and the buyer refused to return it, at least he is an historic collector and not a silly eBayer, already owning a Napolean lock among other historical locks. Not defending the buyer but he is a legitimate collector of hair locks, not an eBay profiteer.
Let's not get too sympathetic with Reznikoff. He is a DEALER who HAPPENS to have (for some strange reason) a hair collection. We don't know how much hair was bought but I lay my money on the likelihood that small samples will be appearing for sale in the future.

I agree with ejectr - place respect for Armstrong's privacy above commercial ambition.

Ironically, Mr. Reznikoff is one of the PSA/DNA authenticators (with a scary photo on R&R's website) so maybe he has more success with hair than autographs.

James Brown
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posted 06-01-2005 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for James Brown   Click Here to Email James Brown     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Smoking Gun: One Small Snip Of Hair...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2005 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting link, Jimmy. So by the content of that letter, combined with the infromation told the Associated Press (presumeably by Sizemore), Todd Mueller is an "agent" for John Reznikoff.

At least one of these individuals has posted to collectSPACE in the past and I am fairly certain the other is well aware of this site. Perhaps one or both of these gentlemen would be so kind to respond to this thread.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 06-01-2005 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very clever reference in his lawyer's letter to the tax returns of buyer and seller to ensure they don't "accidentally" understate the sale proceeds. LOL.

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 06-01-2005 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
IF $3000 is awarded back to Neil I hope his donation goes to the "First Flight Lunar Project" in Warren, Ohio, which is a work in progress about Neil's first airplane flight there at six years of age. It will take $400,000 to complete.

Rob Joyner
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posted 06-01-2005 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder if we'll see Armstrong with a pony tail in about half a year...

earlyduke
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posted 06-01-2005 08:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for earlyduke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From a strictly legal standpoint, there are some considerations that haven't been mentioned.

Since ignorance of the law is not a recognized excuse for violating it, there is very likely liability in this case.

Also, as Mr. Armstrong's barber and Mr. Reznikoff (or his agent) worked together in violating the cited Ohio law, (if, in fact, they did) grounds for a conspiracy charge likely exist as well.

I have no idea how far Mr. Armstrong wants to pursue the matter, but I can certainly understand his undertaking the legal route; the man obviously feels he was violated and exploited, and whether this is a "silly" matter or not, the letter from his attorney is probably meant to act as a disincentive to others and serve notice that he won't tolerate such antics in the future.

mikelarson
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posted 06-01-2005 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikelarson   Click Here to Email mikelarson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regardless of who prevails in the courts, I'm not sure anyone wins in the court of public opinion. It's sad that this type of story is national news in the first place.

It's unfortunate Neil Armstrong has to deal with this news story which I'm sure he's embarrassed to be a part of. I do applaud him for holding his ground and not letting it pass, but I've got to think after seeing the media attention the story has received he's wondering if it was worth it.

Most frustrating for collectors is that I tend to agree that this incident severely hurts any chance of Armstrong following in Young's footsteps and conducting an autograph signing. Just imagine if Armstrong did agree to a signing and Reznikoff or Mueller won the Novaspace auction to spend the day with Armstrong at their office...

robsouth
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posted 06-01-2005 11:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This hair would not be a flown item for the simple reason that hair grows pretty fast, so any moon hair is long since gone.

There is a question of trust here, Armstrong should be able to trust his barber not to allow his hair to be taken and used for commercial purposes.

Rodina
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posted 06-01-2005 11:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not entirely sure Mr. Armstrong has a case. The definition of Persona doesn't seem to include things which are not inherently recognizable as being Mr. Armstrong and some silvery-black hair isn't that

Now, I haven't looked at the case law, which probably covers some of that, but it's not obvious to me that our barber -- however obnoxious his acts -- doesn't have a defense.

kucharek
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posted 06-02-2005 02:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kucharek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just wait until the first craze in need of money goes after some celebrity with scissors...

When Reznikoff now says, that "Neil Armstrong has always been one of my heroes", what he did is even more cynical. When he "knows" Neil Armstrong, he knew that Armstrong would be disgusted by such a thing.

nojnj
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posted 06-02-2005 07:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hairs an update from a local news broadcast from Cincinnati. (Lebanon is only about 30 miles or so away) It was reported on Local channel 12 that the collector has agreed to donate the money to a charity.

reznikoff
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posted 06-02-2005 07:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for reznikoff   Click Here to Email reznikoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi guys! I know some of you think hair collecting is unusual, but I would ask if your mom has a lock of your baby hair? Hair collecting as a memento predates autographs by about 2000 years! I hope to have a display at a museum some day.

For the record I neither approached nor bought the hair from the barber. I bought it from a dealer who contacted him. I also called Neil's lawyer and offered to match my initial $3000 payment by making a payment to "The Hole in the Wall Gang" (in his name), a camp for terminal children here in Connecticut that is run by Paul Newman and that is charity I work closely with.

For any with access I would purchase (fully documented of course, and for less money) any other astronauts or famous people. I just purchased on ebay this (7323237242) French kings', King Louis XVI and King Louis XVII his son, and Queen Marie Antoinette hair and am surprised that did not create more press than Neil. Happy collecting email me direct cause I don't get to log on here much.

Apollo-Soyuz
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posted 06-02-2005 07:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo-Soyuz   Click Here to Email Apollo-Soyuz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Washington Post which has been the news lately had an article in today's Style section about this.

Scott
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posted 06-02-2005 08:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My hunch is that, as Rodina thinks, Armstrong doesn't have a strong case and that, as someone else suggested, this letter is mainly to dissuade others from trying something similar.

fabfivefreddy
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posted 06-02-2005 11:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Imagine if someone took your hair sample and had the DNA "decoded."

Next they published a book of people and their DNA with a relative risk correlation for things like alcoholism, sexual deviance, bipolar mood disorder, baldness, impotence, etc., etc.

The DNA is going to be a "hot seller" when the human genome project is completed. There is a lot more to this than "just some hair."

Also, the root of the hair is better currently for DNA analysis. But that does not mean that you can't ever get it through other future methods. This area of science will just get better.

Imagine knowing that a President or leader had a disorder that may have caused a fateful decision. It would be an amazing historical discovery (or none of our business?).

kucharek
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posted 06-03-2005 04:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kucharek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fabfivefreddy:
Imagine if someone took your hair sample and had the DNA "decoded."
Don't know the laws in the US, but here in Germany your DNA is your private data and we have pretty strict laws about the protection of data privacy. No one is allowed to take or even use DNA of you without your consent.

Scott
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posted 06-03-2005 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New info from the Colorado Springs Gazette:
Armstrong apparently found out about the sale of his hair by chance on a skiing trip to Colorado. He was on a chairlift with someone who knows Mueller and knew about the deal with the barber.

Steve Smith
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posted 06-03-2005 02:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Smith   Click Here to Email Steve Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The above link quotes the collector as saying that he doesn't see the big deal as Armstrong gives autographs, and he doesn't see the difference. No wonder he doesn't understnd why Neil is upset.

Or perhaps Todd Mueller told him he has a passel of Armstong Autographs, and he gives them all the time. Hmm, maybe I should check out Mr Mueller for Armstong Autographs.

earlyduke
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posted 06-03-2005 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for earlyduke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The article referenced by Scott contains some unbelievable revelations.

John Reznikoff, whom I believe many here at cS are familiar with, said, "On one hand, I kind of understand where he [Armstrong] is coming from, but he gives autographs. There is a straight line between signed autographs and locks of hair, and I am confused by all the fuss."

Mr. Reznikoff is head of University Archives, an autograph clearing house, and is not a stranger to cS, having posted here very recently regarding this "barber" incident. I find it disingenuous, to say the least, for him to essentially claim he is unaware that Neil Armstrong hasn't signed for the public for many years, and why. Knowing that, he surely must know that Armstrong would never have agreed to volunteer locks of his hair for sale for anyone's collection. This makes it clear Mr. Reznikoff knew full well his purchase of Mr. Armstrong's hair was something that had to be done surreptitiously, yet his post here at cS and his quote in the Gazette article give the impression he thought the entire process of his acquisition was, essentially, no big deal.

In Mr. Reznikoff's cS posting, he says, "For the record I neither approached nor bought the hair from the Barber. I bought it from a dealer who contacted him". This leaves unclear, however, whether Mr. Reznikoff put Mr. Mueller up to the deed; if he did, his statement is intentionally misleading. And regardless of whether he did or did not put Mueller up to it (though that seems likely), knowing what Mr. Reznikoff certainly knows about Mr. Armstrong's desire to protect his privacy, his actions cannot be regarded as anything but unscrupulous.

In my opinion, the only honorable thing Mr. Reznikoff can do to atone for his deeds is return the hair strands to Mr. Armstrong.

Scott
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posted 06-03-2005 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're jumping to way too many conclusions. Ever heard of people being misquoted or other inaccuracies in articles? Of course Reznikoff knows that Armstrong doesn't sign. For an example of the lax accuracy in the media, just take a look at all the references in some of these articles to "Marx" the Barber who works at "Marx's Barber Shop". Well, the only problem is that his name is Mark and he works at Herold's Barber Shop.

Back in the late 1860s, people used to go to Robert E. Lee's barber for locks of his hair. That anecdote was widely known before it was alluded to in some of the recent articles. I imagine Lee could have cared less. Granted that was before eBay...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-03-2005 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just so there is no question as to the accuracy of the reporting, in response to e-mails I sent to both individuals...

John Reznikoff wrote, "I did not know Armstrong did not want his hair sold until the press broke."

Todd Mueller wrote: "We are suprised by Neil Armstrong's reaction."

Can anyone else here honestly say that upon reading the news of Armstrong's reaction that it was a surprise? If so, can you please explain why this would be out of character for an individual described by most as protective of his privacy and displeased with the commercialization of his persona.

reznikoff
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posted 06-03-2005 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for reznikoff   Click Here to Email reznikoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by earlyduke:
The article referenced by Scott contains some unbelievable revelations.
Your post is so filled with inaccuracies, false assumptions, terrible analogies, and misplaced (and possibly undeserved) self-righteousness that I will not lower myself to address it. By the way, my business has been labeled in many complimentary ways in it's tenure. Less than a handful of times not so. Never, ever have I been termed an "autograph clearing house."

I will excuse you and give you what you might be incapable of giving me... the benefit of the doubt. Clearly you have me confused with someone else.

reznikoff
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posted 06-03-2005 10:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for reznikoff   Click Here to Email reznikoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Can anyone else here honestly say that upon reading the news of Armstrong's reaction that it was a surprise?
Threatening a barber that charges $12 for a haircut with legal action seems hardly a befitting response. If this reaction did not surprise the majority of the population it would not be the news item it is. On the other hand if one were navigating towards a star of painting the whole situation in a negative manner your words might have some merit.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-03-2005 11:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I beg to differ: regardless of Armstrong's response, even if it was not to react at all, if the news of his hair being sold was made public, it would be exactly the news item it has become, much like the Virgin Mary cheese sandwich that was sold on eBay. It's an odd sale that involves a celebrity making it perfect for the 'Oddly Enough' columns.
quote:
On the other hand if one were navigating towards a star of painting the whole situation in a negative manner your words might have some merit.
John, by your perspective, the only manner in which an opinion would be fair would be if it addressed you as having done nothing wrong. And you are right, that is how it should be handled in a news article. This is not a news article - it's a discussion board. Opinions are encouraged, including your own.

If you honestly believed that Armstrong would have no objection to the sale of his hair upon learning it was done, then you are less knowledgeable about the space history market then I would have previously given you credit.

reznikoff
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posted 06-04-2005 12:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for reznikoff   Click Here to Email reznikoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Without the lawyers letter there was no story. Think "Deep Throat." It is my belief that the barber leaked it to the press. The cheese sandwich analogy is weak.

You have a point on the difference between the opinions presented here and a news article. On your other point you may be right in that my knowledge of Neil might inferior to yours and not up to what you expected. Space in total might be 3% of my business. I specialize in American Historical and Revolutionary War. I was under the impression that on at least several occasions recently autographs were given to people. I think the signature study goes up to 2000 but I thought the line in the sand was more recent.

Express your opinions, but try to be fair and open.

kucharek
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posted 06-04-2005 12:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kucharek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would have been very easy to find out what Armstrong thinks about collectors, I must say I really don't buy your excuse, especially when you're quoted as saying, that Armstrong is one of your heroes (if that quote was right).

And why did you break your rule of not buying hair of living celebrities? The rational behind this rule is pretty serious and there are enough crazies around that may now see the chance to make money by approaching celebrities with scissors.

earlyduke
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posted 06-04-2005 01:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for earlyduke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let's assume that Mr. Reznikoff was misquoted in the Gazette. So what? At best, he is absolved only of making a disingenuous statement to the paper. (And what Robert E. Lee's nonchalance to people collecting his hair samples has to do with what happened in this Armstrong instance is totally beyond me; to paraphrase — apples and lawn mowers).

Mr. Reznikoff was well aware of Armstrong's non-signing policy, and why. Isn't it odd that an interlocutor, Mr. Mueller, made the deal with Armstrong's barber, and then got that sample to Mr. Reznikoff, who just happens to like collecting hair strands of historic figures?

This "strange" confluence of events would seem to make it nearly impossible to paint any picture other than that Mr. Reznikoff knew he was doing something shady, or at the very least (and contrary to his protestations), something he knew Mr. Armstrong would find most intrusive, distasteful and unwelcome. Perhaps that was bad enough, but it got even worse.

It is cynical to attempt self-exoneration, by suggesting Armstrong is overreacting, by trying to portray him as taking a sledgehammer to a poor small town barber who only takes in $12 for a haircut; after all, who could've foreseen such non-compassion toward a simple working man? Armstrong's response was totally understandable, as he reacted as anyone who cherished their privacy and had it violated and exploited, by his barber, of all people, might have.

And does Mr. Reznikoff not consider himself more knowledgeable, when it comes to the place of historical figures in our society, than the general population? Why, then, the reference to the general population's surprise at this story?

As justification for his own "inability" to anticipate Armstrong's reaction to the affair? If Mr. Reznikoff was "under the impression that on at least several occasions recently autographs were given to people," and if Armstrong's reaction was so unforeseeable, why wasn't Armstrong approached directly with a request for a lock of his hair? Cynicism appears to be in no short supply here.

Lastly, it's ironic that Mr. Reznikoff asserts that "without the lawyers letter there was no story. Think "Deep Throat." It is my belief that the barber leaked it to the press." What are we to make of this? Is Mr. Reznikoff saying that had this matter not gained any publicity he would've just gotten away with invading Armstrong's privacy with no one having been the wiser?

This whole matter would've been easy to resolve when it first gained exposure; all Mr. Reznikoff had to do was announce he would return Armstrong's strands to him, and apologize for the episode. Even now, that action would bring quick and relieving closure to this sordid affair, and probably even afford Mr. Reznikoff a small measure of positive publicity to boot. That's the course of action I'd advise.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-04-2005 01:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by reznikoff:
Without the lawyers letter there was no story.
I believe you are underestimating the "giggle" factor the public assigns to the hobby of collecting hair. The story's catalyst may have been a legal threat (and Sizemore, quite openly, contacting the media to plead his case), but its attraction has been, quite simply, the hair. Had Armstrong been requesting the return of his watch or some other run-of-the-mill item, I doubt it would have made as large a splash as it has. 'Oddly Enough' stories are routinely the most popular on Yahoo News and other media archives. All that was missing from this story was GoldenPalace.com.

I fail to see how Armstrong giving someone an autograph has anything to do with you and Todd buying his hair without his knowledge. But you raise an interesting question: if you believed Armstrong to be generous and desired a sample of his hair, why had you not contacted him previously?

How fair and open have you been to Armstrong's request for the return of the hair? You have offered to donate money, which is fine and good, but it's not what he asked of you. He asked for Sizemore to donate the money he received and for the hair to be returned.

I think it is fair to say that not everyone agrees that the transaction between you, Todd, and Sizemore was acceptable or can be justified. Regardless of your motivations at the time, your actions now show a lack of respect for the very individual you say you want to honor. I believe that to be a fair criticism.

derek
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posted 06-04-2005 03:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for derek   Click Here to Email derek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"That's one small snip for a man..."

reznikoff
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posted 06-04-2005 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for reznikoff   Click Here to Email reznikoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by earlyduke:
This whole matter would've been easy to resolve when it first gained exposure; all Mr. Reznikoff had to do was announce he would return Armstrong's strands to him, and apologize for the episode.
If you read the lawyer's letter you will see he requested of the barber either the hair back or the profit he made to go to a charity or both. No demands have ever been made of me even when speaking with the lawyer. I only offered it because I knew that the barber would not.

I did nothing wrong, sneaky or deceiving and will not let you get me mad. I will sign off from this stream and you can say all you want. Robert is right... all of us are missing the giggle factor.

Astro Bill
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posted 06-04-2005 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Someone speculated on this lengthy thread about the possibility of collectors suddenly brandishing scissors upon meeting a celebrity. This would not be my first thought on this matter. My first speculation would be the possibility of "false hair samples" appearing on eBay. How can anyone determine that certain hair samples belong to a certain celebrity, if the DNA is only in the root of the hair? How does this collector know that all of the hair samples in his collection are genuine?

Additionally, have we established any agreement on the matter of "possession and ownership" in this matter? The barber cut Neil Armstrong's hair and the hair fell to the floor. Neil then left the premises. I am not a lawyer but doesn't that give possession and ownership of the hair to the barber? Neil may have expectation that the hair would be disposed of but he does not have "ownership" of the hair any longer. The barber can throw it into the garbage, or make the hair into a pillow if he wishes, or sell it to wig makers.

The hair is no longer "part of Neil's body" since he willingly disposed of it on someone's property. How is this "invasion of privacy"? The comparison of the hair to a personal object such as a "watch" or a pen or even a billfold is not appropriate. These items, if left at the barber shop by accident, would still be the property of the original owner. Neil would not be disposing of these items voluntarily, particularly if it is his Omega watch.

So my point is that Neil does not have possession of the hair; he disposed of it voluntarily; it had no value to Neil and it was no longer part of his body. The barber now had possession and ownership of this valueless item - hair.

The question of the propriety of this matter is something else. I cannot imagine that this scenario had not occurred to Neil during his many visits to his barber. I have joked with my barber several times over the years that "you should save that hair in case I become famous." How could Neil Armstrong not have thought of this as his hair fell to the floor over the years?

Is there only one collector of hair in the world or are there several hair collectors?

barnstormer
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posted 06-04-2005 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for barnstormer   Click Here to Email barnstormer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
Is there only one collector of hair in the world or are there several hair collectors?
I guess I'll weigh in here. I think "the giggle factor" certainly is in play here.

I have had this article brought to my attention by several people, (non-collectors) who brought it up, only because they thought that Armstrong's reaction was more bizarre than collecting locks of hair of the famous. Some locks of Manfred von Richthofen's hair have been continually resized down to as little as a 1/8 segment of a single hair and may bring as much as the Armstrong hair mentioned.

Those on collectSPACE may assume that the Armstrong response to commercialization of his discarded hair was inevitable. But there has been no correlation, here, to the almost daily selling of his autographed items here and elsewhere, which he clearly deplores. The very reason he quit signing. Should everyone send back all his autographed items, or donate the money they made selling them on eBay? Some my have been offered as gifts or courtesies, and souvenirs — but he clearly would have refused, had he been told they would later be sold for considerable amounts of money, Don't you think? He has taken a very firm stance that selling his autographs is deplorable to him.

But I don't think that commerce hurts him any more than having some of his hair (destined for the garbage bin) in Mr. Reznikoff's collection of samples from many other historic figures.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 06-04-2005 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rodina (Andrew) was kind enough to link to the Ohio state law protecting the "persona rights" of the famous.

I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one. So I can only comment on my layman's read of the code. It begins:

Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not use any aspect of an individual's persona for a commercial purpose during the individual's lifetime or for a period of sixty years after the date of the individual's death.
As Andrew writes, the law does not specify "hair" as being part of a persona. However, it does allow for protection of his name.

The hair — unlabeled — has no intrinsic value. But that was not what was being sold: it was "Neil Armstrong's hair." The value was created through the representation that this was a famous person's hair.

So while the barber might have the right to sell the non-descript hair that falls to the floor to wig makers or doll manufacturers, the question is did he have the right to use Armstrong's name in connection with its sale.

It doesn't matter if Armstrong realized the value of his hair — because it has no value. The commodity is in his name, and that is a concept he is clearly familiar (reference his prior legal action against Hallmark, for example).

As for Armstrong's reaction, I have found most non-collectors to be sympathetic with the moonwalker's position. Asked whether they would be upset if they discovered their barber was profiting thousands of dollars off strands of their hair, all replied that they would be angered and most would do what it takes to put an end to it immediately.

Fortunately, the majority of the public needn't worry about such things. Unfortunately, Neil Armstrong and other notable figures now do.

gliderpilotuk
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From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 06-04-2005 11:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by barnstormer:
But I don't think that commerce hurts him any more than having some of his hair (destined for the garbage bin) in Mr. Reznikoff's collection of samples from many other historic figures.
Maybe not "hurts" him but offends, yes - especially if some of the hair was destined for resale (something we do not know for sure, but I'm sure Armstrong would assume).

I've always wondered how he maintains control over signed checks and credit card receipts. I've only ever seen one check on the market.

Scott
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 06-04-2005 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a hunch that the root (sorry) of this whole situation is Armstrong feeling betrayed by who he thought was one of his few true friends. He had reportedly gone to Mr. Sizemore every month for goodness knows how many months/years. My hunch is it's a personal thing (and perhaps, as someone pointed out earlier, also a warning to other acquaintances). I could be wrong but that's my take right now.

If it was just Armstrong being incensed at someone selling something from him that wasn't intended specifically as an autograph, then why didn't Armstrong go after the gentleman who obtained and subsequently sold the handwritten "N.A. Armstrong" address from Armstrong when Neil reviewed his Eagle Scout presentation?

Or if it was revealed that some of Neil's hair from a military haircut decades ago was in someone's possession, would he really care?

I think it's Armstrong being disappointed with a friend.


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