Here to collect his Redskins-Ravens Predictions prize in the form of a guest post is Phil Reed, who has a wonderful and unique old Redskins story to tell. Note: Doc Walker himself confirmed portions of what follows.
On a late afternoon in May, I watched the dust kick up from the line of trucks and sport utilities ahead of us as they traveled slowly down a dirt road. I was in the backseat of my father’s car, anxious to help out on his project that started with a whimsical idea and would end with national notoriety.
A few weeks earlier, my dad, Walter, approached Rick “Doc” Walker with an idea to immortalize the Super Bowl-winning Washington Redskins offensive line in a poster. In exchange for an introduction to George Starke, who would later agree to corral the “Hogs” together for the photo shoot and provide promotional support, my dad gave Doc Walker a personal golf lesson.
On that day in May, after their morning practice, eight world champions met on a hog farm in Leesburg, Virginia. They dressed in top hats, tails and white gloves and arranged themselves behind a 700-pound, award-winning hog named “Worthy.”
As the crew was assembling the table and arranging the lobster, champagne glasses and candelabra, I noticed that some of the Hogs were missing their bow ties. I scrambled back to the car to search under seats and in the mess of boxes in the trunk. I found the ties in a bag that had fallen on the ground and ran back to the shoot, only to find the crew was done for the day. “Worthy” was done eating her feed and wouldn’t be sticking around for an attempt at another shot.
With that, the “Hogs Night Out” poster was born.
Ralph Gittesson, a buyer for Peoples Drug (a predecessor to today’s CVS) bought 50,000 from Starke on first sight and would later put in additional orders. Some days later, I stayed up late with my dad as the posters came off the printing press. I then helped roll and stuff them into tubes. As a 13-year-old at the time, I was thrilled to help (and to get to stay up into the wee hours).
A commemorative edition was made, with a black matte frame that was autographed by the Hogs and still hangs in an area sports bar. A video of the photo shoot aired on local stations and then was picked up by Monday Night Football, along with commentary from Howard Cosell. The poster was also featured in LIFE and Sports Illustrated magazines as a “Picture of the Year.”
Later ideas for follow-up posters never made it to press, but our “Darrell Green races a Ferrari” idea was one that I wish had been published after having the rookie over for the initial test shots in our apartment parking lot. The “Hogs Night Out” poster, and the brief fame for it that followed, spawned copycats: “‘Machine Gun’ Jim Kelly,” the Chicago Bears’ “Black and Blues Brothers” and many others. However, none were as commercially successful or could claim to be as original as the 1983 Super Bowl champion “Hogs Night Out” poster from SuperHogs, Inc. and my Dad’s “Kenneth C. (for my brother) Phillip’s (me) Productions.”
(Pictured: My son, Nathan, 9, in front of the “Hogs Night Out” poster at a friend’s house.)