A real-life image of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg
July 15, 2007 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Need help finding image of old-school optometry billboards (like that in "The Great Gatsby).

I finally decided on my tattoo design: the bespectacled eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg from the billboard in "The Great Gatsby." Since there is no illustration of this image, I'm going to come up with my own spin on it based on Fitzgerald's description. I'm hoping to find some images of the old billboards that this is based on. Any ideas? Thanks.
posted by Cochise to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are a number of Dover clip art books that have 20s and 30s and Art Deco advertising designs. You could see what your local B&N has and flip through it if you don't want to order them.
posted by cobaltnine at 12:40 PM on July 15, 2007

This sign (self-link) outside a Galveston shop always reminds me of The Great Gatsby. Don't know if that's what you're looking for. Here's another picture of the same sign.
posted by dog food sugar at 2:24 PM on July 15, 2007

But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic--their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.
I think the word you need to search for is "oculist". As in here, here, and here. More results here, here, and here.
posted by steef at 4:57 PM on July 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

There was also a movie adaptation of the book, with some clear shots of the billboard. Can't find any stills, though.
posted by bkudria at 6:43 PM on July 15, 2007

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