Raffee Johns
GM Futurliner Restoration Project
National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States

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Parader Raffee Johns Loans Uniform for a Pattern

    In November of 2000 former Parader Raffee Johns and his wife Esther paid us a visit. They brought with them his photos, newspaper articles, one of the lectures he gave at the Parade and paperwork describing the Parade of Progress. 
    In addition, they told us a lot of the stories about Parade of Progress. Raffee said he was hired as a trainee in 1954 and the first job he was given was to take a stick with a nail in it that the had been given to him and go pick up all the paper. We learned like all the other Paraders that he did everything from cleaning the grounds, driving the truck, erecting the tent and doing the lecturing. Raffee even gave his opening speech that he gave inside the Aer-O-Dome tent. He remembered it all these years. 
    He also told us that the Aer-O-Dome tent was blown down in Texas during a wind storm and destroyed. Fortunately GM had a backup tent in Detroit that they rushed to Texas. At the time of the Parade of Progress the Aer-O-Dome tent was the largest tent in the world that was unsupported in the center.

LECTURE UNIFORM

 

    In addition to his stories and all the Parade memorabilia, after all these years Raffee had saved his Parade of Progress uniforms. He brought them along with him. 
   The lecture uniform consisted of a gray business jacket, dark blue slacks, dark blue tie and a white shirt. He stated that the pants wore out long ago. On the left pocket of the gray business jacket is an embroided 2-3/4" X 1-1/2" "GM". 

WORK UNIFORM

There was a work uniform which consisted of green slacks, a tan shirt, and a green jacket. On the green jacket is the same embroided "GM" and "PARADE OF PROGRESS" emblems located at the same place. 

 

On the tan shirt above the left front pocket has an embroided 2" X 2-1/2" "GM". On the back of the shirt is an embroided 3-3/4" X 7" "PARADE OF PROGRESS". 


REPRODUCING THE UNIFORMS

    We asked if we could borrow these to have them reproduced so that we could have a set for display with the Futurliner when it done and he consented. We really appreciate this since we had only seen the uniforms in black and white photos. We had no color photos of these uniforms.
    A local clothier has offered to make the "Lecture Uniforms" as long as we buy the material. So far, he has been able to find the manufacturer of the original material used in the "Lecture Uniform." They are attempting to match materials at present. No progress on the "Work Uniforms" so far.
    For the volunteers who are looking at ordering a Parade of Progress work uniform. We ARE NOT GOING TO WORK IN THEM. However, when the Futurliner goes on display it would be great for those that are with it to have a uniform. If you feel that you would never have a chance to use it, we will not order yours. Let me know. However, if you feel that you could participate in an event that the Futurliner was at we want you to have one. So, those that want one please give me:
Shirt size in S , M , L , XL
Pants in Waist size & Inseam
Jacket in S , M , L , XL
If you don't know your size ask your wife.

A big thanks to Raffee Johns and his wife Esther for visiting us and again letting us share in the experiences of a PARADER back in the 1950s.

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