A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 04, 2007
“Onward Thru the Fog” or “Onward Through the Fog” (Oat Willie’s of Austin)

Oat Willie’s is a headshop at West 29th Street and Guadalupe that was operated by Norman “Doug” Brown in 1968. The name “Oat Willie” is from an Austin-based comic character. The famous Oat Willie’s motto (on numerous bumper stickers since the 1970s) is: “Onward Thru the Fog.” What kind of “fog” indicated is anyone’s guess.

Henry Wallace III sent the 2015 email (below)—titled “I created the saying, ‘Onward: Through the fog’”—that definitively explains the saying’s origins.


MySpace.com - Oat Willie’s
Oat Willie’s
“Onward through the fog!”
Male
39 years old
AUSTIN, Texas
United States

Oat Willie’s’s Blurbs
About me:

OAT WILLIE’S CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS

North Store
617 W 29th St
Austin, TX 78705
512-482-0630

East Store
1931 E Oltorf St # C
Austin, TX 78741
512-448-3313

Coming soon to http://www.oatwillies.com!

16 September 1975, Dallas (TX) , section D, pg. 2 cartoon:
Onward Through the Fog—
by Herb Ficklen
Dallas News Staff Cartoonist
(A “DISD BUSING” bus is breaking down. A longhorn comments “Keep on trucking.”—ed.)

14 January 1991, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, “Old Hippies to New Texans” by Bud Kennedy, pg. 1:
AUSTIN - The theme for Ann Richards’ coronation tonight and tomorrow is “The New Texas.” But her guest list is something straight out of 1975, when Austin’s prevailing theme was on Oat Willie’s head-shop emblem: “Onward Thru the Fog.”

Google Groups: alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater
Newsgroups: alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater
From: “ppars...@swbell.net” Date: 1997/05/15
Subject: Re: WHoDB Disappears from Scope

“Onward through the fog”?  That was the rallying cry in Austin, not College Station. 

Google Groups: sci.med.diseases.lyme
Newsgroups: sci.med.diseases.lyme
From: (Woodi16)
Date: 1997/07/10
Subject: Re: What If We Harnessed Our Energy For Good Work?

Okay, I may be dating myself here, but I did in fact got to Oat Willies in Austin and buy one of those “Onward Through the Fog” bumperstickers. Yes Carla, the slogan originated there and if I still had my old guitar case, I would be able to check to see if they had patented it. From what I remember, Oat Willies has been closed for quite a long time.
Marci

Google Books
Flight and Other Stories
by José Skinner
University of Nevada Press
2001
Pg. 178:
Onward through the fog, as old Oat Willie, the icon of Austin, says.

Google Groups: tx.guns
Newsgroups: tx.guns
From: “R2D2”
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 10:01:40 -0600
Local: Wed, Mar 28 2001 12:01 pm
Subject: E-mail attack slows gun bill’s momentum

Anyone who has passed any time in Austin since the 1960s needs to sit down. Norman “Doug” Brown is 60.

The Senate honored Mr. Brown, the founder of Oat Willies, on Tuesday.

Oat Willies is a reputable smoke store. But let’s just say college kids through the years have been known to buy a lot of pipes and cigarette papers there.

Sen. Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, noted that Oat Willies also is known for “the most famous Texas bumper sticker” ever minted.

In their prime, those stickers were as ubiquitous as Volkswagen vans and are still seen today.

And more than one senator has been known to quote the sticker in describing their legislative efforts: “Onward Through The Fog.”

Google Books
Texas Literary Outlaws
by Steven L. Davis
Fort Worth, TX: TCU Press
2004
Pg. 207:
In 1968, a character from one of Gilbert Shelton’s acid (Pg. 208—ed.) comics, “Oat Willie,” was drafted to run for governor. Oat Willie lost the race but became an enduring inspiration to Austin “freaks.” Later a head shop opened under his name with the motto, “Onward Through the Fog.”

Google Books
Texas Hold ‘Em:
How I Was Born in a Manger, Died in the Saddle, and Came Back as a Horny Toad
by Kinky Friedman
New York: St. Martin’s Griffin
2005
Pg. 104:
In the meantime, I do my best to keep Austin weird. As old Austinites used to say: Onward through the fog.

A Monk’s Musical Musings
Monday, October 24, 2005
“Onward, through the Fog”: Blundering Toward Perfection
Back in my highschool days, there was a famous “head shop” called Oat Willies in Austin that all of us long-haired, hippie-types bought our paraphernalia at. They had these equally famous bumper stickers (Or infamous bumper stickers, depending on your personal perspective on psychoactive substances) which read, “Onward, through the Fog”. The reference was to a “stoned” fog, of course, but I got a chuckle today when I remembered that in the context of this guitar fugue. 

Weblogsky
November 2, 2005
(...)
I’m remembering Oat Willie’s battle cry… “Onward, through the fog!” (Which incidentally gets 282,000 hits from Google,.. though only 322 hits show proper attribution.)

That Other Paper - Austin’s ONLY Paper
16 May 2007 - 10:17am
About Oat Willie’s
Oat Willie’s has been around since the ’70s, and it’s always been the place to go for all your tobacco pipe needs. They have a wide array of styles, colors, and prices in glass, wood, or metal, including water pipes. It’s a great place to buy specialty tobacco and well as the everyday stuff at an exceptional rate, and you can smoke cigarettes inside. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful. Additionally, they sell magazines, tapestries, shirts, knickknacks, comic books, books on specific topics, magnets, sunglasses, bumper stickers, risqué postcards, incense and so on. Onward through the fog! 

Jack’s Kidney Adventure
September 22, 2007
(...)
As I drive home I am happy to be back in Austin… driving onward through the fog.

PrairiePundit
Monday, September 24, 2007
Tolerance for some at Columbia
(...)
You would think that would give them pause, but for Columbia, Austin, Texas’s Oat Willy said it best--"Onward through the fog.” I think his fog came from marijuana smoke, but I don’t know what Columbia’s excuse is.

Leslie’s Blog
September 30, 2007
hippie…part eight…Hill Country
("ONWARD THRU THE FOG” bumper sticker is shown—ed.)
We stopped back into Austin for papers at Oat Willie’s, and more granola and brown rice from the whole food co-op. 

(2015 email)
I created the saying, “Onward: Through the fog”
From: Henry Wallace III
To: Barry Popik
Date: Tue, Apr 28, 2015 2:48 am
Dear Barry, yesterday I read the brief and incomplete account of the origin of the above saying.  Then I wrote a detailed account, which now sits in Yahoo! Answers with the faded Submit button indicating I hit Submit hours ago and it still sits there not submitted. 

Doug Brown did not begin the Oat Willie’s Campaign Headquarters head shop in 1968.  The saying did not appear mysteriously, I made it up.
Underground City Hall was established in 1966 or 1967 by Gilbert Shelton and Joe Brown, in a store on Lavaca Street, after they got paid big bucks by Playboy for a color cartoon spread of, I think, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, or maybe Wonder Wart Hog.  Anyway, it was a small head shop that the cartoonist genius Gilbert and the story-board genius Joe got tired of after a while and sold to George Majewski and Doug Brown.  By this time Oat Willie had begun his run for the governorship of Texas and the store changed its name to Oat Willie’s Campaign Headquarters and changed its location to San Antonio Street.  George Majewski bailed out and started Soap Creek Saloon with his wife Carlyn Majer.

I was coerced by Joe Brown into posing for photos of the resurrection of Oat Willie in human instead of cartoon form, following the death from a broken heart by Oat Willie after he insulted Governor John Connolly for some lying b. s. I don’t recall at the moment (but can be found in the Barker Center archives at UT Austin in Austin underground newspaper The Rag’s publication of the cartoon, and later publication of an interview--under a pseudonym, if memory serves, as Freddie “Flash” Freeman--by Scoop Sweeney of myself, complete with tiny photos).  Belmer Wright and George Majewski took the photos of me in a psychedelic version of a flying cap and polka dot boxer shorts, standing in an old rusty iron bucket with iron rim wheels and the bucket filled with Joe’s idea of a substitute for oats, mattress stuffing.
You can read my version of the Oat Willie “legend” in the Dec. 1987 issue of Texas Monthly.  Search Google Books for Wally Stopher or Gilbert Shelton. 

Briefly, being an LSD aficionado and a hipi, I felt a kinship with Oat Willie, who stands for peace, liberty, and nourishment, a cosmic connection which led me to come up with the saying “Onward: Through the fog.”
Jim Franklin dropped by to show me the ad he’d made for Oat Willie’s, one day in 1970.  Oat Willie in his bucket and Gilbert’s saying, “One oat, one vote.” I told him, “Have him say, ‘Onward: through the fog.’” JIm liked it, drew in some fog, sold it to Doug, who by then owned the store outright.  He took the saying and put it on bumper sticker, matchboxes, matchbooks, etc., and I thank him for causing its distribution through the world.

Back in those days I was known as Wally Stopher.  Now I go by my original given names Henry Wallace and not a nickname.  I also dropped my family name for almost everything, including Henry Wallace III on Facebook. 

Yours truly,
Henry Wallace III

(Trademark)
Word Mark OAT WILLIE’S
Goods and Services IC 042. US 101. G & S: VARIETY STORE AND MAIL ORDER SERVICES. FIRST USE: 19680801. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19751001
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73144056
Filing Date October 11, 1977
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Change In Registration CHANGE IN REGISTRATION HAS OCCURRED
Registration Number 1104540
Registration Date October 17, 1978
Owner (REGISTRANT) OAT WILLIE’S LTD., INC. CORPORATION TEXAS 617 W. 29TH STREET AUSTIN TEXAS 78705
Attorney of Record FLOYD R NATION
Description of Mark THE MARK “OAT WILLIE” IS A FICTIONAL CHARACTER.
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 19981210
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

(Trademark)
Word Mark ONWARD: THRU THE FOG
Goods and Services IC 042. US 101. G & S: VARIETY STORE AND MAIL ORDER SERVICES. FIRST USE: 19720600. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19771200
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73157784
Filing Date February 6, 1978
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 1111998
Registration Date January 23, 1979
Owner (REGISTRANT) OAT WILLIE’S LTD., INC. CORPORATION TEXAS 617 W. 29TH STREET AUSTIN TEXAS 78705
Attorney of Record FLOYD R NATION
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 19990802
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Thursday, October 04, 2007 • Permalink


Apologies to Doug and public for memory lapse while creating Oat’s Myspace...it now says “thru” as it should.

A note to fans: Oat Willie’s turns 40 next year, so stay tuned for fun and goodies!

Posted by Gloria  on  10/30  at  11:54 AM

Onward thru the fog is as alive today as it was in the 60’s. Governments and society still continue down the path of being on the right track heading nowhere. We continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over again....I think there is a song in there somewhere. So I guess we just have to keep on truckin and not worry about the road that is fast becoming a dead end. Consumerism, credit-itis, affluenza, and just not using the resources we have left to achieve the results that are needed.

Posted by Freewheelin Franklin  on  02/15  at  12:17 AM

Just an update on the Oatster--times have changed and not for the better. After a 25-year absence, find a huge array of rolling papers and other paraphernalia, but for the most part a sickening overabundance of yuppie crap. . . . unless you are actually wanting to get a fake stained glass lamp along with your rolling papers--in that case this is the store for you. Back up Oatster, into the fog.

Posted by Sally  on  11/25  at  12:53 AM

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