Getting back to the story, I then took my first close-up look at her. She was a mess! All her clothing was badly faded, her hands were cracked, chipped and dirty, her neck was chipped, her shoes were dented, and her hair! Oh, the poor girl's hair! Looked like she had been growing dreadlocks for the last 20 years! On the positive side, her face looked to be in pretty good shape. I then opened her dress to take a look inside. Amazing! Not a pneumatic in sight! One motor, one transmission, two cams and that was it. Not only that, but she worked as soon as we plugged her in. Not bad, I thought. However, it was obvious that she was going to need a complete overhaul if she was going to be used with any regularity (which at that point was still being debated by the VPs at the Boardwalk). A museum piece or a working girl. That was the controversy. So we wrapped her up and took her home.
At that point, the restoration process started. It happened in three phases: The first was the restoration of her paper/cardboard "bodywork." Clothing aside, I would say this part of her was in the worst shape. It was weak, torn, the attachment holes were hogged out, and all the edges were ragged.
We sent her back to San Francisco where an antique paper restoration expert by the name of Julie Goldman started working on her. I remember when we first dropped Sal off, Julie seemed at a loss and thought Sal a bit disturbing. Of course Sal has a way of growing on folks. When we returned a few months later to pick her up, it was with fond and heartfelt farewells that Sal departed.

Laffing Sal upon arrival at
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Top right: Back view of newly arrived Sal showing condition of the molded papier mache upper torso.

Middle left: Front view of head and upper torso.

Bottom right: View of legs showing worn edges of shoes and paint before restoration. A circuit board with relays to control the motor had been attached at some point after the original manufacture.

Back in Santa Cruz with her newly strengthened body, fixed shoes, restored hands, repaired neck, it was time for phase two: The mechanical.