Sailor Jerry rum offers free Sailor Jerry tattoos



Some of the Sailor Jerry tattoos offered on his 101st birthday.
  • Some of the Sailor Jerry tattoos offered on his 101st birthday.

Whether you know the name Sailor Jerry as the nickname of the legendary tattoo artist or from the rum that bares his name, Saturday would have been his 101st birthday. In a handful of cities, Sailor Jerry Rum is springing for free tattoos - provided you want a no-greater-than-palm-size tattoo from a large collection of Sailor Jerry's flash sheets. There are many examples on the rum's website. It's first come first serve at Uptown Tattoos (575 S. Carrollton Ave.) beginning at noon Saturday and going until 101 are inked or midnight strikes.

Sailor Jerry was born Norman Collins, and he is credited with importing Japanese styles, intricate designs and shading techniques to American tattooing. He was a legendary figure in Honolulu during World War II and was one of many artists who inked sailors on their last stop before heading off to war in the Pacific. The phrase "Stewed, screwed and tattooed" was coined for what became a custom of sailors hitting the bars (where they could buy four shots of whiskey, but all at once, they couldn't stay in the bar), hitting the brothels and then going to the tattoo parlors. Sailor Jerry was also a tinkerer and inventor and in the 1970s was an early right-wing radio host. For those interested, Hori Smoku is a pretty good documentary about him. (Reviewed here.)

Incidentally, rights to Sailor Jerry's name were sold to the liquor company (one of many brands in the William Grant & Sons portfolio) by Ed Hardy, who was a protege of Sailor Jerry's, says the local brand ambassador.

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