Published: July 22, 2006
LENHARTSVILLE, Pa., July 15 — Eric A. Claypoole chases ghosts, and when he catches them he paints them into life.
Hex signs on barns in Pennsylvania Dutch country are waning, many abandoned long ago to time and weather, and now grown pale.
“It’s how we take back tradition,” Mr. Claypoole said, recounting with boyish glee the one he spotted on the side of a barn a couple of years back that turned out to be among the oldest in the country.
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This is just one of the many articles written about Eric Claypoole. He is carrying on a long family tradition. Johnny Claypoole, his father, began painting hexsigns in 1962. Johnny was taught by the legendary Johnny Ott, the self-proclaimed "Dr. of Hexology". Johnny's career in painting hexsigns spanned nearly four decades. He was featured on the Charles Kuralt "On the Road" program and on the game show :What's my Line?". He was also a regular on the Captain Noah children's program. Johnny and Eric have been exhibiting their wares at the Kutztown Folk Festival continually since 1962.
Produced for PBS in 1998, this segment features Eric and his late father Johnny Claypoole talking about their love of the art form.