Always A Direct Hit

The original “Alway’s a Direct Hit” piece of artwork was painted on a 12”x16” canvas panel. The artist’s name is John Burnham, a ProtoPipe employee at the time. John was an incredibly talented artist and studied under Larry Todd of Doc Atomic comic book fame. Larry was also a partner in the ProtoPipe business.


During this time period the movie Star Wars had just come out and we were all excited to see it and decided to make it super magical on liquid LSD. The painting was inspired by the opening shot of the film where Princess Leia and the droids are being chased by Darth Vader in the starship destroyer.

Always A Direct Hit premiered and ran only once in the short-lived magazine called Flash. This full-page color ad (our one and only) ran in the third issue which I think was Spring of 1978. It was one of the magazines of the era that covered the culture along with High Times, Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, Hilife, and others. I think there were only 3 or 4 issues printed. It was well done but short-lived and was produced in Hollywood. Doc Atomic also appeared in this issue with an amazing 6 full-color pages titled ‘Doc Atomic and The Amazing Duplicator’.


These were exciting times in an exciting place-Berkeley in the mid-1970’s! We were inspired by a pipe dream and we wanted to see if we could help make our world a better place. Late in 1976, a group of friends and businesses got together because of a common problem-not enough space. We began a search to reap the benefits of collective living/working, a true community of renegades. A warehouse was found, our proposal was
accepted by the landlord and the move-in began, but first, we had to scrape 10 years of accumulated inosaur droppings (diesel truck grease) off the 25,000 square foot main floor.

We called ourselves Earthlab and we accomplished some incredible things together. We will be sharing more on this remarkable project and time to follow in another post.

About 10 of us lived on the 2nd and 3rd floors, we were a true community of bohemians! There were several businesses involved-Aeropower who manufactured electrical generating windmills, Uniwood a wood manufacturing business and ProtoPipe.

This was a time of golden memories, a time that we will never forget!

Words from Phil and Richard Jergenson. Inventor and partners of the Proto Pipe, the famous brass smoking pipe that dates back to the early 70's. Phil is the inventor and an artist currently running Proto Pipe and creating gypsy wagons in his spare time. Richard is a generalist in the business and an archivist collecting the history of 80+ years of cannabis prohibition.