History and Entertainment

Diamond Jim Brady, the Real Mr Creosote?

Some of you may be familiar with the over indulgent character Mr. Creosote from “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life” who ate until he exploded. Not a pretty sight. When I first saw it at a Midnight showing in 1983 several patrons made a hasty retreat to the bathrooms and proceeded to lose their dinners as well. I wasn’t one of them. It remains one of my favorite Python skits to this day.

In the film Creosote orders the entire menu followed by a ” Jeroboam of Champagne and six crates of Ale. ”

Until today I believed him to be a complete work of fiction. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a major historical figure who may in fact have been the inspiration for this character.

James Buchanan Brady AKA “Diamond Jim” was born the son of Irish Immagrants on August 12th 1856 in New York City.

He was known as “Diamond Jim” because of his passion for Diamonds and other precious stones. He made his fortune in the burgeoning Railroad industry including one well know by “Monopoly” enthusiasts, Reading. He is rumored to have expanded his fortune by way of some “shady” gambling activities which included winning the equivalent of over Five Million Dollars by betting on the McKinley Election of 1896.

He is also known to have participated in the longest Poker game in history which took place in Tombstone Arizona and ran for eight years, five months and three days. Other notable players included “Doc Holiday ” of OK Corral fame, “Bat Masterson” and Adolphus Busch founder of the legendary Brewery.

In addition to Gambling, and Gem stones Brady was famous for his enormous appetite. Restaurateur George Rector referred to him as “the best 25 customers he ever had.” According to Rector:

It was not unusual for Brady to eat enough food for ten people at a sitting. For breakfast, he would eat “vast quantities of hominy, eggs, cornbread, muffins, flapjacks, chops, fried potatoes, beefsteak, washing it all down with a gallon of fresh orange juice”. A mid-morning snack would consist of “two or three dozen clams or Lynnhaven oysters”. Luncheon would consist of “shellfish…two or three deviled crabs, a brace of boiled lobsters, a joint of beef, and an enormous salad”. He would also include a dessert of “several pieces of homemade pie” and more orange juice. Brady would take afternoon tea, which consisted of “another platter of seafood, accompanied by two or three bottles of lemon soda”. Dinner was the main meal of the day, it usually comprised “two or three dozens oysters, six crabs, and two bowls of green turtle soup. Then in sumptuous procession came six or seven lobsters, two canvasback ducks, a double portion of terrapin, sirloin steak, vegetables, and for dessert a platter of French pastries.” Brady would even include two pounds of chocolate candy to finish off the meal.” Wikipedia

Surprisingly despite his extravagant lifestyle Brady lived to age 60 when he died not from erupting but by heart attack. And as the late Paul Harvey famously said, “Now you know the rest of the story. ”

Mr. Creosote Film Clip and Image Copyright Universal Studios 1983

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