Paris Theodore dies

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Cap n Ball, Nov 21, 2006.

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  1. Cap n Ball

    Cap n Ball Member

    May 12, 2004
    Kansas City, Missouri
    NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 20, 2006 -- Paris Theodore, an inventor of innovative gun holsters and state-of-the-art firearms and shooting techniques used by government agents and police departments in the U.S. and abroad, as well as by the fictional James Bond, passed away November 16, 2006 at St. Luke's hospital in Manhattan. The cause of death was complications resulting from a longstanding and debilitating bout with multiple sclerosis, according to his son, Ali.

    Theodore was born in New York City on January 9, 1943, his father, John, was a sculptor and art professor at The Horace Mann School. His mother, Nenette Charisse was a renowned ballet instructor and member of a vaudeville dancing company. Charisse's second husband was Robert Tucker, a Tony-nominated choreographer, and the couple raised Theodore from early childhood. Following his graduation from The Browning School on Manhattan's Upper East Side, and while still a teenager, in the early 1960's, Theodore supplemented his work as an abstract painter by serving as an independent contractor for the Central Intelligence Agency. For several years, he performed a number of dangerous covert missions for the Agency, many of which required him to carry and use handguns. His experience sparked an interest in creating special holsters for the concealment of weapons. "I was working for Uncle Sam as a freedom fighter until Communism imploded on itself," Theodore said.

    In 1966, at the age of 23, Theodore founded Seventrees Ltd., a company that designed and produced gun holsters for professionals who had the need to conceal weapons yet access them quickly. Demand among undercover investigators and intelligence agents grew quickly for his innovative designs and Seventrees was soon awarded several contracts from a variety of U.S. agencies. The growing popularity of the holsters inspired many imitations by other manufacturers. Even the company's slogan "Unseen in the Best Places" was copied by at least one competitor.

    By day, Theodore and his team were manufacturing customized gun holsters, while by night, Seventrees' West 39th Street offices were transformed into a clandestine weapons manufacturing operation, designing special classified concealment weapons for government agencies through a sister company, Armament Systems Procedures Corporation (ASP).

    One of ASP's first products was a Theodore-designed handgun bearing the name of the company. The "ASP," based on the Smith & Wesson Model 39 semi-automatic pistol, featured many innovations: "clear grips" which enabled the user to see the number of unfired rounds remaining; the "guttersnipe" -- a ground-breaking gun sight designed for close range combat; and a "forefinger grip" -- today a standard feature on the trigger guard of many modern handguns. Furthermore, during a time when large handguns were the weapons of choice among gun owners, the ASP would be considered one of the first to combine power with small size -- criteria that would later become standard for law enforcement worldwide.

    In 1970, the ASP was featured in "The Handgun," by Glaswegian gun expert Geoffrey Boothroyd. Boothroyd, the inspiration for "Q," the technologically inventive character who outfitted James Bond with his lifesaving gadgets, would, in turn, later inspire Ian Fleming's successor, John Gardner, to replace Bond's renowned Walther PPK as 007's weapon of choice. Beginning with 1984's "Role of Honor," the ASP would go on to be featured in 11 James Bond novels. James Bond expert James McMahon would later write: "If Bond were a gun, he'd be the ASP. Dark, deadly, perfectly suited to his mission."

    In 1980, Theodore formed Techpak, a company created to market a combat handgun shooting technique he had developed called "Quell." Quell drew upon Theodore's real-life experience in handgun combat and became required teaching for many police departments and special agencies throughout the world. Through Quell, he sought to educate weapons professionals about the stark reality of close combat with handguns. "From the movies we have learned to expect that when someone is shot in the arm, he reacts immediately by grabbing it with his free hand, wincing, and maybe uttering an 'Unh!' When he is shot in the chest, a spot of blood appears and he is thrown backwards, usually with arms flailing, to land motionless and silent." Theodore wrote in 1985, "The truth is that no bullet from a sidearm, no matter what the caliber, will bowl a man over." He described this "knock-down power" as "the figment of the collective imagination of Hollywood screenwriters."

    As a child, Theodore appeared as "Nibs" in NBC's 1955 broadcast of "Peter Pan" staring Mary Martin. In 1962, Theodore married Lee Becker, the Tony-nominated dancer and choreographer and founder of The American DanceMachine, who died in 1987. He is survived by his sons, Ali and Said Theodore and Paris Kain. Kain, a filmmaker, is currently producing a documentary based on the life of his late father.
  2. mete

    mete Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Thank you , I had no idea of his fascinating life.
  3. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    I am sorry to hear of his passing.
    I am only familiar with some of his life, and contributions. I for one would welcome more information. Again we have lost someone that did so much and we should listen to these folks that still have lots to offer, by learning from them, about the realities of life.

  4. seeker_two

    seeker_two Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Deep in the Heart of the Lone Star State (TX)
    We seem to be losing all the good ones this year.... :(

    My prayers and condolences go to the family, and I also look forward to seeing his son's documentary about Mr. Theodore's life... :D

    BTW, are any of his holster designs still in production? I think the purchase of his classic designs would make a fitting tribute... :cool:
  5. Jody Johnson

    Jody Johnson Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Houston, TX
    I remember when his holsters were news...and his "ASP". As a young Deputy Sheriff I bought-and still have-one of his Seventrees Holsters. It was neat then and still is today.

    He'll be missed...
  6. DBR

    DBR Member

    Dec 28, 2002
  7. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Los Anchorage
    Didn't Null buy the Seventrees patents?
  8. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    Texas, baby!
    wow! talk about packin in a lot of life.
  9. ZBill

    ZBill Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Picked up a vintage Seventrees Ammo Holder

    I picked up an interesting 38 Special ammo holder last week. It was in a S&W Chief's Special box with a receipt dated 1969. It was branded Seventrees, New York City, and I had no idea what that meant. I did some searching and found out that Seventrees, New York City, was quite an operation and run by quite an interesting fellow.

    Anyway here are a few pictures. My dirty fingernail courtesy of Tropical Storm Fay clean-up this afternoon.

    I have seen the exact ammo holder in the current Null on-line catalogue.


    Attached Files:

  10. scrat

    scrat Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Monrovia, CA
    Wow thats really nice. i dont think i would use it too much though with the history behind it and the maker
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