Baton Bob Is the Ambassador of Mirth
Crew & Credits
Shot & Edited - Maddie Stambler
Still Photos - Maddie Stambler
Interview - Carly Berlin
Photo at 0:52, courtesy of T. Levette Bagwell/AJC files. Thanks to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Run Time: 7:05
Bob Jamerson, an Atlanta icon, frequently flaunts what he’s got on the busiest of sidewalk corners, donned in vibrant hats, jeweled masks, always blaring his whistle and twirling his signature baton.
Baton Bob has been strutting his stuff on the streets of Atlanta since 2005. Bob found his way there after a stint in St. Louis, where he worked as a flight attendant. After getting laid off from his job post-9/11 and fighting a complicated battle with depression, Bob decided to pull his old high-school baton out of his closet and begin “twirling my own spirit out of depression.”
When Bob first began performing publicly, many people simply judged him as crazy. But Bob understands this. He told us, “You have to teach the public how to treat you. And you do that through the media.” Though many Atlanta news outlets have covered both the story behind Baton Bob’s persona and the important events of Bob’s life and career, we felt that Bob Jamerson’s true story had not yet been portrayed — and that the entire South had missed the opportunity to meet a man who defeats sadness by bringing joy to others.
So, as summer interns at The Bitter Southerner, we set out to discover the real story behind Atlanta’s Ambassador of Mirth.