Dr. Wilhelm "Goose-Step Mama" von Spork (1896-1982) was a Nazi rocket scientist, musician, circus clown, and amateur chicken sexer, best known for his pioneering work with disposable multi-function cutlery and his contributions to 1960s popular music.
Wilhelm, or "Wilhelm," as he was commonly known, was born on September 31, 1896, in Graz, Austria, the only child of parents of modest means. His father, Schtinker von Fützen-Spork, was a freelance glass blower whose own scientific aspirations years earlier had come to a frustrating conclusion when he failed in his attempts to cross mice with snapping turtles to produce a self-trapping mouse. His mother, Irmgard Gertrude von Spork (neé Pickelstücker), worked as a taste tester in an iron foundry, and supplemented the family income by flashing her buttocks at townsfolk and passersby in exchange for small amounts of cash. (In later years, she would find it more lucrative to demand payment in exchange for not showing them.)
Wilhelm was a precocious but introverted child. By the age of six he had developed an entirely unique personal language, consisting entirely of consonants, and another consisting entirely of vowels, in an attempt to communicate with farm animals, whom he believed were confused by the mixing of the two in conventional human speech. When this proved fruitless, he turned his attention to sports, and by the age of twelve had invented the game of Frützenfassbruchenschwantzerbleistiftenschlagerbootball, which is still played today at folk gatherings throughout Austria and parts of Germany, in defiance of local regulations and standards of common decency. During this period he also became proficient in several musical instruments, becoming a virtuoso of the dill piccolo, and is even today regarded as one of the great past masters of the double-reed slide music stand (both invented by his countryman P.D.Q. Bach). His recording, made late in life, of Bach's Sinfonia for Two Unfriendly Groups of Instruments (with the Weinergrinder Chamber Ensemble) is generally regarded as the definitive realization of this work.
At the age of twenty, Spork enrolled in the University of Graz Nibratchny in his home town, and graduated only three years later, valedictorian of his class, with an advanced degree in weinerschnitzel analysis. His interest in food and culinary utensils dates to his university experience, which he described in his memoirs as "blefürschenwittig" (a word for which no adequate translation has yet been found).
The Nazi Period
Little is known of Spork's life between the time of his graduation from university and his emergence as a political scientific figure. Most of the records are sealed by court edict, leaving his life a mystery until his enrollment in the Nazi party in June of 1938. Spork privately admitted that he had joined the party by mistake, believing he was signing up for a sweepstakes to win a Hoover vacuum cleaner; but once in the party, he made the decision to stay, reasoning that it was better to be a live Nazi than a disgraced dead ex-Nazi. His skills in culinary utensil design, honed at the university, came to the attention of Heinrich Himmler, who commissioned him to develop the disposable utensil that still bears his name, for distribution to SS officers. When this project was completed, Spork was inexplicably (and probably mistakenly) transferred to the V-2 program as deputy to Wernher von Blau (the leader of a team competing with Wernher von Braun's to be the first to develop a successful rocket). Spork's contributions doomed von Blau's team to failure, and the resulting von Braun rockets were so successful that Spork was hailed as a hero of the Reich.
After The War
Shortly after the fall of the Reich, Spork surrendered himself to Allied military authorities and offered to share German technological advances in exchange for leniency. The Americans were initially pleased to obtain another ex-Nazi scientist who had been involved with the von Braun project, but after debriefing Spork more extensively (and interviewing von Braun) the decision was made not to place Spork anywhere on the American missile team. Instead, he was given the task of adapting his famed combination utensil for use in American civil defense rations. After many years of experimentation the "American Spork" was developed, the main advance being the addition of a third notch in the end (the SS version had only two). After rigorous testing, the new design was approved in April of 1962, and Spork was furloughed and allowed to return to Europe.
Return To Europe
Taking advantage of his newfound freedom, Spork resolved to immerse himself in German high culture. This led him irresistibly to the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, where he became a well-known figure in the local night life. It was at this time that he acquired the nickname "Goose-Step Mama," from his nightclub habit of dressing in a woman's Nazi uniform, drinking to excess, and goose-stepping around the dance floor in fits of sobbing nostalgia. This made him a local celebrity, if the term can be used charitably, and led to his being immortalized in a song of the same name by the Rutles (the prefab Four) who were gaining their chops, or perhaps only licking them, in Hamburg at the time. Oblivious to the apparent insult, Spork was instead highly complimented by the song, and he and the Rutles became fast friends, as far as he knew. He made unaccredited contributions to several Rutles songs and was the inspiration for the famous Rutles haircut (or rather, the wig he wore when dressed for clubbing inspired it). Eventually he introduced Ron Nasty to Chastity, the woman who would become Ron's second wife, and who was widely credited with breaking up the group.
After the heyday of the 1960s, Spork was never able to match his former achievements, either in popular music or in culinary utensil design. A rock and roll music album recorded and released in 1964 was met with resounding silence from critics and listeners alike; and an attempt to redesign the famous Spork cutlery item with yet another additional notch was dealt a crushing blow when it was publicly condemned by Ralph Nader. Spork retired to his boyhood home in Graz, returning to his earlier love of the dill piccolo and classical music. Over the following years he gained significant critical if not popular respect, releasing occasional recordings with various local ensembles, most of them well received, or at least not officially condemned. Failing health eventually forced him to stop recording in 1979, and he died in 1982 of a combination of stomach cancer and severe athlete's foot. Per his wishes, he was cremated, and his ashes scattered over the streets and hookers of the Reeperbahn using the Spork utensils for which he was most famous.