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Showing posts from August, 2011
Interesting Books from The Past…The Dark Daughters by Rhys Davis, was first published in 1947 by William Heinemann.
In 1895, wearing a smart frock-coat and an even smarter puce cravat, Mansell Roberts opened his chemist shop at the base of an arboreal North London hill intersected with rows of solid new villas. The wholesome breezes of Hampstead Heath blew down over the hill before losing themselves with a different odour in the  clotted lower-class districts far below. Among tasteful scrolls heading the new chemist’s bills – and much more imposing than the actual premises – was an engraving depicting  the shop’s exterior with two smart carriages drawn up at the kerb. Mansell had ordered many packages of these bills.
He was by nature adverse to giving credit but he trusted those villas with their horse-shoe drivers, stucco porticoes, flowering urns, and their roomy basements for several domestics. And to make more certain of laying a solid local foundation, he ha…
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The Saltair Pavilion, Utah…
Some of you have watched with interest the DVD of ‘Carnival of Souls’ 1962 after my recent blog, and emailed to say that you enjoyed it, but wondered if I knew anything about the creepy derelict Pavilion used in the movie.
The Pavilion was built in the 1800′s as a health spa on the edge of The Great Salt Lake in Utah. Thousands came to take to the waters that were heavily salted… the only creatures able to sustain life in it’s saline depths were tens of millions of Brine Shrimps, harvested today as pet fish food… In those days one could simply float without drowning in the water! The end of the Pavilion came as part of The Great Salt Lake began to dry, and by the time the movie ‘Carnival of Souls’ was made in 1962 The Saltair Pavilion was in a sorry state.
I hope that makes the film even more interesting for you… By the way, the director had seen the Moorish type Pavilion driving home one night across state, and seeing it at its most…

Interesting People from The Past...

Alexander Alekhine was a Russian chess player. After taking a law degree, entered the Russian Foreign Office, and served in the Red Cross in the First World War. He won the world record for blindfold chess and held championships of the world record from 1927 until his death, except for 1935-37. He was born in 1892 and wrote many books on chess. He died in 1946.
Francis Dodd (R.A.) Artist. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art, and was an official artist of the First World War. His portraits of generals and admirals on active service were published in 1917, and two of his works are in the Tate Gallery, of which he was a trustee from 1929-35. He was born in 1874.
Myra Hess (later Dame) was born in London. She studied the piano at the Royal Academy of Music, passing her first examination at the age of seven. Later her fine renderings of some of the earlier classics, such as Bach, Mozart, and others, brought her world-wide success as a pianist. She was born in 1890.
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King’s Cross, North London The Lighthouse Building at King’s Cross This view is familiar to anyone that has passed through King’s Cross in North London. This area was once known as Battle Bridge! Here a bridge once crossed the River Fleet, and it was here that Boudica headed her Iceni tribe in battle against the Roman Army then guarding the city of Londinium and it’s inhabitants.
The name King’s Cross comes from an unpopular monument erected to King George IV and a Cross that once stood on the site of the now King’s Cross station.
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Broadcasting House in 1951…
This wonderful artist line drawing of Broadcasting House in London was first published by the Odhams Press back in 1951. It is a fascinating cut-away look at the establishment in those days which was the centre of broadcasting in Britain. It shows the administrative headquarters of The British Broadcasting Corporation that contained some of the early studios. As today, transmitters are distributed throughout the United Kingdom and there are studios in most parts of the country, although television production in the main now comes from the BBC Television Centre at White City in West London which was opened in June 1960.
Interesting Quotes From The Past…Aman should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it. Arthur Conan Doyle 1859-1930 Scottish born writer.
One sometimes sees more clearly in the man who lies than in the man who tells the truth. Truth, like the light, blinds. Lying, on the other hand, is a beautiful twilight, which gives to each object its value. Albert Camus 1913-1960 French writer.
A novel is a mirror which passes over a motorway. Sometimes it reflects to your eyes the blue of the skies, at others the churned-up mud of the road. Stendhal 1783-1842 French novelist.
The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means. Oscar Wilde 1854-1900 Irish dramatist.
When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. Samuel Johnson 1709-84 English lexicographer.
Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in l…

Interesting Movies From The Past...

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Amos ‘n’ Andy… ‘Check and Double Check’
This 1930 RKO offering would raise a few eyebrows these days! Based on a popular radio show, it soon ran into problems in bringing it to the screen. It features the exploits of two black guys, well enough on radio… because they were voiced by white guys, but you can see the problem… Voices had tobe the same as on the radio show! It meant the radio stars - Freeman Godsen as Amos, and Charles Correll as Andy… had to ‘black-up’  Surprisingly, the movie was profitable for RKO Radio Pictures, but there was never a follow-up, until TV took the idea as a series in the 50s…. Which I remember enjoying as a child on BBC Television… And hopefully those were at last!.. genuine coloured American Males!

Interesting People From The Past…
Jan Ignaz Paderewski was a Polish patriot, politician and pianist. He made his musical debut at Vienna in 1887, and in London three years later. His brilliant technique won him world fame, and he made tours and raised funds for Polish sufferers in the First World War. He was born in 1860 and became premier of Poland in 1919. Paavo Nurmi was a Finnish runner. He broke the world records for the mile, 1923: two miles, 1931: five miles, 1924: six miles, 1930: ten miles. He won many Olympic victories, but was barred from the Olympic games in 1932 owing to his professional status. He was born in 1897.
Anna Pavlova was a Russian ballet-dancer, born in St. Petersburg, and made her debut there at the Imperial Opera House, afterwards becoming the foremost ballet-dancer in Europe. Her London debut was in 1909, and later she toured America. In her lifetime she appeared many times with the Diaghileff Ballet Company. She was born in 1885.
Interesting Movies From The Past…Among my most favoured British drama movies of the 1940′s is THE SMALLBACK ROOM made in 1948. It was made by the Archer Team for LondonFilms, and features Sammy Rice, a troubled bomb fuse scientist. Sammy is troubled by alcohol and his relationship with his girlfriend. Sammy has a head full of ghosts to exorcise, then he is called upon to defuse a new German secret weapon that can kill with the slightest of touch…
It’s a movie that I’ve watched and enjoyed many times over, and never fail to be be impressed by the stunning performance of David Farrar and Kathleen Byron in the lead roles, it would seem as if they are just made for each other. The movie really does capture the exotic nature of wartime London and was based on the dramatic novel by Nigel Balchin. Other greats featured are: Jack Hawkins, Leslie Banks, Cyril Cusack, Emrys Jones, Michael Gough, and Renee Asherson.
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London’s Ghost Trams… Trams were abandoned in London on July 5th 1952, after which the street tracks were taken up, however, those in the subway depots, to this day, mostly remain untouched. After the trams disappeared from our London streets, cartoons began to appear in varios London Newspapers depicting “Ghost Trams” and about the same time a BBC Radio Goon Show broadcast featured a certain Tram Driver and his Conductress who had hid in the the underground tramway for nearly three years to ensure that they were London’s Last Tram!
Interesting People From The Past…Upton Sinclair was an American author who in 1906 caused a sensation when he exposed in his book, The Jungle, the conditions in the U.S. canning industry. He continued to expose other industrial evils in his later books, among them being Oil, Mountain City, King Midas and Bill Porter. He was born in 1878.
Dame Edith Sitwell was a Poetess who made a name with her book The Mother and other Poems in 1915, followed by an anthology of poems each year until 1921. She gave poetry recitals to a musical accompaniment. Her later works include Green Song, A Song of the Cold, and Fanfare for Elizabeth. She was born in 1887.
Tom Walls was an actor, racehorse owner and trainer. He made his stage debut in 1905, and toured the U.S.A. and Canada in 1906. He was joint manager of the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1922, acting in Tons of Money which had a two year run. He appeared in many stage productions and movies, and won the Derby in 1932. He was born in 1883.