Sunday, September 27

Sunday, September 17

I like the cartoon characters. I'm less fond of the big colorful names than of the unsung heroes in their shades of grey. Take these Home Hunters for example. They are so modern-looking! So dapper! You could easily transport the guy into a 1950's print ad without any trouble- although those shoes might place him in a previous decade. Her hemline is quite daring, but she's young. He's got his hand on her shoulder- protectively, possessively. And they are so happy! They're hunting for a place to live! And unlike everyone else, they feel they have options. What enchanting home shall we choose for ourselves?It took me a while to realize that this ad wasn't meant for actual home-hunters, it was meant for home-renters. It was meant to lure them in. The sell was to make the landlord...

Saturday, September 16

A fairy tale, set somewhere in a land of windmills and wooden shoes. A town full of rats. Along comes a savior, who does indeed solve the immediate problem, but what is not made clear until the Disney version is that the children are indentured servants in this town. In other words, the rats were a symptom, not the disease. Needless to say, the townsfolk get what they deserved. It's a fairy tale. As far as that goes, someone is peddling fairy tales in the form of anti-Semitic, anti-communist vigilantism. At 5 cents a copy it's pretty cheap, but not free. We know who the writer thinks the rats are, but what is the underlying problem, hmmm? Now, you could spend your hard-earned nickel on a Colliers instead. You'd get a classy cover illustration featuring the antics of a particular...

Friday, September 15

What the public wants. By 1933 it had come to the public's attention that mass culture was a thing. I mean, of course, the smart set had known this for decades, but now the masses knew it too. This may have been because somebody pointed it out to them as a marketing scheme. Rather than simply putting up a billboard about hair creme, touting its excellent qualities, an advertiser now took pains to note how positively the public was responding to their product. As if the poor sap reading the billboard wasn't just another poor sap, but who was themselves on the other side of the billboard, looking out across America, seeing the vast public who preferred this very hair creme. From the masses, one. You! Why would the readers of Wireless Weekly in Australia care about "what the public wa...

Thursday, September 14

Much of the world is a colony of some other part of the world. The island of Taiwan was awarded to the Empire of Japan after the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895. Who does this awarding, anyway? And who were the Taiwanese people? How did they feel about the transfer? Well, they got a nice arcade out of the deal, anyway. Now, in the Buchuanaland British Protectorate, there were only about 7 miles of paved road. The British had a sort of hands-off approach to this area west of South Africa. They only intended to keep other nations, like the Germans, out of it. The local chieftain was the law- until and unless a white man was the defendant and was found guilty and punished. Considering that what the defendant had probably done would have been considered rape anywhere in the civilize...

Wednesday, September 13

Here's a time traveler- Leslie Howard! Berkeley Square, a slow-moving fantasy-drama, was released in 1933 and depicts life in England in the late 1700's. Watching it now requires several fantastic mental time shifts in addition to the ones required by the plot. Who IS this Leslie Howard anyway? Now, for a nickel you could get a nice hunting magazine. Could be some useful tips in there about training bird dogs, or building a blind. Anyways, it's nice to page through when you're waiting for a haircut. Vogue magazine is finding a way to include the "Blue Eagle" on their iconoclastic cover. The Roosevelt administration has only been on the job since March and they've already got an alphabet soups' worth of government programs started. The National Recovery Administration seems pretty...

Tuesday, September 12

Science AND Life. Leo Szilard read an article in London which claimed that there was no energy to be obtained from the atom, took a stroll, and imagined how, with the right material, a nuclear chain reaction might occur. There's a championship fight and the little guy wins it in 15 rounds. Wins 2 titles at the same time.After setbacks and bad logistics, an irrigation project makes a leap toward completion on the Afghan boarder. Nella Braddy Henney receives a congratulatory telegram on the publication of her book about the teacher of Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan. In Philadelphia, a heavy cruiser is launched. The portion of the ship that the young lady is about to strike will end up somewhere on the bottom of the Pacific. The rest of the USS Minneapolis will remain afloat, and after r...

Monday, September 11

Little monsters. It's what adults call children when they misbehave. But then they grow up to become- big monsters? Goebbels called Hitler Youth Quex "the first large-scale" transmission of Nazi ideology using the medium of cinema. It's the story of a pure boy with a weak father, who becomes martyr for the cause of Nazism, and is reborn. So German! I'm reminded of Mann's Death in Venice, but where that story ends in dying for the fantasy of a return to youth, this one seems to say "no, a return to youth is possible, but the young will need to be sacrificed to achieve it". What a deal! The young are gathered together and trained in military practices. This happens everywhere, even down under. But Matilda has her back to us, and we can't read the message she is sending. However...

Sunday, September 10

Continuing on the strange course of fascist movements in the British Isles, Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists bused several hundred supporters to a rally in Stockton-on-Tees, where they were met by several thousand anti-fascists who essentially sent them running. Mosley will be undeterred, but fascism in Britain will remain part of the lunatic fringe. There's a building that looks like a pizza slice on the island of Manhattan. For some odd reason it's called the flat-iron building. I appreciate the two-lamp traffic signal. I wonder if the red light began flashing as a warning at the end of the green cycle- I sort of remember some lights that worked that way when I was a kid. The "Flying Flea" was a great French idea. Who wouldn't trust an airplane called the Flying Flea? T...

Saturday, September 9

The cheeky little 15 year old, second from the front, mugging at us from 1933, will be the eventual winner. She put the Miss back in Miss America. It was the first time the contest had been held since the depression set in. I wanted to include one of the contemporary versions of the Judgement of Paris, but I'm sure you get that connection. Maybe later. But imagine. After waging war with Troy for ten years, Menelaus catches a glimpse of Helen watching the battle from the walls of the city and thinks to himself "Zeus! She's gotten old!" Let's go home. Literally on pedestals. The judgement photo has the contestants standing on what appear to be stone slabs. It's a strange looking runway, but I've had a little experience building stages, and I think the stuff sticking out the sides...

Friday, September 8

"The world didn't turn color until sometime in the 1930's, and it was pretty grainy color for a while too." You really couldn't tell when everything was just on the radio, but don't forget that television was coming out, and it was becoming obvious that there was a problem. Doesn't mama look happy? No need to feel guilty about it, it's great when summer is over and the little darlings head back to skool. Rex will get over it, but the boy never will. It's all about indoctrination. Teach 'em how things are, more or less. So let's have a quiz. How many celebrities can you identify? Phones down! Google won't help you with this one anyhow. OK, yeah, Clark Gable. That's one. Here's an easy one- which famous weekly magazine featured this leopard on its cover this month in '33? As y...