Tuesday, August 4

Wednesday, June 14

Here's another little remembered aviator, who in 1933 was making headlines as he "battled" Wiley Post for the solo 'round the world record. Jimmie Mattern had wealthy oilman backers, a plane painted to resemble an eagle and named the "Century of Progress" and plenty of brains and determination. What he didn't have was good luck at the time, crashing in Siberia on his second attempt. On the other hand, he was rescued from that inhospitable place and went on to a long and productive career. Wiley Post went on to crash in Alaska, taking Will Rogers with him. Meanwhile, there's a little bike race going on in France. Here's the official song of the World's Fair in Chicago. This illustration shows the official spirit of the fair, the "I Will" lady, with the bored goddess expression that...

Tuesday, June 13

Everybody is crazy about airplanes. Little Terre Haute, Indiana (Terre Haute being French for a fashionable woman's hat) can bring out the whole town and marching band for so much as renaming the local airport. The press coverage was extensive, which led to one of those situations where one photographer has taken a picture of another photographer taking a picture. It happens fairly often, actually, but getting both photographs is rare. So at the top, we see some dignitaries, all in their summer duds (except for the undertaker, who is undertaking to pull the rope to reveal the new name of the airport) looking up to see what's holding things up. Security is tight, and this group is guarded by a large son with a billy sticking out of his pants pocket. I'm really disappointed with this ...

Monday, June 12

Time, the weekly news magazine, had a nifty slogan for its section of miscellaneous stories- "Time Brings All Things". Today I Post a Look inside Time, as Fortune would have it, but that's Life. The cover features a Senate investigator, and inside, Time contrasts and compares the investigation he's running with some earlier Senate deals. They seem to be suggesting that it's a fishing expedition, and in doing so, raise reader's sympathy for poor old J.P. Morgan, who has been forced to be present for a week without being called to testify. This is causing him and his friends some rather large expenses at a local hotel, but Time assures us that when Senators accept his cigars they feel no sense of obligation toward the businessman. Business is the focus of Time, whose ads are about even...

Sunday, June 11

Here's another disaster without much evidence on the net. A sight-seeing plane crashed while viewing the Century of Progress. Was there an effort to keep this sort of news out of the papers? The crash site photo was found in some newspaper's archive and put up for sale recently, but I found nothing online that had been published at the time of the crash. Probably just a coincidence. Why bother people with uncomfortable news like that? Since that covers the news out of Chicago for the day, I went a little farther afield and put up one of many photos taken by Robert Platt in South America in 1933. I'm not sure if he was a professional or a casual photographer, but they are the kind of photos I like to see- everyday things like cattle in fields, bananas being loaded onto boats, and th...

Saturday, June 10

Some days are just shades of gray. We knew this was coming- John Dillinger recommences robbing banks, after about a month of parole. What's a guy supposed to do, anyway? This bank doesn't look like a difficult job, but then, I've never tried it. Another major disaster for which I can find no specific images. A train wreck, somewhere in the middle east, somewhere along the route of the Taurus Express. This is named for the Taurus Mountains in Iraq. The Iraq segment through these mountains was built mainly by Germans during the early part of the 20th century. There were many tunnels and mighty bridges, and a plunge there into a ravine would be a big deal, but who knows what happened in reality. Shades of gray. The straw-hatted Fair visitor seems to be in a sort of fog himself. He...

Friday, June 9

Unusual for this kind of thing, I can find no photos of the aftermath of this factory explosion. It was a big deal, killing 9 or 10 people, injuring many more, and it made national news, as here in Time magazine. But the typical "scenes of devastation" photos are not out there. Maybe it didn't look sensational enough. There was a German rocket project, the Magdeburg Project, run by actual scientists. Their test failed on this date, and the project was soon cancelled. This may have delayed the eventually very successful German rocket program by years. Not a bad thing. Ginger Rogers continues to make the scene, here in Professional Sweetheart. She's a lot more glamorous in this role than as the Gold Digger. Second movie in as many months. There is a World's Fair in Chicago. They...

Thursday, June 8

Prize fighting was a big deal in the 1930's. During the Depression who could not relate to the drama of two men beating each other senseless for money? Max Baer was a man of many talents. Butcher, boxer, actor- he co-starred with Myrna Loy in The Prizefighter and the Lady in '33 as the prizefighter. But he had a head on his shoulders, and the notoriety brought on by the real-life movie trope of having had an opponent die by his hand. On the rebound from this unfortunate occurrence, he was scheduled to fight Germany's Max Schmeling. It was a big deal, booked at Yankee Stadium in front of 56,000 spectators. Baer is the one with the Star of David on his trunks.I'm not much of a boxing fan, but a film of this fight exists and I'm glad I watched it. You can enjoy Baer laughing and smil...

Wednesday, June 7

Four colonial powers signed an agreement not to go to war with each other today. The Four Power Pact- not as ironic as Chamberlain's "Peace in Our Time" was to be, not as memorable, but then Britain, France, Germany and Italy probably wanted it sort of on the down low. I like the way the Punch cartoonist goes along with the conceit that "Mars" is some sort of alien power to be tamed, not the natural result of capitalism. War is built right into the system- in fact, it's not a bug, it's a feature. Take a look around the world at this moment. In Shanghai they're rowing on the ancient Yangtze river. In Iran they're having a Carnival in the streets of Teheran. A new cohort of fresh troops are about to come of age, kids with no direct memory of "the Big One" that had been fought to end ...

Tuesday, June 6

Time taps out a rhythm. Imagine the towering cylindrical "sails" spinning on the deck of the colorful ship on the cover of Popular Mechanics magazine, June, 1933. Maybe they are spinning at the same rate as the hydroelectric turbines in the Wilson dam. We know- thanks to physicists working in 1933- that gravity waves exist, like sound waves, like light waves. We know that they are created by moving objects. We can only detect the really massive ones now, but that just indicates the lack of resolving power of our instruments. In reality, we exist in a sea of overlapping gravity waves, coming from every direction, resonating at every conceivable frequency. The line of priests (or are they landscapers?) at the Apadana at Persepolis represent one such wave, at a particular frequency, m...

Monday, June 5

After a decade of daring-do, the flying bug had swept America. Many stories of the second wave of pilots begin with a rural citizen's ride in a barnstormer's two seater, followed by the struggle for lessons, for equipment, and for some means of making a living. Kind of like starting a rock band in the 60's. Hubert Julian, aka "The Black Eagle", had many talents, and for a while, a mission. He volunteered to challenge the Italians in the skies over Abyssinia, until that situation became hopeless. I don't think he met the Italian flying boat squadrons in Chicago- they didn't show up until later in the year. But there was a battle in the press as well as in the air. Flying clubs were popping up all over the country. It was hard to do if you were black, because Jim Crow was still in e...