Saturday, December 29, 2012

Umbilical Hernia

From the Collector's Corner:

Not exactly a postcard, but such signs have recently become a serious collecting sub-genre; rather like those crudely printed 'Money for Food, God Bless' cardboard signs held by homeless people standing on traffic medians or slumped on sidewalks.  The Folk Art of Today. 

This is an especially heart-wrenching example--15 lb. 'therapy dog' Shih Tzu (with umbilical hernia and missing tooth) has look of transcendental horror.  As he must have looked one imagines when man ran off with him--chillingly--'under his arm.'

Friday, December 21, 2012

1920s Hollywood Scene With Burro

Don't know the film alas.  Script checking going on.  That's supposed to be a mine in the background.  I'm presently in Western Mexico in one of the largest mining towns of the 19th century-- aka Puerto Vallarta.  Hoping to see Anjelica Huston but it ain't happened yet.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Throttle Open

Several airplanes in my future in the next few weeks--I hope none exactly like this.  However I think I might now be prepared.  Taught two graphic memoirs this past quarter, Spiegelman's Maus and Bechdel's Fun Home, so I am now a terrible bore about semantic alternations between caps and handwritten script, space management of the individual frame, stylized temporal indicators (as in the first and third box here), deployment of traditional visual emblems--the big puffy Boreas-cheeks blowing out the winds here--and...---you get the picture. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

For Everyone. . .

. . .who's ever been dissed for lookin' good.  Some strange draftsmanship nonetheless.  The mopey gal in back seems to have the forearm and hand of a stevedore--proportions all wrong, too; her arms must be about four feet long.  Definitely a Hairy Ape type.   And, gee, I wonder why the artist has, it seems, modeled the 'Stephen' character on Katherine Hepburn in profile?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Truly Terrifying Trade Card

Seneca: evidently much read in Kansas.  All I can say is 'Go Way From Me!'

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Cyclops

It's taken a few days--but here are a couple of these cyclops-like newspaper wire service photos.  The 'P' in 'A.P.' must stand for Polyphemus.

Oh, yes, building at left is a concert hall in Detroit; the one below, Maria Theresa's breakfast chamber.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Escape Route

Well.... not sure if this actually was someone's escape route---no explanatory clipping on the back of this archival photo from the Baltimore Sun.  All it says is 'Penitentiary--Maryland, 1956'; a quick skim in Google doesn't turn up anything obvious.

But what appeals to me most in this picture is the big black inset circle, which lends a graphic and abstract quality to the thing, especially with the dotted white lines and 'X.'  I've got a small mini-collection of photos with such circles.  They were intended, one surmises, to hold a cameo picture of somebody involved in the story.

Maybe I will post some of these 'black spots' tomorrow or the next day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Baker's Dozen

Not quite sure what those things are that several of them are holding (one fellow is biting into one).  Some sort of pretzel?  Sausages? Peculiarly thin croissants?  Carrots?

All very 1920s and Eastern European.  And some gorgeous young men in the mix.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Czech Titties

A card from a junk shop in Prague this summer.  There was a 'Hooters' around the corner from the slightly seedy Sheraton in which we were ensconced.  This card is truly dreadful.  The idiocy of (Social Realist) rural life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oh, Odette... in Odette Myrtil.  As marvelous a name as Ruby Philogene.

Oh, Odette, I need a shot of your tuxedo love. Or else the world's biggest carnation to sniff.  Have been so busy with deadlines, and the dream of a common language, I've had to forego any blog appearances this week. Please forgive me, ladies and gents and lady-gents.

And La Myrtil?--actress, violinist, singer (1898-1978), born in France, ended up in vaudeville in London and New York, followed by a 20-year career in Hollywood films as a character actress. Married twice (can that be the whole story?) and lived in New Hope, Pennsylvania in later life, where she opened a restaurant, Chez Odette.  The latter is supposedly still in existence--one must check.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mermaid Smoke

We put on our felt clothes and bag hats and had a ball.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage

Raymond Burr and Barbara Stanwyck, one imagines, are celebrating again, in some lovely heavenly place.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Serpent Cucumber . . .

. . . . terrorizing tomato.  Tomato's expression will be mine tomorrow if a certain incumbent is not victorious.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bacchante from Pompeii

Don't get me wrong: I'm voting for Barack.

Yours diaphanously, TC

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fluttering and Pointing

The American actress and dancer Betta St. John (born 1929).  She appeared at the age of ten in Destry Rides Again (1939)--later in several Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals.  The X crop-marks--like vaunting white cranes, thermaling in the deepest, darkest warm night.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Deaths Head Girls (With Mounts), 1915

So this must be why little girls dream of being princesses.  Here, on the left, in the garb of the Death's Head Hussars, famed German cavalry regiment, Princess Victoria Luise of Prussia--the only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm--demonstrates her bloodthirsty, happy-go-lucky spirit.  She lived until 1980.

On the right:  Princess Cecilie, wife of Frederick William, Crown Prince of Prussia.  Cecilie--former Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin--married the Prince in 1905 in a spectacular ceremony complete with 'artistically decorated procession through the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin.'

'Cecilie quickly adapted to the role of Crown Princess' (according to Wikipedia) 'and became popular both with the public and within the court. She is described as quiet but friendly, a natural beauty with an interest in fashion.'  The Pickelhaube suggests as much.   

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Flower Drum Song

One of several stamp collage cards I've acquired lately.  Good, but also strange, the Euro-
pean-looking head on an otherwise 'chinoiserie'-style body.

Further pitfalls of mimesis: the ornamental vegetation on right might be 'read' as a waterfall, over which the little sampan here is about to plunge.

Friday, October 12, 2012

New Faces of 1906

Want the shirt and tie very badly.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tintype of Tintype Collector

Yes, the collector had a tintype of herself made yesterday.  (More fun and less narcissistic than getting one's DNA through the mail?  Who can tell.)  Given the brutal honesty of the tintype plate it's actually hard to be too vain.  Through some strange alchemy of tin and chemical solution, the image shows freckles---everywhere--that were last seen when I was six years old. 

As close as it gets to seeing oneself dead.   Especially given 19th-century 'old weird America' look the process gives one.  She died in an asylum in 1911.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

From a Zine

Photo of a photo -- one I took of an image by the marvelous Dutch photographer Anouk Kruithof.  This pic shows one of several page spreads from a zine by Kruithof entitled 'The Daily Exhaustion': a series of pictures, printed on large floppy newsprint, featuring this same  beautiful young woman in various states of sweaty-looking ennui, fatigue, acedia, tired preoccupation,  etc.

See Kruithof's website for some of her other works, including Becoming Blue,  one of the strangest and most haunting photo-books I've come across lately.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Understudy

On the left: Elsie Hitz, actress and radio personality of the 1930s, shown here with Thelma Marsh, a young Broadway actress hired to be Hitz's understudy in the popular CBS radio show of 1933, 'The Magic Voice.'  Marsh, 'Radio's First Understudy'--according to the photo caption--was selected after many auditions because 'her voice most nearly duplicated that of Miss Hitz.'  To judge by the sultry looks being exchanged here, she and Hitz seem to be duplicating in other ways too.

Elsie Hitz was said to have the 'most beautiful speaking voice on the air' in the early 1930s.  She also starred in Dangerous Paradise, a radio adventure serial in which she and the actor Nick Dawson played two castaways shipwrecked on a desert island. What happened to Thelma is a mystery.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Birth of Civilization

My spouse has just purchased a 'kick' scooter.  Unfortunately not big enough for me to sit on the back.  In fact there is no back.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Miss Italy of 1946

Silvana Pampanini--b. 1925 and apparently still alive--Italian movie star and 'sex symbol' of the early fifties.  Here she is in O.K. Nerone (1951), described in the caption of this publicity photo as 'An American-Language Comedy Spectacle.'  Silvana's Wikipedia entry--badly translated, it seems, from the Italian--is likewise something of an American-language comedy spectacle.  She is described as having refused an invitation to make films in Hollywood because she "found English too difficult and because she had some problems about tax office."

Likewise fascinating: "In the opinion of the press, she filtered with personalities as Tyrone Power, William Holden, Orson Welles, Omar Sharif, George DeWitt, Jimenez and Fidel Castro; despite of this she never married." You can see her filtering here, but also why she found the mens disappointing.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Classic 'bad' amateur snapshot -- 1960s vintage, judging by the car (Chevy? Rambler?)--but also a paean to a certain Southern Calif-ornian civilization one recognizes all too well. One has 'lived' that Kodachrome blue sky, that flat concrete driveway, that scrubby attempt at a lawn, that faded green plastic hose snaking around between the kids' legs and under the car.

The scene itself has a certain dramatic charm. Who's the old guy with the strange gray box?  And what's the bigger kid--the one caught in jaunty contrapposto--telling him? Is that the mother leaning on the back of the passenger seat of the car?  The little brother standing on the hose is nothing less than one's beau idéal-- then and now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Moslem Treasurer

Delusional on pretty much all counts.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Meritorious Artist

'Mac Fric' turns out to be Martin Fric---Czech actor/director/writer involved in 132 movies (almost all released only in Czechoslovakia) between 1922 and 1969.  Advokatka Vera ('Lawyer Vera') is apparently a comedy from 1937.  No, I haven't seen it.  Other Fric flicks sound oddly enticing: Tears the World Can't See, Condemned from Pinktown, The Star Called Wormwood, Dogs' Heads, Winter Sports Champions, and Meritorious Artist Terezie Brzková.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grail Music

---and Liebig's Fleisch Extract.  Scored these six lovely comic-strip-style Parsifal cards-- along with numerous postcards showing hefty, fur-sporting, horn-helmeted late 19th-c. Wagnerians -- in an antiquary's shop in Bayreuth.  (Click image to see captions, etc.)

Somewhat aghast, though: despite all briefings to the contrary, the Bayreuth Parsifal audience did clap at the end of the first act.  Whatever happened to absurd yet venerable Festspielhaus customs?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Mia From Praha

And yes, this is my natural coloring.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Last Day in Vienna, Anschluss Begins

"(March 12)  SALZBURG, Austria--AUSTRIANS LINE STREETS TO SEE HITLER'S TROOPS MARCH BY---'As Hitler's soldiers rolled into Austria March 12 to force Chancellor Schuschnigg's resignation and set the stage for annexation, Salzburg, lying near the border, got an early sight of German armed strength.  Here and there was a Nazi flag.  Here and there an arm was raised in the Nazi salute to this horse-drawn supply train, in strange contrast to the motorized units that speeded through the streets and on to Vienna; to the giant bombers which winged overhead with their loads of soldiers.  Note the last team in line.  The German army still uses mules.'
(AP Wirephoto) 1938."

The Anschluss became official on March 13th.  Anna Freud was arrested by the Gestapo the same day and interrogated, an event that persuaded her father, Sigmund Freud, that it was time to leave Austria.  After torturous negotiations over exit visas etc.  Freud and his immediate family were allowed to leave for London on June 4th.  Four of Freud's elderly sisters perished in concentration camps.

Click image to enlarge.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ringstrasse, 1900

Yes, my heart now beats in three-quarter time.  My one and only Wiener Werkstatte card.  I won't be able to check the artist until I get home.  I can't remember his/her name.  Definitely not Kokoschka.