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.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Czech Diva

3 operas at Bayreuth this week and now feeling a bit of a letdown in Prague.  So to preserve the operatic state of mind:  Maria Jeritza (1887-1982), the great Czech singer.  Debut in the part of Elsa in Lohengrin in 1910.  Lohengrin was the last of the works we just saw--in a crazy/wonderful production with the chorus in mice costumes à la Art Spiegelman's Maus.  Tremendous singing, though, from the Lohengrin, Klaus Florian Vogt, and gorgeous Elsa too, Annette Dasch.  Exquisite playing by orchestra.

Jeritza was nicknamed the 'Moravian Thunderbolt' on account of the vocal sparks she emitted.  Hapsburg Emperor Franz Josef had a major jones for her.  But after a long and eventful career she married an American businessman and died in New Jersey, having nearly reached 100 years of age.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Baby Peggy, aka Diana Serra Cary

Stupendous newsroom photo of 'Baby Peggy' (b. 1918)--in her day, the most famous Hollywood child star.  The real life story is a fascinating and unsettling one --Baby P. was quite horribly exploited by her parents and the studios.  (She was 'discovered' at the age of 19 months.)
     Remarkably, Baby Peggy, whose real name is Diana Serra Cary, is still alive, and undaunted, in her 90s.  In 1996 she published a memoir, What Ever Happened to Baby Peggy: The Autobiography of Hollywood's Pioneer Child Star (St. Martins Press).  She's since written a number of books about early Hollywood and other child stars, including Jackie Coogan.

Here's a link to a précis of her life, written by herself-- --and an excerpt.  I'm in awe of this lady.

'I made fifty two-reel comedies in the three years I worked for Century and my fame became global. Then in 1923 Universal took me over, changing me from comedy to feature length melodrama. By this time I was four and I ranked among the top twenty major stars of the silent era as a major box office draw. The early 1920's was the age of "personality stars" such as Pola Negri, Clara Bow and the mysterious Greta Garbo. No matter what roles they took their personality shone through, and audiences learned to "trust the brand." As Jackie Coogan's only rival, I was also a popular Personality star, who brought fans into the theatre, which is why Universal paid me ten thousand dollars a week to make three major features back to back that year.'

Monday, August 13, 2012

Takin' a Load Off

Little hand-tinted card--carte de visite size.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Dear Cabbage,

....self-explanatory, one would imagine.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tarred and Feathered

I find this press photo--remarkably composed-- extraordinary.  It shows one Jack Green, sign painter and alleged Communist, after he was tarred and feathered by a 300-strong band of self-styled vigilantes in Santa Rosa, California, in August 1935.  According to the accompanying story, another man was likewise tarred; three others beaten up and 'ordered to leave the country.'  Green is seen here with his family 'shortly after he had removed tar applied by vigilantes.'

Can't get over the sheer expressiveness of the thing--the childrens' faces and bodies, the wife's tenderness, Jack's own stunned and pensive look.

Enlarge image to get all the human information here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Otis Skinner in a Spanish Role

The noted American stage actor (1858-1942), father of Cornelia.  Says he's 'Juan' on the back.  Something to do with the play Blood and Sand, later made into the film with Valentino?

More wikipicking needed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Life Aquatic

 The outdoor pool I swam in as a child in Folkestone, Kent.  I can see now it had fairly cool 1930s-looking changing rooms.  But in the early sixties the thirties weren't yet cool; they were too recent, and thus still horribly *dreary.*  (Now that I think of it, the early 1960s were the 1930s, and vice versa, at least in Austerity Britain.)  As can be seen, the pool abutted the grim & godforsaken English Channel.  The pool water was unheated sea water--a fact that made one's stays in it brief and unwilling.

By contrast: the pool I swam in in the mid- to later sixties--attached to the Buena Vista Apartments, a vast thousand-unit rather down at the heels apartment complex in one of the tackier parts of San Diego.

The pool looks nicer, though, and was.  But the apartments themselves became notorious a decade or so after we'd moved away--home to a serial killer who murdered at least five women in the complex.