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?