Showing posts from 2017

The Myth of the Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle Ban

The Myth of the Fatty Ban The 1920s had barely begun when a real life situation developed that would lead to the first officially announced ban in Australia on an actor and his entire output, past, present and future, as opposed to a single film. Incredibly the ban had nothing to do with on-screen horror, instead the ban was enforced upon one of the most popular cinematic comedians of the silent era and, even more incredibly, despite the ban was official, it was also widely ignored. Roscoe Arbuckle, better known to the movie going public by his nickname, ‘Fatty[i]’, was one of the most popular of the early silent comedians. He worked with the greats of the era, Mabel Normand, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and acted as mentor to the young Bob Hope. His popularity was reflected in his three year contract with Paramount Pictures which would see him earn a whopping $1,000,000 a year. Arbuckle was box office gold, only behind Chaplin for sheer money making capacity in Austral…

Syd Miller's Dracula

Over at the Trove site the legendary newspaper Smith's Weekly has just been uploaded after being digitalised. This should be a massive deal for anyone doing any form of research in Australia for the years the tabloid existed - 1919 to 1950. I know that, for me at least, this is huge. At it's best, Smith's Weekly was untouchable, at it's worst it was still essential reading.

Even better than the words was the artwork they used. Artist such as Syd Miller, Stan Cross, Jim and Dan Russell, Mollie Horseman, Joe Jonsson, Emile Mercer, Eric Jolliffe and many more all worked for Smiths. If you're keen on seeing some of the best art of the era, go and browse the title and check out the amazing art.

Such as the utterly amazing image of Bela Lugosi as Dracula by the incredible Syd Miller. As you can see, it didn't get much better than this.

They Don't Make Ads (Or Albums) Like This Anymore: Real Life

By the ghost of Magilla Gorilla, Heartland  by Real Life was, and still is, a masterpiece. Mind you, try finding it on CD these days. Expensive? You don't know the half of it. But, quality costs and if you're as old and decrepit as I am, it's worth it for the memories that it beings back as soon as the synth starts up.

A shame record companies don't do expanded editions of these albums, but then, when you're dealing with trying to find out who owns the rights, especially when the Wheat is involved, good luck!

Basil Gogos: A Celebration Of A Famous Monster

Growing up in Elizabeth, which is a fair distance away from Adelaide, the capitol of South Australia, I'd scour second hand shops and newsagents for my reading material every Saturday morning, rain and shine.  I'd buy almost everything I could find that grabbed my interest - the local library would sell their old books for a whopping five to ten cents each, and the Elizabeth South Secondhand Shop would sell me magazines and comics for around ten cents too - lots of Marvel and DC Comics, Gredowns, Yaffa reprints, Newton Comics - you name it, I devoured it.  One magazine that always caught my eye was Famous Monsters of Filmland.  I'm one of those rare creatures who thought Forrest Ackerman's prose was a bit, shall we say, redundant when it came to the amazing images that populated the magazine, and the incredible covers that the book featured.  Even the ads were great.

Over the years I lost all of my collection, but as I've grown older and money isn't either as …

Their Real Signatures: Led Zeppelin

I've just come back from a nice, long holiday.  Down to Melbourne, then off to Tasmania where we spent the better part of a week and change just driving around and exploring places like Brickendon, Eaglehawk Neck, Richmond, the coal mines and Maria Island.  Even got caught up in the snow storms.  Lovely!  I'd recommend it for anyone really.  Plus I bought a pile of stuff.  Boat ride back was horrid though - six meter swells saw us being pounded about all night long and has taken the better part of a week to recover from.  But, dear reader, I can see you yawning.

Back to business.  What we have here are the real signatures of the remaining members of Led Zeppelin.  That'd be Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and their bassist and all round instrumentalist/arranger, John Baldwin.

John Who?  Yep, you see, John Paul Jones is a stage name.  The man was born John Baldwin.  Not that he'll sign your tatty old copy of Houses Of The Holy like that.  So, here you go, gaze your eyes on ye…

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: Marvel UK

These Marvel UK house ads are great to look at.  Generally the artwork in them was commissioned specially for these ads and this was no exception.  Take a punt and see if you can guess who the artist was.

Their Real Signatures: Kiss

We all know that the members of Kiss never used their real names.  Gene Klein, Paul Frehley, Stanley Eisen and Peter Criscuola all adopted stage names about as real as Gene's hair is now.  They became, in order, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss.  Ok, no big deal, after all lots of people changed their names when they became successful, or just to enter music.  Just ask Harry Webb, Arnie Dorsey or Tommy Woodward.  Better yet, don't ask Arnie.  His name change doesn't make a lick of sense.
However if you're like me, and hopefully you're not, then you've often wondered what the signatures of Kiss really look like.  I'm not talking about the scribbles that they've placed onto so many things over the decades, from titties through to arms, legs, wooden legs, album covers, books, magazines, comic books - you name it, they're probably signed it.  In Gene's case, he's probably asked for money to sign it.  Hell, I'm sure he…

Sunday Morning Op Shop Find: Fifty Years Of The Port Adelaide Institute (1902)

Believe it or not, this ad is actually for clothing.  There's not a stitch in sight, but the aim of the ad was to show that Famous Hercules Clothing, in 1902, was just as strong as the legendary German bodybuilder Eugen Sandow.

Or perhaps not.  I mean, who knows now?  All the same, it's a great ad, from a book that is now 115 years old and still fully intact.

I found this copy of the book at an op shop, of course, and was delighted to discover that it was the original owner was one Arthur Lipson, the grandson of Captain Thomas Lipson, R.N., who was the first Collector of Customs at Port Adelaide.  How good is that?  He got this book in 1902 and it remained in the family, I presume, until the point where it got dumped out, for whatever reason.  The photos and sketches of Port Adelaide from the mid 1800s through to 1901 in this book, alone, are worth the price of admission.

And then there's Eugen Sandow.  Pride of place at the front.  That's history for you.  Bring it o…

Sunday Morning Op Shop Find: Orson Welles

Ain't it a stunner?  The Lives Of Harry Lime, complete with non-fiction stories by none other than Harry Lime himself, Orson Welles.  I tell a slight fib though, this book wasn't an Op Shop find, this one was a few bucks at a book fair here in Adelaide last week.  It was worth heading out in the cold and rain, just for this one.  And there were other books to be found, including an extensive study of the Bounty mutiny dated 1884.  Can't complain.

I was fascinated by the film The Third Man from the time I first saw it on TV.  It just bewitched me, and the speech Harry Lime gives on top of the ferris wheel about morality is still utterly chilling.  If you've seen the film, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.  If not...
Holly Martins: Have you ever seen any of your victims?
Harry Lime: You know, I never feel comfortable on these sort of things. Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots st…

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