I am standing here at the kitchen counter ignoring the dog, who believes it is time for his late-night snack. This is the order of things: I come downstairs to write at the kitchen table, and there is Nice Clinky Bowl Food. Usually I give in, but it’s early. He is confused and believes that the situation will change soon. Questioning whines. Some throaty oaths. Sorry. I have to go upstairs and post this -

and that’s the extent of the top of the Bleat throat-clearing, because this is another nine-mile deep one. Good thing it’s pictures. You can scroll fast and ignore the words, if you wish, but as you know I don’t just post pix and walk away whistling. Value-added content, that’s the gambit.

What you see below is part of a huge project to clear out absolutely everything in the To Do folder, and a group effort wherein we learn about other times and other talents who have been forgotten. Building up those karma points for someone doing a blog on me in 2135. Hah! Kidding. There won’t be blogs. There will be 3D holographic consensual hallucinations. Like twitter but with an extra D.

Although Twitter has enough extra Ds already, if you ask me. Anyway. Let us move on ASAP to Today’s Stuff.

And now, the Department of Miscellany takes you back to 1924.

Why not take a look at the cliches of the movies, seen through the eyes of an illustrator no one remembers?

Okay SOMEONE does, but we’ll get to that.

I really like this fellow. Even in 1924, they were aware of the high levels of tropes and rote plots:

They knew that the movies always restored the social norms . . .

They had their own moral panics. Shins were being shown! The whole shin!

Caption: “While the female portion of the country is no doubt going to think Rudolph ‘just grand’ and ‘too wonderful for words’ as Monsieur Beaucaire, the men are not going to take to the ‘dolled up’ Rudolph so enthusiastically.

What actually happened:

Monsieur Beaucaire was part of a series of box office and critical disappointments that plagued Valentino mid-career. Although the film did fairly well in big cities, it flopped in smaller locales, and could not exceed the expensive budget Olcott put into the film's production.  Historians Kevin Brownlow and John Kobal suggested that the film's shortcomings stemmed more from Olcott's "pedestrian" direction.

Many viewers and critics, perhaps expecting the more virile Valentino of his earlier films, felt that his onscreen persona with its heavy makeup, frilled attire, and arch mannerisms (particularly in the first half) was overly feminized in Monsieur Beaucaire: a somewhat unfair accusation, considering that much of the film satirizes the excesses of the court of Louis XV.

A fragment of that Laurel movie remains.

Another familiar complaint: “Slowly but surely the movies are annihilating all our cherished illusions regarding historical characters, such as Lincoln, Washington and Napoleon’ our former friends are ground forth from the projection machine, only to become total strangers to us."


Smart kids, dumb adults - that’s a new one, right?

When it came to doing the stars, he had a style that could’ve made him the Hirschfield of his day:

I’m not quite certain what this means.


“If you are to judge America by its movies, then all city camels are wicket flappers.”


Who was he? Harry LeRoy Taskey.

Harry LeRoy Taskey, illustrator, printmaker, and teacher, was born to Otto and Cora Anna Presley Beckman Taskey 12 June 1892 in Rockford, Indiana. He studied at Hiram College in Ohio, 1915-1917; in New York at the Art Students League with John Sloan and Harry Sternberg, 1919-1927; and in Paris at the Académie Grande Chaumière, 1927-1929. During World War I, he served as a corporal in the 112 Engineers, 37th Division, American Expeditionary Force, United States Army.

He was still studying his craft when he did these cartoons. Died in 1958.

But he left behind quite a lot of work. Google Harry LeRoy Taskey, and you'll be surprised: nothing in the search results resembles the work you see above.

The cartoons, btw, accompanied short observations by Tamar Lane, a director.









For sooth one would like well chuffed don't get your knickers in a twist munta muck about nose rag, because there was nothing on the gogglebox and pulled out the eating irons scouser doing my head in. I'd reet fancy a on't goggle box Victoria sponge cake owt apple and pears I bid you

There are, no doubt, passionate people who want to restore and revive the downtown. There always are. There’s just never enough of them, nor enough money, or tenants. There ought to be, but if that’s what the majority of people wanted, there would be.


I’m sure they meant well, but that fountain sums up everything about modern fountains between 1950 and 1976. Let’s make a pond, and then another one that’s lower, and then steps between them. The water will run down from one to another! It will be pleasant.

This view seemed to sum up medium-sized cities: a block of history with something completely devoid of context at the end of the street.

The building reminds me of a painful split lip.

Sorry, I don’t need any OANS, and it seems no one else does either.


Glue circles to indicate the loss of a new skin - looks like colored glass here. The display cases are no doubt from the same era. And what did they do to those cases?

Remember, I snipped this many months ago. It might be better today. I don’t look ahead when I’m doing these; just looking at them one by one as you do.


I guess the 30s are really over.

Next door, to the right: Really over.


1930s buildings have that rash more than any other style. It has to be the material. Concrete’s cheap, but, well, concrete’s cheap.



Back to the streamlined building.

They tried to make the street work again, but the bricks don’t seem to have done the trick (they never do) and the tree either died or ran away.

Blocks can stay like this for decades before they're revived.

But it's doubtful anyone will want to save the arched building. Even as a cautionary tale.


This poor fellow got sad, bad sixties-style smother job:


The original spare design wasn't blank enough for modern tastes?

It’s like something you’d say when a huge press agent caught on fire:


Great gold display cases and entrances. About the only good thing you can say for the death of downtown retail is the way it made it possible to document what things actually looked like, once. Now? Cared for or valued by no one.

This is fantastic. I thought: that has to be a newspaper building.

But it’s a courthouse. Then I thought: that can’t be right. No one built courthouses like that in the 30s. Sure enough: it was the White House, a department store. Opened in 1940.

And what a year that was for the town: In 1940, you were living in a future out of the pages of a 1920 sci-fi mag.


Yes, I'm sure they hoped it would end up as an Antique Mall some day.

By now we should all know what this is, right?



Let’s get to the big stuff.


Those blank lower floors aren't a good omen.

The Hotel Beaumont in Beaumont, Texas was built in 1922 by a group of 277 investors. One million dollars was spent to build the structure. The building is 11 stories tall, and has 250 rooms. The building contains two ballrooms, the Rose Room, and the Sky Room on the Roof, both of which were used many times during the structure's colorful history. The building was used as a retirement community from 1977–2011. A full restoration of the building was completed in 2000, excluding the Rose Room and the Sky Room.

Since its auction in 2014, the hotel still sits abandoned. Former plans to re-open the hotel have not been spoken about since 2015.

Good Lord, it’s even past its inevitable senior housing stage?

Let’s take a peek at the theater down the block:

Wikipedia has a curt line that says it all: “The theatre closed in 1972 due to a loss of interest in downtown.” But it was reopened and renovated.

Nice photo gallery here.

The Edison Hotel.

Offices since the 50s.

Beaumont didn't have the best luck with big hotels.


This just makes me mad.



Sad, sure, but mad. Just tear the damned thing down. Let it go. All it does by surviving is remind people of a past that was mistreated, sullied, insulted, and allowed to rot.

And goes for this one, too.




Then you find a gem that not only survived, it’s untouched:


The details that made everyday public spaces a moment of beauty.


Annnnd then you find . . . this.











Holy Jeezum Crow.

You think, perhaps, there’s hope. It’s so civilized, so elegant - and it’s a good sign it’s been preserved.

But it’s just not enough.



Didn't mean for this to get so huge, but that's what happened. Sorry! See you around.






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