I enjoyed the Super Bowl, but had to step out of the half time show for some Geritol. What’s really depressing is seeing tweets describing the intention of the spectacle as nostalgia. I suppose so, given the heyday of most of the artists, I guess, I think; not my genre. But it seems remarkably lacking in the things we have, for centuries, associated with “music.” How cultural anthropologists will someday square this music with the rich and astonishing history of the American Song Book is a task that may not be possible.

“For reasons that may have seemed obvious at the time but are less clear from a distance of several hundred years, there was a period in which a great many popular artists decided to stop singing, and instead speak very rapidly.”

I know, I know, it’s not for me. But I did enjoy the few scenes in which people appeared to be playing instruments, just to know that’s still in the mix.

Now, as promised: the electrical Valentines!

It's 1922, I think, and one of the magazines that pushed hard for home electrification had these Valentines to show people what the juice could do. The illustrations are delightful examples of the Big Head School of the era.

Rubber not for our ice-card.

So the ice man used to help himself, eh? Were they seen as a somewhat unsavory fellows?


Interesting meter.

If they weren't stealing cider, they were banging the back door. An uncouth lot, all of them.



It makes you realize how many things electricity replaced:

Bundle-bulging flivver is a statement you will read here today, and no where else.

And lady, that last shot was pretty cheap. It ain't a guy's fault he's shiny up there. I don't make a point of noticing yer ankles are on the doughy side now does I?

Then again, it's nothing compared to this one:

Look, mister, it's not as if having electricity makes food just appear in the air somehow. Adolf knows you'll be back. And don't think the thumb won't rest on the scales a little heavier than before. Ptomaine bait, mein herr? Ach

  So everyone in the service industry is a boor or cheat or scold or small-minded withered gossip, I gather.

And you can afford electricity! You're better than all of them!

Ha ha man we employed to do our filthy, sweaty work: g'wan, get lost, you sweaty failure who has no skill, no financial security, no future, and can only watch impotently as his simple trade is tossed on the scrapheap

I'm thinking it was a sign of pride and social position to be the first who had the house electrified, but it was better to be the second or third. The ones who did it first lorded it over everyone.

It's also a reminder of the effort it took to electrify homes. It wasn't just like running fiber from the street. I have a site coming up on the  pro-electrification magazines of the day, and you might be surprised to learn that it all came later than you might think. At least it came later than I thought, so I am of course projecting my ignorance on everyone to make myself feel better.




I’ve always been a fan of William Warren. Or is it Warren William? Wariam Willen? I wonder if his middling success - by the standards of the industry, not those of most actors who never get 1/100t of his work - was due in part to his name. The man himself was certainly distinctive. Great self-possessed, continentally-amused charm and reserve. Not the best Perry Mason, if you’re looking for the Burr archetype. But perfect as the Lone Wolf. He did nine of them.

We’ve talked about this character before. The greatest jewel thief ever, gone straight, now using his skills for good! Of course he had a sidekick, a little English manservant-type who ended every sentence with Sir.

The problem of having a sidekick when your name is the Lone Wolf was never really addressed.

Anyway. The first movie made from the books was released un 1917, and the last in 1949: that’s a long time for a franchise. Warren would do two more after this. It’s a straightforward war-time programmer, and a bit slow for me. It’s only four years since he started the role, but frankly . . . he looks a bit old for the part.

He’s only 47. He would pass at 53.

Anyway, there are some missing plans, and it seems the Lone Wolf stole them! But he’s working for Her Majesty’s Government to find a Nazi spy ring. Alas, the one man who knew he was working undercover . . .

Is dead. What else is in the paper? NEW TALK ABOUT FRANCE. Also:

Of course, the Nazis are balding and ruthless. SS Captain Murray Slaughter!

If not bald and civilized and ruthless and cold but with a sense of irony, they are uniformed in outfits that squeak when they move:

The most interesting thing might be this.

It’s a fax machine. It transmits the plan over radio waves.


Also, this guy.

Recognize him?

He played a secret Nazi, and believe me, he picked a bad day to stop eating sauerkraut.



That'll do: off on another week. See you around.



blog comments powered by Disqus