Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reader comments: Movie-star cards, Manning-Sanders and Michaud's

Here's another supercalifragilisticexpialidocious collection of comments and queries from Papergreat's wonderful readers:

A bookmark from a late, great bookstore in Berkeley: Photographer Mark Wilburn writes: "Wonderful find. I also just found an old bookmark from the store that must be even older since the spelling of 'Shambala' is the older version without the "h". It has a beautiful graphic on the front and an interesting picture at the top on the back of four guys with their heads touching. Below is the quotation, 'All Hail to the One Mind!'"

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Coupons for a 1980 book fair in Baltimore: Justin Mann of Justin's Brew Review writes: "'Waiting for Godot' is one of my favorites! Sorry to hear you don't get a free book though."

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Coupons from the E.H. Koester Bakery Co.: Anonymous writes: "Is anyone familiar with the 'Movie Star Album' by Koester's Honey Bread? My mom passed away a we found a paper album by the name 'Movie Star Album' with the emblem Koester's Honey Bread. Inside there are some card-type pictures I guess my mom collected from eating Koester's bread. We grew up in Baltimore. On the back of some of the pictures is the following 'one of these movie actor photos will be wrapped in each wrapped loaf of Koester's Tosty Bread. There are 100 of these portraits to a set. Be sure and get the complete set.'"

Anonymous, I'm not sure if your family's collection is valuable, but it's definitely old and rare. According to this page on The Movie Card Website, the 100-card, black-and-white set was issued by Koester's in the 1910s. The cards are 2 inches wide by 3¾ inches tall. Featured actors included Mary Boland, Gladys Hulette, Dustin Farnum and W.S. Hart.

This photo page, featuring the front and back of one of the cards, confirms all of Anonymous' details. Does anyone else have anything to share about this obscure set?

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Great moments in Papergreat history: Spam advertises on the blog: mshatch, who authors The Secret of the Golden Flower, Unicorn Bell and mainewords, writes: "I'm not sure if I ever ate Spam, but I know I ate Underwood's Deviled Ham. Can't remember if I liked it though."

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Handy information from the 1942 Civil Air Regulations: Word maven Justin Mann writes: "I think the use of the word 'certificated' is certifiable. Just sayin'. Seriously though, it is interesting (in my opinion) to find, research, and study uncommon words and uses of words. Consider 'commented' vs. 'commentated'. Sometimes these words are created through the linguistic phenomenon known as backformation. In other words, we create a new word -- often unwittingly -- because it seems that it should have already been in existence anyway due to an existing 'real' word. Consider that the word 'couth' did not exist before the word 'uncouth'. Seems counterintuitive -- how could the root word not have come first? You see? Interesting! For a long list of other similar words, check out this list: Enjoy!"

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Plucked from a yard sale, Part 6: Safe journeys, Quizmo and a lion: Teresa writes: "The #12 item was prepared by a distant relative of mine. Her father is my great-grandfather's eldest brother! Thank you for sharing!"

The item that Teresa is referring to is a 26-page pamphlet published in 1954 by the American Automobile Association for elementary school and junior high teachers. It was prepared by Luverne Crabtree Walker, the elementary school supervisor for District of Columbia Schools. The pamphlet encourages traffic safety to be a topic in every school subject.

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Bushkill Falls: "A Delightful One-Day Auto Trip": Wendyvee of Wendyvee's writes: "Great post! I, too, love to check out routes on old maps to see what changes and hidden gems they have. Castle Finn Mansion is gorgeous. I can't imagine how cool it would be to own it!"

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Sue Tatterson's trip to Scranton Lace Company: Kevin Beitz writes: "I am very happy to say I own two steam engines that were part of Scranton Lace factory."

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Enjoy a liver and pepper dish with Fluffy Rice Norman: Anonymous snarkily writes: "There was a reason Fluffy Rice Norman was omitted from cyberspace, and now you've contaminated the universe."

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Happy 143rd birthday, Algernon Blackwood: My dad checks in with some family history: "May I remind you that the name 'Algernon' is in your heritage. John Algernon Otto was your great grandfather, father of John Alexander Otto and grandfather of yours truly. He lived to be 92 years old. I can't remember the exact year he passed away but it was in the late 60's. He was a stone mason. He built the stone face church I attended as a kid; Calvary Methodist Church, Easton, PA. He was not the least bit scary as Algernon Blackwood."

And Mom adds: "Dang. Your Dad beat me to it! I was going to suggest that you were somehow drawn to this author through some psychic connection to the name!" (I think the idea of a psychic connection between myself and Blackwood would please the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.)

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Regarding Ruth Manning-Sanders in general, Ulrike Monecke sent me the following email query: "my name is Ulrike, I'm a woman from Germany, Berlin. Sorry for my little English [note: which I cleaned up very slightly for publication]. I write you, because I was searching in the net about information about Ruth Manning-Sanders. There is not much. I'm very happy to find you.
I'm a puppet player and I want to make a new play, and I find Manning-Sanders and her humor beautiful. I found a fairy tale from her in 'A Book of Enchantments and Curses.' The name of the story is 'Unfortunate,' which comes from Sicily. In the book, nothing is written about the original story. I found the original story, but the story from Ruth Manning-Sanders is much nicer. I want to know how and where she found the story, and something about her thoughts and how she works. I like her words."

These are wonderful questions, Ulrike! I don't have any insight regarding how Manning-Sanders discovered this particular story. I know she gathered folk and fairy tales from all over the world, from many different sources, in order to find the ones that she wanted to retell. And, yes, her language is fantastic and humorous. She writes in a style that is perfect for oral storytelling.

"Unfortunate" (also known as "Misfortune"), like many fairy tales, is a common story that can likely be found in many cultures. Italo Calvino also retold a version of it. So it's possible that the original story Manning-Sanders used as the basis for her tale is different than the one you came across, Ulrike.

It's not surprising that Manning-Sanders' version is "much nicer" than the other one you found. First, most "original" fairy tales were quite dark and violent in nature. They were not intended to be fun and comforting stories for children. But, in the 20th century, Manning-Sanders was absolutely writing for a young audience, and would have "sanitized" the story somewhat to make it acceptable for children.

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Three unrelated advertisements (Michaud's, Duz and Q*bert): Lini writes: "You have more on the Michaud Brother's Grocery? One of the brother's was my great grandfather. I would be really interested in any more you have on them."

Lini, other than the one I posted on the blog last April, I only have one other Michaud's newspaper advertisement in my possession. It's from that same period -- October 1935 -- of the St. Paul (Minn.) Dispatch. Here it is:

Check out those fish and meat prices! But the eels, by comparison, are a bit expensive at 49 cents per can. That would be the equivalent of $7.70 in 2010 prices, according to The Inflation Calculator. For eels!

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