Saturday, July 6, 2013

Advertisements for a pair of 1980s Star Trek games

We're on a robust "Star Trek" kick these past few months in our family. It was kickstarted by Sarah's anticipation for "Star Trek into Darkness"1 and our subscription to Netflix, which allows us to watch all of the TV series and most of the theatrical films.

Sarah started with The Original Series, devouring many of those episodes. She is now moving into the Next Generation episodes, discovering the world of Picard, Data, Q and the Borg.

With Space and The Final Frontier in mind, here are a pair of advertisements for Star Trek-themed games from the February 1983 issue of Dragon magazine.

Star Trek: The Role Playing Game

This game was published by FASA from 1982 to 1989. The basic game cost $25 and was known, among other things, for playing a little fast and loose with Star Trek canon.

Star Trek: The Correspondence Game

This game, from ECI, was part of the genre of play-by-mail games that was popular before computers and the instantaneous-communication nature of the Internet took over the world. It offered players an opportunity to use their imagination as they captained their own Federation starship.

According to the advertisement, game play consisted of:
  • Each move we send will be a complete narrative description of what happened as a result of your last actions!
  • You'll get a ship status report, detailing Crew Status, Department Status, Technical Status and Damage Control Reports!
  • You will be able to write THREE PAGES of description for ANY ACTION YOU WISH TO PERFORM!! You can use any or all of your crew at YOUR DISCRETION! There are NO special action charges, no limits on what YOU can decided to do!!!
  • Each month you'll receive a newsletter telling the stories of the most exciting adventures, giving hints on play, and sometimes running contests with cash prizes!!

Certainly a different world of gaming than today's button- and click-driven world of videogames and computer games.

If you have any memories or insights regarding these games, share them in the comments section!

1. I thought "Star Trek into Darkness" was entertaining, but was disappointed by its lack of originality and its need to restage key moments from a certain classic movie.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Great links: Vincent Price's travels and St. Elsewhere history

Here are two neat things for you to check out on this holiday Friday...

Vincent Price 1928 travel diary

London-based writer Peter Fuller is blogging excerpts from the fascinating travel diary that a teenage Vincent Price kept during his "Seven Capitals of Europe" trip in 1928.

Regarding the trip, Vincent said, "Whoever wrote the propaganda for Tour 22 had written just for me. The sights which would be covered were my dreams come true. Where other tours included famous battlefields and natural phenomena, likes rocks which look like ladies fast asleep, Tour 22 was heavy on the churches and museums, with just enough enticing treats to mysteries like the Catacombs outside Rome and castles like Chillon."

Fuller will be updating the blog with Vincent's travels over the summer. Here are the first few posts.
Be sure to bookmark Fuller's blog to follow along with upcoming posts.

The St. Elsewhere Experience

Daniel Butterfield has, hands down, the best St. Elsewhere resource on the Internet. Recently, after much procrastination on my part, I sent him photocopies of my issues of "On Call," the St. Elsewhere Appreciation Club newsletter that was published by James L. Longworth Jr. of Longworth Communications in the late 1990s.

Since he received them, Daniel has been doing the thankless job of retyping all of the great information from the newsletters and posting it on his blog, so that more people can have access to it. It's a huge task, but one fueled by his love of the great 1980s television show.

Here are some of his recent posts:
To see all of the posts he's done so far from the newsletter, check out the "On Call" subsection of his blog.

And just check out The St. Elsewhere Experience in general, for all of its great content. One of my favorite recent entries was "Retcon Alert! Father McCabe Is Alive and Well and Living in Arizona."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Excerpts from 1856 book: "Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution"

"Gallants attend, and hear a friend,
Trill forth harmonious ditty,
Strange things I'll tell, which late befell,
In Philadelphia city."

"Battle of the Kegs" by Francis Hopkinson
(sung to tune of "Yankee Doodle")

* * *

This edition of "Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution," by Frank Moore, was published in 1856 by D. Appleton & Company of New York. It contains the lyrics from 92 American Revolution songs, along with in-depth historical notes by Moore. (He was, like Papergreat, a big fan of footnotes.)

In the preface, Moore writes:
"This volume presents a selection from the numerous productions in verse, which appeared during the war of the American Revolution. Many of them are taken from the newspapers and periodical issues of the time; others from original ballad-sheets and broadsides; while some have been received from the recollections of a few surviving soldiers, who heard and sang them amid the trials of the camp and field.

"Nearly every company had its 'smart one' or poet, who beguiled the weariness of the encampment by his minstrelsy, grave or gay; and the imperfect fragments which survive to us, provoke our regret that so few of them have been preserved."

Here are a couple of songs from the 19th century volume:

The Pennsylvania Song1
We are the troop that ne'er will stoop,
To wretched slavery
Nor shall our seed, by our base deed
Despised vassals be;
Freedom we will bequeathe to them,
Or we will bravely die;
Our greatest foe, ere long shall know,
How much did Sandwich lie.
And all the world shall know,
Americans are free;
Nor slaves nor cowards we will prove,
Great Britain soon shall see.

We'll not give up our birthright,
Our foes shall find us men;
As good as they, in any shape,
The British troops shall ken.
Huzza! brave boys, we'll beat them
On any hostile plain;
For freedom, wives, and children dear,
The battle we'll maintain.

What! can those British tyrants think,
Our fathers cross'd the main,
And savage foes, and dangers met,
To be enslav'd by them?
If so, they are mistaken,
For we will rather die;
And since they have become our foes,
Their forces we defy.
And all the world shall know,
Americans are free,
Nor slaves nor cowards we will prove,
Great Britain soon shall see.

Virginia Banishing Tea2
Begone, pernicious, baneful tea,
With all Pandora's ills possessed,
Hyson, no more beguiled by thee
My noble sons shall be oppressed.

To Britain fly, where gold enslaves,
And venal men their birth-right sell;
Tell North and his bribed clan of knaves,
Their bloody acts were made in hell.

In Henry's reign those acts began,
Which sacred rules of justice broke
North now pursues the hellish plan,
To fix on us his slavish yoke.

But we oppose, and will be free,
This great good cause we will defend;
Nor bribe, nor Gage, nor North's decree,
Shall make us "at his feet to bend."

From Anglia's ancient sons we came;3
Those heroes who for freedom fought;
In freedom's cause we'll march; their fame,
By their example greatly taught.

Our king we love, but North we hate,
Nor will to him submission own;
If death's our doom, we'll brave our fate,
But pay allegiance to the throne.

Then rouse, my sons! from slavery free
Your suffering homes; from God's high wrath;
Gird on your steel; give liberty
To all who follow in our path.

1. Of "The Pennsylvania Song," Moore notes: "The author of this ballad is unknown. It appeared originally in the 'Poet's Corner' of Dunlap's Packet, as the 'Pennsylvania March,' to the tune of the Scots' song, 'I winna marry ony lad, but Sandy o'er the lea.'"
2. Of "Virginia Banishing Tea," Moore notes: "Many urgent appeals to the people of the different colonies were made after the destruction of the tea at Boston, calling upon them to abstain from the use of all imported commodities, and to confine themselves to the fragrant herbs and other productions of their own fields and forests. The following poetical one was written by a young lady, of whom all that is known is, that she was 'a native of Virginia, endowed with all the graces of a cultivated mind, pleasant external qualities, and a model of patriotism worthy the emulation of many more conspicuous.'"
3. Anglia is the medieval Latin name for England.

Vintage Independence Hall postcard for Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July!

I have a Revolutionary post come up later this afternoon. In the meantime, I wanted to share this vintage postcard of Philadelphia's historic Independence Hall (constructed from 1732–1753) and links to some past patriotic-themed coverage on Papergreat.

This very American postcard was, ironically, published by Raphael Tuck & Sons of England and printed in Germany. Oh well.

Fourth of July links

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dutch photographer Niki Feijen's urban exploration masterpieces

I first came across the work of Dutch photographer Niki Feijen a couple months ago, when I saw a jaw-dropping gallery of his work in a MailOnline article that was tantalizingly titled "Family life frozen in time: Eerie images of the abandoned farm houses where even the beds are still made."

I'd love to be an urbex photographer, but, at this point, probably wisely, my (very) amateur photography is limited to exterior shots.1

Feijen's work, however, is a real treat. He gave me permission to post the above photograph on Papergreat. His accompanying information states: "The impressive stained glass window of 'Chateau Clochard'. This 15th century castle located in a small French village was an icon for urban explorers. Several pianos were left behind by the former owners who abandoned it over a decade ago. Sadly a fire ravaged the remains of the castle in 2012. Only the outer walls remain."

You can view much of Feijen's work in the galleries on his website, The Art of Urbex. And you can also check out and like his Facebook page, where photographs are regularly featured. I should also point out that he has a limited-edition book, "Disciples of Decay," that is still available.

Here are links to some of my favorite photographs by Feijen, from his extensive galleries, that I don't want you to miss:2

1. Here are links to some of my exterior shots of falling-down things:
2. Some commenters on Huffington Post and MailOnline argue that some of Feijen's shots are staged and employ props and therefore it's not true urbex photography. I believe that's a distinct possibility, but I don't think that takes anything away from what he's achieved, artistically, with these haunting shots.

UPDATE: Official response from Feijen, regarding props: "I never bring any props … it would be just to dangerous. If I get out of a building and (have) stuff in my hands I would be arrested for theft."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Three Earth- and space-themed vintage QSL cards

It's been awhile since QSL cards — confirmations of the receipt of a radio transmission used by amateur radio operators — were featured, so here are a trio of Earth- and space-themed cards dating to the 1950s and 1960s.


I love the graphics on this QSL, which was sent from Long Island, New York, and confirms a connection that was made with TI2EA on September 26, 1958 (almost exactly one year after the launch of Sputnik).


This QSL was mailed from New Milford, Connecticut, to Colebrook, New Hampshire, in early January 1966, confirming a "loud and clear" connection on January 3, 1966. It was mailed with a 4¢ Abraham Lincoln stamp that has a PRAY FOR PEACE cancellation. (The "Pray for Peace" cancels were first used in 1956. That's just one of the many fascinating tidbits I learned in this Stamp Community Family forum.)


Neither the scanner nor my camera could accurately capture the bright color of this QSL. I would describe it as Traffic Cone Orange. It records a "very strong" signal connection between WPE5EXG and TI2EA on July 24, 1968. The space capsule on the front of the card resembles John Glenn's Friendship 7, which orbited Earth on February 20, 1962.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Illustrated "mapback" on vintage Dell paperback "Death with Death"

In the category of Things They Don't Make Like They Used To, today's focus is on vintage Dell paperback novels. This colorful map of historic Annapolis, Maryland, is featured on the back cover of the circa 1951 Dell paperback "Date with Death" by Leslie Ford.1

This type of book is called a mapback, which is a collectors' term for a line of paperbacks — many of which were mysteries — published by Dell Books from about 1943 through 1951.

The books are known as mapbacks because, well, the back covers feature a map showing locations from the novel.

Many of the books also include character lists at the front. "Date with Death," for example, contains a list of 13 characters, including Doctor Jonas Smith, Gordon Darcy Grymes2, Agatha Reed, Professor Darrell, Olive Oliphant, Sergeant Digges and Wetherby.

There were approximately 550 titles of this style published by Dell.

Gary Lovisi wrote an in-depth article for Mystery Scene titled "Dell Map Back Mysteries: They Don't Make 'em Like that Anymore!" Here's an excerpt from his piece regarding the origins of the mapback:
"Dell editor Lloyd Smith, born in 1902, came up with the idea for the back cover maps (or someone at Western Publishing suggested the idea to him). Smith was, in essence, a one-man publishing whirlwind. According to most accounts, he designed and envisioned the series, originating the maps, casts of characters and other features, and even suggested the airbrushed covers that Gerald Gregg and others would paint so effectively.

"Many of the maps were drawn by Chicago graphic artist Ruth Belew, who created at least 150 of the 577 maps. They showed anything from a nation or state with cities, streets, mountains, seas and lakes, to a Manhattan brownstone with diagrams of the various floors, or a country estate, showing rooms, gardens and outbuildings."
For more, I highly recommend Lovisi's article.

And here are some other mapback facts, from Wikipedia:
  • "A few oddities were published without a map on the back cover. Dell 'War Books' such as #26, The Raft, and #32, This Time For Keeps, had back covers which exhorted the reader to 'Buy War Bonds and Stamps.'"
  • "There are a number of movie tie-in novels in the series. One of the most significant is #262, Rope, by Alfred Hitchcock — actually written by Don Ward — with a cover featuring James Stewart."
  • "The Dell mapback line also contains a number of mysteries by writers who have fallen out of favor over the years — or who were never popular. Collectors cherish the camp value of such mysteries as Murder Wears Mukluks by Eunice Mays Boyd, The Body That Wasn't Uncle by George Worthing Yates, and Death Wears a White Gardenia by Zelda Popkin."

BookScans, a reference website featuring thousands of JPGs of vintage paperback covers, has a separate section on the Dell mapbacks.3 It includes almost every one of the 500+ covers in the series. You could lose your whole afternoon to it.

(And, if it's a rainy afternoon where you live, why not?)

1. For some interesting discussions of author Leslie Ford, see "Leslie Ford: The Material Girl's Guide to Murder" and "Leslie Ford's Fall from Grace."
2. Gordon Darcy Grymes is described as "a writer, is strikingly handsome, sophisticated, and something of a heel." He, of course, has an indentical twin who is a "wealthy Baltimore industrialist."
3. BookScans also has a neat section titled "Vintage Paperback Oddities," which includes a lot of adult bawdiness.