Saturday, March 8, 2014

Old postcard of Des Moines and some cool weekend reading


Here's my roundup of the most interesting stuff I've come across in cyberspace during the past two weeks. Share your favorite reads or links in the comments section, or sent a Tweet my way @Papergreat.

Finally, this is NOT a recommended link. But I must point out that this probably the dumbest thing that will be posted on the Internet in 2014: "If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It." Congratulations, Lynn Shepherd.

1. Speaking of Ghostbusters, with regard to the death of Harold Ramis, Patton Oswalt had the following brilliant Tweet: "If a Twinkie represents amount of grief I feel when someone dies, Harold Ramis' death would be a Twinkie 35 feet long weighing 600 pounds."

Enjoy a free drink at Doris Wong's Hong Kong night club

This item fits in nicely with this week's theme of night-life ephemera.1 It's an undated card, 4¼ inches wide, for the Golden Lion night club and bar on Gloucester Road in Hong Kong. The front of the card features a martini glass, a pair of elegant dancers and a blue stamp for a "SECOND FREE DRINK."

Based on the address, the Golden Lion was located in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong. I believe that the club has long vanished from existence.2

Here's a look at the inside of the card.

And so we learn that Doris Wong's establishment featured first-class service, music, mixed drinks and attractive girls. It doesn't, however, mention dancing. Was the illustration on the front misleading?

Finally, there is a nifty map3 on the back of the card, showing sailors how easy it was to get from Fenwick Pier and the station ship to Golden Lion.

Fenwick Pier features a "Fleet Arcade" that was set up in the 1950s by the U.S. Navy. According to Time Out Hong Kong, "the Fleet Arcade was built to serve as an R&R point for sailors on their way to and from the pleasures of Wan Chai’s more salubrious parts. While nowadays it’s much quieter than in the past, it’s still home to numerous quality goods and services."

For more on what this area of Hong Kong was like from the perspective of a U.S. sailor during the time of the Golden Lion, I highly recommend "Station Ship Hong Kong" on Seven Years a Sailor (

1. See posts on Frank's Pig-Pen in West Berlin, items from the October 1971 issue of Berlin Today (including Rolf Eden's international dance bars), and Mader's German restaurant in Milwaukee.
2. There is, however, an establishment called The Golden Lion on Gloucester Road ... in Bristol, England. Tonight, The Golden Lion is featuring "Acid Funk & Boogaloo W/ Guy Calhoun & Friends." In case you were wondering.
3. Want to check out more vintage maps? See these previous posts:

Friday, March 7, 2014

QSL card: The motorcycling Doughtys of Bucksport, Maine

I'm finally making my way through the last small batch of QSL cards from a shoebox full of them that I bought in early 2012. Most of them have been resold or — in one case — returned to the original family.1

This QSL for KMZ-2552 is titled "Motorcycle Mama & Motocycle Papa." They are the Doughtys of Bucksport, Maine.2 I'm not sure what the symbolism is with regard to Bob and Rosalie crashing a motorcycle into a brick wall upon which Humpty Dumpty/Laurie is tottering, but I'm sure there's a great story behind it. And I do love QSLs with original illustrations.

The card was sent to XM-632-3396, and, on the back, the Doughtys added this note, which is dated November 15, 1977: "We QSL 100% so extras are always appreciated. 3's & 8's your way. Rosalie & Bob."

I'm also curious what these two little symbols on the left-hand side of the card refer to. Anyone have any ideas?

1. A family from Texas contacted me recently when they saw one of the QSLs posted on Papergreat. They wrote: "This was my dad's card from back in the early 60s. Where did you find it? This hit me like a ton of bricks. If you have the card is it possible I can retrieve it from you as it is really a part of our family history." And, after I mailed them card, they responded: "I have passed it onto my sister, the family historian. This has really brought us a lot of great memories and laughs as we can all remember Dad sitting at the Browning Eagle. That was our communication system for long distance between the house and the farm property." I was happy to get the card back into their hands, and I wish I could do it more often with some of the things posted here on the blog.
2. This is the second time Bucksport has been mentioned on Papergreat. The town and its spooky history were mentioned in the December 2012 post titled "1915 post-Christmas postcard: 'Many thanks for the stationery.'"

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Famous People who have dined at Mader's"

This is the front of a card that given out at Mader's, a famous Milwaukee restaurant, back in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Mader's, which is renowned for its German cuisine and has been in operation for more than a century, has welcomed an enviable list of celebrity diners over the decades. The list, according to the restaurant's website, includes U.S. presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Ford, Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, John Wayne, Cary Grant, Boris Karloff, Howard Cosell, William Shatner, Justin Bieber, and Clark Gable. To name just a few.

And so I wondered what I might find in the moments before I flipped open this old card.

A photo of JFK with some wiener schnitzel?

Cary Grant with a plate of pork shank and sauerkraut in front of him?

Alfred Hitchcock noshing on spätzle?

None of the above.

Here's what was inside...

I don't suppose I could convince anyone that's Audrey Hepburn under the costume?

Oh well. At least it fits in with this week's bunny theme.

More goodies from the October 1971 issue of Berlin Today

Frank's Pig-Pen, a former West Berlin watering hole that was the subject of last night's post, was just one of the interesting things to be found within the October 1971 issue of Berlin Today, an entertainment guide geared primarily toward the U.S. military members stationed in West Berlin during the Cold War.

Here are some of the other neat things from this 40-page staplebound publication:

1. The are daily listings for Armed Forces TV-Berlin, a low-power UHF channel that was available West Berlin. Some of the television shows that were regularly aired included My Favorite Martian, Green Acres, Dragnet, Playboy After Dark, Sesame Street, Bonanza, Room 222, and The Tim Conway Comedy Hour.1

2. Although Armed Forces TV had very limited movie offerings, there were at least four West Berlin movie theaters with lineups geared toward Americans — Andrews, Columbia, Outpost and Coliseum. Some of the movies showing in October 1971 were The Vampire Lovers, Jane Eyre, The Barefoot Executive, Alex in Wonderland, Get Carter and Cold Turkey. The movie theaters also showed the 1971 Indianapolis 500, 1971 college football highlights and Woody Woodpecker cartoons.

3. There is a "Menu Translator" section featuring an illustration for Monsieur Gourmet that looks quite a bit like Stewie from Family Guy. Don't order weinbergschnecken off a menu unless you have a hankering for snails. If you order your steak nicht durchgebraten, it will come to you nice and bloody.

4. There is an advertisement for a Bechstein Grand Piano available for a one-time offer of just 9,000 Deutsche Marks. I truly don't know whether that would have been a great deal or not.

5. Finally, there is this amazing advertisement on the back page of the guide. It touts Rolf Eden's four international dance bars, which featured a mix of disco, jazz, beer, go-go girls, whiskey, orchestras, strippers, and "the latest Zany Electronic Eden Creations."

That's Rolf Eden himself in the advertisement, holding a gun and looking like James Bond.

According to an English translation of his German-language Wikipedia page, Rolf Eden Shimon is a well-known playboy and nightclub owner. He was born in 1930 to Jewish parents in Berlin. The family fled to Mandatory Palestine in 1933 as the Nazis rose to power. Eden worked as a musician for a while. He lived in Paris during the early 1950s and then returned to Berlin in 1956.

He opened the first of his establishments, the Eden Saloon, in 1957, and his nightclub empire grew from there. He eventually transitioned to real estate and fully divested himself of his clubs in 2002.

Eden has also had a side career as a movie actor. He had a role in 1962's The Terror of Doctor Mabuse, which starred Gert Fröbe (of Goldfinger fame).

Eden's German-language autobiography was published in 2012, and I think the not-safe-for-work cover tells you all you need to know about his life. The main title translates roughly to "Always Just Been Lucky."

Here are a few more Eden-related links:

1. For more on Armed Forces TV-Berlin, check out this remembrance website (which hasn't been updated since 2008, but still has a little bit of good info).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Frank's Pig-Pen in West Berlin: Old advertisement and some memories

This advertisement for Frank's Pig-Pen, a former bar/restaurant in West Berlin, appears in the October 1971 issue of Berlin Today, a dining and entertainment guide that was partially geared toward the U.S. military members stationed there.

Berlin Today featured information for travelers, church-service listings, shopping guides and many advertisements for West Berlin's night life. The magazine's center spread contained a map of West Berlin that also showed the location of East Berlin and Checkpoint Charlie, along the Berlin Wall.

Frank's Pig-Pen was open seven days per week, from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Its cuisine included numerous Italian specialties, "French Snails," fried chicken, U.S.-style steak, barbecued spare ribs, fried shrimp and schnitzel.

I found these memories of Frank's Pig-Pen while scouring various Internet comment threads and message boards. (I did some very light editing on some of them.)
  • "It was a few blocks up the street from Andrews barracks, at the corner of Martha Strasse and Kadettenweg. Frank's served bar food, like pizza, sausage, and fried potatoes. The upstairs was where the owner (Frank) lived."1
  • In January 2001, George DeBuchananne wrote: "The building still stands as of last summer. It is now a residence. ... I got to know Frank and Sabenia quite well. ... [Frank] realized how much money he could make by selling Italian food to GI's sick of wurst & salad. The funny part was that he really thought that he could create a 'Class Place' rather than just another smelly watering hole. Actually, Frank could cook. He had always told me that he was Italian from Brooklyn, NY. When he and Sabenia moved out of their apartment and into the place over their new bar, they thought they had hit the big time! The only trouble was that Frank spoke no German. Sabenia had all the papers made out in her name so when their relationship hit the rocks the place was like a soap opera. After the big blow-up I heard that Sabenia went for 'class' and tried to turn the place into a 'Key Club'. That didn't last long. I heard that Frank went to the Azores or somewhere and started another restaurant."2
  • Arnold Townsend, commenting on an unrelated story on, wrote: "I'll never forget 'Frank's Pig Pen' in Berlin. The food was pretty good all things considered. But for someone like me, from the Southern portion of the Bible Belt, it was most definitely an eye-opener."
  • An anonymous commenter wrote: "I remember Kramer's Place ... they had good pizza and beer ... and yes, I also remember The Golden Sun ... we called it The Golden Scum ... and that's where I was when we landed on the moon for the first time in July 1969 ... We also hung out at Frank's Place ... go straight out the front gate, cross over F'Allee and walk one block ...on the right .... we called it Frank's Pig Pen .... I staggered back to the barracks from Frank's on many nights."3
  • Finally, "Army Medic Dad" wrote: "Two blocks up the street from Kramer's Pizza was Frank's Pig Pen. It was a bar/grill run by a U.S. Army veteran and his wife. Around midnight, he would close the place to all the civilians then would bring in local 'dancing' girls, who would perform for the U.S. soldiers. There were a couple times I didn't leave there until dawn. I'd post photos but then I'd have to kill you."4

More from the October 1971 issue of Berlin Today

1 and 2. Both of these memories come from the "Bars, and Other FSB Watering Holes" page (which also has a photo of Frank's) on The Field Station Berlin Vets Group website (
3. This was found in the comment thread for a 2011 video titled "Andrews Barracks Kaserne West Berlin Germany" at this URL.
4. This comment was on a message board.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mystery real photo postcard: Four women sitting on the ground

On the heels of last month's real photo postcard featuring a trio of schoolchildren, here's another never-used mystery card.

Again, we have more questions than answers. Who are these four women sitting on the ground? Where were they from? How did their lives turn out?

We can only date the postcard very generally. According to this page on, the CYKO logo in the stamp box dates this card to sometime between 1904 and the 1920s. That's a pretty wide range. Perhaps someone with a good knowledge of early-century fashions can pinpoint a narrower range of possible years. also features an interesting guide to the value of real photo postcards.1 Some of the most sought-after and valuable postcard topics include small towns, advertising signs, photos from Delaware, Native Americans, pre-1918 baseball stadiums and players2, bygone modes of transportation, quilting bees, and the flu pandemic. So be on the lookout for those topics if you ever come across a cache of old photo postcards!

Here's a closer look at the women on today's postcard.

1. The author of the guide provides this amusing (and surely imaginary) example to explain rarity and demand:
"If while searching in a family trunk, one found an RPPC of a woman holding a banner reading 'Woman Voters!' while she was riding a Harley Davidson motorbike up the gangplank of the Titanic in Ireland, one could easily surmise a sense of value to such an image. If that image were proved to be one-of-a-kind, or at least at most one of a few hundred, the value rises even more. Since this mythical image also incorporates 3 high demand collecting areas (Woman's rights, early motorcycles, & the Titanic), 3 aggressively active collecting groups would want to own it. It is these types of factors that drive the value of RPPCs."
2. A real photo postcard of a Negro League baseball player could be worth $4,500 to $25,000, according to the guide.

Monday, March 3, 2014

1932 William Penn first-day cover with Delaware County cachet

This first-day cover from October 24, 1932, is pretty cool.

1. It features the 3¢ William Penn stamp, which commemorates Pennsylvania's 250th anniversary. It was one of six commemorative stamps issued by the U.S. Post Office in 1932. (The others were a 2¢ Olympic Winter Games Lake Placid ski jumper, a 2¢ stamp for Arbor Day, a 3¢ Summer Olympic Games runner, a 5¢ Summer Olympic Games discus thrower and a 3¢ Daniel Webster.)

2. It was postmarked at 1:30 a.m. on October 24, 1932, in Chester, Pennsylvania. I suspect many of these prepared covers were postmarked at 1:30 a.m. There's an eBay auction for one right now.

3. It features a cachet (stamp) for the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. The cachet notes that William Penn first arrived in Chester on October 28, 1682. (The first commercial cachet was produced in 1923, and you can read more about their history in this article by Marjory J. Sente.)

4. This cover was mailed by Frederick M. Gittings of Catonsville, Maryland, (who had a nifty return-address label) to Miss Florence Jones, also of Catsonville.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bunny!! Bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny bunnybunnybunnybunny

This realistic Mike Roberts Color Productions postcard was mailed in 1986 with a 14-cent Sinclair Lewis stamp. The caption states:
"SADDLING UP BIG JACK. It is not unusual to break these big fellows and use them for ranch work."

Rhoda Campbell Chase's illustrations for "Hansel and Gretel"

A century ago, in 1914, the American Book Company published Story Hour Readers (Book Three) by Ida Coe and Alica J. Christie. One of the book's primary illustrators is Rhoda Campbell Chase. But I can't uncover much about her, beyond the fact that most of her known work was in children's and school books published in the 1910s.

Wayne Burrows, writing on The Serendipity Project, states that Chase worked "in a style derived from (and perhaps midway between) Kate Greenaway and Edmund Dulac."1

Chase provided seven illustrations — five of which are included in this post — for the version of "Hansel and Gretel" included in the reader. This variation seems to be based upon the 1893 opera by Engelbert Humperdinck and Adelheid Wette. For one thing, there's no wicked stepmother. (The Grimm Brothers' version didn't have a wicked stepmother, either.) There are also no pebbles or bread crumbs.

There are other changes and additions, too. It goes something like this:

Broom maker Peter and his wife, Gertrude, live in a cottage on the edge of a forest in Germany with their children, Hansel and Gretel. One day, the children are left home alone to do chores while their parents are away. Their labor becomes tiresome. "Come, Gretel, let us have some fun!" says Hansel, stirring up trouble. And so they do a little song and dance inside the cottage. The mother returns home, sees the frolicking children and chides them for their laziness.

The mother attempts to punish Hansel with a whack of the broom, but he darts out of the way and she accidentally tips over a jug of milk, their only food in the house. Cranky mother (and can you blame her?) directs Hansel and Gretel to go into the woods to pick strawberries. She tells them not to return until their basket is full, "for there is nothing else for supper."

After the children leave to perform their task, Peter returns home with a bounty of food2 — he sold all of his brooms for a tidy profit — and is worried to hear that the children are out in the woods so late in the day. "I fear that the terrible Witch of the Forest may find them, and that we shall never see them again," he cries.

Meanwhile, Hansel and Gretel, the bums, are taking their good old time picking strawberries. Also, they are eating the strawberries they do find, because they are so hungry. Soon, their basket is empty again. By now, however, it's too dark to see the strawberries. As Gretel begins to weep, they hear "soft voices among the trees," and the light of a will-o'-the-wisp heads toward them.

Hansel and Gretel run and hide.

A friendly little man with a long white beard finds them and sings a song that puts them to sleep, for he is the Sandman.

While the children sleep through the night, a group of elves, fairies and wood nymphs sing songs and dance in a circle around them. At dawn, the Dew Fairy sprinkles dew upon the children's faces with her magic wand.

Then there's more singing.

The children wake to find they are next to a house made of candy. The roof is chocolate, the windows are sugar plums and the fence is gingerbread. So the children nibble away at the house, of course.

Suddenly, out pops a witch with a pointed hat and a stick. This is, of course, the Witch of the Forest. She's creepy and she invites the children in for candy, cake, apples and nuts. They decline and try to run away. But the witch casts a spell that freezes them in their tracks. Hansel is caged and fed sweets to fatten him up before he is cooked.

The witch decides to bake Gretel first and directs her to set the table while she starts a fire. Then the witch decides, oddly, to take a ride on her broom while the oven (located in the front yard) is heating up. Upon landing, the witch directs Gretel to climb into the oven and see if it is hot enough to bake bread. Gretel declines, claiming she is afraid.

The witch, inexplicably, climbs into the oven to show Gretel how it's done. Gretel slams the oven door shut, and that's that.

Hansel and Gretel, as they are wont to do, sing a little song in celebration. They use the witch's Elder Bush3 to transform the candy house into a flower-covered cabin. Mom and Dad arrive moments later, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Here are more of the illustrations for this tale by Rhoda Campbell Chase.

1. The Serendipity Project has the following mission statement on its home page: "The Serendipity Project will post a single item each day between May 1 2011 and April 30 2012. Items might be books, records, ephemera, objects, photographs or artworks. The contents feed visual and written material on sites linked to from this page." That makes it a neat companion site to Papergreat, and I hope its acts of "preservation" of this ephemeral material is further saved or preserved. The Rhoda Campbell Chase post was published on February 13, 2012, and titled "ALTERED RHODA CAMPBELL CHASE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM TOLD BY THE SANDMAN BY ABBIE PHILLIPS WALKER (HARPER & BROTHERS, 1916)."
2. Bread, butter, potatoes, ham and eggs.
3. The sambucus (or elderberry) has a long history in folklore. Sometimes the plant was used by witches, and sometimes it was used as protection against wishes. The Elder Wand in the Harry Potter series is made of sambucus.