Saturday, November 21, 2020

Pittsburgh newspaper clippings from 147 years ago

 A three-legged cat, an "ancient-looking" revolver and more.

Here are some clippings from the August 4, 1873, edition of the The Pittsburgh Daily Commercial that you might find intriguing on this Saturday night.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday's mostly mystery photo

This is Ray.

That's all we know beyond what we can see here. His name is written on the front and back of the 3½-inch-wide photograph. The snapshot was once pasted into a photo album, the kind with the black-paper pages. (It's kind of odd, and certainly I've been guilty of this at times, to think about all the modern folks who has meticulously removed pasted photographs, one by one, from old albums and scrapbooks. Sometime it's to preserve them in better or easier ways. Sometimes it's to save just a few pieces of ephemera from an otherwise mundane repository of memories. Sometimes it's so that those snapshots can be sold individually in flea markets and antique stores.)

Ray is certainly cleaned up real well for this photograph. Shirt, jacket, pants and a nice belt. Face scrubbed and hair combed. Would he rather be wearing jeans and a T-shirt and climbing that tree behind him?

If we had to guess a time period based on his clothes, this might be a little bit after World War II, right? 

Is Ray still around? How about those houses and that tree? What were his family's plans on this day? What were the other photos once surrounding this on the page of the photo album? Siblings? Pets? Birthdays? Vacations? 

And who ultimately removed it from the photo album? A family member? A stranger? 


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Thursday's mystery photo

Today's snapshot is 2⅝ inches wide, was once pasted into a scrapbook/photo album, and is slightly out of focus. A young woman with short hair and a necklace looks into the distance — not at the photographer — as she casts a shadow onto what appears to be a well-constructed barn complex. That's it. That's all we know. Was another photographer taking a straight-on shot of her at the time, and this photographer decided to document it from the side? Or was "moody" the intent of the photo? Am I wrong to say that her shoes do not seem to be proper footwear for someone who might spend time around this barn? Is that a ring on her finger? 

Mystery photos contain so many mysteries!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wednesday's semi-mystery photo

For today's camping photo, which is 3½ inches wide, we do have some caption information on the back. It states:
NO 47
OUR CAMP AT DORST CAMP, SEQUOIA, AFTER RETURNING FROM HIKE TO LITTLE BALDY SEQUOIA
This would be the Dorst Creek Campground at Sequoia National Park in central California. Their hike was the Little Baldy Trail (or Little Baldy Dome Trail). The peak of that trail is said to provide an amazing view, if there's good weather. The National Park Service website states:
"The Little Baldy Trail climbs along switchbacks to the top of a granite dome, passing an incredible variety of wildlfowers along the way. The trail starts from the highest point on the Generals Highway, winding 1.7 miles (2.7 km) and gaining 790 feet (241 m) in elevation. At the top, enjoy views of the Great Western Divide and beyond. You might rest and have a picnic while enjoying this 360-degree view. When you're done, return the way you came for a total of 3.4-mile (5.5-km) round-trip hike."  
The California Through My Lens blog has some nice photos of the hike.

I don't know anything else about this photo. Who these campers were, or even when they were camping. The car that's pictured might give us some hints as to the era, though.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tuesday's mystery photo

Today's mystery photo features a dapper-looking young person standing on some very nice brick steps. Clearly, this family was not struggling financially.

The snapshot, which is 2¾ inches wide, was once pasted in a scrapbook and there is no identifying information that I can discern, although I can see small portions of the stamp from the business that processed the photo long ago.

I'm no expert on clothing, but this is certainly an interesting outfit, with the wide-collar shirt, double-breasted overcoat, cuffed pants and dress shoes. Spinning a (silly) modern context onto a vintage photo, I might say this kid is cosplaying as either Draco Malfoy or Tilda Swinton. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday's mystery photo

Let's have some mystery snapshots as part of the mix this week. (Heck, I have enough to get through that I could probably post one per weekday through the end of the year.) 

This photo of a young girl measures 2⅝ inches by 4⅜ inches. It was important enough that it was once, long ago, pasted in someone's scrapbook. But it has been removed and there is no identifying information on the back. 

What can we know about this? We can only guess, as always. The girl's shoes and the quality of the small portion of the house we can see behind her would seemingly indicate the household was not poor.

Beyond that, it's all guesswork. When was this? Where was this? What kind of life did she have? I reckon it's possible that she's still alive, sitting somewhere with all her lifelong wisdsom and wondering what the hell has gone so wrong with the world in 2020.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Update on my dream house

In previous years, I have described elements of my dream house, which will require some magical realism, as it will be somewhat larger on the inside than the outside. The exterior will be modest and bucolic. There will be a goat on the roof. And plenty of other yard animals around. I plan to spend a lot of time in the yard.

But I will need somewhere to sleep. Enter the bedroom inn that Hutter retired to in 1922's Nosferatu. Cozy and perfect. (I'll have to add a ramp to allow cats access to the raised bed, though.)

The next most important thing is books. I have many. In my dream house, I will have multitudes. They need the perfect home. Ashar and I watched 1965's The Skull last night, and the study/library where Peter Cushing's character spent most of his time is perfect. Huge, but not overwhelming. Lined with bookshelves everywhere you turn. There are no great images showing the true extent of the room online; I included the best ones I could find in this post. But they don't really do it justice. So you'll just have to watch the movie, which is very good and which has plenty of tracking and lingering shots that luxuriate in the design of Cushing's study. I can only image how much fun it was for the set designer to put it together. 

I'd keep Cushing's desk, I think, but add a second one somewhere in the room, because I'm already committed to Chauncey Depew's desk being a part of my dream house. A room this impressive can certainly have two desks. 

I should probably start thinking about the kitchen soon, if this dream house is going to be viable. I'm thinking I might mix things up with some mid-century modern aesthetics...

Monday, November 9, 2020

School lesson for the kitties

This Victorian trade card features some tortoiseshell kittens attempting to learn geography from an adult black cat, while two other kittens wait their turn. It's an interesting map. It almost looks like it has a south-up orientation, but I'm clearly reading too much into it; it's obviously just some colored blotches in the vague resemblance of a map. Also, an illustration of cats looking at a map is hardly the place to comment on cultural and socioeconomic bias as normalized through geography.

As you can see, no publisher is listed on the front of the 4⅜-inch-wide card, and the reverse side is blank. But based on some other evidence I found online, it's likely this is from a series that was issued in the 1880s or 1890s by Dieter's Crown Baking Powder. According to the below 1980 advertisement from the  Xenia (Ohio) Daily Gazette, Dieter's Crown Baking Powder was "recommended by the highest medical and chemical authorities, who testify to its absolutely purity, wholesomeness and wonderful strength."

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Wisconsin map postcard mailed in 1966

This nifty and colorful "Lusterchrome" postcard, made by Tichnor Bros., was mailed in July 1966 from Waukesha, Wisconsin, to my great-grandmother in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. The card itself must have been produced before 1966, though, because it includes mention of the Milwaukee Braves. In 1966, the Braves relocated from Milwaukee to Atlanta. 

The cursive note on the back states:
July 24th.
Hi. Have been here in Wisc. for a month but leaving Milw. in morn for Fla. My sister-in-law came as far as Ft. Wayne with me & I'll pick her up about Wed. to drive back — Country beautiful and lush — My son and family will fly home from Singapore in Oct. for a month. Hope you are O.K.
Claire
Other Wisconsin-related posts

Saturday, November 7, 2020

There will be no lack of documentation or keepsakes

There's little need to document this week in American history. There will be endless books, magazine articles, saved newspapers, documentaries ... you name it. At this point, I'm sure, people are curating and keepsaking posts from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps even family text messages sent back and forth. So I'm just going to add one artifact to the mix. The blending of pop culture, history and memes. It's a Friday scene from Philadelphia and it comes from @adambonin's Twitter account:

Postcard my great-grandmother sent from Taxco, Mexico

My great-grandmother, Greta Miriam Chandler Adams (1894-1988), mailed this postcard to my mother and uncle in December 1967. She sent it around the time Otis Redding died in a plane crash, the Concorde was first shown to the public and the U.S. government was testing to see whether atomic bombs could be used to facilitate the fracking needed for natural gas extraction.1

Shown in the Editorial Mexico/Fischgrund postcard is a vista from Taxco, Mexico. Taxco, in central southern Mexico. According to Wikipedia, and as we can see in the postcard, "The city of Taxco lies on very rugged terrain and has steep, irregular streets. The streets are also narrow and generally lack sidewalks, making them picturesque but dangerous. Adding to the charm is that most streets are paved with dark stones, adorned with lines, pictures and even murals of white stone."

Here's the note Greta wrote 53 years ago in her shaky cursive handwriting:
"Going to Taxco today for over-night. Been too busy to send cards on trip. Sorry. Hope you're well. Had pretty air-plane & auto trips. Not crazy about meals. Weather been pretty — some rain in [sic] few showers. Get tired in Mexico City walking around.
Love,
Grandma"
I mean, she was 73, so I think we can cut her a little slack for being pooped at all that walking.

Footnote

Thursday, November 5, 2020

QSL from West Germany in 1963

Ham radio time again! Here's another QSL card that was sent to Melvin "Midge" C. Reed, who was last featured in August. (August seems so long ago, in this longest of years.)

This comes from German shortwave amateur station operation Kurt Jana (DL1VG) and features a contact from late February 1963. Jana lived near Braunschweig, West Germany. That city, which dates to the 9th century, struggled during the Cold War, according to Wikipedia, because of its proximity to the Iron Curtain and the loss of its nearby economic partnerships in East Germany. I wonder what Kurt had to say to Midge during their wintertime conversation 57 years ago?

The card itself appears to be advertising Roto-Werke, a printing press manufacturer (I think) that operated from 1912 to 1982 in Königslutter am Elm.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Aspirational book cover: "A Million and More Strides"

  • Title: A Million and More Strides
  • Author: E. Hector Kyme (who was mentioned in passing in this recent post)
  • Jacket photograph: "Self photograph of the author walking across Beeley Moors, Derbyshire (taken using a 30ft cable release)"
  • Dust jacket blurb: "When Hector Kyme decided to walk the length of Britain he chose to go north-west to south-east — Durness to Dover, which he considered a more beautiful and interesting route — as well as less crowded — than the commoner John O'Groats to Lands End. He carried all his belongings, including two cameras, in a rucksack and in this book he describes the wonder and excitement he experienced from the wild beauty of the north to the architectural and historic treasures of the south. Whenever possible Kyme kept to country lanes or minor roads. Sometimes he deviated to see a notable scene or a village of notable charm, but everywhere — and these were among the more memorable of his experiences — he met and made friends with people"
  • Relevant Elton John song/Bernie Taupin lyric: 
"I hope the day will be a lighter highway
For friends are found on every road
Can you ever think of any better way
For the lost and weary travelers to go
Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need"
  • Publisher: Robert Hale, London
  • Original price: £3.50
  • Year: 1975
  • Pages: 207
  • Format: Hardcover 
  • First sentence: With one elbow resting on the roof of his superb car, affording support while divesting himself of his fishing waders, an angler answered my "How do you do?" with "Good day, where are you going?"
  • Last sentence: Incidentally, do join me on my next journey.
  • Random sentence from the middle: Soon, I was so alone that cows and sheep wandered about the road, quite unconcerned about me.
  • Random passage from the middle: Next followed the most hauntingly beautiful county of this realm with the road undulating and swaying, following the contours of the land. It seems as if the monotonous, dull, routine jobs of industry were more than a million miles away, and that the clangs and clatters of hammers were only to be found in Vulcan's forge and that all mythological. 
  • What is Vulcan's forge? It could refer to this by Diego Velázquez or, more likely perhaps, this.
  • Online ratings or reviews of this book: None. 
  • Other books of note: Also on the dust jacket, we learn that this is the first book that Kyme has written, but he provided photographs for two others — Portrait of the Pennines and Peakland Days, both by his friend Roger Redfern. ... Meanwhile, these two pastoral books are promoted on the back cover: More Country Talk by J.H.B. Peel and Four Seasons in Three Counties by Edward Storey.
Interior photo by author

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Today's most important ephemera

Monday, November 2, 2020

Victorian advertising card: "On The Lookout"

This old advertising trade card features a man who looks a little bit like an undercover Santa Claus using his spyglass (handheld telescope) for some unknown purpose. We can only hope that he's not looking directly into the sunrise/sunset. That would be unsafe

The card, which measures 3⅛ inches by 5¼ inches, was produced by August Gast & Co. The text states:

Headquarters for SEWING MACHINE SUPPLIES,
NEEDLES, Oil, Attachments, Etc.,
New Office:
The SINGER M'F'G CO.
32 GENESEE ST.

I'm fairly stumped about where this Genesee Street is located. There are no great or obvious results from initial internet searches. If I had to guess, I'd say it's somewhere in New York state. Utica? Rochester? Syracuse? Buffalo? Genesee, which, according to Wikipedia, is derived from the Seneca (Onödowáʼga) word for "pleasant valley," is a very common name throughout New York.

But wait, there's more! 

It's been a while since I did a good curation of the many posts about Victorian advertising cards that have appeared on Papergreat over the past decade. But here is a sampling of some of the more "recent" ones, if you want to dive in for an Election Eve distraction:

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Donovan is here to take the children

I wasn't even aware that this movie existed until this morning! A bit lost in the sands of time, it's 1972's The Pied Piper, directed by Jacques Demy, a famed filmmaker who was married to another filmmaker who should be even more studied and celebrated — Agnès Varda.

But, getting back to this film of a half-century ago, it sounds bonkers! The Scottish musician Donovan plays the titular character, and his presence as a hoped-for box-office draw is driven home by the movie's tagline, "Come children of the universe, let Donovan take you away, far far away."

Nothing creepy about that, no sir!

(Additionally, it should be noted that's Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" was turned into the creepy anthem of David Fincher's 2007 film Zodiac, which features a short appearance by Donovan's daughter, actress Ione Skye.)

Demy's film, from what I've quickly read, is considered a fairly faithful retelling of the legend, which is to say that it's ultimately more dark than whimsical. (I mean, it was a purported mass abduction of children, so there's only so much Disneyfying you can do to that plot. Radu R. Florescu's 2005 book In Search of the Pied Piper is an interesting historical examination of the legend.)

The movie also stars Donald Pleasence, Roy Kinnear, John Hurt and H.R. Pufnstuf's Jack Wild, but it's really all about the psychedelic folk star at the center of the celluloid, and it should be noted that some (not all) of what I've read makes it pretty clear that Donovan cannot act. Which, as you might imagine, could be troublesome for a film such as this.

Writing for the blog Every '70s Movie, Peter Hanson summarizes the film thusly: "It’s not a mess, per se, but it’s not really much of anything."

Still, if one is interested in the eclectic cast, film oddities and Grimm (pun intended) folklore, it seems like it would be worth at least one watch.

Writing for MOOF in 2017, Melanie Xulu places The Pied Piper every so slightly alongside movies such as Witchfinder General, The Blood on Satan's Claw and The Wicker Man, which have been retrodubbed Folk Horror by modern enthusiasts. That's interesting company, for sure.

Finally, it's the above poster itself that initially drew me down the rabbit hole of Donovan and the Rat-Catcher. It was a fun diversion for a rainy Sunday, but I am sorry to report that I couldn't determine the identity of the poster artist. There are some elements of Peter Max lite in there, I think. I'll update this if anyone ever finds an answer.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

"Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari" in two Midwestern U.S. newspapers

The 1920 German Expressionist horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is not something that most American audiences, especially those in the Midwestern United States, were ready for. 

It was among the first German films to be screened in the U.S. after World War I, and with its crooked sets and nightmarish imagery, I'm sure it caused much confusion and consternation. (Also, here's an interesting 2014 post on The Daily Mirror blog about protests and bans surrounding the film.)

Here are a couple of looks at how it was touted in two American newspapers in early 1921.
Above: Iowa City Press-Citizen, March 26, 1921

Above: Lawrence (Kansas) Daily Journal-World, March 28, 1921

Albertine the French witch will cure your maladies

If I'm interpreting the postmarks correctly (see below), these French postcards were mailed in 1903, when President Émile Loubet was running the show. They feature "Little Albertine," who I'm going to call Good Witch Albertine. She's here to provide great remedies for great ills. (Aux grands maux lea grands remèdes.)

There are all sorts of great props in these postcards: a dagger, a spider, an egg, an artichoke, a bottle of crocodile tears, a chalice, a funnel, a creepy bald mannequin, animal horns, what appears to be a deformed piglet and much more. Clearly, they had some fun shooting the photographs for these postcards back in the day.

The top postcard contains the remedy for contre les peines de coeur, which is heartache. It involves eating an artichoke picked at midnight on a moonless night and a white hen's egg. And also wearing a hangman's rope as a belt.

The second postcard is contre la chute des cheveux, an anti-hair loss remedy. This one's more bizarre, and I can't read all of it, because the text is obscured by the witch's hat. But it involves "a night vase that has only been used for a young girl," wolf fat, mouse blood, bat wings, oil ... and apparently the wearing of a hat made of rabbit hair. Do not try this at home, bald persons!  

Friday, October 30, 2020

Happy Halloween Eve!

Happy Hallowen Eve! This week went a little sideways at work (there's an election next week, y'all) and I didn't quite get to the full list of spooky midweek posts that I had planned for Mild Fear 2020. But I do have a couple cool Halloween posts lined up for tomorrow. 

In this meantime, I love this vintage Halloween postcard, with the blue, err, brownie? Can you have a blue brownie? Or should we call him a pixie? Or a hob, or maybe a domovoi?

There's no writing on the back of this embossed Whitney Made postcard from Worcester, Massachusetts. It certainly fits in more with a fun Halloween than a frightening one, and I'm OK with that. I'm also OK with that adorable caterpillar. Since it's a full moon Halloween tomorrow (which only happens about once every two decades) maybe you can find one of these blue brownies sitting on a mushroom in your yard, if you're very quiet about the search.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Vincent Price tells it like it is


The 1981 clunker of a horror film The Monster Club (not to be confused with 1987's The Monster Squad) has one good thing going for it: Vincent Price. In the framing story of the anthology film, Price plays a vampire who bites a writer (played by the equally iconic John Carradine) and takes him to a club where strange tales are told throughout the night. 

At the end, Price invites Carradine to become the first "hume" (as these monsters call humans) member of the club.

"But I'm not a monster!" Carradine protests.

"Nonsense!" says Price. "You're the greatest monster of them all!"

A few moments later, Price launches into this soliloquy:
"Can we truly call this a monster club if we do not host amongst our membership a single member of the human race? ... In the past 60 years, humes have exterminated over 150 million of their own kind. No effort has been spared to reach this astronomical figure. And the methods that they have used must demand our unstinted admiration. 

"You know, humes began with certain very serious disadvantages, but these they overcame with wonderful ingenuity, not having a fang or a claw or even a whistle worth talking about. They invented guns and tanks and bombs and aeroplanes and extermination camps and poison gas and daggers and swords and bayonets and booby traps and atomic bombs and flying missiles. Submarines, warships, aircraft carriers and motorcars. They have even perfected a process whereby they can spread a lethal disease on any part of this planet. Not to say anything about nuclear power. 

"During their short history you know, humes have subjected other humes to death by burning, hanging, decapitation, strangulation, electrocution, shooting, drowning, crushing, racking, disemboweling and other methods far, far too revolting for the delicate stomachs of this august assembly."

Sigh. The truth hurts.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Postcrossing roundup, Part 3
(Late Summer/Autumn 2020)

Above: From Penny in Taiwan: "I think you maybe will like cat postcard so I sent this card to you. ... Stay healthy and safety."

To finish out this short series, here are some of the images and messages from other Postcrossing cards I've received in my mailbox over the summer and the first half of the fall. (I featured the autumn-themed cards on Saturday.)

From Shuhada in Singapore (in August): "I read the news that there are many clinical trials for covid vaccines. I hope the 'perfect vaccine' will be found soon."

From Petra in Germany: "Today I'm enjoying my day off. Maybe I'll take a little stroll around town or I'll sit on my balcony and read a good book."

From Olga in Russia: "I have two children, boy and girl. They love animals. At home we have a cat, fish, a turtle. In the summer at the cottage we hae chickens. Health to you and your family!"

From Betty in Germany: "In a few days I'll become a mom of a baby princess. We're so afraid about it. All the best and stay healthy." (Daughter Luise was subsequently born in June.)

From Dasha in Russia: "I am 20 years old. I am engaged in needlework and studying as a designer. I love extreme. I ride a bake [sic] (downhill) and rope jumping. I like animals. At home there: 8 cats, a dog, 2 turtles, a snake, 2 crabs and fish."

From Adéla in Czechia: "I am inspired by my mom (hard worker), my sister (empathetic), my best friend (creative), my boss (smart)..."

From Yuki in Japan (in early August): "This month it's been really hot. Kids here have a shorter summer vacation & more school days so that they can catch up on their studies. Are masks mandated where you live? It's quite hot/difficult to go out wearing one under the scorching heat here. Take care & stay safe!"

From Minna in Finland: "I live with my husband and our 8 years old Japanese chin, whose name is Sulo, in a city called Kajaani. It's nice to live here because the city is peaceful. Now that corona virus is roaming, we can't travel. Luckily, I have postcards, which help me travel all around the world and hear and see new things about different places." 
Above: From Donna in St. Marys, Ontario
Above: Valeria Docampo illustration, sent by Uta in Germany.
Above: From Victoria in Russia (eastern Siberia): "I work in the library but it's temporarily closed due to the coronavirus. I hope this card will make you smile."

It did, Victoria. Thank you.

Worst eBay copy of "The Shining"?

For the "Buy It Now" price of just $18.99 (plus shipping), you can have this silver Signet paperback edition of Stephen King's The Shining. It comes complete with decorative additions to the front and back covers! What a deal! 

In the product description, the seller notes, without any apparent attempt at irony: "Condition is 'Good' but there is some wear. The faces on the book covers have been drawn on and the books a bit bent. The pages themselves are in good condition."

Better idea: Check out your local used bookstore, where you almost assuredly get a copy of Danny Torrance's first adventure for much less, and without the doodles.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Remembering "Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful"

Earlier this year, at the York Emporium, I stumbled upon another nearly forgotten book from my childhood. It's the anthology book Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful. It was first published in hardcover in 1961 (shown above), and I think that's the edition that I received as a gift, probably around 1980 and possibly, if memory serves, from my Uncle George and Aunt Susie

It's a hefty-sized book, 7¼ inches by 10¼ inches. Published by Random House, it contains stories by Manly Wade Wellman, Constance Savery, Walter R. Books, Jack Bechdolt, Elizabeth Coatsworth, John Kendrick Bangs, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain and Donald & Louise Peattie.

And of course there's an introduction (ghostwritten?) by Alfred Hitchcock, in which he writes:
"Why am I publishing a book when I can haunt millions of houses simultaneously each Tuesday night? Certain types of stories make perfect television fare. In the realm of the ghost story, however, I think the printed page has some advantages and I want you to discover them. When you read, you can be alone. — Absolutely alone. Television gives you the comfortable illusion of associating with all those actors. Worst of all, it bathes the entire room in light. Under such circumstances it is amazing that commercials can be as frightening as they are."

Also making the book memorable are the creepy illustrations by Fred Banbery (1913-1999). All of the interior work is done in blue and black, as shown in these fantastic endpapers...


I think I'm of the same mind about the nostaglia and reality of Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful as Amy, a Goodreads reviewer who wrote this in January:
"This book was a huge part of my childhood. It was on a shelf at my grandparents house when I was growing up and I'd read from it every time we visited. The inside cover illustration is especially inspiring and I used to make up crazy and complex stories just from looking at the picture. When I finally read it all the way through as an older reader, I found that the stories were only mildly spooky and not nearly and scary as the stories I had made up from the pictures. But it's still so charming and fun. My grandmother's copy lives at my house now and my kids have loved to read it, too."

And there's this. By sheer coincidence, Seth Smolinske, who runs The Three Investigators Mystery Series Facebook page and website (oft-mentioned on Papergreat), wrote about these Hitchcock anthology books earlier this month. Here's an excerpt:

"If you grew up reading Three Investigators books, there's a good chance you also read some of the Alfred Hitchcock juvenile anthologies published by Random House.  And this is the perfect time of year to pull one of these off the shelves and dive into some of the dozens of spooky, shuddery, chilling tales that they offered.  No doubt you have a fondly-remembered favorite or two or more! ... Like the original T3I hardbacks, a hallmark of these Hitchcock anthologies are the beautiful internal illustrations — especially the first three volumes which were illustrated by the incomparable Fred Banbery. As with The Three Investigators series, Alfred Hitchcock had virtually nothing to do with the production of these books, his name and likeness were used to help sales and the Hitchcock introductions were all written by the editor of each volume."

Smolinske goes on to note that, starting with the second anthology, the editor was Robert Arthur Jr., who would go on to start The Three Investigators series (also Hitchcock-themed) in 1964. Everything ties together!

Bonus photograph with Banjo

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Postcrossing roundup, Part 2
(Late Summer/Autumn 2020)

 (Read Part 1)

It hasn't been the typical autumn of being out and about and discovering the foliage and fall atmosphere in-person across Pennsylvania (other than my neighborhood). But one thing that's helped to make that disappointment a little better is all of the autumn-themed Postcrossing postcards from around the world that have arrived in my mailbox.

Here's a look at photos and illustrations of The Best Season of the Year, from all around Earth. (Some of these have some "battle scars" from having traveled through the mails, but I personally think that just adds to their charm.)

From Germany, it's Castle Neuschwanstein! Always a great one to lead off with.
A depiction of 19th century Russia, from first-time Postcrosser Soniya.
From the Netherlands, a nature scene near Ambt Delden (now part of Hof van Twente). The writer states, "I'm from the south, the part that has many forests, heathlands and boggy peat areas. In ancient folklore, it is said that those areas were inhabited by the 'witty women', a kind of fairies."
From Dasha in Russia.
From Germany.
From Germany.
From Germany.
"Greetings from FORMOSA," from Mei-Yu Chen in Taiwan.
From Finland, where Kati says "the fall colors come really fast and strong up here." (Kimmo Pälikkö illustration)
From Germany, which is clearly one of the best places to experience the autumn.
From Anna in Poland, who says summer is her favorite season.
From Naoko in Japan, who writes, "This illustration is a Japanese apparation 'Amabie.' It's a topic to control plague. Please be careful about your physical condition." (The amabie has been an interesting angle to COVID-19 in Japan, as detailed by NPR in April and the anthropology magazine Sapiens last month.)
From Lia in the Netherlands, who says she sometimes sees deer and wild boars in her nearby forest.
From Finland.
From Russia, a gorgeous postcard titled "The Four Seasons."