Sunday, November 21, 2021

From the readers: Karloff, Garland, Ormsby, Merril & lots of spooky stuff

As we tumble toward Thanksgiving, here's another batch of your always-appreciated comments on Papergreat posts:

Mild Fear 2021 debuts with Boris terrifying Buster: Commenting on Facebook, Dad writes: "Pure comedy. Probably wouldn’t make the headlines today. People need something to enjoy and laugh at. But then, people are too serious and wound too tight to be able to let out air and live."

Halloween Countdown #14: Live Mystery Egg: When I put this 2011 post up on Twitter again, author A.G. Pasquella (@agpasquella) noted: "It's so strange the kind of animal isn't listed anywhere in the ad! Then again, Sea Monkey ads never mentioned brine shrimp, so I guess it's in keeping with comic book advertising."

Mystery vintage postcard: "Haunted House" near Delaware, Ohio: And when I reshared this 2016 post on Twitter during October, author Chris Woodyard (@hauntedohiobook) provided this additional information: "Perhaps the only structure left at 'Robinson House,' a lavish mansion built by an artistic 'pirate' on the banks of the Scioto. He vanished, leaving behind rumors of treasure. The site is haunted by the ghost of a young Spanish woman. I wrote about it in Haunted Ohio III."

From the Rare Dust Jacket Files: Hucca's Moor by Manning-Sanders: Desmond Banks emailed in September to identify the cover artist of this novel: "Thank you for your Papergreat website. The dust wrapper was the work of my grandfather, William Nicholson, See page 229 of William Nicholson: The Graphic Work by Colin Campbell (Barrie & Jenkins, 1992)."

Lamenting what we'll never know about Phyllis J. Stalnaker Harris: Wheels Go Round asks: "Isn't it far more likely that she died in childbirth?"

My response: "There's nothing in the scant news clippings to support that she died in childbirth. And if she did, the child died too, without even being listed as a stillborn death anywhere. So I'm not sure about that hypothesis."

Spinnerin selling the privileged yarn-based lifestyle in 1963: Tom from the dandy Garage Sale Finds blog writes: "re: The cover. What the heck is going on there? Tide rising? Flooding? They'd better not get those knitted sweaters wet. They'll shrink!"

Vintage chipmunk postcards and the love of nature's critters: Joan writes: "This post was exactly what I needed on a bleary-eyed morning."

Postcrossing roundup: Early autumn 2021: Joan, postcard & notecard designer extraordinaire, writes: "Thank you so much for introducing me to one of my favorite things this year."

Sci-fi book cover: "The Best of Judith Merril": Brian Busby of The Dusty Bookcase writes: "Judith Merril is a name from my pre-adolescence. I'd never read her until a few years ago, after coming across an inexpensive first edition of her debut, Shadow on the Hearth (1950). An early Cold War novel set largely in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion in Manhattan, it isn't so much about the death and destruction, rather how the government and select citizens exploit the ensuing chaos. "Atomic Attack," the 1954 The Motorola Television Hour adaptation, captures much more than one might expect of the novel. Both are recommended. Looking back through my notes, I see I described Shadow on the Hearth as my most memorable read of 2017 in the pages of the Montreal Gazette. I think they were expecting a new book, but who is to say it isn't contemporary. I'm happy to learn of this collection, Chris. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. You've reminded me that I meant to read more Merril. I've just ordered a copy."

Postcard: House on the Rock in autumn: Wendyvee writes: "This has been on my 'to do' list for a very long time. That increased all the more with American Gods."

Where does this Kodak snapshot rank on the Mild Fear scale? Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes, regarding the Halloween mask: "That's a good one. I checked the archives (aka Google) and couldn't find any that matched it. It's amazing how many variety of witch masks Collegeville and Ben Cooper produced."

Vintage classroom poster that sparks mild fear: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "Wow, that's dark. The kid would have made it if he hadn't chosen to perform his mime routine 'Pulling a Rope' in the middle of the road."

Snapshot & memories: Kitchen at Willow Street house in Montoursville: jhkh writes: "Hi! I was digging around Facebook and found your pic of the Lyter fire engine. [Note from me: More on that at the end of this post.] ... I was at Lyter from 72-77. I wanted to find a pic of the Lyter 'spider' playground equipment and this led me back to your blog here via a Google search. Then I found this post about Willow Street. I grew up on Pine Street near the intersection on the other end of Willow from your place. My parents still live there! Fun memories."

Kicking off Halloween with a postcard mailed 100 years ago: Anonymous writes: "I live in the house that was the summer home of the Silliman family and, eventually, Mary's home until her death. What a fun thing for me to find so long after you posted it!"

Saturday's postcard: RPPC with family, jack-o'-lantern and cat: Tom from Garage Sale Finds asks: "I'm wondering about that Jack O' Lantern. It has a handle. Is that a real pumpkin they put a handle on? Or is that a metal (or other) fake pumpkin?"

My response: "That's a great question. There was a jack o'lantern with a handle in an old photo the other day, too. I have to think that 100 years ago, it was typical to rig up some kind of homemade handle on real carved pumpkins, because I doubt the mass-produced ones we're familiar with today were either widespread or inexpensive. But it would be interesting to investigate further."

Do you want to hear something REALLY scary? Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "I never had these records, but really wanted them, particularly this one that was advertised in the back of comic books: The scariest recording I can think of (at least scary to me at the time) was on one of Leonard Nimoy's 'In Search of...' episodes where a team of ghost hunters made recordings from tombstones in a cemetery. I recall one EVP that said, 'I'm scared.' The idea of a ghost being scared really bothered me as a kid. Thanks, Leonard."

1977 children's book about actual (maybe) haunted house: Tony Zimnoch writes: "Great Blog! I just found you! I have given you a plug on mine. Keep Up The Good Work! Best Wishes from Tony."

Saturday's postcard: Japanese girls imitate the three wise monkeys: Commenting on this 2012 post, Marnie writes: "Hi Chris, I'm a Japanese researcher specializing in modern culture and ran across this webpage. Let me explain about the Japanese text, though it may be too late. The text is written in the old character form of Japanese, from right to left. It says 'Union Postale Universelle Postcard,' the same thing as in French, unfortunately."

Judy, a black cat and a ghost book:
 Commenting on this 2014 post, Ken from Dublin writes: "Just saw the photo on 'Pointless,' the British game show. Couldn't find the book either, though there is a book of the same title from 2012. I wonder was it's title inspired by this photo."

Alan Ormsby's 1970s: Summoning zombies and a Scholastic book: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "This is such a great book. I got from my classroom library in 2nd grade (and kept it, but that's another story). I tried to use the makeup tips in the book to create my Halloween costume in 4th grade, but I didn't come out looking like the kids in the book. I still had fun though."

And Bob writes: "I enjoyed your article, and thank you for the shout-out to our Jillian & Addie channel (this is their father, Bob). Alan Ormsby certainly is an interesting man! Happy Halloween!"

Eight awesome things you'll never find inside e-books:
Commenting on this 2013 post, Anonymous writes: "I worked at Ell's in the 1960s assisting Mr. Ell Senior and can remember his reliance on Englishmen to manage the store's leading departments, like Toys and Books. It was an enjoyable period of employment."

10 postcards showing Atlantic City as you've probably never seen it: Miranda Reitz writes: "I have 2 varieties of these postcards, one is the ocean scene showing Traymore, Chalfonte, and Haddon hall as shown in the photo, and the other is view from Ventor pier. I have quite a few of each, and none of them were ever circulated. I'm looking to try and find what their value is, if possible? If anyone can help give me an idea of worth, I'd be appreciative! (And if anyone is interested, feel free to contact me!)"

Snapshot & memories: Relocated fire engine in Montoursville: Finally, after this blog post went up on Sept. 11, people continued to share memories and photos of the fire engine and the stagecoach on my Facebook crowdsourcing post. Here are some of them:

  • "Was a staple on the Lyter Elementary playground! Fell off of that and got hurt many a times. Baseball players could also become legendary for hitting balls over the 'fire truck' from the Little League field. Lol. Awesome memories! Ty for sharing."
  • "I played on this fire truck at Lyter when I was a kid. This playground truck brings all of us memories of our youth."
  • And Chris Palmer shared these pictures from mid-1970s Lyter Elementary School yearbooks:

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