Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vivien Leigh Oscar Night 1940

Oscar Night 1940 banquet at the Coconut Grove: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland.

Vivien Leigh with her Oscar.

Vivien Leigh places the Oscar she won for her role as Scarlett in Gone With The Wind on her mantelpiece at home, 1940 (Peter Stackpole).

Prior to the Oscar Night, L.A. newspapers were given a list of the winners in advance of the awards ceremony (which didn’t start until 11 p.m. after an elaborate banquet) so they could get papers out on the street by midnight. But the L.A. Times broke the embargo and published the names of most of the winners in an early edition before the banquet began. So everyone arriving at the Coconut Grove that night already knew Gone with the Wind would sweep the awards with eight wins; Vivien Leigh would be picking up the Oscar for her portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. There were some very pissed-off stars that night. And some happy ones.

next episode: joseph's oscar

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tannenberg Memorial

Tannenberg Denkmal
The Tannenberg Memorial (notice the lion)

The Tannenberg Memorial was a huge structure with eight 67 feet high towers located in Hohenstein (Ostpreußen) (present Olsztynek, Poland) (map). Completed in 1927 it was build on a hilltop in a shape reminiscent of the castles of the Teutonic Knights and influenced by Stonehenge and by emperor Frederick II's Castel del Monte.

Tannenberg Denkmal
The Tannenberg Memorial 

It commemorated the fallen German soldiers of the Battle of Tannenberg in 1914. In 1934 president Hindenburg (former commander in the battle) was buried over here. As the Russians approached in 1945, German troops removed Hindenburg's remains and partly demolished the structures.

The remains (source)

In the 1950s the Polish authorities leveled the site, but several remnants of the structure can still be seen elsewhere. Among these is the perfectly preserved sculpted lion, which once topped a twenty-foot pillar at the entrance to the monument and now is displayed in the town square in nearby Olsztynek.

The lion from the first photo, now at display at the Olsztynek town square

next episode: vivien's oscar

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thomas Leigh Goldie & The bullet which killed him

Crimean War: The Cemetery (Roger Fenton, 1855)

This photo shows the cemetery at Cathcart's Hill (video). A man is standing at the grave of brigadier-general Thomas Leigh Goldie (1807-1854). Thomas Goldie was born on the Isle of Man into a family distinguished for its military service. Although it is said that this rank of brigadier-general was attributable more to money and influence than military merit, Goldie published several works on infantry tactics and was regarded by some as the most skilful infantry officer of his rank in the army. He was mortally wounded by a shot in the head at the Battle of Inkerman (November 5, 1854).

Marble paperweight with the bullet which killed Thomas Goldie (National Army Museum, London).

The marble paperweight incorporating the large bullet would have been fired from a Russian marksman's rifle and was presumably removed from Goldie's body in an effort to save his life. Lord Raglan recorded that "Brigadier-General Goldie was an officer of considerable promise, and gave great satisfaction to all under whom he has served".

Thomas Leigh Goldie (left)

next episode: tannenberg

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bromfield Street, Boston

Bromfield Street, Boston, ca 1908 (Detroit Publishing Company)

Luckily there are none of these auto-mobiles yet. Excerpt from a photo found on Shorpy.com.

next episode: a bullit

Monday, February 10, 2014

White Alice

White Alice (source

Until the 1950s Alaska had only basic telephone communication systems. Between 1955-1958 a telecommunication network named the White Alice Communications System (WACS) was constructed. It connected remote Air Force sites in Alaska (such as the Distant Early Warning Line and Ballistic Missile Early Warning System) and in some cases it was also used for civilian phone calls. Communication improved after White Alice was installed, but even in the mid 1960s an Anchorage resident could only place a call to the lower 48 states at one place located downtown.

White Alice stations

Around the state 71 support facilities provided reliable communications to far-flung, isolated, and often rugged locales. It used tropospheric scatter for over-the-horizon links and microwave relay for shorter line-of-sight links. White Alice was designed by Western Electric, and civilian contractors maintained it. Construction was extremely expensive; mountain top sites had an upper camp with the electronic equipment and a lower camp with support facilities (these were sometimes connected by a tram system). The system was advanced for its time, but became obsolete within 20 years following the advent of satellite communications. By the end of the 1970s, most of the system was deactivated.

White Alice (source

In the 1950s the Air Force used two word code names and White Alice was the code name selected for this project. It is fairly certain that White was used to indicate the snowy Arctic. However, it is unclear where the term Alice originated. Some sources suggest that Alice is an acronym for ALaska Integrated Communications Enterprise. Other sources suggest that the system would have been named Alice White had there not been an actress with that name at the time. Thus it was reversed to White Alice.

This post was inspired by fellow blog Adalbert.

next episode: bullit

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Alice White

Alice White

For a few years Alice White (New Jersey, 1904 - Los Angeles, 1983) was one of Hollywood's most alluring actresses. After leaving school she became a secretary and script girl for director Josef Von Sternberg. After clashing with Von Sternberg, Alice left his employment to work for Charlie Chaplin, who decided before long to place her in front of the camera. She played a succession of flappers and gold diggers. 

During the 1920s Alice White's beauty and bubbly personality made her a star

In her seventh film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1928), she finally got a leading role. It was based on the popular novel by Anita Loos. It was a big hit and Alice's performance got rave reviews. Sadly this silent film is now lost (in 1953 the movie was remade as a musical starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell).

Her 16th picture, Broadway Babies (1929),  became her first 100% talkie, it was a smash hit. Her next big musical was Show Girl in Hollywood (1930) in the Western Electric sound-on-film process. Alice continued to make successful talkies but her career was hurt by several scandals.

Sy Bartlett and Alice White

In 1933 she had an alleged affair with two men at the same time, her then boyfriend, British actor Jack Warburton, and producer Sy Bartlett. She accused Warburton of beating her so badly she needed reconstructive surgery on her nose. Warburton told the press that Alice and Sy hired thugs to disfigure him. Although she later married Bartlett, her reputation was tarnished and she appeared only in supporting roles after this. By 1938, her name was at the bottom of the cast lists and she made her final film appearance in 1949.

Alice White

next stop: White Alice!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Agatha van Schoonhoven (& the only Dutch Pope)

Agatha van Schoonhoven (Galleria Doria Pamphili, Rome)

Portret of Agatha van Schoonhoven (1529) by the Dutch painter Jan van Scorel (Schoorl 1495 - Utrecht 1562). The smile of Mona Lisa, the pose of Vermeer's The Girl With a Pearl Earring. Agatha and Jan were lovers, and although Jan was a priest she bore him six children.
Portrait by Jan Van Scorel,  possibly of Cornelis Aerentsz van der Dussen, between 1535 and 1540 (Weiss Gallery, London). I like the fresh colors!

Jan van Scorel was one of the first artists who traveled from the Netherlands to Italy. In 1522 he was at the request of Dutch Pope Adrian VI (Utrecht 1459 - Rome, September 1523) curator of the Vatican art collection. In Rome Scorel was inspired by the art of his illustrious colleagues Michelangelo and Raphael. He also painted a portrait of Adrian VI, the only Dutch pope in history.

Dutch Pope Adrian VI, copy of a painting by Jan Van Scorel, May 1523 (Centraal Museum, Utrecht) 

Adriaen Florisz. Boeijens had excellent connections to the court and an excellent reputation. That's why he was elected in 1522 to Pope Adrian VI. After the death of Raphael he appointed his fellow townsman Jan van Scorel as his successor as superintendent of the art collection in the Belvedere in Rome.

next episode: alice


Gadgets By Spice Up Your Blog Real Time Web Analytics