December 17, 1940

From /r/historyporn:

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“Children of Japan, Germany, and Italy meet in Tokyo to celebrate the signing of the Tripartite Alliance between the three nations, on December 17, 1940. Japanese education minister Kunihiko Hashida, center, holding crossed flags, and Mayor Tomejiro Okubo of Tokyo were among the sponsors.”

A relevant story from my own family history: My father was, in his day, a well-known character actor who began his career in radio. Italian was his first language, and his theatrical gift made him a superb dialectician. One day he was on a sound stage playing Mussolini in a radio play, when the actor playing Hitler became ill; Dad jumped in and assumed the rôle. By some odd quirk of fortune, the actor playing Hirohito also became unable to continue, and so my father ended up voicing all three parts. The director looked at him and exclaimed, “My God, you’re playing the whole Axis!”

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The Mission Inn at Riverside

Just got back from a little junket to California to see an aunt who’s almost 100, and some other friends and relatives as well. One of the things we saw while we were in Riverside, where one of my cousins graciously put us up (and put up with us) for a few days was the Mission Inn, an amazing hotel which made me think of my earlier visits to the Hotel Del in Coronado.

This enterprise began as an adobe cottage called the “Glenwood Hotel,” built by civil engineer Christopher Columbus Miller in 1876, and like the Winchester Mystery House (but a lot more sanely) has just continued to grow. We only saw a fraction of it, but what I saw was impressive. There are multiple wings with multiple flavors – Spanish, Oriental, etc.

Here are a few photos:

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Special chair built for President Howard Taft for a conference. Taft’s portrait hangs in the background. He later is said to have remarked “I’m big,but I’m not that big.”

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The Steinway Centennial Grand Piano. This piano was crafted as the company’s gift to the USA for the 1876 Centennial celebration. During a national tour, it was somehow “misplaced” – how one misplaces a grand piano is beyond me – but was rediscovered to be the one and only when it was undergoing restoration in the 1980s. Exactly how and when it came to the Mission Inn is unknown, but at the time of its disappearance the hotel was still a simple adobe cottage.

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Herculean painting of the California Alps.

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Campanero, or bell wall, built in 1903 and modeled after the belfry at Mission San Gabriel. Stairs on the right used to lead to the rooftop gardens of the original adobe building, which was later demolished in 1948 to make room for a swimming pool.

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Another view of the campanero.

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Restored cannon

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The Nanjing bell, an imperial temple bell from the Manchu Temple in Nanjing, China. 3500 lbs, cast between 1875 and 1908. More information is readable on the plaque.

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The other side of the campanero.

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The internal rotunda. Normally accessible only by guided tour, we happened to be present when someone came out and we slipped in.

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The rotunda, looking up. The stairs are structurally out of code, and are usable only by tours. There is a wonderful old elevator that ascends to each floor.

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Tiled fountain at the bottom of the rotunda.

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The goodwoman of the house, taking a photo of me as I take one of her.

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The sky.

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Another view of the rotunda.

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An iron spiral fire escape in the bowels of the hotel.

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Tiled dome visible from the top level of the rotunda.

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Another view

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This old building on the left is also part of the Inn’s property, but has yet to be restored.

There’s so much more… I’d love to stay there some time, if I could only win the lottery or something. In the meantime, it’s nice to just stroll the grounds and the lobby.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

1954: Creature from the Black Lagoon

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High-resolution production still. Notice the cloning to make the image wider. Trivia: redditor /u/Artikunu chimed in to say, “Fun fact: my great grandfather is the creator of the Creature From the Black Lagoon’s mask and costume. The mask was a treasured family heirloom, until one of my relatives sold it. It was worth around $75,000.”

I love photos like this. At one point I had a beautiful production still of Margaret Hamilton as the wicked witch of the west, autographed to me and procured for me by my father. Sadly, it was purloined about 25 years ago by one of the young men I used to serve as a Webelos den leader; I was never able to recover it. On the other hand, I have a number of great production stills of my dad in various rôles, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Light Test

 

Dad with Barbara Stanwyck and a lighting technician: “Man with a Cloak,” 1951.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Sharing a wonderful blog: Bad Postcards

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EXTRATERRESTRIAL SPACESHIP

Actual photograph of a Flying Saucer taken June 16, 1963 near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Learn about people from other planets! Subscribe to: UFO INTERNATIONAL. Six issues $3.00. Single copy—50 cents. Published by: AMALGAMATED FLYING SAUCER CLUBS OF AMERICA, INC. (AFSCA)…Los Angeles, California.


Discovered this lovely website through Glaserei and had to share it. So many wonderful, awful postcards… a glimpse into America’s cultural past.

Click through for hundreds more bad postcards.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The Cat’s-Meat Man

“So, as time went on, the Doctor got more and more animals; and the people who came to see him got less and less. Till at last he had no one left–except the Cat’s-meat-Man, who didn’t mind any kind of animals. But the Cat’s-meat Man wasn’t very rich and he only got sick once a year–at Christmas-time, when he used to give the Doctor sixpence for a bottle of medicine”

Hugh Lofting, The Story of Dr. Doolitle

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