The Jazz Age or All Roads Lead To Ballyhoo


George L. Lorton

I liked it! All the Actors were good in their parts! Sessue Hayakawa later became famous as one of the leading Japanese actors and would win an Oscar for his work in "The Bridge on the River Kwai" By 1919 he had his own production company with Director William Wentworth which went by the name Haworth Pictures Corporation (Hi-Worth) was how it was pronounced! TCM showed one of their Films set in Japan called "The Dragon Painter" 1919! he was excellent and intelligent as Arakau a Burmese Ivory King!

Cecil B DeMille was directing two films "The Cheat" from 8am to 5pm and "The Golden Chance" from 8pm to 2am. So he was a busy fellow!

Fannie Ward certainly didn't make DeMille's work any easier. Supposedly she was a very demanding Actress! But DeMille always maintained that she was right in the role and this shows in the finished film.

The Down side of "The Cheat" is it portrayal of Asians and Women but still it is a good film and I recommend it Hayakawa, Ward and Dean's good performances in it and Cecil DeMille's excellent directing of it!

Jim Kalafus


Memorial Day in my belovedly accursed hometown. Carmel NY. Looks like the New England town you want to retire to. Out of towners are impressed by the tranquility, trees, and positive ratio of quaint to tacky.

At my class reunion last Dec., we all talked about what a decidedly odd place it was in which to grow up. Our principal civic artwork was, and is, a statue that has been vomiting uncontrollably since at least 1970. More of which later.

After paying my respects to Morro Castle victim Eleanor Brennan, local farm girl turned NYC department store head buyer, who died in the 1934 disaster of exposure and exhaustion ~ the site of her former home is now a 9/11 memorial park ~ I walked down to our 1814 courthouse, where the previously discussed Jazz Age Daddy and Peaches divorce fiasco commenced.


I recalled the photos of Peaches, looking demure, on the Grreek Revival portico. I also thought of another event so typically Carmel which took place here. Back in 1844, a local teen delinquent "thrill killed" an old man by waiting in ambush outside his home and gunning him down upon his stepping out the door. A VERY early example of the I DID IT BECAUSE I WAS BORED school of teen crime. Sentenced to death, when the day came he was compelled to walk up and down Main Street wearing his noose for the benefit of the thousands of disappointed viewers who could not see the discretley concealed gallows. In a Gothic twist worthy of Poe, he had to attend his own funeral services while still alive... sitting atop his coffin on the portico while the preachers preached the traditional burial service. His case is well documented... what might be called the antebellum equivalent of a supermarket bookshelf true crime paperback, written by his lawyer and containing his full confession, biographical notes, etc, was printed post hanging. As late as the mid-twenties, old timers here could still remember The Big Day well.

Only in Carmel.

I then ambled down to our notorious vomiting statue:

Ludington 3

our local, female, Paul Revere, Sibyl Ludington. For a time her ride was the stuff of lower Hudson lore. Then, it was trendy to say that it was mostly myth. Recent excellent archival research shows that her ride, and life during and after the Revolution waas more interesting tyhan the generally factual legend.

Nice... but the important thing here, in the context of Carmel and its magic, is that within ten years of her statue's 1961 unveiling, Sibyl began frothing and vomiting from her mouth. When we moved here, in 1970, my mom opined that the white glop filling her mouth and trickling down her chin was toilet paper stuck in there by pranking students. It wasn't. Due to a casting faux pas, her gaping, scary, mouth foams incessantly. Sometimes minor. Sometimes a gross cascade which runs down her chin. Tthe effect is startling. In my school days, D.A.R. volunteers would periodically scrub her maw out. then, in tye early 90s, her head was removed for chemical treatment, but to no avail. Nearly 5 years after her public debut, she still foams and dribbles.

That said, apart from her drooling, this is a REALLY ugly and scary looking statue. The artist did NOT capture a heroic teen alerting the countryside. He or she captured an evil spirit on horseback... demented gaping mouth, scary living eyes, wild hair, giving the appearance of flogging her horse while screaming "What the F--- are you looking at?" at passers-by.

Ludington rabid

Ludington 2

Ludington 1 copy1

Ludington 4

Truly...there's no place like home.

Jason Schleisman

It's not just the "Exorcist"-ish foaming mouth that's frightening. The way the camera has captured her eyes really DOES make her assume a startlingly lifelike, ghoulish appearance that conveys a sense of pure terror.

Jim Kalafus

Ah, yes, Jason. As you can imagine, my housekeeper has spun many a Joel Chandler Harris-like tale about this statue, to make sure that once the children are nestled all snug in their beds they stay there 'til well after sunrise. My favorite involved Sibyl, animated until dawn, crouching in the shadows beyond the landing, waiting to spring out at anyone who crossed the hall to enter the bathroom.

George L. Lorton

Actually I had my own chance to go back to Ft Madison Ia over the Memorial Day Weekend due to a family bereavement but I had to work! Seeing how I was raised there! Ft Madison was started as a Fort in 1808 and was abandoned in 1813 due to Indian attacks! It has a rich history and Nice people! A lot of things happened on that River town!

My reason for having to go back to Ft Madison was unfortunately my Grandmother's funeral! So The town has been on my mind recently. It's where I grew up!

George L. Lorton

Jim and Jason too I just followed the link in Jim's book that he shared with us!!

Why that's an interesting story Jim, especially the George Denny part! He's probably haunted by what he did! I often hear stories of other peoples cruelty! In fact I heard a bakers dozen from you including this ghost story of the unfortunate Mr. Denny! I see that his name is highlighted not less! I feel for Mr, Wanzer although I wonder if like a lot of old folks he had a capricious tongue on him and said a few things he shouldn't have said to Mr Denny! A lot of people get mean as they age and get real cynical and only look at the bad things of life and tell others about it when their not pointing out others faults! An interesting book yet I find the George Denny, Abraham Wanzer story very trite and to hear about it just after my Grandmothers passing as well! Not in the mood for Ghost Stories I guess.

Also, it's a pity you all can't get that statue fixed! Poor Miss Sybil to make such a daring ride only to have a statue with a foaming mouth that people mock! I tell you both the world is full of cynical people who love to point out the bad and none of the good in this world including poor Sybil's foamy mouth statue. Somebody should clean out her mouth for her!

Jason Schleisman

I see that his name is highlighted not less!
The words "George", "Denny", and "Carmel" are highlighted because when one conducts a Google Book search, the words that one searches for become highlighted automatically by the Google program. It's like if I were to search for "evelyn nesbit new york" in Google Book search.

See here:

The words "Evelyn", "Nesbit", "New", and "York" are all highlighted because that's what I searched for. This highlighting feature of the Google program just helps to find the relevant words being searched for. Otherwise, there's no special meaning to the highlighting, and it is not highlighted in the original book/publication.

George L. Lorton

My Grandmother's Will was probated and I received a bunch of Records from her Estate that came today! Including this one tailor made for this topic!

A Columbia Musical Treasury~
"Our Century In Music" The Complete Contents of

"The Roaring 20's"

The Set consists of 3 records with songs we've heard before on this thread such as

"Yes He have no Bananas
"Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue
"Sheik of Araby
"Varsity Drag

Geos room 182

Geos room 191

And with Companion Booklet with all the scandals and happenings of the day!

Geos room 185

I remember the songs but not the record which was released in 1974! I got a lot really from the sound track to "Chariots Of Fire" various Roger Williams records and classical collections to my aunt's old "The Byrds" albums and The Buggs which sound like a poor man's The Beatles! At least the record I got does!

Jim Kalafus

THE BAD OL' DAYS: Automotive Edition. Just received, in today's mail, the bestseller which prefigured Unsafe At Any Speed by 30 years:


Et sudden death

In 1934, the second worst year of the depression, when fewer people were driving, over a million Americans were injured in car accidents, and 36,000 died. One wonders what the toll was for 1928 and 1929, with far more drivers on the road. Readers Digest commissioned J.C. Furnas to investigate this appalling number, and his expose "...And Sudden Death," which appeared in the August 1935 issue, became a hot topic and, eventually, the most reprinted article in Readers' Digest history.

The book, which followed, contained the initial VERY gory article, plus a second essay (Better Off Dead) about the afterlife of being maimed in a car wreck, and a third, long, drivers' safety piece. It sold about as well as the article did, but was issued in cheap paperback form and has a survival rate approaching zero.

In it, we learn that:

A) Our cars are more dangerous than they should be, especially the used ones, and...

B) We are a nation of horrible drivers. We speed. We drive drunk. We take stupid risks. 27 fatal accidents along the Astor Flats section of the Albany Post Road in one summer (presumably 1933 or '34) caused by incautious passing at high speed with ensuing head on collision, being a prime example. And..

C) Quite interesting is the section on post-traumatic stress. They dont refer to it by that name but, nevertheless, they discuss the phenomenon of people who physically survive but who cannot mentally cope with what happened. Depression; fatigue; loss of memory; impared coordination; rage; alcoholism...

Following the article/bestseller, America got into a progressive WE'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS mood. By 1939, automatic turn signals were appearing on cars, there was a-perhaps grudging- effort to make cars more survivable in the case of accidents, and a VERY big emphasis on driver safety.

The effort, evidently, paid off. But as the 1950s progressed and cars got bigger, faster, and more cheaply constructed, the toll began to rise again. In 1959, the Department of Commerce reported the dismaying fact that, by their calculations, 51,000 people a year would die in car accidents by 1975. The following year saw 1934's grim statistic equalled, and then things really skyrocketed:

1960: 36,399
1965: 47,089
1970: 52,627
1975: 44,525
1980: 51,091
1985: 43,825
1990: 44,599
1991: 41,508
1992: 39,250
1993: 40,150
1994: 40,716
1995: 41,817
1996: 42,065
1997: 42,013
1998: 41,501
1999: 41,717
2000: 41,945
2001: 42,116

In 1960: 89,000,000 US drivers and 36,000+ fatalities.

2003: 196,000,00 US drivers and 42,000+ fatalities.

So, as much as people like to whine about today's cheaply built, "unsafe," cars and like to wax nostalgic about the Ole Days When Cars Were Built Like Tanks, we are almost infinitely safer behind the wheel now than we were in 1934, and appreciably safer than in 1960 or even 1975.

".. make sure that every member of the party carries identification papers. It is difficult to identify a body with its whole face bashed in or torn off."

"... a nine months old baby, surrounded by broken glass and yet absolutely unhurt. A fine practical joke on death--but spoiled by the baby's parents,still sitting on either side of him, instantly killed by shattering their skulls on the dashboard..."

"Once a pretty girl has her face scraped off against frozen gravel, her chances of getting it back are uncomfortably slim."

The book, if you can find it (it took me thirty years of searching!) gives fascinating insight into The Bad Old Days.

Jim Kalafus

Astor Flats, btw, is the long straightaway on US 9, where it passes the John and Madeleine Astor estate site.

Its gory toll, during the 1930s, resulted not because it is a bad stretch of road, but because it is an excellent one. Cars had progressed from straining to do 45mph smoothly, to being able to cruise at 70mph or 80mph, smoothly, in a very short time. People had not yet adapted to being able to drive twice as fast as they previously had, and the long straightaway became VERY tempting to drivers who wanted to pull into the left lane, give it the gun, and pass all the other cars while doing 75mph. Only to discover someone cruising directly at them, in the oncoming lane, also doing 75 mph. The end result would be high speed multi-car pile ups, with other cars forced to swerve into the ditch on either side, while at cruise speed, to avoid crashing in to the pile. No seat belts, of course. The 27 pile ups in one summer, literally at the Astors' front gate, SHOULD have warranted the construction of a center lane guardrail, to make passing impossible, yet the idea does not seem to have occurred to anyone...

Just something to ponder while visiting the Astor estate remnants. Pass with caution.

George L. Lorton

How could I forget to add Tutankhamen. Seeing how I started this topic in September of '07 it is fitting that I should add this bit about this lost pharaoh who was found by a lost generation.

Seem we talked about so much bet never got around to adding this to the list so I will attempt to rectify it. This discovery heralded the Egyptian Revival in fashion and art and helped shape the Art Deco movement.

and this discovery's effect on the Art Deco Movement.

Note, I love Ancient Egypt and the Art Deco movement of the 20's so I love how these two great idea's or art subjects merged in the 1920's. I wish I had brought this up sooner.

George L. Lorton

Also for those silent Movie lovers amongst us and I think I knew a few of you, there is a new documentary on Pola Negri which I have seen and liked.

it is called 'Life Is A Dream In Cinema'

"Before Dietrich and Garbo, there was Pola Negri."

I will be watching it. I don't know if I would compare Miss Negri with Garbo but she probably could give Dietrich a run for her money.