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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Saturday in the Park



Washington Square Park New York City



"Saturday In The Park"

Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People dancing, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian songs
?
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For Saturday
Saturday in the park
You'd think it was the Fourth of July
Saturday in the park
You'd think it was the Fourth of July
People talking, really smiling
A man playing guitar
Singing for us all

Washington Square Park New York City


Will you help him change the world
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For today
Slow motion riders fly the colours of the day
A bronze man still can tell stories his own way
listen children all is not lost
all is not lost
Funny days in the park
Every day's the Fourth of July
Funny days in the park
Every day's the Fourth of July
People reaching, people touching
A real celebration
Waiting for us all
If we want it, really want it
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For the day
-   Chicago


Pikes Peak Colorado Springs Colorado


2016

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Lunch Atop A Skyscraper by Charles C. Ebbets


Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
Charles Clyde Ebbets

I've decided that Charles Clyde Ebbets doesn't get enough credit. So, today I'm doing my party to rectify that.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
11 workers having lunch on an exposed steel beam 840 feet above the ground.


Who is Charles C. Ebbets? That photo above - he apparently took it.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com


Ebbets was a native of Florida (actually born in Gadsden, Alabama) who became a photographer back in the days when that was a really cool and esoteric thing to be doing. You didn't just snap a photo and download it to your laptop then. It was a whole, long process of getting the right camera, getting the right film, getting the right lighting, setting the shot up for multiple takes to get just the right one because you won't know how they'll turn out until they're developed and getting the right this that and the other thing badda bing badda zoom. But Ebbets was really good at it.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com


Anyway, he set up the stunt called "Lunch atop a Skyscraper (1932)." Everybody knows that shot, it still sells in framed prints to this day. The shot is pristine, perfect lighting, perfect framing, just the right moment and all done under terrible conditions.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
While there were 11 workers, in many versions of the shot two of them get cut out.

It wasn't like the famous shot just happened. He had to set it up, which involved a whole lot of work.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
Here is all 11.

The famous shots were taken on the 69th floor (no, I don't know why he picked that one) of the RCA building as it was nearing the end of construction. If you compare the shots, you see that he apparently "worked" on the version that became famous. Notice that cable on the right? It magically disappears in the most iconic versions. Don't think they had photoshop in those days? You're right - but people who knew what they were doing could accomplish magic with an airbrush.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com

Ebbets had a number of useful talents. Among them was the fact that he had a good relationship with the Native Americans down in Florida (the Seminole tribe). That apparently carried over to New York City. It is well known that many of the tallest building in the city were built by the Kahnawake Mohawk tribe ironworkers who came down from southern Canada (on the St. Lawrence Seaway just south of Montreal). Whether or not this ability actually played a role in Ebbets' success is debatable, but he obviously did not mind working with these hard-boiled men. And they apparently were happy to show off.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
"Man Balancing on Skyscraper" by Charles C. Ebbets, 1932.

Anyway, aside from a few of these shots, I don't know if Ebbets took every single one. There was a fad in the 1930s to take these types of daredevil shots, not just in New York City, but in Los Angeles and elsewhere. There weren't a lot of really tall building being built around the country in those days, so most of them are from those two places.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com

Some of these shots were not taken by Charles Ebbets. We don't want to shortchange the talents of these unknown photographers. Let's just say they were taken in the style of Charles C. Ebbets.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
Chrysler Building, ca. 1932.

Anyway, enough said. Enjoy the photos.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
That looks like lower Fifth Avenue to me (I may be wrong). If so, this was taken while building the Flatiron. This photo is usually entitled "Charles C. Ebbets above 5th Avenue looking North 1905." I don't know where that title comes from because Charles Clyde Ebbets was born on August 18, 1905, so it is shall we say unlikely that this photo is of him from 1905. If you know the actual source, kindly leave me a comment below. Thanks.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com


Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com

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This one was in Los Angeles.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
30 stories high looking over the Hudson.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com



Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
This is 1925, they are over 20 stories high.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
1931, working on the Empire State Building. Chrysler Building in the background, it was finished just a year earlier.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
The Jones Family carried out a sword fight on the edge of the Times Square Hotel in 1925 to publicize it.

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
This is a photographer. Yes, they knew how to dress in those days. 

Charles C. Ebbets randommusings.filminspector.com
Men taking the test to become painters on the Brooklyn Bridge.







2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Clint Eastwood and Star Trek



Clint Eastwood William Shatner Leonard Nimoy randommusings.filminspector.com


I bet that you never thought that Clint Eastwood had any connection at all to Star Trek, now did you. Well, I didn't know of any, and I know a lot about both.

In any event, there is a connection, and you're looking at it. Unless this picture of Clint with Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner was taken long after the series run, those are not Clint's children - though the girl might just be Kimber Eastwood, who would have been about four years old during the last season of the series. Kimber wasn't even known about publicly for another twenty years, so this is kind of an odd photo. So, let's tentatively identify this as coming from some kind of open house at Paramount during the 1968-1969 season, when Clint would have just become a superstar due to his Spaghetti Western films.


2016


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Stooges Classic Short - At The Steel Pier




Three Stooges at Steel Pier 1938 randommusings.filminspector.com




Here we present one of the classic shorts, long forgotten by everyone but Three Stooges fans. "Three Stooges at Steel Pier."

This was created in 1938, but it looks much more recent due to the excellent color quality. Color film has been around in one form or another since the early 1910s, but it was very expensive until fairly recently. Thus, the first feature films were not done routinely in color until the 1960s, so seeing an act that had largely disappeared by then in living, vibrant color is a bit of a shocker.

This was filmed at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City.

Three Stooges at Steel Pier 1938 randommusings.filminspector.com


The lady in the film is Barbara “Babs” Bradford (October 17, 1917 in Worcester, Massachusetts - February 3, 1991 in Encino, California). She was voted the most beautiful girl in her high school class, nd she began modeling for the John C. MacInnes Co. and other stores in Worcester.  She was voted “Miss. Worcester” in the 1935 beauty pageant.  In 1936 she moved to New York and became one of the top "supermodels" of her day.  In 1937, Barbara was voted the most beautiful woman in New York, and in 1938 she appeared in this film with the Three Stooges. She basically retired when she got married for the second time during World War II, which was quite common then. She retired to California.

Make no mistake, Barbara Bradford was a very big deal. She was often seen in the company of big shots of the day such as Alfred Bloomingdale and the like. Maybe the Stooges and the Mann/Bradford team just happened to be in Atlantic City at the same time and decided to do a quick one-off on the pier. It doesn't look like a tremendous amount of time went into this, maybe a couple of hours one afternoon. A couple of hours spend back at the shop editing and adding background music and - presto! - instant classic short.

Three Stooges at Steel Pier 1938 randommusings.filminspector.com
Babs Bradford sunbathing on Steel Pier in 1938, apparently during this shoot with the Three Stooges.

George Mann also appears. He was part of a successful vaudeville comedy team, Barto and Mann, kind of the Martin and Lewis of his day. Mann and Bradford were married when they did this short, but divorced five years later. Barbara was going by Barbara Bradford Mann at this time, and later became Barbara Bradford Smith. George was known for taking many pictures and home movies of his stylish wife, so this production likely was his idea.

Three Stooges at Steel Pier 1938 randommusings.filminspector.com
Barbara Bradford Mann in 1939.

The music is by Abe Lyman and his orchestra, recorded in 1928. The track is "A Jazz Holiday."

The Three Stooges here were Moe Howard, his brother Curly Howard, and Larry Fine.

The basic plot is that the boys try to hit on a beautiful dame, but the dame hits back - until she doesn't. This was some kind of experimental or home film, as aside from the musical track, there is no sound - but it is constructed so that it doesn't need sound. One could almost say that it is a color production from the silent film era, a true rarity, though of course the actual silent film era had ended by 1930. Adding voices and such probably would have expanded production costs beyond the point where it would have been feasible, especially considering the ocean noise.

Note the people on the beach watching and taking pictures. Also, a mother and young child gets in frame at one point (maybe the kid is still alive?), as do some other passersby. Everyone must have just decided to go down to Atlantic City and film a quickie short, and then hit the bars. While this was decades before legalized gambling, Atlantic City in the '20s and '30s was known as the vice capital of the eastern seaboard both during Prohibition (which was long gone by this point) and afterward - and the boys, who were Brooklyn natives, would gladly have taken the chance to have a nice working weekend down there to do a little filming and take in the sun and other attractions.



2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Union Square Park Blizzard




snow blizzard Union Square Park randommusings.filminspector.com

Just a few random snaps of snowy Union Square Park in New York City. It happens to be only a block away from my apartment, so it's not like I had to fly in to see it or anything. Still, getting there wasn't the easiest thing, either.

snow blizzard Union Square Park randommusings.filminspector.com

I suppose if you live around a lot of snow, or you don't get any snow at all, this probably just looks like an average snowy day. I mean, there's snow, and there are people in the snow, and like, that's what a snowy day looks like, right? Well, for New York, it is far from normal. It is an epic blizzard, and the snow was still falling when these shots were taken this morning. Anyone familiar with NYC knows that the temperature there is always higher than surrounding areas (by about 5 degrees). So, when things get frozen and snowy in Manhattan, that means it is really frozen and snowy.

snow blizzard Union Square Park randommusings.filminspector.com

Never fear, it may be the worst snowfall of the decade, but people will still find their favorite spot on a park bench! Don't know if the pigeons are going to come out to be fed, though.



2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Union Square Battleship


USS Recruit Union Square randommusings.filminspector.com


In April 1917, the United States entered World War I. The U.S. Navy decided to make a recruiting statement by constructing a full-size battleship in Union Square, New York City.

Greenwich Village and surrounding environs at the time had a large German-American population. You can still see traces of this today. Whether that had anything to do with the choice of location is unclear. In fact, if you are familiar with Union Square, you will see recognize many of the surrounding buildings, which are still there today.

USS Recruit Union Square randommusings.filminspector.com

Called the "USS Recruit," the ship was intended as a recruitment and training center. The Recruit was carried on the Navy rolls as a normal seagoing ship under the command of Acting Captain C. F. Pierce. The Recruit was manned by trainee sailors from Newport Training Station. While constructed of wood, the ship had living quarters, a wireless station, full officer's quarters, doctor's quarters and examination rooms to assess the health of potential candidates.

In structure the Recruit carried two cage masts, a conning tower and a dummy funnel, or smokestack. It had six wooden replicas of 14-inch (360 mm) guns housed in three twin turrets, 10 wooden five-inch (130 mm) anti-torpedo boat guns and two replica one-pound saluting guns, matching the configuration of battleships of the time.

USS Recruit Union Square randommusings.filminspector.com

Popular Science Magazine reviewed the project in its August 1917 issue and concluded:
"The equipment is that of the up-to-the-minute dreadnought with accommodations on board for day and night life of officers and men."
The USS Recruit was run like a normal naval vessel. Sailors rose at 6 a.m., scrubbed the decks, did their laundry, and attended instructional classes. They then stood guard over the ship and were available to answer questions from visitors and process recruits - some 25,000 over the ship's existence from 1917 to 1920. By night, all the ship's lights were turned on, including a series of searchlights. At that time, the Recruit hosted a variety of social events and receptions, including a christening, patriotic speeches and visits by various dignitaries, a group of Native Americans and the woman's motor corps.

USS Recruit Union Square randommusings.filminspector.com

With the war long over, the Recruit was no longer needed in Union Square. It was properly decommissioned and dismantled in 1920. The plan was to relocate it to Coney Island's Luna Park, but it never made it there. It may have wound up like many naval vessels at the bottom of the Atlantic.

USS Recruit Union Square randommusings.filminspector.com

USS Recruit Union Square randommusings.filminspector.com

USS Recruit Union Square randommusings.filminspector.com

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USS Recruit Union Square randommusings.filminspector.com

USS Recruit Union Square randommusings.filminspector.com



2016

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New York at Christmastime



Christmas Washington Square Park randommusings.filminspector.com


For those who haven't the chance to experience the real New York, as opposed to the manufactured tv-version, this is Christmas in New York.

Washington Square Park, Bobst Library in the background and, far away, the World Trade Center.







2015