A Must-See Vintage Betty Boop Cartoon, 1931
The 1931 Max Fleischer cartoon Bimbo’s Initiation is a miracle of awesome, Fleischerian weirdness. It’s the last Betty Boop cartoon that was personally animated by her creator, Grim Natwick. It’s so delightfully bizarre that the film critic Leonard Maltin called it “the ‘darkest of all” of Fleischer’s work.
The cartoon starts with Bimbo seemingly being drawn into a college fraternity initiation. What Bimbo goes through is very dark — until he sees who’s behind the mask. Wonderful to watch.
(Source: Boing Boing)
The Glass Woman, 1935
Claimed to be the first exhibit of its type, a life-sized anatomically correct human figure with transparent “skin”. The model has detailed visible internal features and is internally illuminated. It created a sensation when first displayed and inspired many copies and imitations. The “glass” is actually Cellon, an early type of cellulose-based plastic. Cellon was also used during World War I when Germany experimented with “transparent” aircraft.
The original Gläserne Frau is still on display at the German Hygiene Museum, Dresden - Central Institute of Medical Education.
4,000 Years of World History in a Single Map
Initially published by Rand McNally in 1931, the Histomap took the form of a five-foot-long poster folded down into a relatively normal-sized envelope and sold for a dollar, or $12.40 in today’s money. The original information that came with the map says this about it’s contents:
Clear, vivid and shorn of elaboration HISTOMAP holds you enthralled as you follow the curves of power down time’s endless course…..HERE IS THE ACTUAL PICTURE OF THE MARCH OF CIVILIZATION from the mud huts of the ancients to the monarchistic of the middle ages to the living panorama of life in everyday America.
To see an interactive version of the map which allows for zooming in for easy reading, click here.
Container for keeping 5,000 fresh eggs for more than a year, 1930
Being in Love Can Be Murder
The infamous crime duo Bonnie and Clyde seen playfully posing with their guns. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met in Texas in January, 1930. At the time, Bonnie was 19 and married to an imprisoned murderer; Clyde was 21 and unmarried. Soon after, he was arrested for a burglary and sent to jail. He escaped, using a gun Bonnie had smuggled to him, was recaptured and was sent back to prison. Clyde was paroled in February 1932, rejoined Bonnie, and resumed a life of crime.
In addition to the automobile theft charge, Bonnie and Clyde were suspects in other crimes. At the time they were killed in 1934, they were believed to have committed 13 murders and several robberies and burglaries. Barrow, for example, was suspected of murdering two police officers at Joplin, Missouri and kidnapping a man and a woman in rural Louisiana. He released them near Waldo, Texas.
Numerous sightings followed, linking this pair with bank robberies and automobile thefts. Clyde allegedly murdered a man at Hillsboro, Texas; committed robberies at Lufkin and Dallas, Texas; murdered one sheriff and wounded another at Stringtown, Oklahoma; kidnapped a deputy at Carlsbad, New Mexico; stole an automobile at Victoria, Texas; attempted to murder a deputy at Wharton, Texas; committed murder and robbery at Abilene and Sherman, Texas; committed murder at Dallas, Texas; abducted a sheriff and the chief of police at Wellington, Texas; and committed murder at Joplin and Columbia, Missouri.
The FBI and local law enforcement authorities in Louisiana and Texas concentrated on apprehending Bonnie and Clyde. Before dawn on May 23, 1934, a posse composed of police officers from Louisiana and Texas, concealed themselves in bushes along the highway near Sailes, Louisiana. In the early daylight, Bonnie and Clyde appeared in an automobile and when they attempted to drive away, the officers opened fire. Bonnie and Clyde were killed instantly.
Yoshiwara was a famous pleasure (red light) district, in Edo, present-day Tokyo, Japan. In the early 17th century, there was widespread male and female prostitution throughout the cities of Kyoto, Edo, and Osaka. To counter this, an order of Tokugawa Hidetada of the Tokugawa shogunate restricted prostitution to designated city districts.
The Yoshiwara was home to some 1,750 women in the 18th century, with records of some 3,000 women from all over Japan at one time. The area had over 9,000 women in 1893, many of whom suffered from syphilis. These girls were often indentured to the brothels by their parents between the ages of about seven to twelve. If she was lucky, she would become an apprentice to a high ranking courtesan. When the girl was old enough and had completed her training, she would become a courtesan herself and work her way up the ranks. The young women often had a contract to the brothel for only about five to ten years, but massive debt sometimes kept them in the brothels their entire lives.
Gef the Talking Mongoose - The Dalby Spook
For over 80 years, speculation has surrounded the case of the Dalby Spook, a talking mongoose called Gef, since a 12 year old girl is said to have first seen it in 1931.
The strange story of Gef the Talking Mongoose began in Autumn 1931 in an isolated farmstead on the Isle of Man called Doarlish Cashen (Cashen’s Gap). The farm was home to 60-yr-old Jim Irving, his wife Margaret, and their 12-yr old daughter Voirrey.
One September evening, the family heard inexplicable “blowing, spitting and growling” sounds coming from behind the wooden paneling lining the farmhouse walls. Jim thought a rat was to blame, and tried in vain to drive it from its lair. He was unsuccessful, but the creature eventually came out on its own.
At first the elusive creature proved to be a talented mimic. It ingratiated itself with Jim by dutifully repeating his imitations of various animals and birds. Soon, he had only to name an animal and it would promptly respond with the appropriate imitation. At other times, it made a gurgling sound like a baby attempting to form its first words. Then it began to talk.
By way of experiment, Voirrey asked the creature to repeat some nursery rhymes. It obliged in a clear, if very squeaky, voice. Soon it was speaking freely. It introduced itself as Gef (pronounced ‘Jeff’) and claimed to be “an extra clever mongoose” born in Delhi, India in 1852. Gef was soon holding regular conversations with both Voirrey and her father. He began nesting in a boxed partition in Voirrey’s room, which the family dubbed “Gef’s sanctum”.
Although Jim and Margaret both caught brief glimpses of Gef, only Voirrey was allowed to look at him directly. She described him as being the size of a small rat, with yellowish fur and a long bushy tail.
Like many a poltergeist, which is what many thought it was, Gef had a rather short fuse. For example, he once suddenly flew into a rage when he thought Jim was taking too long opening the morning post. “Read it out, you fat-headed gnome!” he squeaked furiously. He also seemed to enjoy deliberately provoking Voirrey’s parents. One night, he made a nuisance of himself by sighing and groaning for 30 minutes without pause, before confessing, “I did it for devilment!”
Gef’s fame spread to the mainland after Jim Irving persuaded the psychic researcher, Harry Price, to take an interest in the case. But even as Gef’s notoriety grew, his visits to the Irvings became fewer and farther between. By the time Price showed up to investigate in person, the marvelous mongoose was conspicuous only by his absence.
In 1936, Price published the results of his investigation in a book co-authored with journalist Richard Lambert entitled “The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap: A Modern Miracle Explained”. Although Price did not explicitly accuse the Irvings of perpetrating a hoax, neither did he validate their claims. Soon after Price’s book was published, the Irvings left Cashen’s Gap for the mainland. Gef did not follow them there, nor did he introduce himself to the new owner, a Mr. Graham.