Monday, June 18, 2018

Jane pushes the broom

This post was originally going to be about Tarzan and Jane, and how Jane's costume radically changed between 1934 (Tarzan and his Mate, with the infamous nude swimming scene) and Tarzan Escapes in 1936, in which she wore something like gym bloomers coming all the way up to her neck and all the way down to her knees. But I couldn't find a video clip that illustrated all that, so I couldn't make any gifs.

So I used Betty Boop instead.

Nowhere is the repressive, soul-deadening Hays Code more vividly displayed than in Betty's change from a hot little floozie to a housewife pushing a broom. I mean, LITERALLY pushing a broom! In Tarzan Escapes, Tarzan and Jane had enough physicality and emotional chemistry to somehow imply a sexual relationship - still pretty taboo, given the fact that they weren't married.

There is one gorgeous scene, which I can't find, in which Jane lies back langorously by the river, managing to look sexy in the unsexiest clothing imagineable. Tarzan gives her a tropical flower, towering over her as she looks up in a kind of half-frightened awe (and in case you haven't seen one of these for a while, Tarzan is quite rough on Jane and even overwhelms her). The way he silently falls to his knees says it all, as does her hand as it slowly and langorously lets go of the flower so that it slides into the current.

So they got around it, with the finest acting and directing, and the best body in Hollywood.

But poor Betty Boop. Just look at her! Navy blue dress, looking like some military surplus, skirt even below the knees and shoulders decently covered. She would never be the same. For she belonged to the boop-a-doop '20s and early '30s, before the forces of suffocating decency descended like a toxic cloud.

And yet, what she's wearing in the other three is - even by today's standards - kind of scanty. Hell, in that hula scene she's hardly wearing anything at all! She even breaks the sacred Disney blurred-nipple rule for a split-second. Would that be acceptable for family viewing today?

P., S. I found it! I found it! This is the most erotic scene in the whole erotic Tarzan series.  And yet, they get around the Hays code very nicely, flouting those repressive rules. Maureen O'Sullivan does it with her face, and Weismuller with that incredible body.

Friday, June 15, 2018

In the jungle, the mighty jungle

There are days, and this is one of them, when I am totally fed up with the internet. What started off as a potentially invaluable source of information has become a vast juggernaut, with useful stuff increasingly buried by the crap that is posted every day (and hardly anything is ever taken down). The more this stuff accumulates, the harder it is to find anything, which is ironic but is never mentioned. I won't get into the racism, the ranting, the hiding in the bluff behind cover of anonymity, so you can say any damn hateful thing you want. 

But once in a while, you find the end of a thread, and you think,hmm, maybe it's not so freaking useless after all. The old magic returns, if only for a moment.

For years, a thought would come into my head, I'd rack my brains fruitlessly for a while, then give up and let the thought slide back into oblivion. It had to do with Tarzan. More specifically, Tarzan movies. More specifically than that, the Tarzan movies that used to come on TV on Saturday afternoons.

It was some sort of a Tarzan series, and I am sure the movies were badly butchered, but we didn't care because we had nothing to compare them to. Certainly we didn't get to see the erotic swimming sequence (did anyone? I find it hard to believe it wasn't cut from theatrical versions) from Tarzan and his Mate. They probably even censored the crocodile-wrasslin' scenes with their sped-up film and elaborate editing (to make it look as if an actual crocodile were involved) because they were too violent for the kiddies in the 1960s.

The series had some sort of title card with palm trees and birds and stuff on it, and there was this music. It was the weirdest stuff, because it seemed to have animal sounds in the background. Bird calls and stuff. There was very little actual music involved, just atmosphere. A piano was playing, and someone was rhythmically scraping something. You only got to hear a snippet of it while The Tarzan Show title card came on, but they'd also play a bit of it after commercial breaks (and there were a lot of them).

So was this, as they say, "a thing"? Did it still exist, could I find it?  How do you find something like this when the clues are so vague? I just started googling terms like "music with birds in background" and "bandleader who uses bird sounds" (for in retrospect, it's obvious this was some sort of lounge music). I was astounded at how quickly I scored a hit. Soon I was playing a video with this cheesy, lounge-y, '50s-style music, about as exotic as Dorothy Lamour in a sarong, which I had not heard in - um - four, or - seven, or - a lot of years. 

What made me laugh is the realization that those aren't even bird sounds - they're band members squeeee-ing and hooting and rattling to sound like birds. Could have fooled me. I have no plans to cultivate a taste for the genre, which is called exotica(and here I always thought that had something to do with sex!). But at least now I know what it is. The internet still has the power to inform.

I don't know if Martin Denny got any royalties for The Tarzan Show, but probably not - they likely just stuck the record on and hoped for the best. As is almost always the case, I can't find any information on the actual video, which I think is quite lovely. Who knows how many times it has been pirated and passed around. But isn't that what the internet is all about?

Please note. This is a summer repeat. I just saw a  couple of Tarzan movies and loved them so much that I just had to dredge up the gifs that went with this post. They took a lot of time, effort and love to make. Hope you enjoy them. I work hard at this, you know?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What is wrong with this picture?

Nothing! Not as far as I am concerned.

This animation I made wasn't an animation at all, until I converted it from a series of still pictures from the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge.

THAT Eadweard Muybridge, the man who predated the motion picture by formulating the idea that a lot of still pictures shown in rapid succession would help us see exactly how people and animals moved.

Muybridge only toyed with the idea of looping all these pictures together to attain the illusion of motion. That came later, with the Lumiere Brothers, a few dozen others, and anyone but Edison.

Who ripped off ideas right, left and centre, but was quick on a patent like Billy the Kid was quick on the draw.

SO. I decided to try an experiment and just take a few seconds of video of my little animation. Which I did, and posted it on YouTube. Or at least I thought I did.

Next time I tried to get on YouTube, a stern full-page warning flashed on the screen telling me I had violated their Code of Decency and that my video had been censored/deleted. Forever. Well, maybe that was OK or maybe not - it seemed stupid to make such a fuss over a few seconds of educational material. But then they started talking about "strikes against your account". I already had one strike against my account by posting an obscene pornographic video of two women frollicking with a bucket of water (though obviously they saw it as the sort of explicitly sleazy garbage I see on YouTube every single day).

If I got to three strikes against my account, my days with YouTube would be over. Forever. All my videos would be gone.

I have something like 800 videos on YouTube, most of it personal stuff only meaningful to me, but I didn't keep 800 originals, I just couldn't. And over the years, I had no idea how much these videos came to mean, a record of my life, my pain and joy and discovery.

So to lose it forever. . . 

But then I thought of something: hadn't I SEEN a Muybridge video not long ago, one which showed very similar scenes (motion studies!) which lasted four minutes and went into a lot more detail?

Of course! And it looks like this.

Not only that, but you can see MY animation at 2:23. Exactly the same thing, all two seconds of it.

I don't know what is going on. I don't understand the double standard, or why Muybridge is suddenly such a threat to common decency. I find it hard to see these pictures of women as "dirty" or titillating - they weren't meant to be, though some say Eadweard favored comely young women over men for a reason. Be that as it may, THIS ISN'T PORN, it's nothing to do with it or even with sexuality or eroticism. If it's censored, what we are censoring are women's bodies. What we are saying is that the female body is inherently sexual, and sexuality is (of course!) dirty, bad, and wrong.

We need to do this, to make sure our children get the message. Particularly our female children. The sooner they learn that their bodies are filthy, depraved, and slimily disgusting, the better.

These photos were taken in the Victorian era, but not much was said about their erotic content. As far as I know, NOTHING was said. The Victorians were quite OK with Muybridge because he was he was a scientist and educating the public in a fascinating way. He also provided work for young women who might otherwise have been shop clerks or chambermaids.

When you look at how sick this all is, when you look at how contradictory - . The slobbering idiots at YouTube are the ones with  the dirty minds, sexualizing something that's meant to be innocent and even has an important historic and scientific origin. But what's worse is that a much longer and more explicit version of MY VIDEO is still up, under someone else's account, someone who has no "strikes" against him and probably never will. 

(Please note. Several paragraphs just dropped into oblivion, and I have no way of reconstituting them. Sorry about that - something to do with the photos).

Post-blog thoughts. I did contest the "strike", which you are allowed to do, by pointing out to YouTube that I had only used material already in a published video. I doubt if I will win this, however. Something about the way I presented the material, perhaps? I don't know. I hope contesting it doesn't count as another "strike". Sounds almost as bad as a stroke.

On top of that, after perusing what passes for "commentary" on thousands or perhaps millions of existing videos, I see hatred, racism, white supremacy, the n-word, the J-word (Jews, universally evil and hated), and all manner of other vile ideologies, if you can call them that. Those people are allowed to say anything they want under "freedom of speech". Now I worry about my two bucket ladies (which, by the way, I had already posted on an earlier video) being censored by Blogspot, my reputation besmirched by posting utterly disgusting pornography. A bucket of water! Imagine.

Maybe I should just join a white supremacy group. It would go down a lot better, and I'd have a lot less worry of being shut down.

Post-post. The offending nine frames. Cover your eyes if you're easily frightened, have a weak stomach, or have never seen a naked woman before. 

Depressed post-script. Today I had one of those fantastic ideas, encouraged by someone who actually made a comment on one of my YouTube videos (something which is, to my astonishment, happening more and more these days). I kept wondering aloud "why isn't there a troll channel on YouTube, like all those reborn doll channels?", and this person said, "What a brilliant idea! You should do it."

I had almost 50 videos already in my troll playlist. My idea wasn't to run a serious collector's channel, which interests me about as much as worms. I don't care if the troll has a 456 stamped in its foot, or if it was made in 1959 in Oslo or wherever they were made. I care about whether it's "trollie" and FUN.

So I eagerly began to title the videos in my troll playlist as The Troll Channel. And I was all the way through adding this title (laboriously, one at a time) to all of them, until I realized - 

There was a good chance YouTube would shut me down for it.

Why? Do I need to tell you why? Even though there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of videos labelled The Troll Channel, MINE would be seen as "violating community standards" and outside the realm of common decency. They had already hit me in the face with that one. That one strike had made me vulnerable, bleeding on the jungle floor, a thing carnivores love.

So, very reluctantly, I changed the title to The Troll Doll Channel. I like the double-oll, the way it looks at least, but it lacks punch. And yet. When I finally looked up The Troll Channel on YouTube, I was horrified at how obscene, violent, and thoroughly awful these videos all were. 

But it is also the fact I would have two strikes against me, you see. I am teetering on the brink. But now that I think of it - and I have been on a total rollercoaster about it all evening - I don't want a channel, or even a playlist, called The Troll Channel, not even with a museum called The Troll Hole somewhere in the States. (Now, just think if I started a channel called The Troll Hole. Probably there already is one, if not 4 or 500, considered perfectly acceptable. Who's doing favors for whom here?)

The word has been poisoned, and not by me. I don't want any idiot looking up obscene violent crap and finding MY little innocent playlist with its 47 videos, me playing Mama to a bunch of trolls.

It's really too bad that word got so  poisoned, and I don't know where it came from - Lord of the Rings, perhaps? But keep my trolls out of it! 

A lot of this was a desire to get out of those snotty Facebook  groups that DO go into troll foot size, number of fingers, etc. Who gives a  royal rip! Dates, times, and price tags mean nothing to me. And I found myself trying to get into their good graces, trying to get "likes", and hating myself for it.

So it's now The Troll Doll Channel, much as that takes something away from it. But I cannot afford to have YouTube squeeze me any further by using a title 5000 other people are already using withoiut penalty. I've learned a lesson or two about that.

(Wouldn't it be funny if I lost my account because my troll account was about TROLLS and not. . . trolls? We can't let the public down, can we?)