Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Odds n' ends, fresh today


Sums up my feelings about 2013. Keep watching it for five seconds and your eyeballs will fall out.

A Harold Lloyd whatever. Minifilm.

I've started making this jewelry, see. . . 

Today I found this, the last of a set of three (I think). What movie it is, I don't know, but Roy Brooks is in it, so it must be relatively early. Candid shots on Harold's movie sets are hard to find. Harold seems to be cutting up as usual, but probably for the cameras. Mildred looks like she'd just like to get back to business. Roy Brooks is a bit of a puzzle - I'd like to try to find out more about him, but I'm not sure it's there.

This reminds us once again that Harold Lloyd looked NOTHING like Harold Lloyd. How tiny Mildred looks between them! The men's protective attitude is obvious, but who wouldn't want to protect Mildred Davis?

Roy Brooks appears to be holding a large bottle of milk. Presumably, the same one Harold was drinking out of in the first shot. No nipple in it, though.

Closer shot. She looks cold. Not sure if Harold is watching an airplane ("Plane! Plane!"), or just throwing a peanut up in the air.

I love the titles - love them, love them! They seem to be made of black velvet and make great Facebook covers. These are all from Dr. Jack, never one of my favorites until I watched it again recently. He is sexier in that one than in any of the others - relaxed, confident, and looking closer to his "real self" because for once he doesn't play a goof. He's a country doctor, a respected member of his community, and looking after one hot dish who isn't really sick to begin with! Does it get any better than playing doctor with Harold?

'Graceful Ghost Rag' by William Bolcom - Barron Ryan

2014: you say you want a resolution

“We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes, and our ravages. But our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to transform them in ourselves and in others.” - Albert Camus

If anybody's following this blog, they'll be aware that I'm not a big fan of Crimbo Limbo, that dead and empty time between Christmas and New Years.

I mean, what are you supposed to DO during that time? Sit there eating dried-up turkey because somebody's gotta use it up? Take down Christmas ornaments (and what could be more depressing than un-trimming a tree and un-decorating a house?). Realize how fat you are?

It's a time when we're supposed to make "resolutions", which when I was a kid I called "New Years Revolutions", with images of fiery overthrow, exploding bombs, anarchy. But not much exploded, and not much changed.

That sense of a fresh virgin page, of a whole book of virgin pages upon which nothing is yet written, seems to snag a lot of people this time of year. It means we can start all over again. If our lives are lousy, if they're threadbare, if we're overweight or a smoker, if we haven't found "Mr. Right", if we hate our jobs, hate our friends, etc., THIS year it's going to be different. THIS year we'll change ourselves and the world around us, page by virgin page, for 365-1/4 days until the next chance swings around.


I have an old-fashioned desk calendar on my kitchen counter. I am surprised they still make them, in fact. The refills can only be found at Staples. On this calendar I scrawl everything. Doctor's appointments, phone numbers, recipes, complaints, etc. etc. One year I decided to do it differently. I would write everything in pencil, and if I had fulfilled a task at the end of the day, I would erase it.

At the end of a week or so - no, three or four days - no, TWO days or less - I realized I had erased my life. I immediately went back to the ugly, messy scrawl I had to scribble over and cross out again and again.

We DON'T start again - not really - although I am very big on personal transformation (though you'd never know it from the whinyness of some of my blog posts). But it's more of a process, and it happens on its own time, usually when we're not looking, a unicorn appearing in the corner of your eye.

I am a huge fan of Bob Dylan's philosophy-in-a-nutshell, a single song line that speaks volumes about the human struggle: "He not busy being born is busy dying." I wrote a much longer version of this post and decided to stow it (though not delete it) for the time being, as it could very well be misinterpreted. This was the year I had to leave a significant friendship behind, though I am sure I am perceived as the "heavy", the person who abandoned my friend for no reason at all except, perhaps, meanness. Since I know she won't read this, and I won't mention her name (and no one in her town knows me anyway), I feel I can proceed.

When we met, we had an equal commitment to the writing life. She had taken even more writing courses than I had, and was committed to writing a novel. But then the family moved away to a small town. I have every reason to believe she hated this, but would never admit it and said nothing.

After a few stabs at writing for the local paper, her passion dimmed. Her fantasies of escaping the whole thing (searching for apartments on-line by the hour) finally collided with a grim, joyless sense of duty, though she insisted she would never leave her community until her (disabled) husband was dead. 

It all culminated in a long, sour, bilious rant that made my head spin. She was clutching hurt to herself, playing the martyr brilliantly. Somehow or other she had learned the subtle art of making everyone around her feel bad. There was also a sense that it was perfectly OK for her to unload all her frustrations on me, thus making herself feel a whole lot better, and me, a lot worse.

I don't know what happened to my friend except that she stuffed her passion into a closet and threw away the key. It's still there hiding under the bed, rotting. When I asked her about her writing recently, she said, "It went away" (an external agent which somehow stood up and left under its own steam). 

Abandonment of the urgency of the creative need can turn a person permanently sour. In a way, it's the abandonment of self, and if we do that, there will be hell to pay. "But I don't have time to write." "But I'm afraid to send it out." "But I won't make any money." Yes but, yes but, yes but. (This is exactly the kind of attitude my friend disdains in others: "When are they going to stop making excuses?" But then, she disdains so many things in others.)

I remember staying up until 2:00 a.m. when my children were babies, writing plays and short stories that, of course, went nowhere. But when I moved to a small town in Alberta, I walked into the newspaper office and offered my services as a weekly columnist. They said yes, and I have been publishing my work ever since.

I'm not painting myself as superior. I'm saying that we MUST make our own needs, passions, talents, a priority, or we can end up puking bile on our best friend, who is finally forced to go away. If you take no risks, you take the biggest risk of all - that you will lose yourself, implode. It's a choice, unfortunately, choosing safety over fear. It's hard for me to forget my friend, and it shocks me to think that I just don't like her now, that I don't like what she has become. It isn't a fight - it's profound alienation, and an awful realization that I have been used.

This has become pretty long after all, but I guess I have to post it. My own life hasn't exactly been brave. I haven't been a Valkyrie charging through the heavens or a large-breasted Amazon (except that I order stuff from them a lot). But I am proud of the fact that through all the toils and snares of my life, which included grappling with addiction and dealing with a lot of illness of the type we don't like to talk about, I have kept the writing going. It has had an urgency which I felt I could not ignore or repress. And I TOOK the bloody risks: I have a third novel coming out this year, for God's sake, and can you imagine how - oh, never mind. You can guess.

I don't know what will happen, but I do know I have to stay clear of my former friend. I am not willing to receive the curdled, caustic sludge of abandoned dreams. It is simply wrong for both of us (for how can she ever face herself if I am busy supporting her dysfunction?). I have to move forward into another year - hey, it's nearly 2014, the Year of the Horse, and an "even" year (for I simply hate odd numbers, spiky and asymmetrical). Though if you add up the numerals, you get 7. Never mind, it's lucky for other people for some obscure numerological reason. 

The Year of the Horse is my birth year, which makes me a Horse. I have had a mostly-unfulfilled passion for horses my whole life. I simply can't get near a horse now - it's impractical - though those couple of years when I owned a horse as a girl now seem like a slice of Paradise. Long, lazy days riding beside the railroad tracks. I might as well get behind Chinese astrology because it's about as accurate as anything else in predicting the future. And if I do get behind it, it means it's "my year" - finally, my turn - my turn for WHAT, we don't know yet. But I know I will not hide my light under a bushel, nor shove my dreams under the bed.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Russell Brand: my life without drugs

Here we are in Crimbo Limbo, and it would not be so bad if I didn't have certain medical issues that have been "postponed" until after the holidays. I have been asked to wait "two or three days" to refill certain vital prescriptions because "we ran out" (and no one told me they couldn't refill it, so now I can't even take it somewhere else and avoid all this bullshit). I have been put on hold, but my pain and discomfort hasn't, and I won't be able to reach my doctor for a full week. So I am basically screwed, and no one is listening to my complaint because they just don't think it's very important. More than that, they have that hazed, vacant look of too much plum pudding and booze. Their mouths are hanging open and they are drooling slightly. It's Crimbo Limbo, that deadly week at the end of the year when everything just stops functioning.

But I found this, and I think it's good. I am so preoccupied with other things that this blog is running a bit thin lately. Maybe it will go on that way, who knows. I need to get feeling better and moving forward instead of sideways.

Russell Brand: my life without drugs

Russell Brand has not used drugs for 10 years. He has a job, a house, a cat, good friends. But temptation is never far away. He wants to help other addicts, but first he wants us to feel compassion for those affected

The Guardian,
26th Annual ARIA Awards 2012 - Award Winner Portraits

'I cannot accurately convey to you the efficiency of heroin in neutralising pain.' Photograph: Mark Nolan/WireImage

The last time I thought about taking heroin was yesterday. I had received "an inconvenient truth" from a beautiful woman. It wasn't about climate change – I'm not that ecologically switched on – she told me she was pregnant and it wasn't mine.

I had to take immediate action. I put Morrissey on in my car as an external conduit for the surging melancholy, and as I wound my way through the neurotic Hollywood hills, the narrow lanes and tight bends were a material echo of the synaptic tangle where my thoughts stalled and jammed.

Morrissey, as ever, conducted a symphony, within and without and the tidal misery burgeoned. I am becoming possessed. The part of me that experienced the negative data, the self, is becoming overwhelmed, I can no longer see where I end and the pain begins. So now I have a choice.

I cannot accurately convey to you the efficiency of heroin in neutralising pain. It transforms a tight, white fist into a gentle, brown wave. From my first inhalation 15 years ago, it fumigated my private hell and lay me down in its hazy pastures and a bathroom floor in Hackney embraced me like a womb.

This shadow is darkly cast on the retina of my soul and whenever I am dislodged from comfort my focus falls there. It is 10 years since I used drugs or drank alcohol and my life has improved immeasurably. I have a job, a house, a cat, good friendships and generally a bright outlook. The price of this is constant vigilance because the disease of addiction is not rational.

Recently for the purposes of a documentary on this subject I reviewed some footage of myself smoking heroin that my friend had shot as part of a typically exhibitionist attempt of mine to get clean. I sit wasted and slumped with an unacceptable haircut against a wall in another Hackney flat (Hackney is starting to seem like part of the problem) inhaling fizzy, black snakes of smack off a scrap of crumpled foil. When I saw the tape a month or so ago, what is surprising is that my reaction is not one of gratitude for the positive changes I've experienced but envy at witnessing an earlier version of myself unencumbered by the burden of abstinence. I sat in a suite at the Savoy hotel, in privilege, resenting the woeful ratbag I once was, who, for all his problems, had drugs. That is obviously irrational.

The mentality and behaviour of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help they have no hope.
This is the reason I have started a fund within Comic Relief, Give It Up. I want to raise awareness of, and money for, abstinence-based recovery. It was Kevin Cahill's idea, he is the bloke who runs Comic Relief. He called me when he read an article I wrote after Amy Winehouse died. Her death had a powerful impact on me I suppose because it was such an obvious shock, like watching someone for hours through a telescope, seeing them advance towards you, fist extended with the intention of punching you in the face. Even though I saw it coming, it still hurt when it eventually hit me.

What was so painful about Amy's death is that I know that there is something I could have done. I could have passed on to her the solution that was freely given to me. Don't pick up a drink or drug, one day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn't easy: it requires incredible support and fastidious structuring. Not to mention that the whole infrastructure of abstinence based recovery is shrouded in necessary secrecy. There are support fellowships that are easy to find and open to anyone who needs them but they eschew promotion of any kind in order to preserve the purity of their purpose, which is for people with alcoholism and addiction to help one another stay clean and sober.

Without these fellowships I would take drugs. Because, even now, the condition persists. Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.

If this seems odd to you it is because you are not an alcoholic or a drug addict. You are likely one of the 90% of people who can drink and use drugs safely. I have friends who can smoke weed, swill gin, even do crack and then merrily get on with their lives. For me, this is not an option. I will relinquish all else to ride that buzz to oblivion. Even if it began as a timid glass of chardonnay on a ponce's yacht, it would end with me necking the bottle, swimming to shore and sprinting to Bethnal Green in search of a crack house. I look to drugs and booze to fill up a hole in me; unchecked, the call of the wild is too strong. I still survey streets for signs of the subterranean escapes that used to provide my sanctuary. I still eye the shuffling subclass of junkies and dealers, invisibly gliding between doorways through the gutters. I see that dereliction can survive in opulence; the abundantly wealthy with destitution in their stare.

Spurred by Amy's death, I've tried to salvage unwilling victims from the mayhem of the internal storm and I am always, always, just pulled inside myself. I have a friend so beautiful, so haunted by talent that you can barely look away from her, whose smile is such a treasure that I have often squandered my sanity for a moment in its glow. Her story is so galling that no one would condemn her for her dependency on illegal anesthesia, but now, even though her life is trying to turn around despite her, even though she has genuine opportunities for a new start, the gutter will not release its prey. The gutter is within. It is frustrating to watch. It is frustrating to love someone with this disease.

A friend of mine's brother cannot stop drinking. He gets a few months of sobriety and his inner beauty, with the obstacles of his horrible drunken behaviour pushed aside by the presence of a programme, begins to radiate. His family bask relieved, in the joy of their returned loved one, his life gathers momentum but then he somehow forgets the price of this freedom, returns to his old way of thinking, picks up a drink and Mr Hyde is back in the saddle. Once more his brother's face is gaunt and hopeless. His family blame themselves and wonder what they could have done differently, racking their minds for a perfect sentiment; wrapped up in the perfect sentence, a magic bullet to sear right through the toxic fortress that has incarcerated the person they love and restore them to sanity. The fact is, though, that they can't, the sufferer must, of course, be a willing participant in their own recovery. They must not pick up a drink or drug, one day at a time. Just don't pick up, that's all.

It is difficult to feel sympathy for these people. It is difficult to regard some bawdy drunk and see them as sick and powerless. It is difficult to suffer the selfishness of a drug addict who will lie to you and steal from you and forgive them and offer them help. Can there be any other disease that renders its victims so unappealing? Would Great Ormond Street be so attractive a cause if its beds were riddled with obnoxious little criminals that had "brought it on themselves"?

Peter Hitchens is a vocal adversary of mine on this matter. He sees this condition as a matter of choice and the culprits as criminals who should go to prison. I know how he feels. I bet I have to deal with a lot more drug addicts than he does, let's face it. I share my brain with one, and I can tell you firsthand, they are total fucking wankers. Where I differ from Peter is in my belief that if you regard alcoholics and drug addicts not as bad people but as sick people then we can help them to get better. By we, I mean other people who have the same problem but have found a way to live drug-and-alcohol-free lives. Guided by principles and traditions a programme has been founded that has worked miracles in millions of lives. Not just the alcoholics and addicts themselves but their families, their friends and of course society as a whole.

What we want to do with Give It Up is popularise a compassionate perception of drunks and addicts, and provide funding for places at treatment centres where they can get clean using these principles. Then, once they are drug-and-alcohol-free, to make sure they retain contact with the support that is available to keep them clean. I know that as you read this you either identify with it yourself or are reminded of someone who you love who cannot exercise control over substances. I want you to know that the help that was available to me, the help upon which my recovery still depends is available.

I wound down the hill in an alien land, Morrissey chanted lonely mantras, the pain quickly accumulated incalculably, and I began to weave the familiar tapestry that tells an old, old story. I think of places I could score. Off Santa Monica there's a homeless man who I know uses gear. I could find him, buy him a bag if he takes me to score.

I leave him on the corner, a couple of rocks, a couple of $20 bags pressed into my sweaty palm. I get home, I pull out the foil, neatly torn. I break the bottom off a Martell miniature. I have cigarettes, using makes me need fags. I make a pipe for the rocks with the bottle. I lay a strip of foil on the counter to chase the brown. I pause to reflect and regret that I don't know how to fix, only smoke, feeling inferior even in the manner of my using. I see the foil scorch. I hear the crackle from which crack gets it's name. I feel the plastic fog hit the back of my yawning throat. Eyes up. Back relaxing, the bottle drops and the greedy bliss eats my pain. There is no girl, there is no tomorrow, there is nothing but the bilious kiss of the greedy bliss.

Even as I spin this beautifully dreaded web, I am reaching for my phone. I call someone: not a doctor or a sage, not a mystic or a physician, just a bloke like me, another alcoholic, who I know knows how I feel. The phone rings and I half hope he'll just let it ring out. It's 4am in London. He's asleep, he can't hear the phone, he won't pick up. I indicate left, heading to Santa Monica. The ringing stops, then the dry mouthed nocturnal mumble: "Hello. You all right mate?"

He picks up.

And for another day, thank God, I don't have to.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The NBC logo: strangling the peacock

This is the kind of thing that used to scare the hell out of me when I was a kid. And I don't know why, except that I was maybe three years old and both fascinated and repelled by the strange black box that appeared in our house at just about the same time I did. You would think that I, being a vid kid, would be completely unfazed by its beeps and crackles, but no. It was all so smudgy and black and surreal, and when I see one of these things today it calls up a lot of feelings from extremely early childhood, if not infancy.

The first TV logos were ugly, mainly because nobody knew how to design them. This one is crazy because it seems to be showing sound waves like lightning-bolts going INTO a microphone, and smooth waves going out. Then there's some sort of an image like a telephone pole with more jaggedy lines coming out of it. 

Though it's TV, this looks like a logo for a radio station, and indeed the late 40s - early 50s was a  time of bridging two media that were far more different than anyone knew. At first it was just slapping some pictures onto the sound track, much the way silent film directors (Harold Lloyd?) grafted sound tracks onto movies. I remember "The Jack Benny Program",  in which the radio superstar came out in front of a curtain to introduce the show to a studio audience, followed by a program that would have been completely understandable even if you kept your eyes closed. It wasn't until Sid Caesar and Uncle Miltie and those other falling-down weirdos came along (Ernie Kovacs?) that all the visual possibilities of the new medium began to bloom.

For some reason, NBC logos seem to show more imagination than most (though the CBS eye with its opening-and-closing aperture wins points for sheer creepiness: more about that later). This is a pristine version of the first peacock symbol used by NBC, and by far the most beautiful. Its gracefulness and complexity make it a moving work of art. It has a sort of art deco/harlequin/stained glass pattern which at the very end bursts into multicolored flaming torches. Too bad hardly anyone saw it, because no one had "living color" in 1957. Over the years the peacock was dumbed down until it had only six "feathers" and didn't really look like a peacock at all.

I'm not sure what they're trying to do here, making a shooting-star image turn into the peacock logo. It simply doesn't work. To me it resembles nothing more than a Lucky Charms commercial, with its magically delicious, chemically-neon-colored rainbow. (If you can read what's above the shooting star, you're doing better than me. I'm dying to know what it says. Almost looks like "did you know", but not quite.)

This one is about as bizarre and ugly as it gets. Why is this strangely-colored blob floating around in water? It looks like a cake of soap, then a second blob melds with it in a sort of psychedelic Peter Max way. The different colors of the spectrum melting together? But the peacock DOESN'T HAVE the different colors of the spectrum any more! It's a dumbed-down kids' rainbow thingie, and besides, what IS that shit in the background, I mean in behind the halves of the bird logo? Looks like a giant turd to me. The more I look at this, the more it looks like an amateurish stop-action thing, the kind a kid would make on their ipod. Claymation!  Gumby's worst nightmare. Great works of art like the original NBC peacock logo should NOT be tampered with. It's like using a roller to paint over a Van Gogh. 

All this was stressful enough to drive me back into the vaults. I've been nosing around in the YouTube catacombs all afternoon (I told you I have no life!) looking for signs of the awkward transition from radio to TV, and at one point I noticed that one of the announcers kept looking down at his script. Obviously cue cards and prompters didn't exist then - nobody had even thought about it. Nobody knew how to look the camera in the eye without eye-bouncing or zombie-staring. New medium? What are you talking about?

The grainy surrealism of early TV, especially the really wonky wobbly stuff from the 1940s, appeals to me. This dreamlike running-man image was sucked out of a very strange blooper compilation from the early '50s, in which a quite-drunk woman, after repeatedly fluffing her line in a comedy sketch, said (I quote), "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck." This brought the production to a stunned standstill. The broadcast was going out live and nothing could be done about it. There were some guffaws from the crew, but if a studio audience was there (which there usually was), they were too traumatized to laugh. The surviving kinescope really should have been burned, but was probably hidden away somewhere for the stag reel they showed at Christmas.

Most early TV show openings aren't too memorable (with the exception of Car 54, Where Are You?, which I will deal with in another post), but I Love Lucy trumped them all in sheer elegance. The opening and closing segments had to be redone for syndication because they originally featured animated versions of Lucy and Ricky - smoking. Whatever the brand was - Phillip Morris, I think, with that horrid little dwarf. Whoever designed this version, the one everybody remembers, was an artist, contrasting the bold  letters of the title with the luminous silver heart nestled in what looks like folds of silk. (Come to think of it, that's pretty sexy.) The closing crawl lasted a full minute, during which we were treated to the roomba-roomba-roomba of Desi Arnaz's conga band. 

And this is sheer class: the deft Desilu signature in bold script, followed by that spooky CBS "eye" that sucks you right into the past. Or into eternity. Whichever makes most sense to you.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Keep your eye on the . . .

Should that be plural? I'm not the only woman who has noticed Harold's "attributes" (plural!) under those tight little pants he wears. A fellow fan I "met" via YouTube traded photos with me of Harold sporting The Bulge, and someone else on Facebook (completely independently) noticed the same thing. Could be just the fashions of the day, or. . . God, was the man wearing any underwear?? 

Whatever the case, Bebe Daniels looks to have reaped the rewards.

The art of logo

Anything old, anything strange, I automatically love, or almost. Which is why I've been married to the same man for 40 years, and why I guess I can stand to get up in the morning and face myself. Old and strange just about describes it.

I have my frustrations, such as getting all involved in technology I barely understand and which only seems to make me increasingly miserable. Do I need to be reminded that my life is unexciting, that nothing ever happens to me, that I've failed in almost all my life's endeavours? If I forget these things, all I have to do is go on Facebook. (Actual comments from recent posts: "Modelling my awesome new bikini in time for Barbados trip. Does this make me look fat? I. . . don't. . . think. . . so!" "My friend made a joke today and told me my awesome new hair style makes me look 15 years younger! At least I THINK she was joking. What do all of you guys think? A few thousand likes ought to do it, lol/lheart!" "This is the fabulous dress I will be wearing when I win my Oscar for pain-in-the-ass-of-the-century." Oops, made that last one up. In fact, I made them all up. Fuck 'em.)

And so I turn to this blog, which is nearly not read at all except for the odd freakish post that has gone into the thousands, even tens of thousands. I swear I got in excess of 100,000 views on one quirky post that I took down by request of a man whose photos I had used by mistake. My one chance at glory.

So I tell myself, just do what you want to do. Don't worry about being "popular" or even being read or any of that will-the-world-ever-understand-me shit. It's about time I gave it up anyway. It's really very adolescent and a waste of time.

I have a book coming out in the spring (The Glass Character), a new novel written around the life and career of silent screen legend Harold Lloyd, and it terrifies me to think how I will go about trying to promote it. I am not one of these people who is good at networking, though some seem to have a positive genius for it. I'm shy and introverted, that is the cloth I am cut from, and trying to turn myself inside-out for the sake of popularity alarms me no end.

At any rate, the point I am working up to so feverishly is that I don't want to try for anything any more. I'll do this for fun, my own fun. Harold will sink or swim - I still think he has the potential to go "big" in the right hands - but the unstable and even wildly wonky world of publishing can't and won't guarantee me anything at all. What I really want is to try to salvage the original joy I felt in writing and pursue THAT rather than some bizarre notion of "fame". If I lose money, it won't be anything new.

So! This is why the logos, which are my newest obsession. I think gifs were made for this, because logos are mini-dramas only a few seconds long, moving signatures/trademarks of film and TV studios past and present. The past few gifs  illustrate the evolution of the MGM Lion, who at first was merely the Goldwyn lion and who didn't even roar, just sat there looking confused.  In the first one he looks neurasthenic and twitchy. The third one gradually works up to it with a series of facial twitches - surely they must've given "something" to these lions to make them so docile. The final one is so handsome I can't stop looking at it.

I think this all started with Universal logos, which I have always particularly loved. This one from the '30s is almost hallucinogenic, with a 3D effect that predated even those goofy 1950s horror movies with the cardboard glasses.

Don't look at this one too long!

For some reason this one reminds me of the first King Kong movie. I think just the idea of a plane flying around the world appealed to audiences' sense of adventure and escape.

These are beauties, early Paramount logos from the silent/earlie talkie era. I love the dreamlike quality and the way the writing and the mountain evolves. No "A Gulf/Western Company" either, to spoil the effect. This is pure shimmering magic, making me glad I am alive in the time of YouTube!

Old film has a powerful transportive effect on me, which is how I happened to get involved with Harold Lloyd (the rat!) to begin with. But can you see why? It's stepping over a threshhold, spooky and seductive, and I want to go, I really do want to get out of here and go somewhere else where it's warm and people are kind.

Now this is beautiful, and strange. The Pathe logo comes up on all of Harold Lloyd's early movies, a production company no doubt, and I do remember a rooster logo, but this! It's almost shocking because it's so unexpected. Pathe still exists today, in what form I don't know. It's sort of like the Benz automobile, a ghost that never goes away. Was the rooster a way of trumping the seedy-looking lion that lay there looking confused? If so, it worked. Nice idea: the chicken outroars the lion.