A Strange Grave Monument

Off With His Head!

Statue Sir Robert Holmes Yarmouth parish

Statue Sir Robert Holmes Yarmouth parish

Sir Robert Holmes (1622-1692) fought under Prince Rupert and was governor of the Island of Wight from 1667-1692. Holmes has an unusual story to the statue that sits atop his grave where he is buried at the parish church in Yarmouth.

During one of England’s many wars with France, Holmes captured a ship on its way to France which contained an unfinished headless statue of King Louis XIV. The sculptor of the statue happened to be on board. Holmes liked the statue and commanded that the sculptor carve the head in Holmes likeness. In return for doing this the sculptor would be granted his freedom.

The sculptor had no choice but to comply. The statue was finished in Yarmouth and Holmes’ head was placed upon it. The head’s carving is not in proportion with the body and of an inferior quality.

When Holmes passed away he instructed that this statue was to be placed on his tomb at St. James Church.

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In 1918 The Largest Hotel In The World Was Going To Be New York’s Hotel Commonwealth

 The Unbuilt 2,500 Room Hotel Commonwealth – New York’s Largest Hotel

Hotel Commonwealth New York City postcard view 3

New York has always been a city of ambitious plans, dreams and schemes. But there are few rivals to the grandiose project for a hotel which was to be the largest in the world with 2,500 rooms and set up on a cooperative system to be owned by common investors.

The promotional brochure proclaimed:

TO BE BUILT BY THE COMMON WEALTH
TO BE MANAGED FOR THE COMMON GOOD
TO BE OPERATED FOR THE COMMON BENEFIT

The Hotel Commonwealth was to be situated on Broadway between 55th and 56th Streets. The description on the back of this 1918 postcard pictured above contains early 20th century ballyhoo of the highest order:

Hotel Commonwealth – “Greatest thing of its kind on earth.” The Commonwealth will be the first important building to be erected in conformance with the new building law to conserve light and sunshine for the general public. Through its 28 stories which will contain 2,500 rooms, it will rise 400 feet in the air in graceful terraces, or “set-backs” as the zoning law calls them, the flowering plants and shrubs upon each terrace giving the monster hostelry an unusual beauty of architecture, rivaled only by the ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

The planned 2,500 rooms would be 500 more rooms than the largest hotel ever built. Continue reading

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It’s Time For Day Baseball Games To Return To The World Series

It’s Been 30 Years Since The Last Outdoor, Daytime World Series Game Was Played – Who’s to Blame? MLB, FOX & “TV Research People”

World Series baseball the way it used to be played - during the daytime. Pirates center fielder Bill Virdon awaits the first pitch from Yankees ace Whitey Ford to begin game 3 of the 1960 World Series at Yankee Stadium, October 8, 1960.

World Series baseball the way it used to be played – during the day. Pirates center fielder Bill Virdon awaits the first pitch from Yankees ace Whitey Ford to begin game 3 of the 1960 World Series at Yankee Stadium, October 8, 1960.

30 years ago on October 14, 1984 the Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres played game 5 of the World Series at Tigers Stadium under what used to be normal circumstances – they played a day game.

Three years later in 1987 the Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals also played a day game in the World Series, but you would not have known it because the Twins played their home games indoors at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

Since then, every World Series game has been played at night. Continue reading

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Wes Parker Battles Fans For A Foul Ball In The 1965 World Series

Hey Dodgers Fans Get Out Of The Way!

Wes Parker catch attempt WS game 4 Oct 10 1965 photo UPI

Wes Parker goes after a ball in game 4 of the World Series Oct 10 1965 photo: UPI

The Los Angeles Dodgers played the Minnesota Twins in the 1965 World Series with the Dodgers prevailing in seven games.

At Dodger Stadium on October 10, 1965, in game four with two outs in the top of the ninth, Twins slugger Don Mincher hit a pop fly that was drifting into the stands in foul territory. With the Dodgers leading 7-2, Dodgers first baseman Wes Parker made a desperate leap into the stands to try and catch Mincher’s foul ball and end the game.

Parker’s jump fell short and he missed the ball.

Mincher ended up striking out and Don Drysdale got the complete game win for the Dodgers. Time of the game two hours and fifteen minutes.

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115 Years After New York’s Deadliest Hotel Fire, A Memorial Goes Up For The Unidentified Dead

The Windsor Hotel Fire On St. Patrick’s Day In 1899 Killed 86

Windsor Hotel Fire Memorial  by artist Al Lonrenz photo: Ricky Flores for The Journal News

Windsor Hotel Fire Memorial by artist Al Lonrenz photo: Ricky Flores for The Journal News

It only took 115 years, but finally 31 unidentified dead, who were killed in New York City’s deadliest hotel fire, will be receiving a stone which commemorates their final resting place.

On Thursday, October 9 at 4:00 p.m., a memorial service was held at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y. to officially unveil and dedicate a monument to those who were interred without a marker.

The Windsor Hotel built between 1872 and 1873, stood at 575 Fifth Avenue, between 46th and 47tth Streets and was considered one of New York’s finest hotels.

At a few minutes after 3:00 p.m. on Friday, March 17, 1899 with thousands of spectators along Fifth Avenue watching the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a fire broke out at The Windsor Hotel and spread like lightning throughout the entire structure.

Windsor Hotel 5th ave 46th 47th street magic lantern slide B.P collection

The Windsor Hotel

On the 46th Street side of the hotel, John Foy, a waiter at the hotel was passing the parlor located on the second floor. Foy watched a guest light a cigar Continue reading

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An Incredible Baseball Card Error – Aurelio Rodriguez & The Bat Boy

How The Bat Boy Ended Up On Aurelio Rodriguez’s 1969 Topps Baseball Card

Aurelio Rodriguez 1969 Topps Error cardAurelio Rodriguez was a slick fielding, rocket-armed, gold glove winning third baseman who enjoyed a 17 year major league career and batted .237 with 124 career home runs in just over 2,000 games with seven teams.

Though he is wearing a uniform, and the baseball card states that this is Aurelio Rodriguez, the California Angels third baseman, it is not.

In actuality the card shows Angels bat boy, Leonard Garcia, on what was supposed to be Rodriguez’s card #653, for 1969. The error was not divulged until 1973.

So how does a bat boy get on a baseball card?

There are two popular rumors/theories of how this happened. The first, was that the Topps photographer Continue reading

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Malcolm Young’s Illness Spells The End For AC/DC

AC/DC Founder Malcolm Young Quietly Played A Huge, Behind The Scenes Part In AC/DC’s Long Success

Malcolm (l) & Angus Young (r)J photo Jaime Saba For the L.A.  Times

Malcolm (l) & Angus Young (r)J photo Jaime Saba For the L.A. Times

When reading about the recent disclosure that AC/DC founder and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was suffering from dementia and was retiring from the band, it occurred to me how many casual fans of AC/DC are not aware of how important Malcolm is to the band.

Malcolm did a lot more than stand in the background pounding out crunchy rhythm guitar riffs and come up to the microphone to sing things like “hoy” with his backing vocals.

AC/DC is (was) Malcolm’s band.

Malcolm controlled the touring, personnel, finances, important band decisions and most importantly the songwriting.

It was Malcolm Young, not his flashier, lead guitarist younger brother Angus Young, who came up with most of the riffs and leads for those brilliant AC/DC songs over the past 41 years.

In a recent Guitar World interview Angus Young said:

Malcolm is a big inspiration to me; he keeps me on my feet. Even when I’m tired from running around the stage for two hours, I’ll look back at what he’s doing and it gives me that boot up the backside I sometimes need. [laughs] Also, he can always tell me if I’m playing well or if I’m not. Mal’s a very tough critic, and I know that if I can please him, I can please the world. A lot of people say, “AC/DC-that’s the band with the little guy who runs around in school shorts!” But I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without Malcolm and the other guys pumping out the rhythm. They make me look good.

Mal is really a great all-around guitarist. I know it says “rhythm guitar” on the album jacket, but if he sits down to play a solo, he can do it better than me. Not a lot of people have picked up on this, but in the early days he used to play lead. But then he said to me, “No, you take the solos. I’ll just bang away back here.” And what’s more, he actually plays rhythms. He just doesn’t make a noise; he works them out, and he knows when not to play.

My part in AC/DC is just adding the color on top. Mal’s the band’s foundation. He’s rock solid and he pumps it along with the power of a machine. He doesn’t play like a machine, though. Everything he does grooves and he always seems to know exactly what to play and when to play it. He’s a very percussive player too, his right hand just doesn’t stop sometimes. It’s scary, it really is!

Fans on the official AC/DC web site commenting about the announcement that Malcolm has retired because of dementia are clueless. Most are writing things like, “Get well soon, Mal!” Continue reading

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October 3, 1951 A Day Brooklyn Dodgers Fans Would Love To Forget

The Moment Bobby Thomson Hit His “Shot Heard Round The World”

Bobby Thomson connects, Oct. 3, 1951, catcher is Rube Walker, umpire is Lou Jorda photo: Wide World

Bobby Thomson connects, Oct. 3, 1951, catcher is Rube Walker, umpire is Lou Jorda photo: Wide World

This article is titled “A Day Brooklyn Dodgers Fans Would Love To Forget” but in actuality Brooklyn Dodgers fans are dwindling in number.

You’d have to be at least 60 years old to have any memory of “dem bums” playing at that great ballpark known as Ebbets Field. The team moved to Los Angeles in 1958, breaking everyone in Brooklyn’s hearts.

The day the Dodgers left Brooklyn for smoggy L.A. was a horrible moment, but no moment was as painful for Dodgers fans as the Giants bottom of the ninth inning comeback of a best two out of three playoff series with the Dodgers.

On Wednesday October 3, 1951 one of the most memorable events in all of baseball history occurred. A seen in the photo above, Dodgers fans were devastated when the New York Giants third baseman Bobby Thomson hit a one out, three run home run to left field off of Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, to give the Giants a 5-4 miracle win at the Polo Grounds and propel them into the World Series against the Yankees.

As Giants radio announcer Russ Hodges screamed “the Giants win the pennant” over and over again to a shocked radio audience, two million Brooklynites were crying.

It would be years later that this historical moment would be found to be somewhat tainted by the fact that the Giants were stealing the catcher’s signs from their center field scoreboard and relaying them to the batter.

Bobby Thomson knew what pitch was coming.

In a documentary film, Branca’s Pitch (2013) about Ralph Branca’s life, Branca talks about living with the infamy of the home run and how he dealt with it after finding out the Giants were tipping off their batters to upcoming pitches. It is a documentary worth finding and watching.

If you have a memory of this game we’d love to hear from you.

One non-sequitur concluding observation – if you enlarge the photo at the top to full size, the field appears to be in incredibly bad playing condition around home plate with clumps of mud.

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Classic Hollywood #34

Jayne Mansfield In A Revealing Pose – 1955

Later That Year, Jayne Is Photographed With Her Role Model, Marilyn Monroe

Jayne Mansfield in a negligee 1955 photo Milton Greene

This photograph of Jayne Mansfield in a sheer negligee top is not your standard cheesecake photo. And it’s not because Jayne is a little overexposed, which tended to be her modus operandi in front of the camera.

It is because the photograph was taken by Milton Greene, known for his business partnership with Marilyn Monroe. In 1955, Greene did a whole session of photographs with Mansfield and made some stunning images of her.

Considering Greene’s business dealings and personal closeness to Marilyn Monroe,(Marilyn was living for a time with Greene and his wife Amy) it is a bit of a surprise that Marilyn would not have had an issue with Greene taking pictures of Mansfield who many people considered to be Marilyn’s rival.

But apparently it was not a problem for Marilyn and I have never read a sourced quote about Marilyn complaining about Mansfield trying to steal Marilyn’s thunder. The stories of Marilyn finding Jayne’s imitation of her to be vulgar are apocryphal.

Mansfield acknowledged to reporters such as Lawrence Quirk that she was trying to emulate Marilyn’s career trajectory, but not necessarily the high acting aspirations Marilyn had in becoming a “serious actress” and joining The Actor’s Studio. Mansfield wanted to portray the girl that was reachable and accessible to the ordinary guy. Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield at The Rose Tattoo premiere 1955

Which brings us to a question many movie fans ask: when did Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield meet?

Of course they had to have crossed paths at parties and at some 20th Century Fox studio functions. But there is only one known occasion where they were photographed together.

It was on December 2, 1955 and both Marilyn and Jayne were at the movie premiere party of The Rose Tattoo at The Hotel Astor.

Once again, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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Old New York In Photos #40

A 1920’s View Of Lower Manhattan Looking Northeast From The Now Closed Woolworth Building Observation Deck

Lower Manhattan from Wooloworth building Observatory 1920s

A tourist in the early 1920’s took this panoramic view of lower Manhattan from a place that is currently off-limits to the general public, the observation deck of the Woolworth Building. The visitors observation deck was shut down in 1941 right before the United States entry into World War II, when the Navy ordered it closed because it offered too good a view of ships in the harbor. Recently even the Woolworth Building lobby was declared off-limits to anyone wanting a view inside of the ornamental entrance.

Woolworth Building 1913

Woolworth Building 1913

From this vantage point we can see from right to left the Brooklyn Bridge, the East River, the Manhattan Bridge and in the hazy distance the Williamsburg Bridge. Spread across the lower east side are an array of many small buildings, with a couple of exceptions, most notably the tower of the New York City Municipal Building, which can be partially seen on the extreme left in the foreground.

When it was completed in 1913, the 792 foot tall Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway was the tallest building in the world and retained that title until the Chrysler Building usurped it in 1929. Depending upon your source and how you are counting the Woolworth Building contains anywhere between 55 – 60 floors.

For the admission fee of 50¢, visitors could get an incredible view of the surrounding metropolitan area from its observation deck. The tour book the building provided for visitors in 1913 gushingly proclaimed:

“The view from the top of the Woolworth Tower is without question the most remarkable, if not the most wonderful, in the world. The scenic and color effects with the sun shining on the multi-colored buildings and on the water and land for thirty-five or forty miles in all directions is a picture impossible of adequate description.

Looking down on the thousands of great buildings, the wonderful bridges that span the East River, the beautiful parks, the great steamers berthed at the piers along the rivers, one realizes the grandeur and vastness of the metropolis.”

The top 30 floors of the building were sold in 2012 to an investment group and they plan to turn those floors into condos.

If you want to experience first-hand the view seen in this photo you would be able to if you decide to buy that unit of the condo, albeit there are many more tall buildings blocking the vista than there were in the 1920’s. It will also cost a lot more than 50¢.

The penthouse which contains the original observatory, will be converted into a multi-level living space with an asking price of $110 million.

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