Tag Archives: France

France Has Got Talent!

Paris Acrobats Show Unusual Talent – 1953

Paris Acrobats April 14, 1953 photo: Acme

It would be nice to add some context to this 1953 Acme news photograph besides the date and title caption, unfortunately I couldn’t find any information on it. Not even if the photo was taken in Paris, France, or that is where the circus or performers are from. If the circus is from Paris, it might be Cirque Medrano. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #37

Lilian Harvey – “I Am Suzanne” 1934

Lilan Harvey 1934 I Am SuzanneLilian Harvey was born Helene Lilian Muriel Pape on January 19, 1906 in England. Her mother was British and her father German and Lilian was schooled in Switzerland. Lilian became a leading star in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

A Hungarian nobleman once offered to give Lilian a castle and a whole village to go along with it. Speaking 13 different languages, Lilian was able to make films in four. She left Germany permanently after the outbreak of World War II.

In the early 1930’s Lilian signed a contract with Fox and made a few American films. I Am Suzanne!, a 1934 film directed by Rowland Lee did nothing to further her American career. By 1941 she was retired from film acting.

Lilian later moved to France and set up a souvenir shop and sold edible snails. Lilian Harvey died in Antibes, France July 27, 1968 at the age of 61.

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.

The Stowaway

Illegal Immigration 1931

Stowaway 4 16 1931

Stows Away in Box To Enter America

He tried to come to America in a box of hats, but now he has to go back to France. Louis Chianese nailed himself carefully in a wooden box, with biscuits, chocolate and water. On the outside was printed the legend that the box contained hats for a New York department store. Young Louis stood it for two days in the hold of the liner Lafayette – that was enough. He fired two revolver shots and was quickly released. Here he is on deck of the ship in New York, box and all. He says he will never try it again. – Associated Press Photo 4-16-31

20-year-old Louis Chianese said to his parents before leaving home without their knowledge, “I will go to America even if I have to go in a box!” His parents probably did not take him literally, but the box Chianese ended up in measured 7 by 2 by 3 feet. When the box was initially delivered to the pier in Havre, France, it was placed upside down.  Chianese said, “I thought my head was going to burst.” He almost accidentally burned himself to death when he struck a match inside the box to consult his watch to check the time. The box caught fire. Luckily he was able to extinguish the fire.

According to follow-up news reports, Chianese was actually in the box five days, not two, and it was his parents who alerted the shipping company to search for their son after he had been missing for days. The tip off was they received a packing and shipping bill for the box.

After he was returned to France, Chianese ended up in  a slightly larger confined space – he was sentenced to 15 days in prison.

Faces In The Rocks

The Incredible Rock Sculptures Of Rotheneuf France

photo courtesy flickr – Drisc67

Location of Rotheneuf Rock Sculptures

In the village of Rotheneuf on the Brittany coast of France, one man carved over 300 magnificent sculptures into the granite cliffs overlooking the sea.

This amazing work of faces, creatures and scenes were sculpted into the rocks painstakingly by a priest, Adolphe-Julien (Abbé) Fouré (1839-1910) over about a fifteen year period. (Sources vary on the number of years he was active.)

It was painstaking because when he was older, Abbé Fouré suffered a stroke which caused the left side of his body to be paralyzed. Over the years he eventually became deaf and his speech got very slurred.

Fouré  retired from the priesthood and became a hermit, renting a cabin by the cliffs of the village. In the early 1890’s with one side of his body crippled,  Fouré, began creating sculptures in the rocks, that told the history of the powerful Rotheneuf family. He continued carving up until about three years before his death on February 10, 1910.  Continue reading