Author Archives: Bert

Muhammad Ali’s Controversial Comments On Racial Diversity

Muhammad Ali Explains Why Races Should Not Mix

If you have been watching Ken Burns excellent documentary about Muhammad Ali on PBS, you can only wonder how Muhammad Ali’s views on everything would be taken today.  Ali was always unabashedly honest expressing his opinions. Ali said and did things that always created controversy. Continue reading

The Beatles Ringo Starr Meets…Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr At Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum 1964

Which One Is The Beatle?
Ringo Starr, one of the Beatles, puts a cigarette into mouth of his wax likeness during unveiling at Madame Tussaud’s Waxworks in London today. The museum now feature the Beatles among its replicas of well-known people. photo: AP April 29, 1964.

The Beatles wax figures at Madame Tussaud’s were the first rock band effigies to be displayed at the museum.

In 1967 the figures were lent out for Peter Blake’s photo session used on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. Continue reading

Observations On Current Events From A Dead Philosopher

“Insanity in individuals is something rare — but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.”

Do Fredrich Nietzsche’s Observations Of 135 Years Ago Apply Today?

Jenseits von Gut und Böse (Beyond Good and Evil) German first edition by Nietzsche

Controversial German philosopher Fredrich Nietzsche was born in 1844 and died in 1900. Continue reading

Baby Ruth – She Wasn’t Fat Enough

At Over 800 Pounds Baby Ruth Pontico Wanted To Be The First Woman To Weigh Half A Ton

She Didn’t Make It

Baby Ruth Pontico Ringling Bros Circus Fat Lady 1941 photo AP

A Big Baby

Weighing 16 pounds at birth does not necessarily mean you will become the Fat Lady of the circus. But during a time in history when people enjoyed staring at human oddities, its better to be paid for having people gawk at you.

Ruth Smith was born on February 8, 1902 in Kempton, Indiana. At age one her weight was fifty pounds. By age ten she was 300 pounds. Continue reading

May Day In New York – 1936

Socialists & Communists Combine Their May Day Parade – 1936

Not Your Typical Deluded Socialist / Communist Gathering

One of Marchers In New York’s May Day Parade
New York – This marcher in the combined Socialist-Communist May Day Parade in New York today, May 1st, adopted this costume to demonstrate his point. 5-1-1936 credit: International News Photo

The original 1936 news caption writer left out one detail about this marcher: Nazi.

Theoretically, communists and socialists are not the allies of fascists. But in the mid-1930s Continue reading

New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker Gets The Cheese

Mayor Jimmy Walker Can’t Get To Switzerland – So The Swiss Cheese Comes To Him – 1927

Mayor Jimmy Walker with big swiss cheese 1927 photo Wide World PhotosMayor Walker Gets The Cheese
New York City – Although Mayor Walker was unable to visit Switzerland during his recent rip abroad, the greeting of the Swiss people was brought to him today, along with a 168 pound loaf of Switzerland cheese, the gift of H. Lindt, Staat-Presidente of the city of Berne. The gigantic loaf of cheese, which measures three feet in diameter and is larger than the wheel of a motor truck, was presented by Robert J.F. Schwarzenbach, the Swiss General Consul here. It is the first loaf to bear the imprint of Switzerland, the new name recently decided upon to distinguish the Swiss product from the holed type of cheese now being made in many countries.

Photo shows the presentation – Charles Koch and Paul Zulling, in native Swiss costume and left to right – Consul-General Schwarzenbach, Mayor Walker and James Byrne, Borough President of Brooklyn. Photo: Wide World Photos, 10-24-27

A Swiss Surprise

The cheese was originally to be given to the mayor at a banquet in Berne, Switzerland during Walker’s European trip. The gift was for the high regard the Swiss felt for the mayor and the people of New York. As the news slug mentions, Walker never got to visit Switzerland.

Upon seeing the gigantic cheese Mayor Walker half joked to his bodyguards Lieutenants Thomas O’Connor and John Howard, “Hurry up and get me a cracker.” They scattered to search for a cracker. Continue reading

This Board Game Will Probably Never Outsell Monopoly

What I Didn’t Get For Christmas

Expulsion The Board Game

Expulsion Board Game Get The Jews Out Of SpainThough it was only five dollars I somehow avoided buying “Expulsion” at the local thrift store for myself or as a gift. As the cover for Expulsion proclaims the game recreates Jewish Life in Spain from the Golden Age to 1492. It promised to be “an exciting and challenging game to play for the whole family.”

Then comes the big plus which was hard to resist. No previous background necessary to play. So you don’t need to be a Jew, an Islamic extremist, KKK member or Nazi to learn and enjoy Expulsion.

While wondering about the game, I couldn’t help thinking of the Mel Brooks film The History of the World Part 1, where Brooks does an over the top Busby Berkeley style homage to the Spanish Inquisition.

Is the object of Expulsion to get the Jews out of Spain?

According to Gabriella Geselowitz Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #102 – Sean Connery, Before He Was James Bond

Before Being Cast As James Bond, Sean Connery Was Determined To Be A Star

Sean Connery 1960 photo The Picturegoer

James Bond is dead. At least to millions of movie fans who associate only one man, Sean Connery, with the role of Ian Fleming’s secret agent 007. Continue reading

Cut Scene From A Classic Movie – Double Indemnity 1944

Double Indemnity – The Pep-Up Speech That Never Was

aka: The “Benefits” Of Living & Working In Mid-Century America

The classic American film, Double Indemnity has a scene in which Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) is meeting with his boss, Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) in Neff’s office. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #97 – Mag Model Iris Bristol

Iris Bristol At The Beach

Iris Bristol

Iris Bristol photo Al Greene and Associates

If you’ve never heard of Iris Bristol you’re not alone. Her most notable film appearance is in My Fair Lady (1964) in a brief uncredited role as a flower girl.  Iris, born in Worcester, England November 20, 1931 is more well known for gracing the covers of male libido boosting magazines in the 1950s and 1960s, than she is for movies. At five foot three with an hourglass figure, Iris’ décolleté was put on display frequently.

Mammary obsessed photographer and director Russ Meyer Continue reading