Grand Years with Frank Morris

Searching for posts in the month of: January 2019

Number of blogs returned: 1 to 4 records of 4

REMEMBER WHEN: Aged Care -- Using nostalgia for good means a lot

NOSTALGIA, JUST LIKE SONGS OF LONG AGO, ARE HELPING TO REJIG THE PAST AND GIVE IT A SENSE OF MEANING.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

MEANS TO AN END: NOSTALGIA HAS BEEN FOUND TO CONNECT WITH THE PAST. Below: GET INVOLVED WITH A TASK THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. YOU WILL LOOK BACK ON IT WITH RICH MEMORIES LATER.

The word is ‘nostalgia’. People know what it is. They know what a disturbance it can cause the mind. Nearly everybody’s got a touch of it.

To explain ‘anticipatory nostalgia’ means later you will be able to look on it with rich memories.

The writer of this interesting article has many fine things to say about this flashback. He points out that nostalgia therapy has done a lot of “good” for aged care.

According to the writer, “nostalgia has been found to connect us to our past. It helps give each of our lives a sense of meaning.”

HANG OUT

Here what the writer says about …
On academics:

“There are things which academics have discovered when studying the concept of nostalgia and its effect on our emotional responses to different forms of memory-triggering stimuli. The feelings that nostalgia creates will also be familiar to you.

“They can be as unique to us personally as people we used to know and places we would hang out; or as universal as the songs and other popular culture … that we lived through.”

On songs:

“In fact, music is one of the powerful memory triggers that we know of. Musical nostalgia is also the reason some radio stations exist.”

“Deliberately thinking of a happy memory, or listening to some songs from your past, is something you can consciously do to give yourself an occasional pick-me-up.

COME TO TERM

On the symptoms.

“Nostalgia has also been found to have a different level of effect on different people. Also, for some – especially through middle age – it can make them more acutely aware of their real age if they haven’t already come to terms with that thought.

“You also need to avoid wallowing in nostalgia … is has a measurable effect on the reward centre of your brain. There is a reward in cutting back when overused.”

On politicians.

That politicians can trigger certain memories to provoke social and cultural anxieties, and thereby use it a tool of persuasion to get your vote. Therefore, be smart enough to realise they are rarely appealing to the intelligence of the public.

They are instead appealing only to your emotional responses. And you shouldn’t let them con you that way.

<< Background for the article can be found in Fairfax Community Newspapers.


MUSICAL: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – It’s inside Roald Dahl’s magical world!

CHARLIE BUCKET IS NOW IN HIS ELEMENT. WHEN HE STEPS INTO THIS CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY THE SONGS AND THE MAGIC ARE STILL THE SAME. THOSE WHO SEE CHARLIE IN ACTION, WILL DELIGHT. LET’S TAKE A PEEK.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Like children everywhere, Charlie Bucket adores chocolate but, sadly, his family is so poor that they can only afford to buy him one bar a year; on his birthday. What make poor Charlie’s longing even worse? He has to walk near the best chocolate factory in the world -- the secretive Willy Wonka’s, every day.

When Charlie’s father loses his job, things go from bad and worse.

One day, Willy Wonka announces that he has hidden golden tickets in five Wonka Bars, with the prize of a tour of the factory for the five lucky winners. The sales of Wonka Bars rockets, Wonka-mania encircles the globe.

WILDEST DREAMS

And one by one the tickets are found: But there is still one golden ticket to find. Charlie’s desperation to be able to buy Wonka Bar and hopefully find the final golden ticket is a feeling that all children (and their parents) know.

The interior of the chocolate factory is magical. It’s themed rooms, amazing chocolates and sweets, the Oompa-Loompas and, of course, Willy Works himself. Oompa-Loompas are like some surreal Greek chorus as they regularly break into verse to comment on the children’s misbehaviour.

Roald Dahl shows a deep understanding of how children feel and think. The moral message is strong; it is beyond any child’s wildest dreams.

<< Adapted from 501 Must-read Books; 2006; Octopus Publication Limited, London.

Frank Morris comments: Don’t miss Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and step inside Roald Dahl’s magical world. Hear songs from the original film, including: Pure Imagination, The Candy Man and I’ve got a Golden Ticket. See Willy Wonka as you never experienced him before! Get ready for the Oompa-Loompas and incredible inventions. From January 8, Capitol Theatre, Campbell Street, Haymarket. Contact: ticketmaster.com.au


FRANK MORRIS’S COMING ATTRACTION

FEBRUARY: It’s our start of the year. There are many features in store for you! The brand new Blackie’s Adventures. Blackie falls into of a lair of 16th century pirates, headed by Captain Flapdoddle of the good ship The Flying Trap. The ‘good ship’ is a bit of a mystery. Next to Flapdoddle, the scariest pirate in the Kingdom, comes a lot new friends we encounter along the way.


FILM GREATS: Jedda was classified as one of the greatest Australian movies ever made!

JUDITH ADAMSON    Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

ONLY THE FEET TELL THE STORY: THE CRINKLING OF SAND AND GRAVEL UNDER HIS FEET TOLD THE OUTCOME OF THIS  LEGENDARY MYTH. THE GIRL REMAINED CALM. Below: GOOD JOB, SAYS ELSA CHAUVEL.

Jedda was Charles Chauval’s last film. After Jedda, Chauvel made thirteen episodes of an outback series called Australian Walkabout for the BBC. He died in Sydney in 1959. He was 88. There are other film-makers which operate in his territory but none can take his place.

When it was released, Jedda was the first feature to be made in colour; and it was a highly interesting film indeed.

Jedda, an Aboriginal girl, is played by Ngarla Kunoth. She is brought up as the daughter of a highly-strung, strictly conventional wife of a Northern Territory station owner. Jedda leaves her cosy place of safe existence and heads for the comfortable arms of her stockman boyfriend.

Unfortunately, Jedda never arrives. She is kidnapped by an older stranger passing through the station, Robert Tudawali. The story on one level is a simple adventure where the main characters are Aborigines.

On another level, from the moment the screen explodes in fire and shouting and galloping horses, that the girl is hurried away. It becomes ominous that the patternb is shifting.

SENSATIONAL

The circumscribed “respectable” life she was leading was indeed being presented critically; that all the magnificent settings and colour and action, and Tudawali’s stunning personality, are adding up to a film about living fully and taking the consequences.

Probably, there is none of his other films that shows quite clearly Chauvel’s sheer film-making ability; the quality which informed the bare outlines of a plot with a meaning that the audience instinctively responds to.

Jedda was released in 1955.

<< Adapted from Judith Adamson’s Australian Film Poster 1906-1960.

Frank Morris comments: Film historian, Judy Adamson, passed away on August 2. 2013. Ms Adamson was 80 years old. Ms Adamson won several distinctive awards, including the Ken G. Hall Preservation Awards in 2002. Ms Adamson was a unique, uncompromising woman whose dry humour and passionate commitment made people instantly warm to her.


Street photography: Walking or standing still you’ll probably come to a street snapper!

A FLASHBACK TO 1930-1950 – PHOTO SNAPPERS WERE ON EVERY STREET CORNER. THEY CREATED A VAST ARCHIVE OF BLACK-AND-WHITE CANDID, POSTCARD-SIZE IMAGES. THE MUSEUM OF SYDNEY PRESENTS “STREET PHOTOGRAPHY” AS AN EXHIBITION EXPLORING THE HEYDAY OF THIS ONCE POPULAR GENRE OF PHOTOGRAPHY.

FRANK MORRIS

STREET SNAPPERS: THE POPULARITY OF STREET PHOTOGRAPERS AT THEIR HEIGHT PRODUCED OVER 10,000  PEOPLE WHO BOUGHT THEIR SNAPS. 

This day, as I remember, I am perched up in bed reading a Biggles book. The door suddenly burst open and Aunty Leah rolled in. I jump to attention by surprise, not by fear.

“Right oh, Frankie! (Gee, I can’t stand that name!) Out of bed and into the shower. Nana, you and I are tripping off to city and we’ll have lunch at David Jones.”

“Can I have my photo taken by one of the blokes,” I butted in. “Of course. We’ll all have a picture taken,” said Aunty Leah. At 10.30 that day, we found a bloke who had new camera around his neck. He said OK, “pick your position.”

GLIMPSE OF A CITY

“There are you, happy!” said Aunty Leah. “I’ll pick up the picture next week.” She did just that. The pictures were beautiful to look at.” I did, just looked.

That was the third time I had a ‘picture’ taken by ‘a street photographer’; the other occasion was when I saw a show at Mark Foys department store.

There were people from all walks of life -- the Depression, WW11 and the postwar years. More the 1500 images have been contributed.

“A total of 250 images from people’s family albums form the basis of the exhibition,” said the curator. “Armed with small portable cameras and positioned in key places around the city, the photographers caught pedestrians unaware.

“They were going mid-stride, talking or deep in thought as they went about their day. The public loved it.”

The street photographers gave a fleeting moment of what it was like to spend a day in the city.

<< Museum of Sydney, cnr Phillip and Bridge Street. Open daily 10am-5pm.


SHIP AHOY: HMS ENDEAVOUR TO TAKE PART IN AN A EPIC VOYGE OF THE PACIFIC.

BITS & PIECES … EPIC VOYAGE: HM Bark Endeavour, a replica of James Cook’s ship in which he found New Holland (Australia), will circumnavigate Australia to mark 250 years since that famous voyage of the Pacific will be under way in 2020. The Bark Endeavour was started in 1988 and launched in 1993. She has been 25 years at sea. MATESHIP: A US Embassy-type letterhead, one of the many it has, is called MATESHIP, has been sent by a friend. It constitutes friendship, loyalty, solidarity -- Mateship


TIMES PAST: Darcy Dugan in hospital “morose and silent”

 

This year is 1952. Darcy Dugan was brought from Grafton Gaol to Long Bay and lodged in that gaol hospital. Dugan has made more escapes from gaol and lock-ups than any NSW prisoner.

He has been on a hunger strike since last November. He is serving a life sentence for an armed hold-up. Should officials find that his life is endangered then a doctor would have him fed forcibly?

<< Background from the SMH.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL. KEEP SMILING. KEEP HOPING. YOU MAY BE SURPRISED!

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 24 January 19

P.L. TRAVERS: She created the book called Mary Poppins and myriads of other bestsellers

APART FROM SELLING HER BOOKS IN THE MILLIONS, PUBLISHERS WERE ASKING FOR THEM TO BE TRANSLATED INTO DOZENS OF LANGUAGES.

FRANK MORRIS

TAKE 2: EMILY BLUNT, IN MARY POPPINS RETURNS. Below: P.L. TRAVERS AND WALT DISNEY HAD A ‘FALLING OUT’ OVER THE DATE FOR THE HOLLYWOOD PREMIERE. WHO WAS RIGHT? Below: P.L. TRAVERS RELAXES.

I wrote a short piece on “Biddy” Moriarty, the sister of P. L. Travers, called My Sister a Writer*. In it, “Biddy” said, she went to live in England in the thirties. She changed her name. And she had been very successful.

Not thinking on my feet, I was lured away from asking who it was. On reflection, she would have told me. Yet again, she probably wouldn’t have. I realise, I had missed the scoop of the ages.

When we first met it was 1963. I kept all my notes of the ‘Biddy’ interview. I will publish it again someday.

That was the only comment she made about her estranged sister, the internationally famous author Pamela Lyndon Travers, in my presence. The world knew her as P.L.Travers, author of the Mary Poppins adventure stories, but hardly anyone realised that she was an Australian.

In his history of Australian children’s literature, Maurice Saxby writes that her books “were so thoroughly English in tone” they cannot be considered Australian.

But it is the opinion of Queensland writer John Moran, who was researching the early life of P.L.Travers, that the author’s “memories and experiences in Australia contributed to the characters.”  Which is, really, a much more balanced perspective.

The fact that the ambitious and talented 24-year-old Travers decided to make her home in England, where she eventually was to gain fame and fortune, did not sit well with Barbara “Biddy” Moriarty (nee Goff).

EMBARRASSING EPISODES

I got the impression that “Biddy” felt her sister had turned her back on the family.  In a sense she had.

In 1964 Travers and Mary Poppins were in the news. The Walt Disney film, which was about to be premiered in Hollywood, had culminated in a falling out between the “irascible” Travers and Disney himself.

Disney did not want her rubbing shoulders with the movie kingdom glitterati. It was to prove an embarrassing episode for the author and her publishers, Harcourt Brace, but that is a story for another time.

In 1963 Travers spent two weeks in Australia.  It was her first visit home in forty years.  And her last.

In her biography of P.L.Travers, Valerie Lawson writes that Travers (was) to “find “Biddy” and (her sister) Moya living like a couple of maiden aunts…Pamela refused to give their names to a reporter…as “they wouldn’t care for publicity.”

“I DECLARE THE BRIDGE OPENED…”

In the early 1920s, “Biddy” had married Boyd Moriarty.  Intentionally or otherwise, “Biddy” let it drop in one of our conversations that Moriarty had been a member of the New Guard, a paramilitary organisation set up by Eric Campbell, and was present on that fateful day when Captain Francis de Groot ‘opened’ the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported at the time that “de Groot caused a sensation when he rode his horse up to the ribbon…and slashed it through with his sword, shouting “on behalf of decent and loyal citizens of New South Wales I declare this bridge open.”

Moriarty was killed in World War II.  “Biddy” then went to live with her other sister, Moya.  She died in 1979.  Writes Lawson: “Pamela left no record – in a poem, letter or note of any kind – of her feelings about the death.”

There is a particular family snapshot in Lawson’s book of “Biddy”, Moya and Lyndon (Pamela) taken at their home in Bowral in 1915.  What is most noticeable in the photography was Biddy’s plaited pigtail, which hung almost half-way down her back.

SHE WAS DEDICATED

When she died, aged 96, in April 1996, Pamela Lyndon Travers, born Helen Lyndon Goff, was recognised as one of the most successful writers of the twentieth century.  Apart from selling in the millions, her books were translated into dozens of languages.

When she arrived in England Travers wrote for a variety of magazines.  She began to write Mary Poppins a few years later when she was recovering from an illness.

At the time she was living in an old thatched manor house in Sussex and, as she recalled in Hugh Anderson’s The Singing Roads, “the countryside spread out all around, it was full of history and legend.”

But according to Travers, she always thought Mary Poppins “came solely to amuse me.” Later she was encouraged by a friend to put some of the adventures of the nursemaid extraordinaire and the Banks children “into a book.”

The first book, Mary Poppins, eventually appeared in 1934; hard on it heels was Mary Poppins Came Back in 1935.

For people searching for autobiographical facts, Travers explains that “Mary Poppins is the story of my life.”

In The Singing Roads, she writes: “I never for one moment believed that I had invented her.  Perhaps she invented me and that is why I find it so difficult to write autobiographic notes.

It is not the facts of anyone’s life that tell you about (that person).  It is the feelings, the inner events; and if you want to find the truth about any author you look for him in his books.  They alone are the (author’s) true autobiography.

Over the years I lost touch with Biddy.  While I valued the quality of her friendship I sensed somehow that it was not one to be imposed on.

<< Grand Years; Australian Book Collector.

Frank Morris comments:

“Mary Poppins is the story of my life,” P.L. Travers explains. This line was probably a shock for the ardent “autobiographical” fact hunters. The delightful fantasy, said the reviewer, takes the two English children, minded but a strict by wonderful nanny, on a magical and powerful series of adventures.

Julie Andrews, in her film debut, is splendid in the title role. It is packed with charm and energy. Dick Van Dyke, who starred with Andrews, does not falter in the movie. The film won the Academy Award for Andrews.
The reviewer said of this film, that the children from wealthy backgrounds also need love and attention to make them truly happy.

Mary Poppins Returns has got a lot to live up to. There is more I want to say about the film. I’ll watch it first.

*I’ll look through my dungeon of files and see if I can locate it.


INSIDE OUR PAPERS: The bombing of Pearl Harbour. It’s fading into history, said editorial

THE ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE LOOKS AT HISTORY, PEARL HARBOUR AND THE KIDS AT SCHOOL, AND DISCOVERED THAT IT’S FADING INTO THE DISTANT PAST. IT SOUNDS LIKE ANCIENT DISORDER.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

WHEN SMOKE DIDN’T GET IN YOUR EYES: MEN ARE CAPTIVATED WHEN THEIR AIRCRAFT AND OTHER SURROUNDINGS BILLOW IN SMOKE.  “WAR”, SAID, THE HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN. Below: “JAPAN DECLARED WAR; BATTLESHIP OKLAHOMA LEFT ABLAZE”, REPORTED THE DAILY MAIL, UK.

December 7, 1941. A date that was going to live in infamy is now fading into history. Those who can remember where they were when they heard the news on the family radio becomes fewer each year. The generation that survived the Great Depression, and won the Second World War, is fast receding into the past.

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbour must sound like ancient history to the kids in school nowadays. After all, the Japanese are our friends now. What’s all this talk about a war with Japan?

Well, kids, read your history books. There was time when the term “Japanese” struck fear in an American; so much so that “we the people” gathered up Americans with Japanese backgrounds and put them put them in camps – right here in Arkansas.

As if our fellow Americans were sworn enemies; and just because they had exotic last names and dark hair. Those were different times, but oddly familiar.

WORLD TROUBLES

By 1941, Europe and Asia has been embroiled in conflict for some time. But we were assured that the world’s troubles need not be ours. (Sound familiar?) After all, there were oceans to protect us from the bad guys. (Sound familiar?)

It all sounded assuring enough. But, what were we to do when the world’s problems came to America?

The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning December 7. In a few hours, more than 2300 Americans were lost and a good part of the American fleet wiped out at Pearl Harbour. We shouldn’t have been surprised. But, of course, we were!

What happens when the monster comes in search of us? As a wise man once commented, to every complex question there is always a simple answer – and the wrong one.

Remember Pearl Harbour. And learn from it.

<< Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, December, 2018.


REMEMBER WHEN: A flight from Brisbane to Sydney cost seven pounds           

ERNEST HEMINGWAY ONCE SAID “WE ALL HAVE A NEW GIRL AND HER NAME IS NOSTALGIA.”

PAUL SCOTT

WEEKEND AT THE MOVIES: WATCHING THE 3D VERSION OF HOUSE OF WAX “WAS LIKE SPENDING AN HOUR ON THE RACK”, SAID ONE CRITIC. Below: THE FAMOUS MICKEY MOUSE WATCH. NOSTALGIA IS ALIVE AND TICKING

Many years ago, Newsweek magazine came to the realisation that nostalgia was here to stay.

“Nostalgia is more than seasonal,” declared the magazine. “The vogue for the old is a full-blown phenomenon that is sweeping the world.”

In the 1990s, I am happy to report, nostalgia is alive and ticking like a Micky Mouse watch. Best-selling Alvin Toffler(Future Shock, etc) believes “the tremendous wave of nostalgia mirrors a psychological lust for a simpler, less turbulent past.”

Maybe. In rosy retrospect, they were years of cockeyed optimism. Maybe, as Webster says, it is “an abnormal yearning” to want to return to those irrecoverable days of yesteryear.

Or is it?

In any case, it does no harm to remember when …

WRIGLEY’S chewing gum promised to “aid indigestion.”

A FLIGHT from Brisbane to Sydney cost seven pounds ($14) and took 5 hours.

HEARNE’S Bronchitis Cure was “the best for the chest.”

ON THE RACK

SHELL oil boasted that it was “as modern as the moment.”

WILL ROGERS and Janet Gaynor strutted their stuff in the film, State Fair.

A GENTLEMAN’S home” with tennis court and spacious rooms cost 850 pounds ($1700).

STATE EXPRESS cigarettes promised they could change a man’s personality. “Watch those lips relax when he draws the first puff,” an advertisement said.

HUMPHREY Bogart, as Rick in Casablanca (1943), said: “You played it for her. You can play it for me! If she can stand it, I can. Play it.” Usually, but wrongly, remembered as “Play it again, Sam!”

WE donned those funny cardboard-framed Polaroid glasses to watch Hollywood’s new 3-D movies, House of Wax and Bwana Devil. “Watching the House of Wax was rather like spending an hour and a half on the rack,” said one critic.”

<< The author used to write for Airlines Magazines and umpteenth newspapers and magazines. There’ll be some more Scott along the way.


VIEW FROM THE TOP: ONLY BIG WIGS GO THE ROYAL BOX OF MILAN’S LA SCALA.  UNDER: MARILYN MONROE EYEING THE PUBLIC DOING THEIR THING.

SCENES FROM ABOVE: Famous backdrops for those more notable than us!

FRANK MORRIS

A SCENE TO BE ADMIRED. If you’re looking for some of the bigwigs that come from the world of politics or foreign dignitaries then your port of call will be the royal box of Milan’s La Scala. Otherwise, your next step, according to Cornelia Kumfert of Reader’s Digest, will be “you either need to book a guided tour of the famous opera house. Or an invitation from the Italian president”. The opulent royal box “is reserved” for those type of guests.

FROM WHERE TO BE ADMIRED FROM. The balcony of this hotel in New York certainly leaped into a distinguished mode when a movie star made her presence known.  The place was the Ambassador Hotel. The star? Marilyn Monroe. The story is that the “future icon” wanted to shake the “dumb blonde” type of movies and the world like to see her as a serious actor.

<< Based on Balcony Scenes, Reader’s Digest.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 18 January 19

FOODFROLICO: ‘Bootleg’ liquor makes a good drink for the New Year!

TWO MEN HAD A DREAM!

FRANK MORRIS

GIN MAKERS: WES HEDDLES (LEFT) AND ADAM CARPENTER DUG DEEP INTO THE AMERICAN PAST AND STRUCK THE ‘BOOTLEG’ PERIOD FROM THE 1920s. THE IMAGES OF THE PROHIBITION-ERA ROCKED THEM SO MUCH, THEY MADE PROHIBITION GIN. Below: PROHIBITION GIN AND BEHIND IT A BOOTLEGGER OF THE 1920s.

Having a dream can often bring wonderful thoughts.

A dream that harnesses the spirit of the Prohibition era is a case in point. Two Adelaide men had the world thrust upon them to enter onto the liquor stage. The call was: make a soft, smooth gin as soon as you can.

And the story goes, within three years, Adam Carpenter and Wes Heddles have won 26 international awards for a gin they started to make. Mind you, not unlike bootleggers of the past, in a suburban backyard.

Carpenter and Heddles began producing gin as a passion project. Their pride and joy, Prohibition Liquor, was born.

THE MYSTIQUE OF GIN

Both men loved the mystique of the Prohibition era in the United States. A constitutional ban, which saw bootleggers “do their thing”, prohibited the making and selling alcohol ran from 1920 to 1933.

When people went into speakeasies, barriers broke down. It didn’t matter whether you were black, white, male, female – everyone united by one cause: as simple as drinking. Adelaide Hills spirit maker, Brendan Carter, was briefed, in part, to “create the best martini gin going around”.

With shades of bootlegging past, the bottling and distribution operation began in March 2015, in Carpenter’s garage.

Bottles are shaped like an oversize glass hip flask, with a label that has shadowy images of the Prohibition era. It’s a combo that really works.

INVISIBLE GIN PUNCH

700 ml gin, 450 ml fresh pineapple juice. 240 ml lemon juice. 500-700 ml ginger beer. Pineapple and lemon slices to garnish.

METHOD

Add gin, pineapple and lemon juices to a punchbowl with large blocks of ice. Top up with ginger beer to taste. Garnish with pineapple and lemon slices. Serve in a rocks glass with ice.

<< Frank Morris use the background of the story published in SMH.


AUSSIE POEMS: Always let a birdie say, “See you at the wishing well”!

NEW YEAR GREETINGS

A birdie chirping at my ear,

Said, “I’ll let you see the wishing well,

Then to the well your wishes tell”

I’ve had three wishes, one for you,

So you’ll find joy and gladness too;

And Lady Hope with you shall stay

To bring you sunshine every day.

I hope my friend that you shall find

That elusive peace of mind;

And so I’ve done my best you see,

To bring a year of joys to you.

BERYL THOMPSON

<< A former buyer of Myers. Poetry writing has been with her since she was a small girl.  Picture: Always let a birdie sing.


Great Kiwi First: Mark Twain called New Zealand “Paradise found”!

FRANK MORRIS

PARADISE: NEW ZEALAND IS A LENSMEN’S TREASURE TROVE: WONDEROUS RIVERS, SNOWY GRANDEURS AND MIGHTY GLACIERS. Below: MARK TWAIN’S BOOK, FOLLOWING THE EQUATOR.

In the late 1800s, US author Mark Twain was perhaps the first international literary luminary to visit and publicise New Zealand. Twain found the “land of superb scenery” irresistible.

He wrote about the snowy grandeurs, the mighty glaciers and “beautiful lakes”.

The fiords were, he wrote, “wonderous rivals” to those found in Norway and Alaska. After his historic sojourn, Twain expostulated that “our stay has been too brief; still, we are not unthankful for the glimpse which we have had of it.”

First travel agent to cash in on New Zealand as an “exotic” travel destination was believed to be Thomas Cook and Son. The first government-backed tourism promotion organisation, the Tourist and Publicity Department, was established in 1901.

Through its NZ and international network, the department’s role was to promote New Zealand to the world. Now called Tourism New Zealand, it is reputed to be the oldest bureau of its kind in the world.

As in the case of Mark Twain, the editors of Time magazine were overwhelmed by the visually stunning beauty of New Zealand. In its first cover story on NZ in 1977, Time rhapsodised about the country being “a photographer’s paradise … one of the world’s most beautiful nations.”

VELEVET HILLS, VALLEYS

Expounds Time: “Until 1973, New Zealand seemed to be a sanctuary … unpolluted, almost undiscovered.” The magazine informed its global readership of the “extravagant” beauty of the country.

“The velvet green hills and valleys; white snow draped peaks; and streams with trout as big as a man’s arm.”

While Twain was scouting around New Zealand, he decided to make Australia his next stop. Twain, then aged 60, visited the Great Southland , in 1895. For three months, he summed up our history wryly.

“It’s almost always picturesque,” he wrote. “Indeed, it is so curious and strange, that it is itself the chiefest novelty the country has to offer; and so it pushes the other novelties into second and third place.

It does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies. And all of a fresh new sort, no mouldy old stale ones; it is full of surprises and adventures and incongruities, and incredibility’s; but they are all true, they all happened.”

This South Pacific paradise attracts tens of thousands of international visitors each years. Mark Twain happened to be on of first!             

FRANK MORRIS COMMENTS: TO COME ACROSS MARK TWAIN, IT’S HARD TO REALISE THAT HE WAS AT THE FOREFRONT OF FRONTIER WESTERN JOURNALISM -- THE CALIFORNIA TERRITORIAL ENTERPRISE IN 1863. WHEN YOU PUT THAT UP AGAINST THE MARK TWAIN WHO’S ROUGHING IT IN THE THICK OF GOD’S COUNTRY, NEW ZEALAND, IT IS LIKE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A DIFFERENT FELLOW. BUT, NO, THEY’RE THE SAME: BUSHY AUBURN MOUSTACHE AND THE EYES OF A WOLF. HE WROTE ABOUT IT, WITH SAME INKLING THAT HE WAS A REPORTER COVERING MURDERER’S ROW AND ALL THE EXCITEMENT THAT WENT WITH IT. TWAIN WROTE OVER 25 BOOKS, AND THE ONE ON THE ENTERPRISE WAS ONE OF THEM.

  << Grand Years, 11 years ago.


CARRIGEWORKS: Nick Cave’s special art is immersive in spaces and experiences!

BAUBLES, BAUBLES!: A STUNNING SCENE OF CRYSTAL CLOUDSCAPE.

MUSEUM magazine said Nick Cave’s “gargantuan” solo show, “UNTIL” at the Carrigeworks, Sydney, took four years in the making, and its originates with a question: “is there racism in heaven?” A litany of works explore this and similar ideas. A show stealer of the exhibition will be Crystal Cloudscape. It is a “scintillating” five tonne sculpture suspended from the ceiling, said the magazine.

As far as WHERE NOW magazine is concerned, Cave’s exhibition addresses “race relations, gender politics and

America’s gun violence through a series of immersive spaces and experiences.”

<< From November 23, 2018 until March 3, 2019.


GET TOGETHER: MR TOAD AND THE REST OF HIS GANG. SEE THE KIDS, AS THE ANIMALS, DO THE SAME THING!

WIND IN THE WILLOWS: When Mole decides to go to the river bank one morning rather than do his spring cleaning, it is the beginning of a magical adventure. The Australian Shakespeare Company brings this immortal story to life. You meet Ratty, Mole, Badger, Otter, Portly and the famous Mr Toad. Music, songs and laughs for all the family. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Last day is January 27. Tel: 9011 7704.


TASSIES WINES: Try some fancy drinking for the New Year!

FRANK MORRIS

Josef Chromy OAM is instrumental in the Tasmanian food and wine industry. He’s was the owner /developer of some of Tasmania’s leading wineries.

In 1950, Joe fled his worn-torn Czech village as a penniless 19-year-boy after eleven years of Nazi and Soviet occupation. He escaped across borders, guarded by minefields dogs and soldiers, suffering five months of privation before immigrating to Australia.

Josef Chromy Wines is the culmination of Joe’s experience in the Tamar Valley. His 60Ha vineyard property and its unique location offers one of the memorable food and wine experiences in Tassie.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 11 January 19

JAMES EARL JONES: The Great White Hope makes Jones a “great actor”

YES, 1967 WAS A BIG YEAR FOR JAMES EARL JONES. HE STARRED AS JACK JEFFERSON, THE PRIZE-FIGHTER WHO IS PREPARING FOR A CRACK AT THE TITLE. IT WAS 1908. WHEN THE FIGHT CONCLUDES, JEFFERSON BECOMES THE FIRST NEGRO HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD. THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN BY MARTIN GOTTFRIED.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

THE FIRST: JAMES EARL JONES, AS JACK JEFFERSON, WHO BECAME THE “FIRST NEGRO” HEAVYWEIGHT OF THE WORLD. IT WAS A STAGE PART THAT WENT ON TO MAKE HIM THE GREAT MOVIE ACTOR HE TURNED  OUT TO BE. Below: A MATURE ACTOR, JAMES EARL JONES. Below: JEFFERSON WAS BASED ON JACK JOHNSON WHO WAS THE FIRST CHAMPION BACK IN 1908.

WASHINGTON, DC – Howard Sackler had written an extraordinary play. The tremendous production (is) both spectacular and sensitive.

The Great White Hope is probably the most important new American play ever to come out of any resident theatre; and is certainly the most impressive one that I have seen anywhere in a very long time.

It is based … on the career of Jack Johnson, who became the first Negro heavyweight champion of the world on 1908.

Mr Sackler begins the play with Jack Jefferson due to have a crack at the title. The boxing world, the press and the United States are outraged at the likelihood … the retired champion will re-enter the ring to prevent it.

Jefferson is easy-going about the prospective fight. “Been a whole lot of mean talk around here but I’m glad it came down to a plain old scuffle,” Jefferson said.

EPIC WORK

He resents the Negro community’s insistence that a victory will give the race self-respect. “If you ain’t there already, all the boxing in the world ain’t gonna do it for you.” he said.

The play’s episodic structure is as unfortunate as it is necessary. It causes unavoidable moments of blackness, during which momentum is lost. Yet, there are so many scenes – all necessary -- in a long three and a half hour epic work that a director could hardly avoid them.

As for Sackler’s writing, it is regularly magnificent. It ranges from perfect dialects of all kinds of heroism or romance, and is practically always poetry.

A GREAT ACTOR

The humour is high, sometimes giddy, sometimes mocking; and the use of vaudeville techniques … tied the whole thing together with a special sense of high-stepping tragedy.

Sherin handles the enormous cast … with astonishing control and gave James Earl Jones whatever assistance he needed to make Jefferson a figure both heroic and personal -- an awesome task.

In this performance, Jones passed over the line from being a very good actor to being a great one. Though there are no actual boxing scenes, his training ones were powerful.

Shaving his mannerisms as he did his head … he worked with every acting tool under inspired control – vocal technique, physical sense and intellectual understanding.

So the result was great theatre despite whatever weaknesses there are in it.

<< Based on the real-life bout between Jack Johnson and Canadian Tommy Burns that took place in Sydney in 1908. James Earl Jones’ opening night in The Great Hope, Washington DC, in December, 1967. It was soon to appear on Broadway, New York. Women’s Wear Daily, December, 1967.


TIMES PAST: Christmas luxuries: The Emperor Antonius speaks out

I ASK YOU?: WHY WAS HE READY TO SPREAD SUCH CULTURE OUT OF OUR KITCHENS?

This is 1908. The Emperor Antonius reckoned a cucumber is no good if it is bitter, a morning newspaper said. He also asserts to avoid that Christmas turkey if it’s too dear.

Many a frugal housewife would be wondering why some stoic philosopher “would spread this culture” to the kitchen? “For it seems the holiday commodities are to be even more expensive than usual, “opined the morning newspaper.

Poultry, we learn, has risen with too great alacrity to the occasion. The trouble is, we’re told, a shortness of supply. – Frank Morris, using subject matters from SMH.


THE PINBALL GAME: Earliest reference made was to Charles Dickens!

COLOUR-SPLASH PINBALLS, INTRODUCED IN 1931, HAVE BEEN A NATIONAL SENSATION.

HERBERT B. JONES          Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

FURORE: THE NEW PINBALL MACHINES CAUSED MODERN DAY PANIC IN SIDE ONE OF THE ARCADE. Below: TWO BEAUTIES TOGETHER. BUT -- YOU CAN PLAY BALLY’S WIZARD ON THE RIGHT.

The origin in of pinball is lost in antiquity. The earliest known reference to a similar amusement device is in Chapter 14 of Pickwick Papers, published by Charles Dickens in 1836. The narrator describes the Peacock Tavern, where members of the Pickwick Club stopped.

“(They) beguiled their time chiefly with such amusement as the Peacock afforded, which were limited to a bagatelle-board on the first floor.”

The game probably resembled the board, illustrated, which is generally regarded as the ancestor of pinball.
In early 1929, John J. Sloan, an advertising solicitor for Billboard – a magazine which caters for vendors, circuses, carnival and coin-operated machines – observed an adaptation of bagatelle in the basement of his apartment.
The device had been built by the janitor for the amusement of his friends.

The unknown, the unsung inventor of modern pinball utilised the traditional scoring objective of bagatelle – holes or cups in a plain surface with the score-value of each hole prominently displayed.

The basement bagatelle was not coin-operated.

Intent on developing a new source of advertising revenue he put his new discovery into a company to market several coin-operated bagatelle or pinball games.

INTO DEPRESSION

Probably it was because the games were too large for the average location, and too expensive, he was part of an economy already drifting into the depression.

His companies were not successful and soon vanished from the amusement scene. But not before other entrepreneurs shrewdly appraised the enormous potential of coin-operated bagatelle.

“On a gloomy day in October of depression-clouded 1931,” writes a veteran coin-machine historian, “a young businessman, Raymond T. Maloney, persuaded his senior partners to join him in a bold venture. This was, admittedly, after hours of stubborn argument.

A nickel’s worth of cheer

“As result of their decision, a simple but fascinating, colour-splashed pinball game was introduced in America in 193l. By the time 1932 had dawned, under clouds of creaking, dark depression, the rain-bow bright game Ballyhoo was a national sensation.

“Just on 50,000 Ballyhoo were sold in seven months.”

GAVES BRIGHTNESS

The historian continues: “In 1932, the lexicon of locations did not include taverns, but barber shops, restaurants, gasoline stations and other miscellaneous stores and – ‘wherever people congregate’, said the Ballyhoo advertisements – it gave brightness to the otherwise sombre scenes.

“It gave Americans a penny’s worth of escape from worry, a nickel’s worth of cheer in a grim world.”

The slot-machine operators constituted the first market for Ballyhoo. But they were joined by throngs of other citizens on the unemployed list who risked their small savings to invest in Ballyhoo. They decided to embark on a new career of self-employment.

Anyone who could scrape together US$16 or US$160 for a10-game Ballyhoo could be in the market.

Indeed, the slot-machine boom was a mild event compared to the pinball boom a quarter of a century later.

<< Coin-Operated Amusement by Herbert B. Jones. Published by Bally Manufacturing Corp Chicago, USA.


VALE: A period of adventures, devotion and a series that stood out from them all!

FINAL: PENNY COOK – FROM A COUNTRY PRACTICE TILL NOW.

BILL THE BASTARD, the horse that is widely considered one of the finest of Australia’s bred equines to be exported to World War 1. This year, he will be enshrined as an Anzac legend with a life-size bronze statue. We dips our lid.

PENNY COOK, who starred as “Vicky the vet” from the series A Country Practice, died at 61 of cancer. She became the sweetheart of the nation. A Country Practice was said to command a weekly audience close to 8 million people. Of the series she has done, ACP “stood out from the pack.”

THE ONLY ONE: REMEMBERING BILL THE BASTARD. COMMENTATORS HAVE TOLD US HE WAS AUSTRALIA’S ”GREATEST WAR” HORSE.


HAPPY NEW YEAR! COME ON EVERYBODY LET’S DANCE!

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 03 January 19

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