THOMAS COOK: Part 1. The man who help build a travel empire!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

THOMAS COOK HIRED A ‘BONE RATTLER’, ONE OF THE EARLY TRAINS, TO GET 570 GUESTS TO A TEMPERANCE MEETING.

THOMAS COOK IS BELIEVED TO BE THE FIRST TRAVEL AGENT TO CASH IN ON NEW ZEALAND AS AN EXOTIC TRAVE DESTINATION!

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

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

Thomas Cook saw travel as an antidote to drudgery. If Mark Twain were alive today he would back every word.
A man of humble beginning, Cook founded an empire that has served travellers throughout the world for the past 174 years. Cook was born in Britain on November 22, 1808, the son of an unskilled labourer who died soon after his birth.

He left school at 10 and worked in market gardening, carpentry and printing. He became interested in the Baptist Church and promoted the temperance movement and non-smoking. When he just turned 33, it dawned on him that he could alleviate the hard work of a person’s life by taking on excursions.

In 1841, he hired a bone-rattler train and took 570 people from Leicester to a temperance meeting at Loughborough in the Midlands. The journey’s success encouraged him to continue these activities. He dedicated himself to the belief that travel could improve the quality of life for everybody.

“Cook has made travel easy and a pleasure,” said Mark Twin. “He will sell you a ticket to any place on the globe, or all of the places and give you all the time you need and much more besides.”

Cook married an hotelier, Marrianne Mason, and had three children: John, Henry and Anne.

John born in 1834, was well-educated; in 1856, he became manager of Thomas Cook’s first company office in Fleet Street, London.

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THE GREAT AUSSIE FIRST …
NEWS LIMITED STRIKE IN DECEMBER 1975, OVER POLITICAL BIAS, WAS THE FIRST STOPPAGE IN THE AJA’S HISTORY ATTRIBUTABLE TO A POLITICAL ISSUE -- FM.
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Frank Morris comments: The collapse of the 178 Years old Thomas Cook Group, is believed to be the biggest demise in the travel industry. The publicity that the giant stirred up over its folding was mindful, yet regrettable. The Thomas Cook wrangle will be talked about in decades to come. With 150,000 touring the world shaking their heads about Thomas Cook going broke it is difficult to fathom when you’re stranded in a foreign country. Think about the 22,000 employees worldwide whose jobs are at risk. Believe me, that’s huge. The cessation of Thomas Cook will take years to resolve. But its symbol on their present stores, I Love Thomas Cook, is something the old-guard of family travellers could have uttered.

Below: Up the Nile. Men and woman guests pose in front of the pyramids.

NEXT WEEK: Son caught the travel bug early!

SOURCE: The Australian, 1981.

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THE GREAT AUSSIE FIRST …
JOHN NORTON, WHEN HE WAS EDITOR OF THE SYDNEY TRUTH, USED THE TERM ‘WOWSER’ IN PRINT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 1899. NORTON WAS A PASSIONATE MAN ‘LOVED’ BY THE WORKING CLASS. HE DIED IN 1916. – FM.
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REMEMBER WHEN! Odd news reports in 2013

FRANK MORRIS

APOLOGISE FIRST IF YOU ARE RIGHT!

You all know the depression-era girl Marjorie Bligh? Yes, off course. The real-life Dame Edna, who was about be launched into the US with her biography Housewife Superstar, describes her as “unique.” Marjorie’s tip for a happy marriage: Choose carefully; when it comes to food, be imaginative, original and appreciative; don’t gossip about your partner’s failings; be honest with each other, but not brutal; be kind to each other; nagging never accomplishes anything; always apologise first – even if you are right … Doug Engelbart, the person who laid the foundation for the information superhighway with a computer ‘mouse’, died in July. Engelbart was age 88 … The Herald, Sydney, reviewed the new film of For the Term of his Natural Life, in 1927. The paper was on the side of the cinema-goers, after it was marred by a weak scenario and the “violent and unrestrained” acting, called for “something more subtle”… The new $5.3 million Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch was supposed to open in February, then Easter, then July, but now it looks like August, reported The New Zealander.

SOURCE: Compiled in 2013.


WALT DISNEY: Part 2. The secret life of Walter      

JIM HOKERMAN from the US

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

WALT LIVED ON A FARM NEAR KANSAS CITY. WHEN HE WAS NINE, HIS FATHER BOUGHT HIM A PAPER ROUTE. AS A RESULT, DISNEY USED TO WAKE UP SWEATING FROM A RECURRING NIGHTMARE.

“GIRLS BORED ME – THEY STILL DO. I LOVE MICKEY MOUSE MORE THAN ANY WOMAN I EVER MET,” WALT DISNEY.

Walt Disney never learned to draw Donald Duck or Pluto. Nor to duplicate the famous signature emblazoned on every one of his products. But his insight into the American collective unconscious was nothing short of mystical.

It was Walt who spotted Annette Funicello dancing in the Burbank Starlight Bowl and knew that she’d be the sex star of The Mickey Mouse Club.

“For a man as intense as Disney in his desire to control his environment,” critic Richard Schickel once observed, “animation was the perfect medium psychologically”.

The quintessential Disney shot occurs at the end of Song in the South, 1946, as photographic reality melts into an idealised cantoonland.

Yet, there was a brief time in Disney’s career when he used the cartoon not to supplant reality but to unmask it.
Although Disney’s temper tantrums might be likened to those of Donald Duck, his later cartoons were only intermittently autobiographical.

He satirized his love of animals by appearing in caricature as the matador in Ferdinand the Bull (1938); and probably identified with the heroine of Cinderella (1950), who spent her days sewing little caps for the birds and pants for the mice.

In 1953 he made the coyly confessional Ben and Me, which attributed Benjamin Franklin’s success to the friendship of another very clever mouse.

In Pinocchio (1940), the masterpiece whose theme song, When You Wish upon a Star, would become the national anthem of Disneyland, of which he was very proud.

Walt brooded over the nature of his art. Was he kindly Geppetto, maker of toy marionettes? Or, the greedy Stromboli, exploiting of puppets on his stage?

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DISNEY’TOON …
IN PINOCCHIO (1940), THE MASTERPIECE WHOSE THEME SONG, WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR, WOULD BECOME THE NATIONAL ANTHEM OF DISNEYLAND. – JH.
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Or, the glamourous Blue Fairy, who animated Pinocchio with the gift of life, another?

Or, the cruel proprietor of Pleasure Island, the amusement park where little boys are transformed into braying donkeys? Perhaps, he was Pinocchio himself …

That is the stuff of Disney’s basically childhood fantasies.

His father, Elias Disney, was a hard man, as free with his whippings as he was tight with his money.

When grown up, Walt became rich; he bought himself all the toys and candy he was denied as a child.

He scoured the world for doll furniture, constructing an elaborate electric train set around his house, installing a giant soda fountain in his living room.

Young Disney lived on a farm. When he was nine Elias bought a paper route in Kansas City.

For the next six years dutiful Walt got up each morning at the three-thirty, delivering his father’s papers for no more pay than bed and board. The rest of his life Disney suffered from a recurring nightmare ….

His daughter recounted that “he wakes up sweating and thinking, ‘I’ll have to hurry and get back and leave a paper before dad finds out that I didn’t.’”

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DISNEY’S LIFE …
KENNETH ANGER, THE AUTHOR OF HOLLYWOOD BABYLON, MAINTAINS THAT DISNEY, WHO HAD ONCE BEEN A INVETERATE PRACTICAL JOKER, USED TO OPEN A SMALL, ROUNDED DOOR IN THE WALL – A FAIRYTALE DOOR THAT CREAKED – AND TAKE HIS GUESTS DOWN A WINDING STAIRCASE INTO A DUNGEON FILLED WITH SINISTER RACKS AND IRON MAIDENS … -- JH.
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One of Walt’s major improvements on nature would be to eliminate to biological link between parent and child. Thus, Pinocchio has no mother, Snow White and Cinderella are the victims of evil stepparents, Bambi’s mum gets killed, and Dumbo is forcibly separated from his mother.

He told a staff member that he opened Dumbo (1941) with a squadron of storks flying over Florida to “deliver the babies of expectant circus animals”.

Disney did not consider the absence of sexuality to be any great loss. With a warmth of a computer print-out he once explained his motivation for marriage.

“I realised that I’d need a new room-mate, so I proposed to Lilly”. Late in his life he was quoted as saying, “Girls bored me – they still do.” And later, “I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I ever met”.

“You could never tell Walt a dirty joke,” said animator Ward Kimball. “Yet, the Disney cosmos was not entirely devoid of eroticism”.

Below: LIFE magazine gives Mickey and Walt a chance to say “howdy”.

SOURCE: Adapted from The Secret life Walter Disney by Jim Hokerman; Nation Review May 31, 1979.

NEXT: Leni Riefenstahl in 1938 visited Hollywood. Disney was the only industry notable to greet her publicly.

 

WALT (KNEELING) FILLING IN SOME OF ASPECTS OF A FILM TO A COUPLE OF BANK DIRECTORS.

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DISNEY’S LIFE …
BY NIGHT, IN HIS BATHROBE, BE ROAMED THROUGHT “THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH” ALONE. WHEN THE REVEREND BILLY GRAHAM CAME TO BLESS HIS FELLOW WIZARD’S “FANTASY” WALT EXPLODED, “FANTASY? THE FANTASY IS OUT THERE … OUTSIDE THE GATES!”

 

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 04 October 19

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