Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Last Day of Alcatraz - March 21, 1963

On the morning of March 21, 1963, Alacatraz, the most secure prison and symbol of American justice across the nation closed down for good. The last prisoner off the island, Frank Weatherman, a gun smuggler and jailbreaker, offered an epitaph to the island's 29 years as the toughest federal penitentiary in the country. "Alcatraz was never no good for nobody," he said.

Life Magazine assigned photographer Leigh Wiener to cover closing day at Alcatraz on March 21, 1963. Most of what he shot went unpublished until his son Devik rediscovered the images 45 years later. In 2012, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy published Wiener's photos in a book, Alcatraz: The Last Day.

Warden Blackwell Meets the Press - On March 21, 1963 the last twenty-seven convicts are escorted off Alcatraz Island. News crews were invited to Alcatraz to document the event. Photographer Leigh Wiener was on the island to document the closing for Life Magazine.

West Road Guard Tower - Boats were required to stay at least 200 yards from shore. From the West Road Guard Tower, armed officers would monitor the island’s perimeter. Notice the chipped concrete of the edges of the walkway.

Guard’s Housing - Penitentiary guards and their families lived on Alcatraz Island. With the closing of the prison, staff and families prepared to leave their homes. On the balconies, notice the barrels used to pack the families’ belongings.

Convicts on Broadway - Handcuffed, shackled and chained, convicts are marched out of United States Penitentiary Alcatraz.

Convicts on Broadway - Handcuffed, shackled and chained, convicts are marched out of United States Penitentiary Alcatraz.

State St., Chicago, c.1895

Rare and Interesting Vintage Photos of The British Western Front in France, ca. 1918

Interior of an ambulance-train ward, France, during World War I. This image is very striking due to the lighting and the tunnel effect of the train carriage, which is emphasised by the parallel lines of the wooden panelling on the roof. Two nurses are busy tending the wounded while two officers survey the scene from the top of the carriage.

Signallers working at the headquarters of R.E.S.S. in France, during World War I. Just like a team of operators working at a busy telephone switchboard, this image shows the network of communications at company HQ that was required to co-ordinate an armys activities. The object immediately in front of the signaller on the right looks like a mouthpiece, which suggests that they are using wireless sets or field telephones to communicate.

Attack on Hindenburg line. Tanks and Troops advancing. With 'land battleships (tanks) in the background, this image shows infantry advancing during the attack on the famous Hindenburg Line. As the Hindenburg Line was finally overrun by the Allies in the autumn of 1918, it seems highly likely that this is when this photograph was taken.

German General's Headquarters' dug-out being used by the British. The concrete on the tops is 10 feet deep. This photograph shows how well-engineered some of the German trenches were. The caption notes that there was 10 feet of concrete on top and the image shows a great depth of concrete and sod below the corrugated iron roof. Drain pipes and even porches can be seen in the dugout.

Members of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, playing hockey, France. This action photograph is believed to be the work of David McLellan. McLellan was one of five official war propaganda photographers to be commissioned for the Western Front. The first two were Ernest Brooks and John Warwick Brooke. This may have been a personal moment for both McLellan and the players, which has now been caught in time and survives for posterity.

German soldier lighting his cigarette with a flamethrower, ca. 1940s

Monday, September 15, 2014

Street Vendors and Performers in Toronto, Canada, ca. 1970s

Interesting Old Pictures of Circus in Netherlands from between 1910s to 1920s

Welcome to Manhattan, 1888

Welcome to Manhattan, 1888. Not THAT Manhattan, Manhattan, Colorado. According to Old West Photographs, this post-gold rush boom town flourished after the initial strikes in 1886 by two experienced prospectors of the Ft. Collins Mining Company. Like most mining towns, the energy and population flowed up and down as the minerals, economy and political factors dictated. Within a year of discovery, the population swelled to a reported 5,000 souls whom were directly involved in mining of 125 claims or serving those that did. By the turn of the century, production and buzz in the camp died to a slow trickle as gold retrieval became more difficult and cost to get it increased. Only the few hopeful of a rich strike stayed behind as the town was moved towards its current ghost town status.

Rare Behind the Scenes Photos from the Making Film of "Zulu" (1964)

Six rare images of Michael Caine and the cast and crew grappling with the heat and dust of South Africa during the making film of "Zulu" in 1964.

Michael Caine enjoys a moment out of full costume, as the lighting crew prepare the next shot on location for Zulu (1964). Top-billed Stanley Baker (right), meanwhile, is top-to-toe in helmet and bright red uniform.

Say ‘cheese’! A group portrait of the actors playing the British army regiment who find themselves struggling to fend off an attack from 4,000 Zulu warriors at Rorke’s Drift.

Director Cy Endfield dressed for the South African heat in short shorts. Endfield had previously directed Stanley Baker (second left) in the cult truck-driving thriller Hell Drivers (1957).

Director Cy Endfield with one of the huge cameras used for the Zulu shoot. The film was shot in the Technirama, an anamorphic, widescreen technology similar to CinemaScope. Other recent Technirama productions included El Cid (1961) and The Leopard (1963).

All dressed up for stardom: Caine poses in uniform for a portrait between takes. He quickly found himself one of the biggest actors in 1960 British cinema, after his star-making turn here playing infantry officer Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead.

The great character actor Jack Hawkins in costume between takes. Hawkins plays Reverend Otto Witt, a Swedish missionary stationed at Rorke’s Drift.

(via BFI)

Pretoria Day Celebrations at Adelaide St.,Toronto, 1901