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August 6, 2020

Rare Original Tintype of an Actor Dressed as "The Mad Hatter"

“Mad as a hatter” is a colloquial phrase used to refer to a crazy person. In 18th and 19th century England mercury was used in the making of felt, which was used in the manufacturing of hats. People who worked in these hat factories were exposed to trace amounts of the metal, which accumulated within their bodies over time, causing some to develop dementia caused by mercury poisoning. Thus the phrase “Mad as a Hatter” became popular as a way to refer to someone who was perceived as insane.

The first documented instance of the phrase can be found in the 1829 short story, Noctes Ambrocian√¶, published in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine:
NORTH: Many years – I was Sultan of Bello for a long period, until dethroned by an act of the grossest injustice; but I intend to expose the traitorous conspirators to the indignation of an outraged world.

TICKLER (aside to SHEPHERD.): He’s raving.

SHEPHERD (to TICKLER.): Dementit.

ODOHERTY (to both.): Mad as a hatter. Hand me a segar.
The next known documented instance of it appears in the 1835 work The Clockmaker, by Canadian Thomas Chandler Haliburton:
And with that he turned right round, and sat down to his map and never said another word, lookin’ as mad as a hatter the whole blessed time…

(And later in the same work) Father he larfed out like any thing; I thought he would never stop – and sister Sall got right up and walked out of the room, as mad as a hatter. Says she, Sam, I do believe you are a born fool, I vow.
The leading theory as to the origin of the phrase is that it refers to a genuine condition that began afflicting certain hat makers in the 17th century called “mad hatters’ syndrome” or “hatters’ shakes”. The symptoms associated with this condition were first described in full detail in 1829 by a Russian physician, the same year the first known instance of the expression came about.

It continued to be a problem for hat makers through the 19th century in much of the Western world, though in the U.S it was a phenomenon that continued into the mid-20th century for reasons we’ll get into in a bit.

From Charles Knight’s Pictorial Gallery of the Arts, England, 1858. Fur industry, hat-making, Canadian voyageurs. The manufacturing of beaver-hair top hats from Canada-produced pelts. (William Barclay Parsons Collection / New York Public Library Archives)

10 Fascinating Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the Comedic Legend Lucille Ball

Many people consider Lucille Ball the queen of comedy, and the Chicago Tribune referred to her as TV’s first lady. She paired with Desi Arnaz for an unforgettable comedic duo that has remained beloved decades after her death. Here are some facts about Lucy that may surprise you!

1. Lucy Began Modeling as a Teenager Under the Name Diane Belmont

Although she is a beautiful woman, Lucille never really attempted to have a glamorous look in her television career, so you might be surprised to learn that Lucy earned her living as a model before she ever turned to comedy for her show business career. In fact, she dyed her blonde hair red to differentiate herself from the idea of a Hollywood starlet.

2. She Was Not a Natural Redhead

Aside from her extensive career that speaks volumes, one of the most memorable things about Lucy is her red hair. But she actually wasn’t a natural redhead! In fact, she was a brunette.

She first dyed her hair blonde when she worked as an in-house model for Hattie Carnegie, at Hattie’s request/demand. It was in the early ‘50s that she was urged by MGM to dye her hair red and she agreed to the choice. Her hairstylist considered the color “golden apricot” and they used a special henna rinse for it.

3. She Started I Love Lucy When She Was 40

For years, she was trying to make it on Broadway and starred in so many B-grade films, she earned the nickname “Queen of the Bs.” The same year that I Love Lucy took off and rocketed her into superstardom, Lucy celebrated her 40th birthday.

At that time (and still to this day) many women were disregarded after their 35th birthday, yet she made a name for herself and became a household name at 40.

4. Her Mother Attended Every Taping of Her Show

Die hard fans of I Love Lucy may have picked up on what seems to be an extremely consistent audience member yelling the words “Oh no” or Uh-oh” every time Lucy finds herself in one of her beloved pickles. The person behind those exclamations was Ball’s mother, DeDe Ball. Ever the proud mom, she attended every taping of I Love Lucy. In fact, I Love Lucy pioneered the practice of filming in front of a live studio audience as well as filming with multiple cameras, both of which are still done by sitcoms today.

Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner: A Look Back at the Fiery Couple

One of the most infamous couples of Hollywood – the love story of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner was something filled with passion and sorrow. They first met in 1940, but only began to spend their time together in 1948 after a number of personal affairs and at the time, Gardner had already divorced twice whereas Sinatra had had a family with three children.

A fiery couple who also shared many of the same things, from their love for jazz and alcohol to even their insecurities, they gained a reputation of having numerous heat arguments over even minor things. As time went by, they cared less and less about the necessary discreetness for their public images and careers. Their ultimate expos√© came in 1950, which dealt a huge blow to Sinatra’s career.

They got married in 1951 after Sinatra was granted a divorce from his then-wife Nancy Barbato, but the blissful honeymoon failed to help Sinatra’s publicity now turned negative, as he received no more film or recording contract. Over the course of their marriage, the couple had more fiery fights, and Sinatra attempted suicide twice while Gardner had two abortions behind his back. Gardner officially filed for divorce in 1957.

Despite their marriage being over, their affections for each other remained the same. It was said that every year after the divorce, Sinatra would send Gardner a floral bouquet, while she always kept a photo from the early days of their love on her bedside table.

Take a look back at the couple when they were together in the 1950s:

Ava Gardner lighting a pipe for Frank Sinatra, 1951. (Walter Bellamy)

Posing with a sign that reads, 'Sinatra Swooners Bat Girl,' 1949. (Gene Lester)

At Riverside Hotel Casino Restaurant, 1951. (NY Daily News)

At Riverside Hotel Casino Restaurant, 1951. (NY Daily News)

Arriving from Philadelphia, 1951. (Bettmann)

40 Fascinating Photos Capture Street Scenes of London in the Mid-1980s

The 1980s were an iconic time for the United Kingdom, and London was at the centre of it all. It was a decade of considerable change. Long established industries, street scenes, shops and ways of life were being swept away and the often divisive politics of the time were visible painted along the walls.

Mike Lidgley took these fascinating photos that show street scenes of London from 1980 to 1985.

Cannon Street to St Paul's

Lombard Street (L) junction with King William Street (R)

1 Lombard Street

A busy Sunday on the platforms of Liverpool Street before the station was rebuilt

Aldermanbury street scenes

August 5, 2020

Beautiful Portrait Photos of Mia Farrow on the Set of ‘A Dandy in Aspic’ (1968)

A Dandy in Aspic is a 1968 neo-noir Technicolor and Panavision British spy film, directed by Anthony Mann, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Derek Marlowe and starring Laurence Harvey, Tom Courtenay, and Mia Farrow. It was Mann’s final film, he died of a heart attack before it was finished.

Essentially a Cold War thriller, it is the story of a Russian counter-espionage agent known as Eberlin (Laurence Harvey) to his employers in British Intelligence, where he is working undercover for Moscow as a double agent.

These beautiful photos captured portrait of Mia Farrow during filming A Dandy in Aspic in 1968.

When Checker Went Long: 24 Amazing Photos of Checker Aerobus 8-Door Station Wagon

The Checker Aerobus, both 6- and 8-door models, is an automobile manufactured on two different wheelbases by the Checker Motors Corporation from 1962 until 1977 (although none were built in 1975).

Built from the ground up as a heavy-duty, multi-passenger limousine, the Aerobus, according to the manufacturer, has found an increased acceptance among resorts, air lines, hotels, motels, hospitals, business firms and services requiring inter-city and inter-plant transportation.

Wherever there is the need to move 9 to 12 people, complete with baggage, packages, etc., in complete comfort and in limousine style, that’s where the Aerobus serves the public best. In total, 3,568 Checker Aerobuses of all versions were built.

Rare Photographs of the Lennon’s and Starkey’s During Their Holiday in Trinidad and Tobago, 1966

John and Cynthia Lennon, Ringo Starr and his wife Maureen Starkey all flew to Port of Spain in Trinidad for a winter holiday. The group flew from London Airport to Piarco International Airport, a short drive from Port of Spain.

The group spent some relaxing moments with Dr. Eric Williams and his daughter Erica at Bacolet Bay, Tobago. They returned to England on 23 January 1966.


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