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June 24, 2024

Models Displaying Latest Fashions for Hudson’s Bay Company in Edmonton, Alberta, ca. 1950s

The Hudson’s Bay Company is a Canadian retail business group. A fur trading business for much of its existence, it became the largest and oldest corporation in Canada, and now owns and operates retail stores across the country. The company’s namesake business division is Hudson’s Bay, commonly referred to as The Bay (La Baie in French).

After incorporation by English royal charter in 1670, the company was granted a right of “sole trade and commerce” over an expansive area of land known as Rupert’s Land, comprising much of the Hudson Bay drainage basin. This right effectively gave the company a commercial monopoly over that area. The HBC functioned as the de facto government in Rupert’s Land for nearly 200 years until the HBC relinquished control of the land to Canada in 1869 as part of the Deed of Surrender, authorized by the Rupert’s Land Act 1868. At its peak, the company controlled the fur trade throughout much of the English- and later British-controlled North America.

By the mid-19th century, the company evolved into a mercantile business selling a wide variety of products from furs to fine homeware in a small number of sales shops (as opposed to trading posts) across Canada. These shops were the first step towards the department stores the company owns today.






Midget Czech Showman Baron Richard Nowak, Blowing on a Trumpet, 1940

Czech showman Baron Richard Nowak, 19, stands 21 inches high and weighs 17 lbs., blowing on a trumpet as he nestles inside tuba player of the Hamid-Morton Circus in Trenton, NJ, 1940. The photographs were taken by John Phillips.




“Last week when the Hamid-Morton Circus was in town I took some pictures of the circus midget inside an ‘oompah tuba,’” Phillips told LIFE. “This diminutive showman is introduced to the public as Baron Richard Nowak.”

“His sister Emma, who is normal size, came with him from Prague, Czechoslovakia,” he added. “She told me that the ‘Baron’ is 19, stands 21 in. high and weighs 17 Ib. When I held him in my hand he gazed apprehensively at the ground and warned, ‘If I fall I'll probably break into little pieces.’”


Baron Richard Nowak, billed as the “World’s Tiniest Man” in circus acts for the Barnett Brothers Circus from 1939-1946. One of his acts included jumping out of the trunk that belonged to his mother Emma Nowak Rogers.

Once Nowak retired from circus performing, he became a Presbyterian minister. Baron Nowak passed away on July 17, 1997 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in York.

Ford’s First Electric Car: The Ford Comuta Was Built for Britain in 1967

The Ford Comuta was an experimental electric vehicle designed by Ford in 1967 at the Ford Dunton Technical Centre. Part of the reason you’ve likely never heard of the Comuta is because it would have only been offered in Britain.

The Comuta, first revealed in 1967, was powered by four 12 volt lead-acid batteries. They weren’t ideal, but they were the only available power source available at the time. When it was fully charged, the car had a range of 60 kilometers (37 mi) at a speed of 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph), and was capable of a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph).

At the time, Ford President Arjay Miller told the New York Times, “cars like the Comuta could be available in five to 10 years.” But clearly, those haven’t come around yet. The next electric car to wear the Ford nameplate was the 1998 Ford Ranger EV.

But while the principle of a small city runabout was promising. And the idea that you could fit not one, but three Comuta’s in a single parallel parking space was lucrative. But Ford was trying to revitalize the very thing they killed off. Electric cars were around back in the 1900s and 1910s. But the cheap, gas-powered Model T shoved expensive electric alternatives to the side, with today’s climate concerns finally bringing them back.

Because this was a concept, only two were made, one of which has since been lost. The other now resides at the Science Museum in London. It didn’t resemble any other Ford built before then, and no Ford would be inspired by it afterward. Despite being Ford’s very first electric vehicle, a significant milestone for any automaker, it feels more like a footnote.

But the dream of building a small, electric city car didn’t die with the Comuta. In fact, the Comuta may have been the earliest version of these electric microcars. The Vanguard-Sebring Citicar came in 1974, and became the highest-selling production EV up until the Tesla Model S. So maybe the Comuta did do some good, inspiring a wave of the strangest electric cars ever made.






30 Handsome Photos of Young Tom Selleck That Prove He’s Always Been a Hunk

Born 1945 in Detroit, Michigan, American actor Tom Selleck began his career with bit parts in smaller movies, including Myra Breckinridge, Coma, and The Seven Minutes. His breakout role was playing private investigator Thomas Magnum in the television series Magnum, P.I. (1980–1988), for which he received five Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, winning in 1985.


Since 2010, Selleck has co-starred as New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan in the series Blue Bloods. From 2005–2015, he portrayed troubled small-town police chief Jesse Stone in nine television films based on the Robert B. Parker novels.

In films, Selleck has played bachelor architect Peter Mitchell in Three Men and a Baby (1987) and its sequel Three Men and a Little Lady (1990). He has also appeared in more than 50 other film and television roles since Magnum, P.I., including the films Quigley Down Under, Mr. Baseball, and Lassiter. He appeared in recurring television roles as Monica Geller’s love interest Dr. Richard Burke in Friends, as Lance White, the likeable and naive partner on The Rockford Files, and as casino owner A.J. Cooper on Las Vegas. He also had a lead role in the television western film The Sacketts, based on two of Louis L’Amour’s books.

Selleck is a California Army National Guard veteran, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), an endorser in advertisements for National Review magazine, and co-founder of the Character Counts! organization.

Take a look at these vintage photos to see portraits of a young and handsome Tom Selleck.






Photos of Grace Kelly During the Filming of “Dial M for Murder” (1954)

Dial M for Murder is a 1954 American crime thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, Anthony Dawson, and John Williams. Both the screenplay and the successful stage play on which it was based were written by English playwright Frederick Knott. The play premiered in 1952 on BBC Television, before being performed on stage in the same year in London’s West End in June, and then New York’s Broadway in October.

Originally intended to be shown in dual-strip polarized 3-D, the film played in most theatres in ordinary 2-D due to the loss of interest in the 3-D process (the projection of which was difficult and error-prone) by the time of its release. The film earned an estimated $2.7 million in North American box office sales in 1954.

The film was listed by American Film Institute in 2001 in AFI’s 100 Years...100 Thrills (#48), and in 2008 in AFI’s 10 Top 10 (#9 in Mysteries). Take a look at these vintage photos to see portraits of Grace Kelly during the filming of Dial M for Murder in 1954.






June 23, 2024

Behind the Scenes Photos of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on the Set of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953)

For sheer, undiluted resonance, few entertainment-industry tropes can match the singular image of Marilyn Monroe informing the world that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

The scene in which she sings those words arrives midway through the classic 1953 comedy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, as Marilyn’s character, the refreshingly loot-happy Lorelei Lee, performing in a cabaret in a form-fitting pink satin sheath, rebuffs the attentions of a gaggle of eager (and unmistakably not rich) male admirers.

The song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is just one of many from a movie that, six decades later, still retains much of its carefree if largely camp appeal. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was not only a huge box office success but proved, once and for all, that Marilyn Monroe could truly anchor a movie as its star. Her co-star in the film, Jane Russell, was wonderful in the role of showgirl Dorothy Shaw, Lorelei’s best friend, but through the years the film has increasingly and unduly been celebrated as Monroe’s triumph alone.

This was Jane Russell’s only film with Marilyn Monroe. They got along well and according to Russell’s 1985 autobiography, she called Monroe “Blondie” and was often the only person on the set who could coax Monroe out of her trailer to begin the day’s filming.






Beautiful Paintings of Vienna by Carl Wenzel Zajicek in the Late 19th Century

Carl Wenzel Zajicek (1860–1923) was a Viennese painter. He was born as one of 24 children of watchmaker Franz Zajicek. Educated in his father's craft, he worked as a watchmaker until 1900, but he practiced artistic painting as an amateur from a young age.

Inspired by Emil Hütter, Zajicek specialized on Vedute of the city of Vienna, and he rose to notability in 1896 with a large panoramic painting.

Here below is a set of beautiful paintings of Vienna by Carl Wenzel Zajicek in the late 19th century.

A Christmas Market in Am Hof, Vienna

A Christmas Market in Am Hof, Vienna

Altes Kärntnertortheater, Vienna

Busy activity at the Hoher Markt in Vienna

Jesuit Church and Old University, Vienna




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