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Jim Russell's Charlie Chaplin (And A Couple Of Nazis)

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If I have to tell you who Jim Russell was then it's like you don't know me at all.  Again, from the late, lamented Smith's Weekly, via Trove, comes this brilliant study of Charlie Chaplin, drawn to commemorate the release of the film Modern Times.

It's very odd now, looking back to the late-1930s, to think that Chaplin was considered a communist and an enemy of America. This was due, in part, to the themes that Chaplin was exploring in his films Modern Times, and The Great Dictator, and also because he was very publicly advocating assistance to the Russians in their fight against Germany in WWII. But then, in the 1930s, and through to the 1940s, many prominent, famous and (later) legendary Americans, true, red white and blue blooded flag waving Americans, such as Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford, were out and out Nazis who were advocating the entry of America into WWII - but on Hitler's side.


Not that people like being reminded of that now. After WWII, the attacks…

The Myth of the Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle Ban

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The Myth of the Fatty Ban The 1920s had barely begun when a real life situation developed that would lead to the first officially announced ban in Australia on an actor and his entire output, past, present and future, as opposed to a single film. Incredibly the ban had nothing to do with on-screen horror, instead the ban was enforced upon one of the most popular cinematic comedians of the silent era and, even more incredibly, despite the ban was official, it was also widely ignored. Roscoe Arbuckle, better known to the movie going public by his nickname, ‘Fatty[i]’, was one of the most popular of the early silent comedians. He worked with the greats of the era, Mabel Normand, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and acted as mentor to the young Bob Hope. His popularity was reflected in his three year contract with Paramount Pictures which would see him earn a whopping $1,000,000 a year. Arbuckle was box office gold, only behind Chaplin for sheer money making capacity in Austral…

Syd Miller's Dracula

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Over at the Trove site the legendary newspaper Smith's Weekly has just been uploaded after being digitalised. This should be a massive deal for anyone doing any form of research in Australia for the years the tabloid existed - 1919 to 1950. I know that, for me at least, this is huge. At it's best, Smith's Weekly was untouchable, at it's worst it was still essential reading.

Even better than the words was the artwork they used. Artist such as Syd Miller, Stan Cross, Jim and Dan Russell, Mollie Horseman, Joe Jonsson, Emile Mercer, Eric Jolliffe and many more all worked for Smiths. If you're keen on seeing some of the best art of the era, go and browse the title and check out the amazing art.

Such as the utterly amazing image of Bela Lugosi as Dracula by the incredible Syd Miller. As you can see, it didn't get much better than this.

They Don't Make Ads (Or Albums) Like This Anymore: Real Life

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By the ghost of Magilla Gorilla, Heartland  by Real Life was, and still is, a masterpiece. Mind you, try finding it on CD these days. Expensive? You don't know the half of it. But, quality costs and if you're as old and decrepit as I am, it's worth it for the memories that it beings back as soon as the synth starts up.

A shame record companies don't do expanded editions of these albums, but then, when you're dealing with trying to find out who owns the rights, especially when the Wheat is involved, good luck!

Basil Gogos: A Celebration Of A Famous Monster

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Growing up in Elizabeth, which is a fair distance away from Adelaide, the capitol of South Australia, I'd scour second hand shops and newsagents for my reading material every Saturday morning, rain and shine.  I'd buy almost everything I could find that grabbed my interest - the local library would sell their old books for a whopping five to ten cents each, and the Elizabeth South Secondhand Shop would sell me magazines and comics for around ten cents too - lots of Marvel and DC Comics, Gredowns, Yaffa reprints, Newton Comics - you name it, I devoured it.  One magazine that always caught my eye was Famous Monsters of Filmland.  I'm one of those rare creatures who thought Forrest Ackerman's prose was a bit, shall we say, redundant when it came to the amazing images that populated the magazine, and the incredible covers that the book featured.  Even the ads were great.

Over the years I lost all of my collection, but as I've grown older and money isn't either as …

Their Real Signatures: Led Zeppelin

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I've just come back from a nice, long holiday.  Down to Melbourne, then off to Tasmania where we spent the better part of a week and change just driving around and exploring places like Brickendon, Eaglehawk Neck, Richmond, the coal mines and Maria Island.  Even got caught up in the snow storms.  Lovely!  I'd recommend it for anyone really.  Plus I bought a pile of stuff.  Boat ride back was horrid though - six meter swells saw us being pounded about all night long and has taken the better part of a week to recover from.  But, dear reader, I can see you yawning.

Back to business.  What we have here are the real signatures of the remaining members of Led Zeppelin.  That'd be Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and their bassist and all round instrumentalist/arranger, John Baldwin.

John Who?  Yep, you see, John Paul Jones is a stage name.  The man was born John Baldwin.  Not that he'll sign your tatty old copy of Houses Of The Holy like that.  So, here you go, gaze your eyes on ye…

They Don't Make Ads Like This Anymore: Marvel UK

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These Marvel UK house ads are great to look at.  Generally the artwork in them was commissioned specially for these ads and this was no exception.  Take a punt and see if you can guess who the artist was.

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