Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Remembering Broncho Billy...!

We often forget about how the cowboy movies really got started. We can all thank Broncho Billy for that.

His real name was Gilbert Anderson, and he became well known as the famous Broncho Billy seen in the first westerns to hit the silver screens.

“Broncho Billy” Anderson born

Gilbert M. Anderson, the first western movie star, is born in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Better known as “Broncho Billy,” the name of the western hero he played in over 300 short films, Anderson was the first western movie star. Furthermore, he played several small parts in one of the first movies ever made, The Great Train Robbery. In 1903, Anderson won a role as a bandit in the film after telling the director he could ride like a Texas Ranger. When it became clear that Anderson could hardly get onto a horse, he was made an “extra” and played several minor parts. Later that year, the 10-minute movie received an enthusiastic reception from the public, and Anderson decided to make a career in the promising new business of telling stories in moving pictures.

Anderson moved to Chicago, which was becoming a minor moviemaking center. After a few years directing and occasionally starring in movies produced by others, Anderson decided to create his own production company. Forming a partnership with old friend George K. Spoor, in 1907 Anderson created the Essanay Company, which would later be credited as one of the best of the early movie studios.

At first, Anderson made comedies, but remembering the brilliant success of The Great Train Robbery, he eventually turned to Westerns. Anderson was one of the first movie producers to realize that the public needed a central character in the movies, a “star” on which they could focus their attention. In 1909, though, there were no movie stars and stage actors were reluctant to risk films. Anderson decided to make himself the star, creating the character “Broncho Billy” out of ideas about the West culled from popular dime novels.

In 1909, Anderson released his first western, Broncho Billy and the Baby. It was an enormous success and convinced Anderson that he should stick with Westerns starring the Broncho Billy character. Over the next five years, Anderson made over 300 short one- or two-reel movies featuring Broncho Billy. Physically, Anderson was not especially handsome or dashing, but audiences liked Broncho Billy for his courageous virtue and bravery.

In 1915, Anderson released his last film in the series, Broncho Billy’s Sentence, and thereafter turned to writing. A few years later he attempted a comeback, but by then the western field was dominated by more dashing actors like Tom Mix and William S. Hart. He made comedies for several years before retiring. Later recognized and honored for his pivotal role in the development of the Western, in 1965 he made a cameo appearance in a modern Hollywood Western called The Bounty Killer, his first talking picture.

Anderson died in his sleep on January 20, 1971, at the age of 88.

I think that Broncho had a great idea in giving the public a hero to focus on. Not to mention being responsible for making the whole "cowboy movie" trend popular. Thanks Mr. Anderson!

Coffee out on the patio, where it feels more like Summer than Spring!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Can You Name This Fruit...?

What I am about to show you is from a list of strange and uncommon (at least here) fruits. I wanted to share this with you as I had never seen it before and thought it was pretty nice!

Myrciaria cauliflora

Jabuticaba, or the Brazilian grape tree, is a very strange plant native to the South Eastern parts of Brazil. What makes this plant so strange is that it fruits from its trunk. No, I did not make that up, and no the picture has not been photo shopped. Initially, yellowish white flowers will appear all over the trunk and main branches, these flowers will then turn into fruit, about 3 – 4cm in diameter. Inside the thick purple skin is the soft gelatinous flesh of the fruit, along with 1 – 4 black seeds. The fruit is sweet and can be eaten as is or made into a wine or liqueur. Unfortunately, the fruit does not keep long when off the tree and will start to ferment after about 3 or 4 days. I believe this would be a fascinating tree to have in the yard, but I'll bet I couldn't get it to grow. Isn't that always how it goes?

If you want to see some more strange and marvelous fruit plants, you can find the at Listverse, with pictures of the fruit.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. High of 84 or so is predicted.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jean Spangler For Monday Mysteries...!

Once in a while, even movie stars can become a part of an unsolved mystery.

While Jean Spangler wasn't as well known as many were, she certainly had the potential to become better known in the movies. Instead she became the focus for a missing person case that seemed to have no answer.

Jean Spangler

One of the biggest mysteries in Hollywood history occurred on the evening of October 7, 1949 when 26-year old Jean Spangler disappeared. Spangler was a model and aspiring actress who had done bit parts in a handful of films. She left her daughter with her sister-in-law and claimed she was going to meet her ex-husband to talk about child support before going to work on a film shoot. However, there were no film shoots scheduled that night, and Spangler’s ex-husband claimed he never saw her. Spangler’s purse was found in Griffith Park two days later.

Things took a bizarre turn when a note was found in the purse which read: “Kirk, Can’t wait any longer. Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work best this way while mother is away”. Spangler had recently worked as an extra on a Kirk Douglas film and some eyebrows were raised when Douglas contacted police to confirm he wasn’t the “Kirk” in the note before they even considered questioning him. Police also heard rumors of a local man named “Scotty” who was known for performing illegal abortions, leading to speculation that Spangler was pregnant and that he was the aforementioned “Dr. Scott”. Spangler was also rumored to be involved with an organized crime figure named David Ogul, and there was even a sighting of them together in Texas three months after she disappeared. In spite of all these theories, the Jean Spangler saga is still a mystery.

Seems to me that folks can disappear as easily in Hollywood as anywhere else, maybe easier. So many times there doesn't seem to be any trace of them anywhere. At least with a body, you know what the result of their disappearance was, if not the cause. Sad, really!

Coffee outside again today. temps are back up to the high 70s and low 80s.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Let's Watch Them Again...!

Sometimes the 'toons are worth seeing again, so let's do that! Better the second time around, right?

And maybe one more...

Coffee out on the patio again this morning, whadda ya say?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

It Cost How Much...?

Sometimes even the rich folks get stuck with a bill they have trouble with. This story is about one such bill and a man named Henry Ford.

Ford Disliked Experts

Photo credit: Richard Arthur Norton

Ford greatly disliked experts and refused to employ them. In his 1924 book, My Life and Work, he said, “I never employ an expert in full bloom. If I ever wanted to kill opposition by unfair means, I would endow the opposition with experts.”

As a consequence, Ford Motor Company did not have any employees with advanced engineering or design engineering skills. In fact, it did not even have a proving ground and instead opted to test cars on public highways.

This lack of experts on-site often proved financially disastrous. One time, for example, when Ford’s electrical engineers couldn’t solve a problem with a massive generator, they employed the electrical engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz (pictured above) to help them. On-site, Steinmetz rejected all help and solved the problem in two days with the aid of a notebook, a pencil, and a cot.

On the second night, Steinmetz climbed on top of the generator and made a chalk mark on its side. Then he told Ford’s engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace 16 windings from the field coil. Once that was done, the generator performed perfectly—to the delight of Ford.

But his delight only lasted until a bill for $10,000 came. Flabbergasted, Ford requested the bill to be itemized. Steinmetz responded to Ford’s request with the following:

Making chalk mark on generator: $1
Knowing where to make mark: $9,999

I hate to say it, but this makes perfect sense to me! Gonna dance...gotta pay the piper!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps are going up to 79 !

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bennington Triangle for Freaky Friday...!

Ever notice how some places seem to attract bizarre happenings? That's the case here.

The Bennington Triangle

Between 1920 and 1950, Bennington, Vermont was the site of several completely unexplained disappearances:

On December 1, 1949, Mr. Tetford vanished from a crowded bus. Tetford was on his way home to Bennington from a trip to St. Albans, Vermont. Tetford, an ex-soldier who lived in the Soldier’s Home in Bennington, was sitting on the bus with 14 other passengers. They all testified to seeing him there, sleeping in his seat. When the bus reached its destination, however, Tetford was gone, although his belongings were still on the luggage rack and a bus timetable lay open on his empty seat. Tetford has never returned or been found.

On December 1, 1946, an 18-year-old student named Paula Welden vanished while taking a walk. Welden was walking along the Long Trail into Glastenbury Mountain. She was seen by a middle-aged couple that was strolling about 100 yards behind her. They lost sight of her when she followed the trail around a rocky outcropping, but when they rounded the outcropping themselves, she was nowhere to be seen. Welden has not been seen nor heard from since.

In mid-October, 1950, 8-year old Paul Jepson disappeared from a farm. Paul’s mother, who earned a living as an animal caretaker, left her small son happily playing near a pig sty while she tended to the animals. A short time later, she returned to find him missing. An extensive search of the area proved fruitless.

So far as I can tell, none of these disappearances have ever been solved. It always bothers me when no explanation can be given for someone vanishing like that. Makes me wonder if we are overlooking some clue, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio where it's cool, but what the heck...!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sorry, I forgot Again...!

What can I say? I forgot to post again. Seems to be happening a lot lately!

I know they tell us that the memory is the second thing to start fading and, to tell you the truth, I don't remember what was the first. All I know is that sometimes things just slip my mind all together. Surely it can't be an age thing, right? Anyway, whatever the reason...I did forget the post today. To make up for it, here is something Baby Sis sent me. It could be considered off color, I reckon, but we won't go there.

An old married couple no sooner hit the pillows when the old man passes gas and says, 'Seven Points.'His wife rolls over and says, 'What in the world was that?' The old man replied, 'its fart football.' A few minutes later his wife lets one go and says, 'Touchdown, tie score...'After about five minutes the old man lets another one go and says,'Aha. I'm ahead 14 to 7.'Not to be outdone the wife rips out another one and says, 'Touchdown,tie score.'Five seconds go by and she lets out a little squeaker and says, 'Field goal, I lead 17 to 14.' Now the pressure is on for the old man.He refuses to get beaten by a woman, so he strains real hard. Since defeat is totally unacceptable, he gives it everything he's got,and accidentally poops in the bed. The wife says, 'What the hell was that?'The old man says, 'Half time, switch sides!

There ya have it. If you need something to help you sleep at night, maybe this is the answer.

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning, OK?