Sunday, January 30, 2011

Private Wojtek: Hero Bear That "Fought" for Poland

Now this story is unusual.  How many army units in World War II--or any other war you can think of--had a bear as a mascot and "comrade"?  Writing this article resulted in my receiving an Editor's Choice Award at Suite 101.  PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.  Above and below are a few public domain shots of Wojtek.

A 500-pound bear that "fought" alongside his Polish comrades in World War II will be honored with a statue in Edinburgh, Scotland.

‘Private Wojtek’ was a 6-ft-tall Syrian brown bear that was adopted by a Polish regiment in the Middle East. When the Poles received orders to advance on Rome, the British told them that animals or pets were not allowed to accompany them...

The Golem: Jewish Folklore in German Cinema

This film is a classic "horror" film--it served as the inspiration and model for James Whale's Frankenstein (1931).  It is also a classic of early German cinema.  PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE. I wouldn't want to bump into the Golem (above) in a dark alley!

Released in 1920, The Golem was an early example of German expressionism. Der Golem: Wie er in die Welt Kam (The Golem: How He Came into the World), which was directed by Carle Boese and Paul Wegener, who also portrayed the title role, is the quintessential version of the 16th century Jewish folktale...

Fort Lee, NJ: Birthplace of the U.S. Film Industry

The New York Hat was shot in Fort Lee and included in the cast Mary Pickford and Lionel Barrymore.

I know exactly where that ledge is; I used to hang out there during high school. You see, I grew up in Fort Lee, NJ.  I knew that it was the first home of the movie industry before Hollywood, but there was very little evidence of it there.  Well, it's an interesting story of a greedy man named Thomas Edison who created all the technology associated with film making and then ran the industry out of New Jersey with his patent-enforcing lackeys. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.  All photos are public domain, as best as I can determine.

Fort Lee, New Jersey, was the perfect location for the fledgling motion picture industry. There was plenty of cheap, open land in this Bergen County town. The cliffs of the Palisades were dramatic permanent “sets” that gave rise to the “cliffhanger” genre of action film...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dr. Eduard Bloch: Adolf Hitler’s Jewish Doctor

History is much stranger than fiction ever can be. No matter how offbeat or strange, non-fiction packs a wallop that a novel simply cannot. Consider this: Adolf Hitler, in 1937, when in the midst of his persecution of German Jews, had warm words to say about his old Jewish doctor in Linz, Eduard Bloch--to Austrian Nazis of all people. And after the Anschluss of Austria in March of 1938, while riding in a motorcade through the crowded streets of his Austrian hometown of Linz, he peered up to look at the window of his old Jewish doctor's office--which he hadn't been to in 30 years.

Below is a drawing of Adolf Hitler by a school friend when he was 16 and a patient of Dr. Bloch's. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE. The photo below the drawing is one of Dr. Bloch sitting in his examining room in Linz. It was taken by a representative of the office of Rudolf Hess in 1938 for Hitler's private photo collection. The original caption explained that the Fuehrer often sat in the chair next to Dr. Bloch's desk. This photo is from the Federal Archive of Germany.

It was in 1937 that Adolf Hitler had several Nazi party members from his hometown of Linz, Austria, as guests at his Alpine villa at Bechtesgaden.

He asked for news. How was the city? Did he have political support in Linz? Then he asked about Dr. Eduard Bloch. Was he alive, still practicing? Then he said something that shocked his Austrian Nazi guests.

“Dr. Bloch,” said the Fuehrer, “is an Edeljude--a noble Jew. If all Jews were like him, there would be no Jewish question...


Monday, January 10, 2011

Kim Jong il Dead: New North Korea Leader to Keep Propaganda State

Propaganda shows the mighty North Korean army destroying the Capital building in Washington, D.C.

Now this is scary! This stuff isn't from the 1940s--it's happening now! North Korea is ready to take on the U.S. and go up in smoke--or put us up in smoke--when the fancy strikes them. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE. So hold on to your hats and seats and read about the nation that made the idea of a nuclear Holocaust popular again!

North Korean military parade set to disco music.

North Korean propaganda shows the Capital building being demolished.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Finnish Dog Dogs Nazis

This is a wacky but true story about a dog in Finland named 'Hitler'... PLEASE HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.
The Nazi Foreign Office, Economic Ministry, and Hitler's Reich Chancellery all became involved in the investigation of a Finnish dog who imitated Hitler.
Diplomacy in the midst of a major war can be a difficult game to play. A minor incident can blow up into a major controversy, straining relations of the strongest of allies. And when the ally that you offend is none other than Nazi Germany, well, then you’ve got your hands full...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Criminal Mind in Fritz Lang’s Thriller “M”

Released in 1931, Fritz Lang's "M" was the film that made Peter Lorre a star and is considered the father of film noir.  Above is a photo of Lorre as child killer Hans Beckert discovering that he is literally a marked man.  PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE. Below is a photo of Lorre from the powerful courtroom scene.  Below that is the brilliant and controversial German actor Gustav Grundgens as Shraenker, the criminal underworld leader that helped capture the "Kinder Moerder" (all photos: Nerofilm Productions).

Serial child killer Hans Beckert and crime boss Schränker are both criminals--with two very different personalities and methods. Peter Lorre stars as Beckert.
Director Fritz Lang’s “M” (1931) is about a psychotic serial child killer and the simultaneous attempts by police and the criminal underworld to track him down and capture him...