Georges Melies

French film Pioneer and innovator Georges Méliès sadly passed away 21 January 1938. born December 8th 1861. After completing his education, Méliès joined the family shoe business. He also visited the Egyptian Hall, run by the famous London illusionist John Nevil Maskelyne, and developed a passion for magic. Méliès returned to Paris in 1885 and studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts, he also attended performances at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin, founded by Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, and began taking magic lessons from Emile Voisin. In 1888 Georges Méliès purchased the Théâtre Robert-Houdin. Although the theatre was equipped with lights, levers, trapdoors, and several automata, Over the next nine years, Méliès personally created over 30 new illusions that brought more comedy and melodramatic pageantry to performances, much like those Méliès had seen in London. One of his best known illusions was the Recalcitrant Decapitated Man, in which a professor’s head is cut off in the middle of a speech and continues talking until it is returned to his body. While running the theatre, Méliès also worked as a political cartoonist for the liberal newspaper La Griffe.

As owner of the Théâtre Robert-Houdin, Méliès became more of a director, producer, writer, set and costume designer also inventing many magic tricks. As the theatre’s popularity grew, he brought many famous magicians to the theatre. Along with magic tricks, performances included fairy pantomimes, an automaton performance during intermissions, magic lantern shows, and special effects such as snowfall and lightning. In 1895, Méliès was elected president of the Chambre Syndicale des Artistes Illusionistes. Between 1896 and 1913, Méliès directed 531 films, these were similar to the magic theatre shows that Méliès had been doing, containing “tricks” and impossible events, such as objects disappearing or changing size. By experimenting with multiple exposures he was also able to play seven different characters simultaneously in film .After seeing the Lumière brothers’ films he bought several films and an Animatograph film projector & By April 1896 the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was showing films. Méliès built a film camera using parts from automata and special effect equipment. Méliès also learnt film processing through trial and error. ln 1896 he patented the Kinètographe Robert-Houdin, camera-projector, which he referred to as his “coffee grinder” and “machine gun” because of the noise that it made. Méliès began shooting his first films in May 1896, and screening them at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin and founded the Star-Film Company. Many of his earliest films were copies and remakes of the Lumière brothers films, including his first film Playing Cards. However, many of his other early films reflected Méliès’s knack for theatricality and spectacle, such as A Terrible Night, in which a hotel guest is attacked by a giant bedbug.

CONQUEST OF THE POLE http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CtrELhltAwo

VOYAGES DANS LE LUNE http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Eeqfxe4WSqk

Whereas The Lumière brothers intended their invention to be used for scientific and historical purposes and dispatched camera operators across the world to film serious documentaries Méliès’s Star-Film Company, was geared more towards the “fairground clientele” who wanted entertainment. In these earliest films, Méliès began to experiment with special effects that were unique to filmmaking. Méliès’s film effects and unique style of film magic were first used in The Vanishing Lady, in which the by then cliche magic trick of a person vanishing from the stage by means of a trap door is enhanced by the person turning into a skeleton until finally reappearing on the stage. In 1896, Méliès built a film studio on his property in Montreuil, just outside of Paris. which had glass walls and ceilings to allow sunlight in for film exposure. The property also included a shed for dressing rooms and a hangar for set construction. Because colors would often photograph in unexpected ways on black and white film, all sets, costumes and actors’ makeup were colored in different tones of gray. Actors performed in front of a painted set as inspired by the conventions of magic and musical theatre.

In 1896 Méliès made 78 films and 53 in 1897 covering every film genre including documentaries, comedies, historical reconstructions, dramas, magic tricks and féeries (fairy stories), .Méliès also made advertisements for whiskey, chocolate, and baby cereal. In 1898 Méliès made only 30 films but his work was becoming more ambitious and elaborate. His films included the historical reconstruction of the sinking of the USS Maine Divers at Work on the Wreck of the “Maine”, the magic trick film The Famous Box Trick, and the féerie The Astronomer’s Dream. He also made one of his first of many religious satires with The Temptation of Saint Anthony. He continued to experiment with special effects such as a reverse shot in A Dinner Under Difficulties and also experimented with superimposition where he would film actors in a black background, then rewind the film through the camera and expose the footage again to create a double exposure. These films included The Cave of the Demons, in which transparent ghosts haunt a cave, and The Four Troublesome Heads, in which Méliès removes his own head three times and creates a musical chorus. He continued to experiment with special effects, the early horror film Cleopatra depicts her mummy being resurrected in modern times. Méliès also made two of his most ambitious and well-known films. The Dreyfus Affair, and Cinderella. Méliès’s films were particularly popular across Europe and in the United States however US filmmakers as Thomas Edison were resentful of the competition from foreign companies & attempted to block Méliès from screening films in the US so film makers including Méliès established the trade union Chambre Syndicale des Editeurs Cinématographiques as a way to defend themselves in foreign markets and the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was the group’s headquarters

In 1900 Méliès made 33 films, including Joan of Arc, The One-Man Band and The Christmas Dream, In 1901 Méliès made The Brahmin and the Butterfly, Little Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard, both based on stories from Charles Perrault. In 1902 Méliès began to experiment with camera movement to create the illusion of a character changing size.This effect began with The Devil and the Statue and was used again in The Man with the Rubber Head. In May 1902 Méliès made his most famous film, A Trip to the Moon. The film includes the celebrated scene in which a spaceship hits the man in the moon in the eye; it was loosely based on Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and H. G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon. In the film Méliès stars as Professor Barbenfouillis, who is president of the Astronomer’s Club and oversees an expedition to the Moon. The six men explore the moon’s surface and are attacked by a group of moon men. The film was an enormous success in France and around the world, and made Méliès famous in the United States, Méliès’s enormous success continued with his three other major productions of that year. The Coronation of Edward VII, which used actual footage of the carriage procession in the film, and King Edward VII himself was said to have enjoyed it.

Next Méliès made Gulliver’s Travels, based on the novel by Jonathan Swift, and Robinson Crusoe, based on the novel by Daniel Defoe. In 1903 Méliès made Fairyland: A Kingdom of Fairies, Ten Ladies in one Umbrella, The Melomaniac and Faust in Hell, which is based on an opera by Hector Berlioz, In 1904 he made a sequel, Faust and Marguerite. based on an opera by Charles Gounod. in 1904 he made The Barber of Seville. His major production of 1904 was The Impossible Voyage, a film similar to A Trip to the Moon about an expedition around the world, into the oceans and even to the sun. In 1904, Méliès was invited to create a special effects film to be included in a theatre revue. The result was The Adventurous Automobile Trip. In 1905 Méliès contributed two short films to The Merry Deeds of Satan : The Space Trip and The Cyclone, and made 22 other films, including the adventure The Palace of Arabian Knights and the féerie Rip’s Dream.

For the 100th birthday of Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, the Théâtre Robert-Houdin created a special celebration performance, including Méliès’s first new stage trick in several years, Les Phénomènes du spiritisme. He made eighteen films in 1906, including The Merry Deeds of Satan and The Witch. In 1907 Méliès created three new illusions for the stage and performed them at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin. He also made nineteen films, including a parody of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and a short version of Hamlet. in 1908 Méliès made one of his most ambitious films: Humanity Through the Ages, which retells the history of humans from Cain and Abel to the Hague Peace Conference of 1907. Méliès resumed filmmaking in the autumn of 1909 and produced three films that year. In 1910 his brother Gaston set up a studio called the Star Films Ranch in Texas, where he began to produce Westerns. By 1911 Gaston had renamed his branch of Star Films American Wildwest Productions & produced over 130 films between 1910 and 1912. Between 1910 and 1912, Georges Méliès produced 20 films including Whimsical Illusions, in which he performs a magic trick on stage & also created a new theatrical revue, Spiritualist Phenomena.

Sadly, Méliès made a questionable deal with Charles Pathé which eventually destroyed his film career. Méliès accepted a large amount of money to produce films and in exchange Pathé Frères would distribute and reserve the right to edit these films. Pathé also held the deed to both Méliès’s home and his Montreuil studio as part of the deal. From 1911 Méliès began production on more ambitious & elaborate films including The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Haunted Window & In 1912, Méliès made Conquest of the Pole. which was inspired by Robert Peary’s expedition to the North Pole in 1909 and Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole in 1911,The film included giant monsters and also has elements of Jules Verne’s The Adventures of Captain Hatteras which is often said to be the third film of Méliès’s fantastic voyage trilogy after A Trip to the Moon and The Impossible Voyage.

Méliès also made The Snow Knight and Le Voyage de la famille Bourrichon. However Méliès subsequently lost $50,000 and was forced to sell the American branch of Star Films to Vitagraph Studios. As a result Méliès broke his contract with Pathé in 1913, but was too broke to repay the money that he owed Pathe. He was declared bankrupt and did not continue making films-He attributes his own inability to adapt to Pathé and other companies, his brother Gaston’s poor financial decisions and the horrors of World War I as the main reasons that he stopped making films. Due to the war, the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was shut down for a year and Méliès left Paris for several years. In 1917 the French army turned the main studio building at his Montreuil studio into a hospital for wounded soldiers. He and his family then turned the second studio set into a theatrical stage and performed over 24 variety show revues there until 1923. Also during the war, the French army confiscated over 400 of the original prints of Star-Films’s catalog of films in order to melt them down and retrieve their celluloid and silver content. In 1923, the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was torn down in order to rebuild the Boulevard Haussmann. That same year Pathé was finally able to take over Star-Films and the Montreuil studio. In a rage, Méliès personally burned all of the negatives of his films that he had stored at the Montreuil studio, as well as most of the sets and costumes.

As a result many of his films do not exist today. Nonetheless, just over 200 Méliès films have been preserved and are available on DVD. After being driven out of business, Méliès disappeared from public life. By the mid-1920s he was making a meager living as a candy and toy salesman at the Montparnasse station in Paris. In the 1920s several journalists began to research Méliès and his life’s work, creating new interest in him. As his prestige began to grow in the film world, he was given more recognition and in December 1929 a gala retrospective of his work was held at the Salle Pleyel. Georges Méliès was awarded the Légion d’honneur in 1931 by Louis Lumière, who said that Méliès was the “creator of the cinematic spectacle.

In 1932, the Cinema Society arranged a place for Méliès, his granddaughter Madeleine and Jeanne d’Alcy at La Maison du Retrait du Cinéma, the film industry’s retirement home in Orly, where Méliès worked with several younger directors on scripts for films including a new version of Baron Münchhausen with Hans Richter and a film called Le Fantôme du métro (Phantom of the Metro) . In 1936 he rented an abandoned building on the property of the Orly retirement home to store the collection of film prints. They then entrusted the key to the building to Méliès and he became the first conservator of what would eventually become the Cinémathèque Française. Although he was never able to make another film after 1913 or stage another theatrical performance after 1923, he continued to draw, write and advise yoUnger film and theatrical admirers until the end of his life. By late 1937 Méliès had become very ill and he was admitted to the Léopold Bellan Hospital in Paris. one of Méliès last drawings was of a champagne bottle with the cork popped and bubbling over. Méliès died of cancer on 21 January 1938 just hours after the passing of Émile Cohl, another great French film pioneer, and was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Advertisements

Tom Baker

Prolific British TV and Film actor Tom Baker was born 20 January in 1934. He is best known for playing the fourth incarnation of the Doctor in the science fiction television series Doctor Who, a role he played from 1974 to 1981. In the late 1960s and early 1970s Baker was part of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre company, and had his first big film break in 1971 with the role of Rasputin in the film Nicholas and Alexandra after Olivier recommended him for the part. He also appeared in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s version of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, released in 1972, as a younger husband of the Wife of Bath. In 1974. Tom Baker then took on his most famous role of the Doctor from Jon Pertwee. He was recommended to producer Barry Letts by the BBC’s Head of Serials, Bill Slater, who had directed Baker in Play of the Month. Impressed by Baker on meeting him, Letts was convinced he was right for the part after seeing his performance in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.

He quickly made the part his own. As the Doctor, his eccentric style of dress and speech, particularly his trademark long scarf and fondness for jelly babies, made him an immediately recognisable figure, and he quickly caught the viewing public’s imagination. Baker played the Doctor for seven consecutive seasons over a seven-year period, making him the longest-serving actor in the part on-screen. Baker himself suggested many aspects of the Fourth Doctor’s personality. The distinctive scarf came about by accident. James Acheson, the costume designer, had provided far more wool than was necessary to the knitter, Begonia Pope, and Ms. Pope knitted all the wool she was given. It was Baker who suggested that he wear the resulting ridiculously over-long scarf. The manifestation played by Tom Baker (1974–1981) is regarded by many as the most popular of the Doctors.

From 2001 Baker Was the narrator of Little Britain on BBC Radio 4, and remained in the role when it transferred to television. Baker has suggested that he was chosen for the part in Little Britain due to his popularity with Walliams and Lucas, part of the generation to whom he is the favourite Doctor. “I am now being employed by the children who grew up watching me”, he stated in a recent DVD commentary. Another trademark of Little Britain’s narration is the deadpan quotation of old rap lyrics, usually in the opening credit sequence. Baker is a prolific and highly recognisable voiceover artist, he narrated an animated adventure of Doctor Who as the Fourth Doctor, and also played Puddleglum, a “marsh-wiggle”, in the BBC adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair. Baker also portrayed Sherlock Holmes in a four part BBC miniseries version of The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1982 and made an appearance as the sea captain Redbeard Rum in Blackadder II. He has also appeared as a guest on the quiz show Have I Got News For You and was subsequently described by presenter Angus Deayton as the funniest guest in the show’s history…

Edgar Allan Poe

American author, poet, editor and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe was born January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was orphaned young when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family & was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, but they never formally adopted him. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. After enlisting in the Army and later failing as an officer’s cadet at West Point, Poe parted ways with the Allans’. His publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to “a Bostonian”. Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin.

In January 1845 Poe published his poem, “The Raven”, which tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, who is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore and it traces the man’s slow descent into madness. The poem has a supernatural atmosphere and also makes use of a number of folk and classical references and became a huge success. Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay “The Philosophy of Composition”. The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty by Charles Dickens. Its publication made Poe widely popular in his lifetime, although it did not bring him much financial success. Soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated, critical opinion is divided as to the poem’s status, but it nevertheless remains one of the most famous poems ever written. He began planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus).

 

Tragically Edgar Allan Poe sadly passed away On October 7, 1849, at age 40 in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents. Poe made a lasting impression and is considered part of the American Romantic Movement and is remebered for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today. The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre. The award is named after this author. Many of Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre stories have also been adapted for stage, silver screen and television numerous times and his novels remain popular.

Raymond Briggs CBE

English illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist and author Raymond Briggs, CBE was born 18 January 1934 in Wimbledon, London, England. He attended Rutlish School, then a grammar school, pursued cartooning from an early age and, despite his father’s attempts to discourage him from this unprofitable pursuit, attended the Wimbledon School of Art from 1949 to 1953 to study painting, and Central School of Art to study typography.

Between 1953 to 1955 he was a conscript in the Royal Corps of Signals at Catterick where he was made a draughtsman. After these two years of National Service, he returned to the study of painting at Slade School of Fine Art at University College, London, graduating in 1957. After briefly pursuing painting, he became a professional illustrator, and soon began working in children’s books. In 1958, he illustrated Peter and the Piskies: Cornish Folk and Fairy Tales, a fairy tale anthology by Ruth Manning-Sanders that was published by Oxford University Press. They would collaborate again for the Hamish Hamilton Book of Magical Beasts (Hamilton, 1966). In 1961, Briggs began teaching illustration part-time at Brighton School of Art, which he continued until 1986. He was a commended runner-up for the 1964 Kate Greenaway Medal (Fee Fi Fo Fum, a collection of nursery rhymes) and won the 1966 Medal for illustrating a Hamilton edition of Mother Goose. According to a retrospective presentation by the librarians, The Mother Goose Treasury “is a collection of 408 traditional and well loved poems and nursery rhymes, illustrated with over 800 colour pictures by a young Raymond Briggs.” Sadly His first wife Jean, who suffered from schizophrenia, tragically died from leukaemia in 1973, only two years after his parents. They did not have any children.

The first three important works that Briggs both wrote and illustrated were in comics format rather than the separate text and illustrations, were Father Christmas (1973) and its sequel Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (1975) featuring a curmudgeonly Father Christmas who complains incessantly about the “blooming snow”. Briggs won his second Greenaway for Father Christmas which was also adapted as a film titled Father Christmas. The third was Fungus the Bogeyman (1977), featuring one day in the life of a working class Bogeyman with the mundane job of scaring human beings.

In 1978 Briggs published The Snowman, an entirely wordless, story which was illustrated with only pencil crayons which earned Briggs a Highly Commended runner-up for his third Greenaway Medal. An American edition was produced by Random House in the same year, for which Briggs won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, picture book category. In 1982, it was adapted by British TV channel Channel 4 as an animated cartoon, which was nominated for the annual “Oscar” and has since been shown every year (except 1984) on British television. On Christmas Eve 2012 the 30th anniversary of the original was marked by the airing of the sequel The Snowman and the Snowdog.

Briggs continued to work in a similar format, but with more adult content, in his next book Gentleman Jim (1980), a sombre look at the working class trials of Jim and Hilda Bloggs, closely based on his parents. When the Wind Blows (1982) confronted the trusting, optimistic Bloggs couple with the horror of nuclear war, and was praised in the British House of Commons for its timeliness and originality. The topic was inspired after Briggs watched a Panorama documentary on nuclear contingency planning, and the dense format of the page was inspired by a Swiss publisher’s miniature version of Father Christmas. This book was turned into a two-handed radio play with Peter Sallis in the male lead role, and subsequently an animated film, featuring John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft. Briggs next story The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman (1984) was a scathing denunciation of the Falklands War. However, Briggs continued to produce humour for children, in works such as the Unlucky Wally series and The Bear.

Briggs won the 1966 and 1973 Kate Greenaway Medals from the British Library Association, recognising the year’s best children’s book illustration by a British subject For the 50th anniversary of the Medal (1955–2005), a panel named Father Christmas (1973) one of the top-ten winning works, which composed the ballot for a public election of the nation’s favourites. Briggs won the 1992 Kurt Maschler Award, or the Emil, both for writing and for illustrating The Man, a short graphic novel featuring a boy and a homunculus. The award annually recognised one British children’s book for integration of text and illustration. In 1993, he was named Children’s Author of the Year by the British Book Awards. His graphic novel Ethel & Ernest, which portrayed his parents’ 41-year marriage, won Best Illustrated Book in the 1999 British Book Awards. In 2016, it was turned into a hand-drawn animated film. In 2012, he was the first person to be inducted into the British Comic Awards Hall of Fame.

In 2014, Briggs received the Phoenix Picture Book Award from the Children’s Literature Association for The Bear (1994). The award committee stated: “With surprising page-turns, felicitous pauses, and pitch-perfect dialogue, Briggs renders the drama and humor of child–adult and child–bear relations, while questioning the nature of imagination and reality. As a picture book presented in graphic novel format, Briggs’s work was ground-breaking when first published and remains cutting edge twenty years later in its creative unity of text and picture.” Briggs was also one of two runner up for theThe biennial Hans Christian Andersen illustration award in 1984. This is conferred by the International Board on Books for Young People and is the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of children’s books. He is also a patron of the Association of Illustrators. As of 2010, Briggs lives in a small house in Westmeston, Sussex; because of the clutter and lack of light, he kept a separate home from his long-term partner, Liz, her children and grandchildren. Liz died in October 2015 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Briggs continues to work on writing and illustrating books.

Rudyard Kipling

English short story writer, poet and Novellist Joseph Rudyard Kipling sadly passed away on 18 January 1936 at the age of 70 of a perforated duodenal ulcer two days before the death of King George V. He was born 30 December 1865 in the Bombay Presidency of British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old. Kipling is best known for his works of fiction, including The Jungle Book (a collection of stories which includes “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”), Just So Stories (1902), Kim (1901) (a tale of adventure), many short stories, including “The Man Who Would Be King” (1888); and his poems, including “Mandalay” (1890), “Gunga Din” (1890), “The White Man’s Burden” (1899), and “If—” (1910). In 1891, on the advice of his doctors, Kipling embarked on a sea voyage visiting South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and India. However, he cut short his plans for spending Christmas with his family in India when he heard of Balestier’s sudden death from typhoid fever, and immediately decided to return to London. Before his return, he had used the telegram to propose to and be accepted by Wolcott’s sister Caroline Starr Balestier (1862–1939), called “Carrie”, whom he had met a year earlier, and with whom he had apparently been having an intermittent romance Meanwhile, late in 1891, his collection of short stories of the British in India, Life’s Handicap, was published in London.

Rudyard Kipling married Carrie Balestier in London, in January 1892 During an influenza epidemic, when the undertakers had run out of black horses and the dead had to be content with brown ones.” The wedding was held at All Souls Church, Langham Place. Henry James gave the bride away.In the short span of four years, he produced, in addition to the Jungle Books, a collection of short stories (The Day’s Work), a novel (Captains Courageous), and a profusion of poetry, including the volume The Seven Seas. The collection of Barrack-Room Ballads was issued in March 1892, first published individually for the most part in 1890, and containing his poems “Mandalay” and “Gunga Din”. He especially enjoyed writing the Jungle Books—both masterpieces of imaginative writing—and enjoyed, too, corresponding with the many children who wrote to him about them.The writing life in naulakha was occasionally interrupted by visitors, including his father, who visited soon after his retirement in 1893 and British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, who brought his golf-clubs, stayed for two days, and gave Kipling an extended golf lesson.

Kipling loved the outdoors not least of whose marvels in Vermont was the turning of the leaves each fall. He described this moment in a letter: “A littlemaple began it, flaming blood-red of a sudden where he stood against the dark green of a pine-belt. Next morning there was an answering signal from the swamp where thesumacs grow. Three days later, the hill-sides as fast as the eye could range were afire, and the roads paved, with crimson and gold. Then a wet wind blew, and ruined all the uniforms of that gorgeous army; and the oaks, who had held themselves in reserve, buckled on their dull and bronzed cuirasses and stood it out stiffly to the last blown leaf, till nothing remained but pencil-shadings of bare boughs, and one could see into the most private heart of the woods.

He also became involved in the debate over the British response to the rise in German naval power known as the Tirpitz Plan to build a fleet to challenge the Royal Navy. On a visit to the United States in 1899, Kipling and Josephine developed pneumonia, from which she eventually died. Kipling began collecting material for another of his children’s classics, Just So Stories for Little Children. That work was published in 1902, the year after Kim was first issued. The first decade of the 20th century saw Kipling at the height of his popularity. In 1906 he wrote the song ”Land of our Birth, We Pledge to Thee”. Kipling wrote two science fiction short stories, With the Night Mail (1905) and As Easy As A. B. C (1912), both set in the 21st century in Kipling’s Aerial Board of Controluniverse. These read like modern hard science fiction and introduced the literary technique known as indirect exposition, which would later become one of Heinlein’s trademarks. In 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and Kipling was the first English-language recipient. At the award ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December 1907, the publication of two connected poetry and story collections: Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906), andRewards and Fairies (1910). The latter contained the poem “If Exultation and triumph was what Kipling had in mind as he actively encouraged his young son to go to war.

 Kipling’s son John tragically died in the First World War, at the Battle of Loos in September 1915, at age 18. John had initially wanted to join the Royal Navy, but having had his application turned down after a failed medical examination due to poor eyesight, he opted to apply for military service as an officer. But again, his eyesight was an issue during the medical examination. In fact, he tried twice to enlist, but was rejected. His father had been lifelong friends with Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the British Army, and colonel of the Irish Guards, and at Rudyard’s request, John was accepted into the Irish Guards. He was sent to Loos two days into the battle in a reinforcement contingent. He was last seen stumbling through the mud blindly, screaming in agony after an exploding shell ripped his face apart. A body identified as his was not found until 1992, although that identification has been challenged.At the beginning of World War I, like many other writers, Kipling wrote pamphlets and poems which enthusiastically supported the UK’s war aims of restoring Belgium after that kingdom had been occupied by Germany together with more generalised statements that Britain was standing up for the cause of good.

In September 1914, Kipling was asked by the British government to write propaganda, an offer that he immediately accepted. Kipling’s pamphlets and stories were very popular with the British people during the war with his major themes being glorifying the British military as the place for heroic men to be, German atrocities against Belgian civilians and the stories of women being brutalized by a horrific war unleashed by Germany, yet surviving and triumphing in spite of their suffering. Kipling was enraged by reports of the Rape of Belgium together with the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915, which he saw as a deeply inhumane act, which led him to see the war as a crusade for civilization against barbarism. Kipling was privately deeply critical of how the war was fought by the British Army as opposed to the war itself, which he ardently supported, complaining as early as October 1914 that Germany should have been defeated by now, and something must be wrong with the British Army. Kipling, who was shocked by the heavy losses that the BEF had taken by the autumn of 1914 blamed the entire pre-war generation of British politicians, who he argued had failed to learn the lessons of the Boer War and as a result, thousands of British soldiers were now paying with their lives for their failure in the fields of France and Belgium.

After the first world war, Kipling remained sceptical about the Fourteen Points and the League of Nations, but he had great hopes that the United States would abandon isolationism and that the post-war world would be dominated by an Anglo-French-American alliance. Kipling hoped that the United States would take on a League of Nations mandate for Armenia as the best way of preventing isolationism, and hoped that Theodore Roosevelt, whom Kipling admired, would once again become President Kipling was saddened by Roosevelt’s death in 1919, believing that his friend was the only American politician capable of keeping the United States in the “game” of world politics. Kipling joined Sir Fabian Ware’s Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission), the group responsible for the garden-like British war graves that can be found to this day dotted along the former Western Front and all the other locations around the world where troops of the British Empire lie buried. His most significant contribution to the project was his selection of the biblical phrase “Their Name Liveth For Evermore” (Ecclesiasticus 44.14, KJV) found on the Stones of Remembrance in larger war graves and his suggestion of the phrase “Known unto God” for the gravestones of unidentified servicemen. He chose the inscription “The Glorious Dead” on the Cenotaph, Whitehall, London. He also wrote a two-volume history of the Irish Guards, his son’s regiment, that was published in 1923 and is considered to be one of the finest examples of regimental history. Kipling’s moving short story, “The Gardener”, depicts visits to the war cemeteries, and the poem “The King’s Pilgrimage” (1922) depicts a journey which King George V made, touring the cemeteries and memorials under construction by the Imperial War Graves Commission. With the increasing popularity of the automobile, Kipling became a motoring correspondent for the British press, and wrote enthusiastically of his trips around England and abroad, even though he was usually driven by a chauffeur.

ln 1920 Kipling co-founded the Liberty League with Haggard and Lord Sydenham. This short-lived enterprise focused on promoting classic liberal ideals as a response to the rising power of Communist tendencies within Great Britain, or has Kipling put it “to combat the advance of Bolshevism”. In 1922 Kipling, who had made reference to the work of engineers in some of his poems, such as The sons of Martha, Sappers, andMcAndrew’s hymn and in other writings such as short story anthologies, for instance The Day’s Work. He Was asked by University of Toronto civil engineering professorHerbert E. T. Haultain for his assistance in developing a dignified obligation and ceremony for graduating engineering students. Kipling was enthusiastic in his response and shortly produced both, formally entitled “The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer”. Today, engineering graduates all across Canada are presented with an iron ring at the ceremony as a reminder of their obligation to society.

In 1922 Kipling also became Lord Rector of St Andrews University in Scotland, a three-year position. Kipling argued very strongly for an Anglo-French alliance to uphold the peace, calling Britain and France in 1920 the “twin fortresses of European civilization”. Along the same lines, Kipling repeatedly warned against revising the Treaty of Versailles in Germany’s favor, which he predicated would lead to a new world war An admirer of Raymond Poincaré, Kipling was one of the few British intellectuals who supported the French Occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 at a time when the British government and most public opinion was against the French position. In contrast to the popular British view of Poincaré as a cruel bully intent on impoverishing Germany by seeking unreasonable reparations, Kipling argued that Poincare was only rightfully trying to preserve France as a great power in the face of an unfavorable situation.

Kipling argued that even before 1914 Germany’s larger economy and birthrate had made that country stronger than France, that with much of France was devastated by the war and the French suffering heavy losses that the low French birthrate would have trouble replacing while Germany was mostly undamaged and with a higher birth rate, that it was madness for Britain to seek to pressure France to revise Versailles in Germany’s favor. In 1924, Kipling was opposed to the Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald as “Bolshevism without bullets”, but believing that Labour was a Communist front organisation took the view that “excited orders and instructions from Moscow” would expose Labour as Communist front organisation to the British people.

Kipling’s views were on the right and through he admired Benito Mussolini to a certain extent for a time in the 1920s, Kipling was against fascism, writing that Sir Oswald Mosley was “a bounder and anarriviste”, by 1935 called Mussolini a deranged and dangerous egomaniac and in 1933 wrote “The Hitlerites are out for blood”.Once the Nazis came to power and usurped the swastika, Kipling ordered that it should no longer adorn his books. In 1934 he published a short story in Strand Magazine, “Proofs of Holy Writ”, which postulated that William Shakespeare had helped to polish the prose of the King James Bible Less than one year before his death Kipling gave a speech (titled “An Undefended Island”) to the Royal Society of St George on 6 May 1935 warning of the danger which Nazi Germany posed to Britain.

Kipling IS regarded as a major “innovator in the art of the short story”; his children’s books are enduring classics of children’s literature; and his best works are said to exhibit “a versatile and luminous narrative gift”.Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: “Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known.” In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and to date he remains its youngest recipient. Among other honours, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he declined. Kipling’s subsequent reputation has changed according to the political and social climate of the age and the resulting contrasting views about him continued for much of the 20th century. George Orwell called him a “prophet of British imperialism”. Literary critic Douglas Kerr wrote: “He [Kipling] is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with.

Kipling was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, London, and his ashes were buried in Poets’ Corner, part of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey, next to the graves of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. In 2010 the International Astronomical Union approved that a crater on the planet Mercury would be named after Kipling—one of ten newly discovered impact craters observed by the MESSENGER spacecraft in 2008–9. In 2012, an extinct species of crocodile, Goniopholis kiplingi, was named in his honour, “in recognition for his enthusiasm for natural sciences”. More than 50 unpublished poems by Kipling were released for the first time in March 2013 and his novels remain popular to this day and have all been adapted for stage and screen numerous times including a fantastic animated Disney version and a live action version.

Oliver Hardy

Best known as one half of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, the American comedian and actor Oliver Hardy sadly died August 7, 1957. He was born 18th January 1892 in Harlem, Georgia. The family moved to Madison, Georgia in 1891, before Norvell’s birth. Emily Hardy owned a house in Harlem. As a child, Hardy was sometimes difficult. He was sent to Georgia Military College in Milledgeville as a youngster and then attended Young Harris College in north Georgia in the 1905-1906 school year fall semester (September–January) when he was 13. He was in the junior high component of that institution of the time (the equivalent of high school today). Hardy had little interest in formal education, although he acquired an early interest in music and theater, His mother recognized his talent for singing and sent him to Atlanta to study music and voice with singing teacher Adolf Dahm-Petersen. Hardy skipped some of his lessons to sing in the Alcazar Theater, a cinema, for US$3.50 a week. He subsequently decided to go back to Milledgeville. Around 1910, Hardy began using the name “Oliver Norvell Hardy”, adding the first name “Oliver” as a tribute to his father. He appeared as “Oliver N. Hardy” in the 1910 U.S. census, and he used “Oliver” as his first name in all subsequent legal records, marriage announcements, etc. Hardy was initiated into Freemasonry at Solomon Lodge No. 20 in Jacksonville, Florida.

In 1910, when a movie theater opened in Hardy’s hometown of Milledgeville, he became the projectionist, ticket taker, janitor, and manager. He soon became obsessed with the new motion picture industry and was convinced that he could do a better job than the actors he saw. In 1913, Hardy moved to Jacksonville, Florida, And began as a cabaret and vaudeville singer at night, and at the Lubin Manufacturing Company during the day. He then met Madelyn Saloshin, a pianist, whom he married on November 17, 1913, in Macon, Georgia. In 1914 he made his first movie, Outwitting Dad (1914), for the Lubin studio. He was billed as O. N. Hardy. In his personal life, he was known as “Babe” Hardy, AndIn many of his later films at Lubin, he was billed as “Babe Hardy.” Hardy was a big man at 6’1″ tall and weighing up to 300 pounds. His size placed limitations on the roles he could play. He was most often cast as “the heavy” or the villain. He also frequently had roles in comedy shorts, his size complementing the character.

By 1915, Hardy had made 50 short one-reeler films at Lubin. He later moved to New York and made films for the Pathé, Casino and Edison Studios. After returning to Jacksonville, he made films for the Vim Comedy Company. He also worked for the King Bee studio, which bought Vim and worked with Bill Ruge, Billy West (a Charlie Chaplin imitator), and comedic actress Ethel Burton Palmer and continued portraying “heavies” for West, often imitating Eric Campbell to West’s Chaplin.) In 1917 Hardy moved to Los Angeles, working freelance for several Hollywood studios. Hardy made more than 40 films for Vitagraph, mostly playing the “heavy” for Larry Semon. In 1920 he divorced his wife and in 1921, Hardy married again, to actress Myrtle Reeves. In 1921, he appeared in the movie The Lucky Dog, produced by G.M. (“Broncho Billy”) Anderson and starring a young British comedian named Stan Laurel. Oliver Hardy played the part of a robber, trying to stick up Stan’s character.

In 1924, Hardy began working at Hal Roach Studios with the Our Gang films and Charley Chase. In 1925, he starred as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz and in the film Yes, Yes, Nanette!, starring Jimmy Finlayson and directed by Stan Laurel. He also appeared in films featuring Clyde Cooke and Bobby Ray. In 1926, Hardy was scheduled to appear in Get ‘Em Young. But was hospitalized after being burned by a hot leg of lamb. So Laurel, who had been working as a gag man and director at Roach Studios, appeared instead. in 1926 Laurel and Hardy both appeared in the film , 45 Minutes from Hollywood,

In 1927, Laurel and Hardy began sharing screen time together in Slipping Wives, Duck Soup (no relation to the 1933 Marx Brothers’ film of the same name) and With Love and Hisses. They began producing a huge body of short movies, including The Battle of the Century (1927) (with one of the largest pie fights ever filmed), Should Married Men Go Home? (1928), Two Tars (1928), Unaccustomed As We Are (1929, marking their transition to talking pictures) Berth Marks (1929), Blotto (1930), Brats (1930), Another Fine Mess (1930), Be Big! (1931), and many others.In 1929, they appeared in their first feature, in one of the revue sequences of Hollywood Revue of 1929, and the following year they appeared as the comic relief in a lavish all-color (in Technicolor) musical feature entitled The Rogue Song. In 1931, they starred in their first full-length movie, “Pardon Us” and the 1932 short film”The Music Box” which won them an Academy Award for best short film. In 1936, Hardy and Myrtle Reeves divorced and in 1939 Hardy made Zenobia with Harry Langdon. Then In 1939 Laurel and Hardy made The Flying Deuces and Hardy met Virginia Lucille Jones, a script girl, whom he married the next year. In 1939, Laurel and Hardy made A Chump at Oxford (1940) (which features a moment of role reversal, with Oliver becoming a subordinate to a temporarily concussed Stan and Saps at Sea. They began performing for the USO, supporting the Allied troops during World War II. They teamed up to make films for 20th Century Fox and later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer including The Bullfighters in 1945.

In 1947, Laurel and Hardy went on a six-week tour of the United Kingdom Which was lengthened to include engagements in Scandinavia, Belgium, France, as well as a Royal Command Performance for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. They continued to make live appearances in the United Kingdom and France for the next several years, until 1954, often using new sketches and material that Laurel had written for them. In 1949, John Wayne, asked Hardy to play a supporting role in The Fighting Kentuckian. Hardy had previously worked with Wayne and John Ford in a charity production of the play What Price Glory? and Frank Capra later invited Hardy to play a cameo role in Riding High with Bing Crosby in 1950.

During 1950–51, Laurel and Hardy made their final film. Atoll K (also known as Utopia) in which Laurel inherits an island, and the boys set out to sea, where they encounter a storm and discover a brand new island, rich in uranium, making them powerful and wealthy. Oliver Hardy, along with Stan Laurel, made two live television appearances: In 1953, on a live BBC television broadcast of the popular show “Face the Music” with host Henry Hall and in December 1954, on NBC’s This Is Your Life. They also appeared in a filmed insert for the BBC-TV show This Is Music Hall in 1955, which was their final public appearance together. Following This Is Your Life they were asked to produce a series of TV shows based on the Mother Goose fables with Hal Roach, Jr. However the series was postponed when Laurel suffered a stroke and Hardy suffered a heart attack and stroke from which he never physically recovered.

In total they appeared together in 107 films including 40 short sound films, 32 silent films and 23 full-length feature films, and made 12 guest or cameo appearances, including the recently discovered Galaxy of Stars promotional film (1936). Their silent film Big Business (1929) was added to the Library of Congress as a national treasure in 1992. The works of Laurel and Hardy have been re-released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 16mm and 8mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home videos since the 1930s. They were voted the seventh greatest comedy act in a 2005 UK poll by fellow comedians. The duo’s signature tune, known variously as “The Cuckoo Song”, “Ku-Ku”, or “The Dance of the Cuckoos”, played on the opening credits of their films. The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as The Sons of the Desert after the film of the same name. A biopic featuring John C.Reilly and Steve Coogan has also been made.

Anne Brontë

British novelist and poet Anne Brontë was born 17 January 1820. The daughter of a poor Irish clergyman in the Church of England, Anne Brontë was the youngest member of the Brontë literary family and lived most of her life with her family at the parish of Haworth on the Yorkshire moors. For a couple of years she went to a boarding school. At the age of 19 she left Haworth and worked as a governess between 1839 and 1845. After leaving her teaching position, she fulfilled her literary ambitions. She wrote a volume of poetry with her sisters (Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, 1846) and two novels. Agnes Grey, based upon her experiences as a governess, was published in 1847. Her second and last novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which is considered to be one of the first sustained feminist novels, appeared in 1848. Anne’s life was cut short when she died of pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 29.Mainly because the re-publication of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was prevented by Charlotte Brontë after Anne’s death on 28 May 1849, she is less known than her sisters Charlotte, author of four novels including Jane Eyre, and Emily, author of Wuthering Heights. However her novels, like those of her sisters, have become classics of English literature.

Agnes Grey is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë, and is largely based on Anne Brontë’s own experiences as a governess for five years. Like her sister Charlotte’s novel Jane Eyre. It follows Agnes Grey, the daughter of a minister, whose family comes to financial ruin. Desperate to earn money to care for herself, she takes one of the few jobs allowed to respectable women in the early Victorian era, as a governess to the children of the wealthy. As a governess, she works in several bourgeois families including the Bloomfields and the Murrays The novel addresses what the precarious position of governess entailed and the trouble that affects a young woman who must try to rein in unruly, spoiled children for a living, and about the ability of wealth and status to destroy social values. The novel also deals with issues of oppression and abuse of women and governesses, isolation, ideas of empathy and the fair treatment of animals. After her father’s death Agnes opens a small school with her mother and finds happiness with a man who loves her for herself. By the end of the novel they have three children, Edward, Agnes and Mary.

Anne Brontë’s second and final novel was The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which is considered to be one of the first sustained feminist novels and was an instant success. The novel is framed as a letter from Gilbert Markham to his friend and brother-in-law about the events leading to his meeting his wife. It concerns A mysterious young widow named Mrs. Helen Graham who arrives at, an Elizabethan mansion named Wildfell Hall, which has been empty for many years, with her young son and servant. She lives there under an assumed name, Helen Graham in strict seclusion, and becomes a source of curiosity for the small community, gradually the reticent Mrs Graham and her young son Arthur are drawn into the social circles of the village. Initially, Gilbert Markham casually courts Eliza Millward, despite his mother’s belief that he can do better. His interest in Eliza wanes as he comes to know Mrs. Graham. In retribution, Eliza spreads (and perhaps creates) scandalous rumours about Helen.

very soon Helen finds herself the victim of local slander. Refusing to believe anything scandalous about her, Gilbert Markham, a young farmer, discovers her dark secrets. about her marriage to Arthur Huntingdon. a handsome, witty chap who is also spoilt, selfish, and self-indulgent, whom she marries blinded by love and resolves to reform with gentle persuasion and good example. Upon the birth of their child, Huntingdon becomes increasingly jealous of their son (also called Arthur) and his claims on Helen’s attentions and affections. Meanwhile Huntingdon’s dissolute friends lead him astray by frequently engage in drunken revels at the family’s home, Grassdale, oppressing those of finer character. Both men and women are portrayed as degraded, The novel deals with her husband’s physical and moral decline through alcohol and the world of debauchery and cruelty. Not surprisingly Helen decides she’s had enough and flee’s with her son, eventually arriving at Wildfell Hall….

Both Tenent of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey have been adapted for film and Television and the novels remain popular.